By CHERIL VERNON
Davey Dogwood Park is one of Palestine's most prized treasures — a public park featuring more than 200 acres of rolling hills, forests, meadows and flowing streams. Just in time for the opening weekend of the 76th Annual Dogwood Trails Celebration, dogwoods are beginning to bloom!
City of Palestine Marketing Director Breezy Lake-Wolfe and City of Palestine Main Street Manager Laura Westgate were out putting up signs Friday at Davey Dogwood Park in preparation for the flux of visitors.
“Davey Dogwood Park is one of the few nature trails in the area you can drive your car through. The dogwoods look more plentiful than they have in the past couple of years. I am predicting the next couple of weeks are going to be ideal for those who want to take a scenic drive out to Davey Dogwood Park,” Lake-Wolfe told the Herald-Press Friday. “It's also a great place for a picnic and for those who enjoy outdoor and heritage tourism.”
In fact, from noon to 4 p.m. today, the 2nd Annual Dogwood Seedling Planting will be held at the pavilion in Davey Dogwood Park for residents and visitors interested in planting a dogwood tree. Staff will be available with instructions, shovels and seedlings.
The park officially opened in 1941, three years after two friends sharing a casual cup of coffee in 1938 started a conversation that led to a discussion about building a “dogwood trail” due to Palestine's abundance of dogwood trees in the area. Local landowners E.W. And H.R. Link gave the group access to the land so that proper trails could be built — and during World War II, local oilman M.A. Davey purchased the large central piece of land where the trails were routed and gave it to Anderson County specifically for a public park.
Over the years, the Dogwood Trails Celebration has continued to draw thousands of nature lovers and tourists to Palestine to see the dogwood blooms, enjoy nature walks and bicycle through the park.
“There are already cars driving through the park — some with out-of-state (license) plates,” Lake-Wolfe said. “We even saw a group having a picnic on top of Manly Mountain. Spring has arrived!”
There are two entrances to Davey Dogwood Park with the main entrance at 900 N. Link St. A bus entrance is located on Queen Street off North Loop 256. The park is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.
For families interested in having a picnic, there are two picnic areas inside the park. One is called Manley Mountain, which is near the park entrance on North Link Street. The other picnic areas is at the center of the park with a pavilion area.
Touring the park has become a tradition in Palestine during the Dogwood Trails Celebration — which opens with a Dogwood Trails parade and festival today in the downtown Palestine area.
“The 76th Annual Dogwood Trails Celebration is three weekends filled with dogwoods, history and fun. There is definitely something for everyone!” Wolf-Lake said.
For more information about Davey Dogwood Park's history and the Dogwood Trails Celebration, visit www.texasdogwoodtrails.com
A “Visit Palestine TX” mobile app also is available for free download from the Apple App Store and Google Play — a good tool for visitors during the Dogwood Trails Celebration.
Through the mobile app, users can explore restaurants, lodging, shops, attractions, as well as an extensive events section that provides up-to-date happenings throughout the community. The app will continuously be updated with information and special features.