Want to get away from the big city, technology, and stuffy personalities? Canton, off of I-20 in east Texas is where thousands of people escape each month for what they call First Monday Trade Days. But don’t let the name confuse you – the market is actually open the Thursday through Sunday prior to the first Monday of the month. The market is held every month, rain or shine.

When you go, don’t expect to be able to cover it all in one weekend, much less in one day. After all, vendors are spread out for miles. First, get your hands on one of the paper maps, then scout out the parking lots – most will cost you about $5 a day – and then develop a plan for your shopping spree.

The First Monday weekend from November 30 through December 3 is the biggest of the year. That’s no surprise since it’s right before Christmas, when folks are in the mood to buy gifts.

To get the full Canton experience, you’ll want to stay “on the mountain” as the locals say. Cedar Flats Inn is one of your mountain stay options. It’s a shabby chic bed and breakfast made up of 22 colorful wooden buildings. It’s rustic, so expect no frills – and no cable or Wi-Fi. But it does come with the kind of friendly atmosphere only Texans can offer. A full breakfast buffet is included with your night’s stay. They’re known for their chocolate gravy.

For entertainment outside of the market, head to Cline’s Corner. It hosts live music the Friday and Saturday evenings of market weekends. Right across from Cline’s Corner, get some old-timey photos taken at A Mustard Seed studio. It’s one of those places where you can dress up in clothing from the Old West. So grab a feather boa and a toy shotgun and say cheese.

Down the road, you’ll find shops like Junk & Disorderly, God’s Little Coffee Shop, Tutu’s Too and a 365- days a year Christmas store.

Food, and more late night live music can be found at the top of the mountain. Boot Hill offers the basics, like hamburgers, chicken salad and banana pudding in a Mason jar. It’s BYOB and has a porch perfect for dancing.

Canton is a small community, where residents two-step with one another, laugh with one another and count on one another. That’s what they did when they rebuilt from a major fire two years ago. It’s an east Texas town worth escaping to.

You can learn more about these and other Texas destinations in the travel issue of Texas Lifestyle magazine.

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