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Enhanced Editorial

Grapevine Grows a Fine Vintage
Picking a getaway is like picking a favorite wine, and this North Texas city is a fine complement to any travel plans.

If there were a sommelier doling advice on the best North Texas getaway, the city of Grapevine would be on the lips of everyone. Indeed, Grapevine, ensconced amid Dallas-Fort Worth, adds a special flavor to the Metroplex—a flavor that lingers like a sweet memory.

Texas is the 5th largest wine-producing stateFounded in 1844, Grapevine is one of the oldest settlements in northern Texas. Its roots lie in a meeting Gen. Sam Houston had with area American Indians, which opened up the region to settlers. This significant moment foretold the reverence with which Grapevine regards its history. Indeed, the renovated downtown—listed in the National Register of Historic Places—and a bustling vintage railroad are a reminder that the past is worth revisiting.

In addition, Grapevine’s name is a window into the delights a stopover portended. Wild mustang grapes grew nearby when Houston met with the Indians, and what was once wild is now nurtured in the form of award-winning wineries. Strolling among the vines and sampling the wines are but one of many outdoor distractions to be found in Grapevine, as golf courses and an 8,000-acre lake also beckon.

Yearning for Yesteryear

Walking Grapevine’s historic downtown is the perfect way to get closer to the town’s early years. In the Historic Cotton Belt Railroad District there is a restored Cotton Belt Train Depot from 1888, which serves as the Grapevine Visitors Information Center and is home to the Grapevine Historical Museum. The working depot is also the base for the Grapevine Vintage Railroad, a popular excursion train. The railroad is serviced by two historical locomotives—Puffy, an 1896 steam locomotive that is the oldest continuously operating steam engine in the South, and a 1953 diesel locomotive. Travel aboard the train is on authentic 1920s and ’30s coaches along the Cotton Belt Route en route to Fort Worth’s Stockyards National Historic District.

That this district, which comes alive through artisans demonstrating their skills at a variety of crafts from glass blowing to bronze art to blacksmithing, still exists is testament to the commitment Grapevine has to its beginnings.

shopsTwo examples are the fully restored Palace and Lancaster theaters. The Palace Theatre, built in 1940, houses the Grapevine Opry—one of the premier country music reviews this side of Nashville. Bankruptcy threatened to close the Palace in 1991, but the Grapevine Heritage Foundation acquired the Art Modern building, situated prominently on Main Street, and saved it from ultimate demolition. Now, it and Lancaster Theatre, the former Buckner Cash Grocery Store, anchor downtown Grapevine’s bustling entertainment scene, which includes live music on evenings and weekends. Another preservation success story is the 1997 purchase of the 5.2-acre Thomas Jefferson Nash Farmstead, the last and most intact element of Grapevine’s 160-year agricultural heritage. The purchase saved the farmstead—the oldest in the county—from destruction.   

To the Lone Star State

Preserving its past isn’t the only thing that makes Grapevine stand out. The city also excels at taking advantage of its favorable grape-growing climate. In fact, under Grapevine’s leadership, Texas has become the fifth-largest wine-producing state in the United States. Home to the Texas Wine and Grape Growers Association, Grapevine invites everyone to its tasting rooms with seasonal wine trails throughout the year.

In July there is the Reds, Whites & You Trail, on which three varieties of wines from each winery, along with food, can be enjoyed. October brings the Hallo-Wine Trail, which includes eight winery visits and a murder mystery. Clues to solving the mystery can be found at each winery. (Costumes are encouraged.) The New Vintage Wine Trail is open in April and offers a memorable journey to experience firsthand the many unique winery tasting rooms of Grapevine. Complimentary shuttle service is available to all of Grapevine’s winery tasting rooms. With February comes the Valentine Wine Trail—it’s the ideal place for wine enthusiasts and romantics to celebrate the holiday of love.

In addition to the trails, Grapevine stages two annual wine events: the Annual Blessing of the Vines & New Vintage Wine & Gallery Trail and GrapeFest. Every April, the New Vintage Wine and Gallery Trail highlights the new vintage release from Grapevine’s wineries. And in May, summer kicks off with GrapeFest, the largest wine festival in the Southwest. Rated one of the Top 100 Events in North America by the American Bus Association, GrapeFest—a celebration of Texas wines—features an incredible array of entertainment, including the traditional Vintner’s Auction and the Texas Wine Tribute Gala—a black-tie formal affair for gourmet food lovers and wine enthusiasts. GrapeFest attendees also can vote for their favorite Texas wines at the People’s Choice Wine Tasting Classic.

Go Outside and Play

Moving from the vineyards to other outdoor fun, such as the links or the water, is an easy task in Grapevine. For sure, with its year-round mild climate, the city makes short-sleeve recreation a natural choice.

train depotWithin 10 to 15 minutes of every hotel in the city, there are 81 holes waiting to be played. For starters, there’s Grapevine Golf Course, a 27-hole course that offers golfing challenges for all levels of players. The original 18-holes were designed by Joe Finger and Byron Nelson, and the newest nine holes were crafted by D.A. Weibring. Cowboys Golf Club is a NFL-themed championship golf course designed by award-winning architect Jeff Brauer. Bear Creek Golf Club sits on 335 scenic acres near the Dallas/Fort Worth International airport. The facility designed by Ted Robinson features two 18-hole championship layouts, both combining the rolling north Texas terrain, stands of mature live oak trees and meandering Brea Creek.

Cooling off after a hot round is easy on Lake Grapevine, where all summer long SummerBlast entertains with a mother lode of fun, including a 12-minute 787-shell fireworks show that makes the waves resemble a colorful stained-glass canvass. The popular recreational lake is just a mile from downtown, and it is a center for boating, water-skiing and wind surfing. Lake Grapevine is also the perfect place for boating, fishing, camping and picnic facilities. With 146 miles of rolling shoreline and more than nine miles of wilderness trails, Lake Grapevine is one of the finest hike/bike destinations in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.

Just like its namesake city is one of the finest destinations in North Texas. To learn more about Grapevine, contact the Grapevine Convention & Visitors Bureau at (800) 457-6338 or go to www.GrapevineTexasUSA.com. For travel-planning assistance, visit AAA.com/travel.

May/Jun 2010 Issue

This Enhanced Editorial was paid for by a promotional fee from an advertiser.

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