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Orange, TX

You don’t have to cross over into Louisiana to get a taste of Cajun culture.  All you have to do is head to Southeast Texas where the bayous and tall trees make the border with the neighboring Pelican State nothing but a man-made facade.

The place to start your trip to Orange is at one of the Stark Cultural Venues.  Each one can sell you a combo pass to all three which you’ll definitely want to buy.  To learn about the history of Orange’s most affluent family, visit the W. H. Stark House Museum, an incredible 14,000 square foot Victorian home built as a showroom for the forest by the family who owned the largest sawmill in Texas at the time.  While the home feels like a museum full of lavish decorations, the real museum is the Stark Museum of Art across the street housing one of the best collections of American Western Art in the country. Rather than keep their collection locked away, H.J. Lutcher Stark decided to put it in a museum that would be outstanding even in the Big Apple, but it’s here in the Small Orange.  And for a outdoor dose of exquisite beauty, head to Shangri-La Botanical Gardens with absolutely stunning gardens, greenhouses, and wildlife viewing areas to enjoy all that this tropical bayou has to offer.  I highly recommend a guided boat ride that will give you a brand new appreciation for all the beauty this part of Texas has to offer.

There used to be a much faster way to navigate the bayou on an airboat ride from Airboat Rides, Inc.  However, it looks like they’ve discontinued this service.  Maybe if enough people give them a call, they’ll start it back up.  Hey – it’s worth a try, right?

You better believe that the good folks in Southeast Texas know how to eat.  For lunch in a casual old dairy building with chef-inspired cooking head to the Old Orange Cafe.  The spicy chicken sandwich is one of the most delicious things I’ve ever eaten.  And no matter the occasion, the time is always right to head to Robert’s Meat Market & Steakhouse with a cajun market on one side and a tasty steakhouse on the other serving hand-cut meat and cajun classics that will make you fall in love with the people and food of Orange, Texas.

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