Christmas in Grapevine Texas
By Teresa and Paul Lowe – www.chronicletravelers.com
You'll likely never meet a more gracious and friendly group of folks who truly enjoy and love the Christmas holiday season than those who live and work in Grapevine, Texas (located between Dallas and Fort Worth). This community absolutely knows how to celebrate with the 'purpose of having fun.'
This quaint town is known as the Christmas Capital of Texas, so says Leigh Lyons, Director of Communications for The Grapevine Convention and Visitors Bureau (https://www.grapevinetexasusa.com/) ! 14-hundred delightful events are showcased and celebrated in just over 40 days. The entire community gets involved - WOW! (November thru early January). While visiting Grapevine, you really can say it's the most wonderful place and time of the year.
David Cox, says "just about anyone, if they try, can pretend to be 5 years old again and play, even if just for a few hours." Cox's family has lived in Grapevine since 1929. He and Shelly his wife, live in his family's original house structure (modernized). They share with us that "Christmas in Grapevine is old fashion feel-good fun, especially for the little ones." After spending a little while with the charming couple in their historic old town neighborhood, it's easy to agree with them that Grapevine is indeed rather magical.
North Pole Express
There's a saying that goes, 'things are bigger in Texas.' Street decorations and a Christmas carnival for kids are supersized for holiday enjoyment - super cool! Also, the folksy Christmas parade of lights along Main Street is not to be missed.
Folks around here say that Grapevine has a direct connection to the Santa and his 'workshop.' It's all aboard for a trip on the 'North Pole Express' train. This leisurely family-friendly adventure is pure fun for wide-eyed young ones wanting to deliver their letter to Santa and to also show Mom and Dad that they really can be 'good for goodness sake.'
The delightful 'Mrs Clause' and her helpers are of course along for the journey...offering warm smiles, big hugs, well wishes, taking pictures and also handing out the 'we believe in Christmas' jingle bells. And yes there is snow and ice at the 'North Pole.' Kids and adults enjoy the giant snow tubing slide plus an ice milk chocolate drink. (https://www.grapevinetexasusa.com/blog/post/15-christmas-events-in-grapevine/)
Nothing signals the holiday season like Charlie Brown. An exhibit featuring Charles Shultz's iconic figure and friends are showcased at the Grapevine Tower Gallery. (https://www.grapevinetexasusa.com/christmas-capital-of-texas/visitor-center/)
'ICE!' at the Gaylord Texan Resort
The moment you set foot inside the almost 5 acres Gaylord Texan Resort and Convention Center you're sure to be impressed. It's rated as one the premiere places to stay in Texas. (https://www.grapevinetexasusa.com/listing/gaylord-texan-resort/6/)
The massive hotel atrium is beautifully decorated with themes of the season.
The Christmas holiday is uniquely showcased at the resort with 'over-scale' decorations, toy trains, toy soldiers, a Santa's photo chair, happy music softly playing and there is Ice! The extraordinary Ice experience is housed in a gigantic meeting hall where the temperature is kept at 9 degrees. Extreme cold weather parkas are provided for you during your 'ICE!' tour. It's REALLY COLD inside!
The intricate giant size carved ice sculptures are the work of 40 highly skilled artists from Harbin, China. Each year the theme of the attraction changes. The Ice artistic expression of color lights and the frozen matter is truly inspirational.
Make plans now for the next show! (https://www.grapevinetexasusa.com/christmas-capital-of-texas/ice-lone-star-christmas/)
Grapevine's Year-Round Charm
Grapevine, a city of 50-thousand people or so, sparkles brightly even when the holiday lights come down. The town is home to several unique stores, galleries, and Texas-style charming restaurants. (https://www.grapevinetexasusa.com/events/)
Moving about along Main Street the aroma of fresh chocolate likely whiffs over you. Open the glass doors and enjoy a piece of heaven's delight - the chocolate shop of Doctor Sue Williams. The doctor of internal medicine for more than 20 years shares her true love of making healthy versions of the decadently delicious food. The ingredients used in her wildly flavorful chocolates are fresh, gluten free with organic sweetness. Yummy! (https://www.grapevinetexasusa.com/listing/dr-sues-chocolate/942/)
Grapevine is a community that also enjoys a variety of Tex-Mex food. On this visit, a stop at the Esparza's Mexican Restaurant showed us that wildly tasty cuisine is found here. It's graciously served in humble and truly comfortable surroundings. The house specialty appetizer - the fried avocado is magnificent as is, my favorite, the shrimp dish. (https://www.grapevinetexasusa.com/listing/esparza’s-restaurante-mexicano/315/)
Steak with your seafood? You'll find a wonderful menu marriage of surf and turf served in classic restaurant style at Dino's Steak and Claw House. Our hosts suggested the filet mignon with pan seared scallops and the rib eye steak dishes along with the house-made herb butter and bread. Drool, drool delicious! (https://www.grapevinetexasusa.com/listing/dino’s-steak-%26-claw-house/347/)
For a meal prepared for you that's in line with the dietary orders of a time long past take a tour of Grapevine's historic and educational Nash Farm. You can assist the hosts, who dress in period clothing, with the morning routines of feeding the chickens, turkeys and other livestock before sitting down to a full old-fashion breakfast. On the day of our visit, we enjoyed a plate of salt pork, pickled okra and trappers fruit, eggs, biscuits, butter and jam with coffee and tea. Your taste buds will thank you for the experience. (https://www.grapevinetexasusa.com/nash-farm/)
You'll never go hungry in Grapevine – great food is served everywhere.
The Sea Life Aquarium is a family adventure tour that not just entertains with a walk-through sea tunnel and interactive games, but also educates young minds about the importance of protecting the world's oceans and its diverse sea life. Aquariums are for some folks a type of calming therapy. (https://www.grapevinetexasusa.com/things-to-do/sea-life-aquarium/)
Great Wolf Lodge is one of those unique kid and family friendly places that showcase the season with themed decorations. Christmas season is especially busy. Inside the lobby are a life-size Gingerbread House and a Santa's letter writing session and games, games and more games and a water park that's 80 degrees all the time.
The food served here is not just 'kid's stuff.' During this visit, we were treated to gourmet hors' d'oeuvres" and a German holiday called Gluehwein. The rum alcohol potent drink is crazy delicious! The party cocktail was prepared by Food Director Uwe Rudnick- a very charming and elegant gentleman. (https://www.grapevinetexasusa.com/listing/great-wolf-lodge/8/)
A local couple, Sharon and Don, share with Paul and me that the Wine Train is one of their Christmas treats. Yes, good wine is served along the leisure ride. Good wine is best paired with good conversation with cool people. (https://www.grapevinetexasusa.com/christmas-capital-of-texas/wine-trains/)
Grapevine Wine Tours -
With a name like Grapevine, perhaps you might wonder if there are wine grapes in these parts. Did you know that Texas has a booming wine market. Texas ranks in the top five wine growing regions in the US and 3rd largest consumers of a beverage adults enjoy year around.
One of the most enjoyable tours in town, for adults, is the Grapevine Wine Tour (https://www.grapevinetexasusa.com/listing/grapevine-wine-tours/116/). You enjoy a four hour day of wine tastings and a fantastic lunch with, of course, more wine at the trendy Winewood Grill (https://www.grapevinetexasusa.com/listing/winewood-grill/209/).
The first stop is at the renowned Messina Hof Winery located the Historic District of Grapevine. You enjoy a hearty amount of tastings. The Historic Building is set up to handle an outdoor patio space, indoor small private weddings or other special events on the 2nd floor, and the lower level contains the wine tasting room, a VIP wine bar, and a shop to take some of your favorites home! (www.messinahof.com/grapevine)
If you've always wanted to try barefoot grape stomping (just like TV's Lucy and Ethel) visit the Messina Hof Bryan College Station property. It is here where the grapes are grown, fashioned and harvested. You can spend a few romantic and picturesque days at a magical Bed and Breakfast estate. -duck pond included. There is also a state of the art barrel room, an upscale restaurant to pair their wines and a VIP Wine tasting room and shop. If you enjoy great and folksy conversation, hopefully during your stay you'll meet the owners Paul and Merrill Bonarrigo. Paul has a thousand and one tales about life and grapes! Paul is a retired Physician turned wine maker along with his wife Merrill, and their son Paul Jr, and his wife, they have put Messina Hof Winery on the world map. (http://www.messinahof.com/bryan)
If you love a “who done it” drama with a good meal, the Texas Star Dinner Theater is a super fun. The audience participation murder mystery performances will have you laughing out loud a lot. At the end of show you will likely second guess yourself- hmm, who really did it. (https://www.grapevinetexasusa.com/listing/texas-star-dinner-theater/85/)
Taking a walk along the historic downtown Grapevine district you find the art deco style Palace Arts Theater. (https://www.grapevinetexasusa.com/palace-theatre/) The beautiful theater is home to the wildly entertaining concert. The players and singers are area folks with real talent showcasing what Grapevine does best-celebrate Christmas!