Courtesy Tyler CVB
Up until the early 1970s – about the same time as Lynn Anderson sang, “I Never Promised You a Rose Garden” – about half of all rose bushes grown in the country came from within a 50-mile radius of Tyler, according Craig Reiland, rose garden curator. Now, due to economics, only a handful of the 200 to 300 growers remain in the area, but more than 60 percent of America’s rose bushes are still processed in Tyler.
The city’s premier event, the Texas Rose Festival, or Rose Season as it is now called, is held each October. Hotels and meeting rooms are generally devoted to the event.
A natural delight
While any visitor to Tyler needs to stop and smell the roses, the east Texas town offers other natural delights. Located in the region called the Piney Woods, Tyler brands itself as “a natural beauty.”
“People like to meet here because they like to get outside, especially in the spring and fall,” said Shari Rickman of the Tyler CVB. “They love to fish and hunt and golf.”
Eighteen public and private golf courses in the vicinity make golf “a big deal here,” said Kim Morris, also with the CVB.
Four trails within the city limits bring people outdoors; nearby Tyler State Park and its 985 acres open opportunities to fish, swim and boat on a spring-fed lake or hike and bike a short nature trail or a 13-mile mountain bike path.
Then there is the Caldwell Zoo, opened in 1953 and frequently used for family events, spouse outings or evening barbecues.
“It is one of the top small zoos in the country,” Rickman said.