Grapevine, Texas, A Hidden Jewel

Our guest post comes from Bonnie & Bill Neely of: Real Travel Adventures Ezine – Your free online monthly travel magazine with hundreds of features and photos on travel to anywhere.

photos by G.R. Fasken

With a long overnight delay in the Dallas/Fort Worth Airport we discovered Grapevine, Texas, the terrific hidden jewel of a small town nearby.

Grapevine Shuttle runs from the Grand Met Hyatt Hotel at Terminal D, and many moderate priced hotels in Grapevine have their own free shuttle service to and from the airport with car parking included while you fly. We selected Tolbert’s Restaurant for terrific food with a Texas atmosphere. It is owned and operated by the daughter of Frank Tolbert, a long-time famous Texas journalist. Their specialty is A Bowl of Red (chili).

For city folks who have few opportunities to visit a farm, spend a couple of hours at the historic Nash Farm, where you will find one of the early pioneer homes beautifully restored and the old barn recreated and housing antique farm machinery. There are a few farm animals and examples of crops.

Another farm homestead from the 1800’s is a popular venue for weddings, corporate events, parties, meetings and family reunions. Formerly the Doris-Briggs house of L-construction in pioneer days, the house now is the center for the wine tastings for the Cross Timbers Winery. You can enjoy wine by the glass and sample many varieties with cheese and cracker. You’ll want to purchase here bottles of award-winning Texas wines from Don Bigsbee’s vineyards in West Texas.

Grapevine Mills Mall, one of the largest malls in the state, is where you’ll find almost any national store or brand factory outlet. You’ll love spending several hours at the newest attractions here: Sea Life Aquarium with over 5,000 beautiful marine animals of over a thousand different species. Glass walkways take you beside, on top of, or beneath the water, and in some you even feel as if you are in the tank. Go Behind the Scenes for the full educational experience.

For lunch or dinner be sure to have a fabulous meal at the Love and War in Texas Restaurant near the Mall. The food is fabulous; I recommend the crab cakes and portabella mushroom combo, delicious!

From January till November the Historic Vintage Railroad train will take you from Grapevine to the Fort Worth Stockyards (about 45 minutes) for several hours of exploring a favorite Texas historic landmark in a street of authentic cowboy fame and fun. You’ll see a real cattle drive, discover western shops, eat Texas fare, and return in the luxury of the comfortable first class train experience.

On return to Grapevine you can enjoy a nightcap at another winery on Main Street: Cork It! which offers over 100 selections of Texas wines. Or go to the convenient and modern hipster Sky Bar at the nearby Vineyard Steak House. In the daytime return here to honor the memory of the airline crew and personnel who lost their lives helping comfort others during the horrific 9/11/2001 bombing of the Twin Towers in New York City. The local funds for this very appropriate 9/11 Memorial were raised by people in Grapevine, and this memorial is especially touching if you read the explanatory plaques there.

The Glass Cactus Bar, near the Gaylord Texan Hotel, features live music Wednesday through Saturdays and many special event concerts throughout the year. There is never a cover charge for Gaylord guests, nor for anyone before 8 p.m. All the restaurants in the Gaylord are excellent. And even if you are not a paying guest you can spend hours in the gloriously decorated hotel central area, where a million lights twinkle at night during Christmas. But any time of year this huge foyer is beautifully decorated and you can walk through a recreation of some of Texas’ most famous landmarks.

For a moderately priced overnight or business stay, we chose the lovely Residence Inn DFW North/Grapevine in walking distance to many of these places. We enjoyed the large suites with stove and refrigerator, microwave and coffee maker and full hot breakfasts included, and even light evening meals on Sunday and Thursday nights. A convenient Conference Center makes this the perfect place for your business meetings in the metroplex, and you can relax or workout at the fitness center or outdoor pool.

Just across the street is the huge and always fun Bass Pro Shop for all your outdoor needs, Bass Pro is an experience in itself with indoor waterfall, river, fish tank, preserved wild animal trophies, restaurants, bar, shooting range,and more to enjoy while shopping. Grapevine will be our stop every time we go to DFW now.