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City of Palestine offers unique experiences in the Pineywoods

City officials have seen their tourism double since 2019, they credit the increase in visitors to the unique attractions like the Texas State Railroad.

PALESTINE, Texas — A new survey from WalletHub finds about 59% of people are more scared to travel this summer than before the pandemic.

Many are searching for staycations within their own state and over in Palestine the tourism director is already seeing double the visitors since 2019.

From taking a ride on the Texas State Railroad to grabbing a bite to eat at Old town Palestine, you'll find days worth of activities in Palestine.

"To just come and spend the night and leave the next morning is a loss because you are missing so many things," Redlands Hotel owner Jean Mollard said. "People want to explore an old hotel and they want to understand what might have been there so we try to share that."

The Redlands Hotel houses an art gallery featuring artists from all over, a boutique, a restaurant, and an antique elevator. The rooms are up-to-date with modern furniture and unique layouts.

"We always tie in what other places in Palestine were built at the same time that are interesting to go to as well," Mollard said.

The Redlands Hotel is located just steps away from the historic town's center. Downtown you can eat pie at the famous Oxbow Bakery, enjoy shopping along the downtown corridor, and visit the 1,800 historic buildings in town.

"Palestine has been a growing destination for the past 10 years," said Mary Raum, City of Palestine tourism director.

While the pandemic took a toll on the city's tourism, the unique attractions, like the Texas State Railroad have led to the city seeing twice as many visitors since 2019.

"The turn out has been fantastic, we've had people coming from much farther locations," said Amy Parady, Texas State Trail director of commercial development.

This year, the crews at the railroad have seen visitors come in from 44 different states.

"People are really looking or taking the opportunity to drive further than they normally would because they aren't really looking forward to getting in an airplane and Palestine has been kind of that destination for us," Raum said.

Things to do in Palestine:

For more information visit the City of Palestine's website.