Shop, Stay and Play in Gladewater


Experience the Antique Capital of East Texas

A Love Your Parks Tour Shopping Story by Lisa D. Smith and Nancy J. Reid, assigned by Linda Kissam ‘Food, Wine & Shopping Diva’

Nestled in the heart of the Pineywoods region of northeast Texas, downtown Gladewater beckons with the charms of “Small Town America.” It’s a treasure trove of Americana with red brick streets lined with antique and collectible stores, boutiques and gift shops, and family-run restaurants. Murals adorn the downtown buildings, serving as giant picture postcards from the past. Right by the train tracks in the center of town, a derrick stands as a proud beacon marking where the Gladewater Discovery Oil Well once pumped 1000 barrels of oil an hour.

Gladewater was founded by the Texas and Pacific Railway Company in 1873. The discovery of oil in 1931 brought a boom of growth from 300 to 10,000 people. At its peak, Gladewater had over 500 producing oil wells in town, making it a refining, production, and supply hub. When the oil panned out in the 1970s, the community turned to other economic drivers such as manufacturing, lumber and agriculture, and the selling of antiques. By the late 1980s, the town became so popular for its growing collection of antique stores, that it was designated the “Antique Capital of East Texas.” 

Along with being home to the award-winning Gladewater Opry, Gladewater has some fascinating musical heritage that includes Tom Perryman and Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Bob Luman, Johnny Mills, and Jim Reeves. In fact, it’s known for being a base during Elvis Presley’s early career, and also as the town where Johnny Cash wrote, “I Walk the Line”. You can learn more about it in the Gladewater Museum which also shares the history of Gladewater’s oil and rail industry, local military heroes, sports teams, and yes, the story of becoming the Antique Capital of East Texas!

We spent the recent Halloween weekend in Gladewater. While the town continues to thrive as an antique collecting and specialty shopping hub, we found it to be rich in history and naturally beautiful with outdoor attractions such as Everet Park and Lake Gladewater. There’s also wine tasting nearby at Los Pinos Ranch Vineyards in Pittsburg, a spectacular 40-acre estate vineyard, winery and restaurant.

We stayed downtown at the award-winning and historic Walker Manor Bed & Breakfast. Built in the late 1880s, this grand Texas historic landmark features three lavish turn-of-the-century style guest rooms, a gorgeous garden and wrap-around porch, and a Tea Room. Innkeepers Memori and Matt Reusing are wonderfully hospitable, and it shines beyond their Inn. They are so dedicated to preserving the town’s history and showcasing the region’s appeal to visitors that Memori founded the Gladewater Tourism and Downtown Association, and, she also leads ghost walking history tours of the downtown district.

We wanted to experience the other B&B down the street so we stopped by for an authentic farm-style breakfast at The Jeter House, a new Farmhouse Bed & Breakfast that shares family history with Walker Manor B&B. Breakfast was delicious, and the accommodations lovely…and hey, a farm stay in a downtown is pretty unique wouldn’t you say?

Whether you’re planning a shopping and antique hunting adventure or looking to experience the colorful history and natural splendor of East Texas, Gladewater is a hidden gem of hospitality that offers something for everyone.  

To plan your visit to the Antique Capital of East Texas, enjoy our audiovisual journey showcasing photographs from the places we visited and interview podcasts with those we met including Memori Reusing – Walker Manor B&B, Mark & Lola May – The Jeter House, Lois Reed – Gladewater Museum, Perry & Diane Wilson – Los Pinos Ranch Vineyards, Don Greenwood – Greenwood’s Year ‘Round Christmas, Terry Seary – Pacific Avenue Traders Mall and Village, and Sheila Fowler – The Ole Homeplace Antiques.


Listen to the Big Blend Radio show with all the interviews here and hear the individual interviews in the playlist on
YouTube or SoundCloud.


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