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Between Two Cities – Explore Historic Grapevine, Texas

The small town of Grapevine, Texas is located on a beautiful lake by the same name, right between Dallas and Fort Worth.  It is the home of the DFW International Airport – the world’s fourth largest airport.  DFW has nonstop service from more than 200 cities, including over 50 international destinations, making Grapevine a great meeting place for all manner of travelers.

Main Street is central to historic downtown and features a public library, recreation center, antique stores, restaurants, bars, theaters, a park, and many specialty shops.  You can also bottle your own wine, explore Historic Nash Farm, and stroll through the Botanical Gardens.  Of course, Lake Grapevine is a gem to behold with a lot of activities, entertainment, and accommodation options located at its shores.  Truly, Grapevine has a lil’ something for everyone!

Historic District© Lindsay Tuggle

The Continuing Impact of the Railroad

The Main Street Historic District includes over fifty historic buildings which contributed to the town’s development. Founded in 1844, Grapevine is the oldest community in Tarrant County.  In 1888, when the Cotton Belt Railroad finally came to Grapevine, businesses flourished.  The wooden buildings on Main Street were quickly replaced with new structures constructed of locally-made brick. At least eighty percent of the commercial buildings in the historic district date from that affluent period.

vintage railroad© Matt Harvey

The Vintage Railroad follows a scenic route to the Fort Worth Stockyards along the Cotton Belt Railroad right-of-way.  The service is a great tourist attraction due to its slow speeds and is a must for any parents with young children. The Grapevine Rail also hosts one of the community’s seven winery tasting rooms.

Grapevine Train© The Commoner

New train stations have been constructed downtown and north of the airport which follow the existing rail lines.  These begin from downtown Fort Worth, heading northeast to downtown Grapevine, and then into the north entrance of Dallas-Fort Worth Airport. The route connects with other transportation services, including the Trinity Railway Express (TRE) commuter rail service, AMTRAK’s Texas Eagle and Heartland Flyer (to OKC), and downtown bus transfer center at the Fort Worth Intermodal Transportation Center, as well as a connection to the Dallas Dart Rail.

To say that Grapevine is off the beaten path is a great untruth – it’s connections to Dallas and Fort Worth, as well as other domestic and international destinations, make it a perfect intermediary locale when visiting the area.

White Wine© The Wine Write

A Burgeoning Wine Region

Texas is a major wine producer in the United States, thanks to a sunny and dry climate.  The earliest recorded wine making in El Paso was by Spanish missionaries in the 1650s.  Notably, Texas boasts more than 4,400 acres of vineyard farmland and a variety of vintages for you to try.

There are 310 wineries in Texas, ranging from small producers who concentrate on tourism, to large wineries catering to national and international markets.  There are also eight American Viticultural Areas in Texas, which for the layman, are designated wine grape-growing regions within the United States, distinguishable by geographic features, with boundaries defined by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), United States Department of the Treasury.  Harvest time is normally around the end of July, two months before California and three months earlier than many of France’s wine regions.

In keeping with the state’s tradition of doing things big or not at all, more than 1.5 million gallons of wine are produced in Texas, with an economic impact of over $1.83 billion.  Grapevine itself is home to a vibrant and growing urban wine trail, featuring daily wine tastings and special events throughout the year.  From strong and bold Texas red wines to crisp and clean Texas white wines, you’ll find a variety of favorite taste sensations.

Grapevine Palace Theater© Grapevine Texas Online

The Arts & Culture Scene

Downtown Grapevine is home to numerous art galleries, many within walking distance of one another.  Enjoy a live glass blowing demonstration at a glass blowing studio or watch a blacksmith weld at a blacksmith shop. Beautiful works of art can be found at new and recently opened galleries throughout the city.  The city also boasts the Grapevine Opry, where country music classics are performed; the Texas Star Dinner Theater, where the Wild West comes to life; and the 1940s-era Palace Arts Theatre, with live performances and classic movies.

The Grapevine Public Art Trail is a self-guided walking tour between the Cotton Belt Depot and Northwest Highway.  It features bronze works of art that depict characters of the city as well as scenes of Grapevine’s history.  Local museums and galleries host a variety of art, cultural, historical, and educational exhibitions through a wide variety of mediums and artists.

In particular, Vetro Glassblowing Studio & Fine Art Gallery is an incredible place to learn about the Italian glassblowing craft and view spectacular works of art.  As a working studio, visitors get to see firsthand how the artisans at Vetro sculpt glass through live studio sessions.

Grapevine’s museum plaza is home to two 19th century pioneer homes and a school house. The plaza and the museums speak to life on the Grape Vine Prairie and to the larger story of settling Texas. Three museums – The Donald Schoolhouse MuseumThe Keeling House Museum, and the Grapevine Cotton Ginners Museum – offer educational exhibits, hands-on activities, and a collection of 19th century artifacts.  All of these represent the community as a commercial center. Grapevine’s art and museum community continues to expand with art exhibitions ranging from Texas history and space exploration, to agricultural heritage and contemporary art.

Ultimately, the historic city of Grapevine is a great place to get lost for a few hours, a day, or even a week.  Lake Grapevine alone is reason enough to visit for some water sporting adventure.  It’s easy to discover something new every time you visit this hidden gem, which hides in plain sight on many Dallas/Fort Worth maps.  I highly recommend making time for an excursion to good ol’ Grapevine.

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Reprinted from the Commoner

https://www.thecommonermagazine.com/between-two-cities/

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