In The Pines With Dana Goolsby Travel ETX

Visit Jefferson & Uncertain, Texas

Visit Jefferson & Uncertain, Texas

A Weekend Worthy Trip to the Upper Northeast Side

By Dana Goolsby

Jefferson-Uncertain Trip

Jefferson to Uncertain, Texas- In the upper northeast side of Texas, where the great state begins to rub elbows with our neighbors in Louisiana, lies an area rich with history, legends, and unmatched natural beauty. From Jefferson to Uncertain and the waters of the mysterious Caddo Lake, adventure awaits you in Marion County!

TIP: Plan to spend an entire weekend for this East Texas getaway. When I travel to the upper northeast side I almost always start my weekend in Jefferson and end it in Uncertain. I like to soak up all there is to do in Jefferson starting on a Friday afternoon until Saturday afternoon. Then I make my way to Uncertain and adventure out onto Caddo Lake. The only problem with this order of travel is that it is always hard to leave Caddo Lake on Sunday!

Jefferson’s History In  A Nutshell

JeffersonJefferson, the county seat of Marion County, is located on the Big Cypress Bayou in the Cypress Valley of Northeast Texas. No one knows exactly when Jefferson was founded, but it appeared on a map for the first time in 1844. Named in honor of the third president of the United States, the town is recognized as the fifth oldest town in Texas. In 1845, obstructions were removed from the Big Cypress Bayou and the city became a booming port of entry to the Republic of Texas and then the State of Texas, as well as a major shipping port for agricultural goods, particularly cotton. During Jefferson’s Golden Era as a steamboat port from 1845 until 1875, the town was similar to most port cities with a cosmopolitan feel with a confluence of cultures and businesses. For more than 30 years Jefferson  was the leading commercial and distribution center in northeast Texas, as well as the state’s chief inland port, second only to Galveston in tonnage. The port served as the primary entry point for settlers, immigrants and supplies from the east. The prosperity of this era is reflected in local architecture, which resembles that of New Orleans, Louisiana.  In 1873, the Army Corps of Engineers removed the log raft and the water levels in Big Cypress Bayou receded significantly, and navigation to Jefferson became impossible reducing the local commercial market dramatically. The closure of the port forever changed the face of Jefferson.

Uncertain’s History In A Nutshell

Uncertain Tx SignUncertain, Texas, once known as Uncertain Landing, is an incorporated community on the shores of Caddo Lake. According to one local legend, the site was called Uncertain Landing due to steamboat captains difficulties mooring their vessels there. Another local legends says the site was named after the uncertainty that residents had regarding their their citizenship being in Texas or Louisiana prior to the establishment of the Republic of Texas. In the early 1900’s the site included a hunting, fishing, and boating society called the Uncertain Club. Uncertain is home to the oldest inland marina in the State of Texas. During the 194’s the community was composed of scattered dwellings, camping lodges, a sawmill, and about 5 local businesses. The community was incorporated as Uncertain in 1961, after a bid to promote tourism by legalizing alcohol sales.

Historic Homes of Jefferson

Photo by Jeff Campbell
Photo by Jeff Campbell

In addition to Its New Orleans-style ironwork structures, Jefferson boasts fine examples of Greek Revival, Intaliante, and Gothic-style homes and farmhouses are located throughout and around Jefferson. Today Jefferson’s restoration and preservation efforts serve as example of a community’s pride in their heritage.



Historic Homes of Uncertain

Uncertain True Blood Cabin EDIT.jpgWhile Uncertain doesn’t boast of historic architecture just across the Big Cypress Bayou from Johnson’s Ranch Marina stands an interesting and famous structure known as Dick and Charlie’s Tea Room. The house was built some time in the early 1900’s. Water taxis and beer boats from Marion and Harrison counties would deliver customers to the house for drinking and dancing. The stilt house is used in the opening scene of the series, “True Blood,” and was also recently featured on an episode of “Treehouse Master’s.”The sign posted on Dick and Charlie’s Team Room says:

House Rules:

  1. There Ain’t None
  2. There Never Was None
  3. There Ain’t Gonna Be None

Historic Downtown Jefferson

JeffersonTXToday Jefferson remains largely unchanged from its 19th-century past. Walk the original brick streets, tour authentic buildings, shop in the antique stores, and eat and drink while you relive Jefferson’s colorful history. Don’t miss the Jefferson General Store! I



Downtown Uncertain

Johnson's Ranch.jpgDowntown Uncertain is composed of a flea market, an art gallery, marinas, and places to stay. Perhaps the hub of Uncertain lies at Johnson’s Ranch Marina, the oldest inland marina in Texas, established in 1908. Today Johnson’s is a full service marina, supplying sportsmen with boat fuel, live bait, artificial lures, food, beer, and souvenirs.

Dining In Jefferson

Corkyard JeffersonFrom BBQ to cornbread sandwiches, and from wine to craft beer, Jefferson has something for everyone.




Dining In Uncertain

Big Pines Lodge.jpgUncertain offers several choices for dining as well as watering holes. Have seafood and southern home-style meals on the banks of Caddo Lake.

Art & Culture In Jefferson

Jefferson-Playhouse1_LOGO.jpgJefferson offers live entertainment, performing arts and art galleries. With two local theatre troups Jefferson always has a play in the works. The city is also renowned for it’s annual performance of the Diamond Bessie Murder Trial. There is also an annual quilt show which is quickly becoming one of Texas’s largest.

Art & Culture In Uncertain

Caddo PaintingEven Uncertain has an art gallery! And why wouldn’t it? Mossy Brakes Art Gallery is inspired by the natural wildlife and beauty of the region. Uncertain offers numerous photo and painting opportunities. Mossy Brake Art Gallery is located next the Flea Market.




Attractions In Jefferson

Jefferson RailwayShop until you drop at one of the many antique stores in Jefferson. Visit one of the local museums like the Scarlett O’Hardy Gone with the Wind Museum or the Jefferson Historical Museum. Walk the grounds of the Historic Oak Wood Cemetery. Take a haunted walking tour or a ride in a horse drawn carriage. You can also catch a tour of the river basin on a Turning Basin River Tour or take a stroll along the river on the Jefferson River Walk, or take a train ride while in Jefferson at the Jefferson Historic Railway.

Attractions In Uncertain

Photo by Jeff Campbell
Photo by Jeff Campbell

Despite its small size, Uncertain offers big attractions for adventure seekers and outdoors lovers. Caddo Lake itself is a huge attraction. It is the only natural lake in Texas and home of the world’s largest cypress wood forest. Take a Go-Devil Tour of Caddo Lake from Johnson’s Ranch Marina or hop on the Graceful Ghost paddle-wheel steam boat. Rent a boat with a motor and do some fishing or take it slower with a canoe or kayak. Shop at the Uncertain Flea Market and discover second-hand treasures. Uncertain is also believed to be home to the legendary Bigfoot. Every year people flock to the area to try to catch a glimpse of sasquatch.

Recreation In Jefferson

Photo by Jeff Campbell
Photo by Jeff Campbell

Jefferson offers fishing, hiking, and boat rides. Camping is also available in Jefferson as well as motocross. Jefferson is located between Lake O’ the Pines and Caddo Lake making outdoor adventure and recreation readily available.




Recreation In Uncertain

Caddo Lake SPUncertain offers boat, canoe and kayak rentals at multiple locations. Caddo Lake State Park is less than 5 minutes from Uncertain. There tourists can rent fishing gear and supplies if they do not have their own. Guests can hike the trails of the state park, swim, camp, and much more. Birding is also highly enjoyable in the Uncertain area and Caddo Lake.

Events In Jefferson

Vendor_JeffersonThere is almost always something going on in Jefferson. Girlfriend Weekend draws a huge crowd each year, as well as the Annual Historic Pilgrimmage and Civil War re-enactment. Jefferson’s Civil War re-enactment is the largest in the state. Other annual events include a performing arts festival, Mardi Gras Up River, Diamond Don’s Motocross, themed train rides, historic home tours, walking tours and ghost tours. This year a Paddlefish Festival has been added. Jefferson is also a place of interest for crypti hunters and seekers. Check their event schedule to find out what is happening next!

Events In Uncertain

TurtleUncertain offers several annual events and parades on the water and on land. The Annual Steamboat Regatta, Fourth of July Parade, and Floating Christmas Parade are always a hit with locals as well as tourists. Uncertain also offers a July 4th and New Years Firework show. The Annual Turtle Pilgrimage is also a natural event of interest. Each year, hundreds of female red-ear slider turtles come ashoe to lay their eggs. The city posts “Turtle Crossing” signs along the roadways to alert motorists.

Accomodations In Jefferson

Pride House.jpgFind a place to stay isn’t hard in the Bed & Breakfast Capital of Texas. Take your pick from several B&B’s or stay in a historic hotel. And if you prefer a hotel there are several options available as well.

Accomodations In Uncertain

Hodge Podge Cottages.jpgUncertain has no shortage of places to rest your head after a long day of adventures. Cabins, cottages, boat houses, houses and inns are all available in Uncertain. Don’t wait until the last minute to book a room. Visitors flock to Uncertain during the spring and winter months.


MYETX Jefferson Favorites

JeffersonTXJefferson General Store




Corkyard JeffersonThe Cork Yard



Playhouse Murder Trial SetDiamond Bessie Murder Trail at the Jefferson Playhouse




Cornbread sandwichKit’s Kornbread Sandwich and Pie Bar



Battle-of-Port-Jefferson.jpgBattle of Port Jefferson



MYETX Uncertain Favorites

Caddo Lake SPCaddo Lake State Park



Johnson's Ranch.jpgJohnson’s Ranch Marina



Graceful GhostGraceful Ghost



Big Pines Lodge.jpgBig Pines Lodge



Caddo Lake 2013.jpgBilly Carter’s Go-Devil Tours




Jefferson, Texas is located approximately 166 miles east Dallas and approximately 234 miles northeast Houston.

Uncertain, Texas is located approximately186 miles east of Dallas and approximately 239 miles northeast of Houston.

For more information about Jefferson, Texas visit

For more information about Uncertain, Texas visit .


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