The opportunities are endless when it comes to connecting with Tyler's rosy heritage.
Tyler’s residents, known to some as “Keepers of the Rose,â€ are profoundly proud of their heritage and legacy built on and around the flower. How Tyler earned this moniker is a story in and of itself. Peach farmers in the area were forced to rethink their livelihood after a disease wiped the crop out. Some innovative producers thought the soil might be good for growing roses, so they tried it, and the rest is history, as they say.
Here are 7 ways to take in Tyler’s rich rose-centric heritage:
1. Tyler Rose Garden
This is no ordinary garden but one of epic proportions. Recognized as a “national treasureâ€ on the National Register of Historic Places, this is the largest rose garden in the country. Its 14 acres contain 35,000 rose bushes and more than 500 varieties of roses. While there, be sure to stop by the Tyler Botanical Garden, which comprises four demonstration gardens. The Rose Garden is open from dawn until dark, seven days a week, and admission is free. Roses are in peak season in October and mid-to-late May, but together with the Tyler Botanical Garden, the Tyler Rose Garden is beautiful year-round.
2. Food & Drink
Roses have inspired some menus around Tyler, too. Stop by True Vine Brewing Company and sip on a Rose City IPA, which is described as floral, hoppy and citrusy. Or maybe you want something to perk you up? The Foundry Coffee House in downtown Tyler and CafÃ© 1948 serve up rose-flavored drinks. The latter has earned a reputation for its signature matcha rose latte, a heavenly concoction made with Japanese matcha and sweetened with rose and lavender. And, of course, the appropriate way to end an evening here is with a glass of Kiepersol’s rosÃ©.
3. Tyler Rose Festival
For almost 90 years, the three-day annual Texas Rose Festival has united people from all walks of life each October. The coronation of the Rose Queen at UT Tyler’s Cowan Center is all about pomp and circumstance – and, of course, roses. The parade, which starts on Glenwood Boulevard and ends at the Rose Stadium, occurs the next day, and guests can take in all the sights and sounds that come with the extravaganza. The Queen’s Tea, in the Tyler Rose Garden on the same day, is a time in which people can meet and take photos with members of the Rose Queen’s Court. Last, the Rose Festival Arts and Crafts Fair at Bergfeld Park concludes the festival on the final day and features more than 75 vendors.
4. Tyler Rose Museum
Tyler exudes community pride, and the Rose Museum is just one example of how it shares its story with the world. Open year-round, the Tyler Rose Museum documents the city’s rich, rosy heritage and all the glamour of the annual Texas Rose Festival. Be sure to check out the museum’s memorabilia that includes spectacular, sparkling gowns and other items acquired since the first festival in 1933. It’s history meets fashion at its finest!
5. Ride the Four Pedals of the Rose
Take in Tyler’s scenery from a different vantage point. The Tyler Parks & Recreation Department and Tyler Bicycle Club have teamed up for the “Ride the Four Pedalsâ€ initiative. Ride, run or walk all four of the designated trails, and Tyler’s Parks & Recreation Office will send you an “I Rode the Four Pedals of the Roseâ€ decal for your car. The four designated trails are located at Lindsey Park, Faulkner Park, Tyler State Park and the University of Texas at Tyler.
6. Rose Souvenirs
Don’t leave Rose City empty handed! Moon Rivers Naturals carries several products infused with organic rose petals. Don’t miss 903 Handmade’s rose soaps perfect for a luxurious bath. The Tyler Visitor Center, located right in downtown Tyler, has a gift shop that carries many rose goodies, including the popular rose scented candles from Tyler Candle Co. And, of course, the gift shop at the Tyler Rose Garden Center has a great variety of rose-scented fragrances and candles, along with books, coffee mugs and more.
Each city’s charm is reflected in its street art, and so it stands to reason that roses have extended their petals and blooms into that aspect of life here. “The Eyes of Tyler,â€ an 11-by-50-foot mural located on South Broadway Avenue at Elm Street features two large eyes flanked by roses.
Head over to Broadway Avenue to see a historic rose on what used to be the Tyler Theater, once renowned for its art deco architecture. Last, make a point to visit Hillside Park, which is home to several community-generated murals, many of which incorporate the beloved flower.
Come with an open mind, and you’ll find there are plenty of ways to appreciate Tyler’s local flavor – in full bloom.
If you’d like to learn more about the Tyler area, check out the latest issue of Livability: Tyler, TX.