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Miranda Lambert’s Parents Really, Really Want You to Visit Their Hometown


Texas Monthly’s Small-town Travel series explores the culture and history of destinations off the beaten path, offering advice on where to stay, eat, and sightsee.

Driving east on Interstate 20 through the towering hardwood trees of the Piney Woods toward Tyler, you might zoom right by the exit that leads you to Lindale, population six thousand—if it weren’t for a giant billboard boasting its claim to fame as the hometown of country music icon Miranda Lambert. That same larger-than-life advertisement also highlights the charming burg as a Texas Music Friendly Community. It’s an official designation by the Texas Music Office and one that Lindale was only the fifth in the state to earn, after Austin, Denton, Fort Worth, and San Antonio. Even though Lindale is a fraction of the size of those other cities, the live music scene alone (especially on weekends) makes Lindale worth a visit.

Though music is an important part of Lindale’s current cultural fabric, the town got its start in 1871 as an agricultural hub. It was then that Elijah Lindsey (the “Lin” in Lindale who would become mayor a year later) opened the area’s first general store in anticipation of growth triggered by the new railroad, which was set to transport his brother-in-law Richard B. Hubbard’s crops to market. A few years later, fruit orchards and the canning industry became integral parts of the city’s boom, earning it a designation as the Fruit and Berry Center of Texas. the town’s past and present collide in an old-meets-new central entertainment hub, the Cannery, where restaurants, retailers, and music venues have taken over buildings that were once essential to the town’s canning operations.

Yet no amount of fresh blackberries,  jams and jellies, or blackberry-infused olive oil—sold in stores throughout the community—could ever compete with Lindale’s most famous commodity: Miranda Lambert. Raised in town by her parents Rick and Bev, the multi-award-winning country music sensation visits her mom and dad as often as she can, driving along Miranda Lambert Way en route to their home. Even when she’s not back on her home turf, her presence can be felt all over Lindale by way of her signature color: hot pink. In years past, the town has celebrated everything from Pinktoberfest to Pink Friday (the day after Thanksgiving) as a way of embracing their hometown superstar.

“Some visitors may be surprised that our small town is the home place of an internationally recognized entertainer,” says Bev, who still lives in town. “But then again, they all have to be from somewhere, right? Why not Lindale, Texas?”

Rick adds that visitors fly in from other continents or make epic road trips from all over North America, primarily to shop at the Pink Pistol, their daughter’s wildly popular boutique.“We’ve had people drive down here from Alaska to come here and shop,” he says with a laugh.

The majority of tourists are die-hard Miranda Lambert lovers, but her name recognition is enough to lure in the casually curious too. Whether you’re a “Ran Fan” or not, there’s enough to keep anyone entertained for an entire weekend, a deserving reward for traveling off the beaten path to Lindale.

See & Do

Set your GPS for the Visit Lindale Visitor’s Center (located, appropriately enough, on Miranda Lambert Way). The staff can give you the lay of the land, alert you to the happenings of the day, and point you in the direction of your own interests, be they live music events, outdoor adventures, or places to eat, drink, and shop. Steps away, Darden Harvest Park features a splash pad and playground, walking trails, a leash-free dog park, and a disc golf course to start the day in the fresh air. Four miles north, the 170-acre Faulkner Park offers soccer and baseball fields, basketball and volleyball courts, lighted tennis courts, and a paved walking path around a 15-acre lake where you can sit a spell and maybe catch some fish.

History buffs and antiquarians will appreciate the free Old Mill Pond Museum and Parrott Park, which give visitors the opportunity to explore fourteen buildings on a twenty-acre site. Founder Bill Parrott was an avid collector of historical artifacts that exemplify Texan and American life from the mid-nineteeth to the mid-twentieth century and it was his wish to share these many treasures with current and future generations. On Fridays and Saturdays, you can relax and watch turtles play in the pond, marvel at a collection of historic tractors and automobiles, shop in the general store, or spend time enjoying the model train exhibit and other vignettes throughout the main building. There’s even a small chapel that can be rented for only $150.

The epicenter of Lindale’s live music scene, Texas Music City Grill & Smokehouse at the Cannery, features bands on its stage from midweek through the weekend, as well as karaoke and open-mic nights where the town’s next big star may soon be discovered. Picker’s Pavilion at Blackberry Square also hosts concerts and other events throughout the year, including Countryfest (October 8), Piney Woods Wine Festival (October 14–15 and again in spring), and Vintage Market Days of East Texas (November 11–13 and also in spring). 

The Pink Pistol.
The Pink Pistol. Photograph by Steven Lindsey

Shop

Some travelers journey far and wide to see ancient wonders or historic landmarks, while others may venture hundreds of miles to pose with a life-size Miranda Lambert cutout; buy a T-shirt, signed guitar, or pair of pink sunglasses; and sip on a Pink Pistol, an appropriately sweet-and-sparkly refresher made with soda water, vanilla and cherry syrups, and a cherry on top. The Pink Pistol, a four-thousand-square-foot-temple devoted to the Miranda Lambert brand, is one of Lindale’s biggest tourist attractions. It’s impossible to miss from the outside thanks to a giant neon sign featuring Lambert’s signature pistol with angel wings, a design based on her first tattoo. Inside, shoppers are surrounded by glittery pink walls and decorative signs with folksy sayings at nearly every turn. Sensory overload may kick in somewhere between the old-fashioned soda fountain at the entrance and endless displays of items bearing the winged-pistol logo. There’s also plenty of space dedicated to her Idyllwind line of clothing and boots.

 Once you’ve gotten your Miranda fix, go on a search for vintage goods at Main Street Market; browse Victory Gun & Guitarworks for, you guessed it, firearms and musical instruments; grab a fresh bouquet of flowers and unique gifts from the Lindale Floral Shop (celebrating 75 years in business this year); find hunting and casual apparel from Back Down South Clothing; and procure unusual home furnishings at Bohemian Manor.

Wines from Red 55 Winery. Wines from Red 55 Winery.
Wines from Red 55 Winery. Photograph by Steven Lindsey

Eat & Drink

For a town of its size, Lindale has a bumper crop of noteworthy restaurants and bars. The vast Lone Star–centric menu at Texas Music City Grill & Smokehouse has something to please everyone and the multiroom venue can accommodate plenty of hungry patrons with Texas Twinkies, a destination-worthy chicken-fried steak that’s big enough to share (but amazing enough to hoard), and smoked venison meat loaf, among other local favorites.

Other eateries include Brisket Love Barbecue & Icehouse (also home to live music), Leo’s Asian Bistro; Petty’s Steak & Catfish, Roots Coffee Company; Cinco de Mayo Mexican Restaurant, and JoJo’s Rock Hard Ice Cream with 32 flavors of sweet bliss.

For dessert, head to Lindale Candy Co. an old-school sweets shop that first opened in 1946. Jeremiah and Kaitlin Cagle recently took over operations and have expanded the company’s offerings to go far beyond its legendary hand-pulled peppermint and other candies. The shop sells a delightful array of peppermint treats, most famously the beloved Barbie dolls with red-and-white mint swirled into an elaborate gown. More recently, the shop has begun offering truffles and other indulgent white, milk, and dark chocolate treats. Follow its Facebook and Instagram pages for the weekly candymaking schedule, then show up to watch the process from the new viewing windows outside the candy kitchen.

For decidedly more adult fun in Lindale, make sure to visit Red 55 Winery and its Hemingway Tasting Room, as well as the new Ponderosa Pour House—both accessible from inside the Pink Pistol. Oenophiles and bachelorettes,  plan to spend a day sipping your way through the Piney Woods Wine Trail with more than twenty wineries in the area.

Stay

Set up a home base in Lindale, so you can spend a solid 48 hours soaking up the Southern hospitality and boot-scooting your way through several sets of live music. The Spring Hill Suites by Marriott opened late this summer in the Cannery district and still has that new hotel smell. The property boasts the town’s official Miranda Lambert Suite, a two-room, two-bathroom setup decked out in roses and shades of pink, along with photos and memorabilia featuring the entertainer herself.  Several other chain hotels and motels have a presence in town too, including some dog-friendly properties for those traveling with furry companions.

Anyone seeking a taste of the great outdoors through their accommodations should consider the Upward Tree House, a multistory vacation rental in the woods with several patios and decks, as well as an outdoor shower. A few minutes away in Tyler, even more rustic accommodations await with cabins, tent sites, and RV connections at both Jellystone Park and Tyler State Park



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