By Bob & Sandy Nesoff
For a month before the holiday is actually upon us, Grapevine transforms itself into the Christmas Capital of Texas…and a number of surrounding states. Its historic Main Street glows with enough lights to make New York’s Broadway blush in comparison. The blast of color strung from lamp posts, across the street and from every store in town lights up enough to be seen from space.
Not too many years ago Grapevine was a sleepy little town. Not any more. Gaylord’s Texan Resort moved in a while back and has created enough traffic to truly bolster the local economy. Along with that came seasonal promotions such as its iconic “Ice” display with amazing and colorful ice sculptures.
The resort itself, decked out for the holiday season, is what you might expect a colony on the surface of the moon to be; under a temperature controlled dome, visitors walking around in shirt sleeves while the ground outside is covered in snow and ice. The vibrant decorations include a huge gingerbread house, gigantic ball ornaments strung from the top of the dome, and enough to make Santa jealous. http://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/dalgt-gaylord-texan-resort-and-con...
Nearby is another resort that provides guests all the amenities of a summer resort in the dead of winter in its enclosed space-the Great Wolf Lodge. Swim, sun and relax even though the weather outside is cold and frosty. www.greatwolflodge.com.
At the edge of Main Street by the railroad station is one of the hottest stops on the Christmas Trail…Vetro Glass Blowing Gallery and Studio. With four furnaces putting out heat that could substitute for the sun, Vetro turns out exquisite Christmas tree ornaments that are all hand made on site. Not only that, but visitors, for a fee, can learn and make their own ornaments for a truly different souvenir that could turn into a family heirloom.
Inside Vetro’s shop are works of art, all hand made from molten glass. Some range in price…well, out of the range of most visitors; upwards of $7,000. There are beautiful items that the average person can afford from $20 on up. Some items, such as pendants, are brought in from other artists to add to the wonderful collection.
Vetro artists can turn out about 100 Christmas tree ball ornaments a day. But for the visitors little compares to the excitement of turning your own ornament for posterity. The artisans at the furnace will work with you, both for quality and design and safety. The blow rods are hot and the “glory hole” furnace is about the hottest thing anyone will experience in a lifetime. http://vetroartglass.com/
Hotels abound in the area but one of the better choices is the DFW Hilton Lakes, only five minutes from the terminal at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport and central to virtually every point of interest in the area.
Situated on a 40-acre parcel of mostly open, rolling green hills, the hotel is beautifully appointed and during the Christmas season decorated to fit the holiday. There is a huge fitness center, Bonnie & Clyde’s bar (note-the notorious gangster duo are reputed to have held up their first bank in Grapevine), horseback riding in season, golf and arguably the most comfortable beds. http://www3.hilton.com/en/hotels/texas/hilton-dfw-lakes-executive-confer...
Dinner theaters abound, but few can match the ambiance of the Texas Star Dinner Theater and its cast of manic Old West characters who draw the audience into their madness at every opportunity. From the cowboy greeting by “Marshal Courtright” to the local madam, guests are sucked (oops, brought) into the action.
Although food is secondary at such entertainment spots, there is no lack of thought about it here. The various dishes, from beef to fish are all prepared with the thought that if it is not great and tasty, no one will return for another show.
As with most murder mystery performances the object is for the audience to figure out who the killer is. The diners (audience) are given a choice ranging from the flirty madam who has a habit of jumping into the laps of male guests, to a ditsy cupcake maker, an officious actor and the local smithy. Try and find the clues and you might go ditsy. The diners are broken into groups (teams) and the winners receive a souvenir tee shirt. The action is fast and furious and hysterical at the same time. www.texasstardinnertheater.com.
For more information about local activities in Grapevine, contact the CVB at http://www.grapevinetexasusa.com/about-grapevine/contact-us/