No more should people claim there’s no place to go in Texarkana when looking for that perfect place to take a date. As Texarkana continues to grow, so do its options for festive, evening activities. Plenty of possibilities for things to do now exist in town no matter how big – or how small – your bank account may be.
1. Red Road Winery at 4050 Summerhill Square is a Texas Wine Club open to those over 21 that boasts a classy yet casual and welcoming atmosphere. Locally owned and operated, the wine club, which has been open 15 months, delivers the finest in Texas wine selections. And fear not, you don’t have to be a wine expert to get the perfect selection for you and your date.
“I always say it’s the best of both worlds. It’s the perfect spot for a girl’s night out, and it’s the perfect spot for a date night,” said owner Terry Willett. “We have live music every Friday and Saturday nights. This weekend we’re having dueling pianos,” he said.
“What’s better than that?”
Still, picking the right wine, especially when you’re on a date, may initially seem a daunting task if you’re not a wine connoisseur and you want to impress your date. But, worry not. The trained staff at Red Road Winery will step right in and explain everything you need to know to help you and your date pick just the right wines to sample. And rest assured – they know their business.
And while you’re sipping some of that fine Texas wine, enjoy one of the establishment’s appetizers such as a fruit and cheese plate, crab soufflé, or chicken flatbread.
Don’t consider yourself that much of a wine drinker? Well, you might be surprised at what you end up liking. Even die-hard beer drinkers enjoy stepping out of a loud sports bar now and again and into the calming, soothing ambiance of Red Road Winery, Willett noted.
“I’ve seen regular, good-old beer-drinking guys come in here and try out our wines. They’ll take a sip, and suddenly, a giant smile just comes over their faces,” he said. “It’s really great to see.”
And, again, let’s not forget the music, which believe it or not manages not to overpower the conversation you’re having with your partner for the evening. The ever-popular local band, “QuickSilver” is practically a mainstay at Red Road Winery and will next appear July 26. Be sure and grab a date for that event.
Red Road Winery also is doing its part for the community by sponsoring a benefit drawing for a chance to “Name a Wine Bottle.” Tickets are $2 and may be purchased at the Museum of Regional History, Ace of Clubs House, the P.J. Ahern Home, and Discovery Place Children’s Museum. All proceeds benefit Texarkana Museums System.
The drawing will be held Oct. 31 and the winner may choose any name to be printed on a state and federally-approved wine label. Call 903-792-9463 for more details.
2. Discover Texarkana Driving Tour is a free, self-guided audio tour of local attractions recorded on CD. Just pop the CD in your car and use the accompanying map and follow along. We’ve included a few of the stops below. The CD may be picked up from the Texarkana Chamber of Commerce at 819 N State Line Ave.
- Put your feet in the street where two states meet. Experience “Photographer’s Island” as you strike a pose at the nation’s only federal building – the State Line Post Office – that is constructed in two states.
- Tune in to Scott Joplin’s life as you check out the awesome interactive musical exhibit dedicated to this “Father of Ragtime” located inside the Museum of Regional History. Your visit here will also unveil a host of local history and a wonderful collection of Caddo Indian pottery.
- Experience the Scott Joplin mural at 300 Third St. depicting scenes from Joplin’s life. Joplin (1867/1868 – April 1, 1917) was an African-American composer and pianist. Joplin achieved fame for his ragtime compositions, and was later titled “The King of Ragtime.” During his brief career, he wrote 44 original ragtime pieces, one ragtime ballet, and two operas. One of his first pieces, the Maple Leaf Rag, became ragtime’s first and most influential hit, and has been recognized as the archetypal rag. Joplin was born in Texarkana.
- Take a gamble as you explore this extraordinary 22-sided Victorian home. The Ace of Clubs House, built in 1885 from winnings in a poker game, is located at 420 Pine St.
- Don’t miss the two historical homes also listed in the national historic registry. Located downtown, and available for tours and a variety of special events, are the Garrison McClain House and the House of Wadley. Both homes are in the 600 block of Pecan Street.
“The Chamber’s Driving Tour was originally intended for visitors to Texarkana, but I believe it is really a fun way for Texarkana area residents to become familiar again with our historic downtown,” said Molly Teague, Administrative Director for the Chamber of Commerce. “It hits most of the downtown highlights but gives you enough flexibility to find some new – and old – hidden gems!” she said.
New Texarkana Chamber President and CEO Bill Cork suggesting one spot in particular for a date night.
“The Texarkana Driving Tour has many great sites to visit, but be sure to take your date to State Line in front of the Courthouse,” he said. “It will be a great place to ask for that first kiss!”
3. Texarkana 67 Speedway
Texarkana 67 Speedway is a 1/4 mile dirt track ring just north east of Texarkana. According to its website, numerous racing events take place on the dirt oval – everything from sprint cars to motorcycles. Almost every famous race car driver started on the dirt tracks and worked his/her way up the ladder. Most drivers in NASCAR started out on the dirt tracks in the south before making it to the big time. Texarkana 67 Speedway is a great excursion for a date who happens to enjoy activities like NASCAR and similar events. Texarkana 67 Speedway is open Saturdays from 8 p.m. to midnight. Be sure and watch the video to catch a taste of what Texarkana 67 Speedway is all about.
4. Texarkana Museums Systems offers fun and fascinating ways to explore Texarkana’s past, present and future. Texarkana Museums Systems operates the Museum of Regional History, the Draughon-Moore “Ace of Clubs” House, P.J. Ahern Home and the Discovery Place Children’s Museum in historic downtown Texarkana.
A group of local citizens established the Texarkana Historical Society in 1966. In an effort to preserve Texarkana’s unique history, the group began collecting archival materials. In 1971, the Society opened the Texarkana Historical Museum, now the Museum of Regional History. The new Museum was opened in the historic Offenhauser Insurance building, the oldest surviving brick building in Texarkana.
The collections expanded to include regional and Caddo artifacts and information. The Museum of Regional History includes a vast collection of research materials and photographs available to the public by appointment.
In 1985, the Society obtained the Draughon-Moore “Ace of Clubs” House, which is a unique octagonal house built in 1885. The house was restored and opened for public tours in 1987. In 1990, Discovery Place Children’s Museum opened in the old Bryce’s Cafeteria building. Discovery Place is a hands-on museum of science, history, and human perception. It also houses traveling exhibits, a 50-seat video theater, and a classroom.
The year 2010 saw the addition of a fourth property to the TMS collection – its first on the Arkansas side. The historic Patrick J. Ahern home in the heart of the Quality Hill Historic District was donated by the family and is currently undergoing restoration. To reflect its expanded mission, the Society changed its name to the Texarkana Museums System in 1993. The organization received accreditation from the American Association of Museums in 1991. All museums continue to serve Texarkana and the Ark-La-Tex through regular exhibits, public programs, educational events, and preservation efforts. http://www.texarkanamuseums.org/
5. Twisted Fork at 5522 Summerhill Road is a great location for a date as it offers casual and upscale dining all in one location.
“The restaurant is perfect for a date because we offer the best of both casual fair, fine dining and great drinks,” said Chef Jeff Loving. We have the bar and lounge area with the open kitchen for more informal dates so you can watch the chefs, or we have more formal dining with large, private booths for quieter, intimate dates,” he explained.
Plus, Twisted Fork has a menu that appeals to most appetites as well.
“As far as our menu, we have it all. Burgers to lobster tail. Drinks, we have 50 different beers, hand-made cocktails and an extensive wine list. Our small-plate options are incredible for sharing. It makes for a perfect date night.”
6. Holiday Bowl at 3408 N State Line Ave. and College Bowl at 2424 College Drive are bowling alleys in Texarkana that make great date destinations, before or after dinner. Bowling is good, clean fun and is easy on the pocketbook. And don’t worry if you or your date aren’t the best bowlers in town. That’s what lane bumpers are for. Rent some shoes, enjoy some hotdogs and Coke from the snack bar, and enjoy the music as you show off your bowling skills for your date.
7. Taste and See at 2838 Richmond Road, Ste. B, is the perfect destination after a dinner date or after a stroll along Spring Lake Park. Taste and See will soothe any sweet tooth your sweetie may have.
Taste and See is a gourmet chocolate, coffee, tea, and gelato shop. Among many other goodies, it offers English toffee, caramel, chocolates, whole bean coffee, loose leaf tea, and gelato – authentic Italian ice cream.
Taste and See is especially known for its gelato, which is made fresh daily on site in a large variety of flavors. Some flavors are available every day while others are seasonal. Taste and See also carries several flavors of sorbet, which also is made on site. Call 903-792-1468 for more information.
8. Ironwood Grill at 4312 Morris Lane became a reality in the fall of 2005. The restaurant’s atmosphere is casual and comfortable, offering diners and daters a rustic marriage of iron and wood, which lends a casual chic to the dining room.
Diners may also choose to enjoy the outdoor deck with its delightful canopy of trees. A popular feature of the deck is a child-friendly sand play area so parents and children can both enjoy their dining experience.
The grill’s menu was designed to accommodate a wide range of culinary requests, from its famous hand-battered onion rings with creamy, warm bleu cheese sauce, homemade salsa with chips, and hand-tossed oven-baked sandwiches, to the succulent Black Angus ribeye steak and marinated Texas grilled shrimp. Whatever your pleasure, it’s a sure bet your date will be pleased with this choice. Call 903-223-4644 for more information. http://www.ironwoodgrill.com/
9. Artisans Gallery and Gifts is located at 333 East 9th St. on the Arkansas side. The Artisans Gallery is so much more than just an arts and crafts gallery. One needs to experience it to understand, as it features various art made by local artists within the Texarkana and surrounding area. The Gallery both encourages and inspires the creative community and provides the public a one-of-a-kind artistic experience.
The Gallery offers a diverse venue, along with offering all aspects of arts and crafts classes, as well as free classes for children to help enrich the lives of today’s younger generation. The Gallery also offers seminars, teaching events, and benefits for the community. It also serves as a meeting place for groups, receptions and parties.
Among many other groups it welcomes, the Artisans gallery hosts a “Writers Club” the first Thursday of each month at 7 p.m. and a Poet’s Club the third Friday each month at 7 p.m.
“Artisans is a hometown collection of all types of arts made here locally by our community’s local talent,” said owner D. Kaledo-Marlatt. “And it’s perfect for a date night,” she added.
“On Valentine’s Day, for example, we had a young man bring in his girlfriend and a meal he had set up before he arrived. They had a romantic dinner in the midst of the arts.”
The artistic showcase arena changes every month so frequent visits to keep up with new and different art is a must. It’s definitely something to do in Texarkana, Kaledo-Marlatt said.
“Sundays we have musicians playing from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Poets get up and recite during breaks. We are where all the arts converge and make Texarkana shine. So we hope you and others will help support local art. Stop. Shop local. It makes for a great date night as we are open until 9 p.m., and it’s also a good, get-to-know-you date. What better way to get to know someone than through the arts?” Kaledo-Marlatt asked. http://www.artisansgallerytexarkana.com/
10. Perot Theatre at Third and Main Street is a member of the Texarkana Regional Arts & Humanities Council. The Perot Theatre has been a landmark in Texarkana since 1924 when it opened as the Saenger Amusement Company’s “Gateway to the West” theatre.
Fully restored by the City of Texarkana, Texas, in 1979-80, the building is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Texarkana native H. Ross Perot, through the Perot Foundation, contributed much of the restoration costs in memory of his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Gabriel Ross Perot.
In recognition of this contribution, the Texarkana, Texas, City Council renamed the building “The Perot Theatre.” The theatre annually hosts the Perot Theatre Series, as well as numerous rentals throughout the year. The Perot Theatre is owned by the City of Texarkana, Texas. The Texarkana Regional Arts & Humanities Council is contracted to program and manage the theatre.
Deb Gilliam, Perot Theatre Audience Services Manager, said just coming to an event at the Perot Theatre shows that you care enough to make a plan because events don’t happen there every day.
“You likely will have to sacrifice a bit of budget because tickets are not inexpensive for most of us, so it’s a special treat, and who doesn’t want to feel like you’re doing something really special when you’re on a date? You can come in your jeans, but you can also dress up and not feel conspicuous, continuing the special treat theme,” she said.
From the moment you arrive, you’ll see the marquee lights and perhaps wave at people you know. There is no doubt the event is going to be much more of an experience than just another trip to the movies, Gilliam said.
“Once in your seats you’ll have no problem finding things to talk about, simply discussing your lush surroundings if nothing else. Then, the lights go down. Now, who doesn’t appreciate the intimacy of a darkened theatre when courting? And, then there’s this – it’s live theatre.
“Whether it’s a play, ballet, symphony, musical, or comedy, live-action performances bring you and your date up close and personal to the performers and their craft, enveloping you in their mystical web that connects you to the ages as they weave their stories through acting, movement, song, dance, laughter and sometimes tears.
“Then rise to your feet as one with the audience to express appreciation for those performers when the show is done. Romance! Magic! Now your trick is to keep the magic coming after the curtain falls,” she said.
Contact the Perot Theatre at903-792-4992.http://www.trahc.org/perot-theatre