One of the most common challenges that travellers try to avoid is the dreaded long layover. Not enough time to overnight and have the opportunity to see a city, but too many hours spent sitting in an airport killing precious time that could be spent in destination.
Once in a while you come across a place that you hope you actually get, or even plan, a long layover just to experience it. Grapevine, Texas is that place. Never heard of it? If you’ve ever been to Dallas Fort Worth Airport, you’ve been to Grapevine. Well, at least part of it. Eighty percent of the airport sits in Grapevine which means that within minutes of landing in Dallas, you can travel back in time and find a truly authentic Texas experience within this hidden gem.
Historic Downtown Grapevine features local art galleries, eclectic shops, restaurants from classic barbecue to fine dining, and several wine tasting rooms. They are true to their Texan roots right down to the building facades which must be kept historically accurate by city ordinance.
The Grapevine Vintage Railroad, led by ‘Puffy’ the 1896 steam locomotive takes you to the Historic Stockyards in Fort Worth where you can pick up a new pair of cowboy boots or watch the daily Texas Longhorn Cattle Drive down the middle of the street.
In true Western hospitality style, they also know how to throw a party. Each May, Grapevine closes down Main Street for “Main Street Fest”, a craft brew experience, and every September they do the same for “Grapefest”, the largest wine festival in the Southwest. Both feature plenty of family friendly activities along with live music and a wide selection of food to satisfy any palate.
They also throw the most popular party of the year which has earned Grapevine the title of ‘Christmas capital of Texas’ and as you would come to expect, they do Santa proud. The Vintage Railroad is converted into the North Pole Express, you can discover Snowland at Great Wolf Lodge, a Victorian Christmas at Nash farm, live concerts at the Palace theatre and enough holiday lights and decorations to turn on the Christmas spirit amongst even the most discerning Grinch.
With a population just under 50,000, each year Grapevine welcomes more than 12 million visitors. Despite this massive influx somehow they’ve managed to maintain a genuine warmth and charm that is rare to experience in a place that relies on tourism so heavily. The next time you are flying into, or via, Dallas Fort Worth airport, don’t miss your opportunity to experience Texas at its finest.