Every year, the cities of Tyler and Longview, Texas, host a sweet and fragrant event known to the locals at the Azalea Trail.
This year marked a 49-year tradition in these cities as the locals took the time out to enjoy the walk through the Texas outdoors during the last two weeks of March. There are no bells and whistles attached to this event.
There isn’t a hootenanny following your walk, it’s just a brisk walk in the communes of nature and many of the locals would argue that it is enough for them. With a rich history that began with one man, the Azalea Trail draws visitors from all over the place to see these beautiful blooms of the spring flowers.
Belles and History
Each year, several young women from throughout the community are chosen to be the Azalea Belles. They make their first appearance, after being chosen from local schools and homes, at the ribbon-cutting ceremony on an opening day for the trails.
Each young woman can be seen on that morning dressed in full antebellum gowns as representatives of the kickoff of the festivities. Back in the ’30s, the area of Tyler was given the advancement in wealth from other cities as a result of the oil boom.
However, it is said that the floral additions to the city provide the beautiful backdrop featured today. In 1929, one of the first nursery owners in the city decided to see if a test garden of azaleas would work for Tyler. He had the flowers shipped in from Georgia and he planted them quickly.
As the flowers began to bloom, many noticed their beauty and followed suit, thus contributing to the gorgeous array of flowers in this area today.
The Trails of the Azalea Trail
Over the course of three weekends, over 100,000 people will flock to the area to witness nature’s majesty in the display of gorgeous spring flora. The expanse of the trail is about eight miles of easy walking, but make sure you’re wearing comfortable shoes as the distance can be troublesome for some people.
Originally, they started with only one trail, called the Lindsey trail, so named for the street on which it begins. Over the years, they have added a second trail to accommodate all of the home willing to display their flowers, this one called Dobbs.
Throughout the years, these trails have changed dramatically and many say will continue to do so as the homeowners make different floral choices or as others homes are added into the mix.
For a lovely experience in the Tyler or Longview area, the Azalea Trail is a can’t miss weekend excursion.