You’ll think you are in Cajun country when you first drive up the main street of the small community of Nederland—the local market usually is advertising fresh boudin (sausage). Confusion may set in when you see Dutch names on some stores and a windmill at the end of the street. Established as a railroad town in 1897, Nederland first was settled by Dutch immigrants, who were soon followed by French settlers from the Acadiana area of southwestern Louisiana, and both ethnic groups make Nederland what it is today. Settled as Aurora about 1840, the town became Port Arthur in 1898 as the terminus of the Kansas City–Pittsburgh and Gulf Railroad, and the ensuing oil strike in nearby Beaumont ushered in Port Arthur’s golden age of growth.
At present the city is primarily a large industrial and refining center with a growing number of things of interest to visitors; you can survey the scene on weekdays from an observation balcony on the fifth floor of City Hall. This eTrail from the DayTrips series describes many fascinating, exciting, (and many free of charge) things to do, most within a two-hour drive of Houston. Each Day Trip includes destination highlights, places to visit along the way, choice restaurants and lodging, and shopping.
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