Grapevine, Texas: A warm place to visit, no matter what the weather

March 17, 2014

A glassblower crafts a Christmas ornament at Vetro Glassblowing Studio in Grapevine, Texas.

GRAPEVINE, Texas ó Everythingís bigger in Texas ó be it Christmas, or ice storms, Texas doesnít mess around. Grapevine, known as the Christmas capital of the state, really showed its stuff this winter, but the ice didnít keep a good city down. Grapevine still got its holiday groove on ó albeit about 50 degrees cooler than it might be used to.

We all know that sometimes things donít go as we plan when we travel. Whatís fun to do in Grapevine, even if the weather doesnít cooperate? Plenty.

When I arrived in early December, snow was falling and flights were being canceled. I decided to grab some dinner and headed out to the highly recommended Winewood Grill.

The Winewood Grill has a good variety of food (and spirits) as well as a friendly staff. The ribs were amazing, but the smoked Gouda mac and cheese was far and away the best entree of the night. It is also one of the restaurantsí most requested items, and for good reason. Creamy, warm and with a bacon topping, there was nothing not to love about this comfort food created for grown-up palettes. Worth the calories ó share with a friend if you are running out of steam, or get a few and spread the wealth with the table.

Check out Grapevine Mills, a huge shopping mall accessible by city buses for almost nothing. Itís one of the many stops they offer as a convenience for travelers. The mall boasts hundreds of shops, stores, restaurants and amusements. We ate lunch at the Rainforest Cafť, always a fun stop for those with kids, with a consistent menu and atmosphere. A short walk inside the mall is the SEA LIFE Grapevine Aquarium. Despite the mall setting, the aquarium was not scaled down or minimalist; it is fully functional, with a walk-through tunnel, hands-on education center, play area and gift shop. This mall also has rides (like a ferris wheel), a LEGO center, 3-D movie theater and much more ó it was a great place to spend an indoor day with kids, or with friends.

One of the coolest (or as it were, hottest) places in Grapevine is the Vetro Glassblowing Studio, where I was able to watch it done. Afterward, we each got to make a Christmas ornament of our own, choosing the colors. (Donít worry, the experts handled the iron and the ovens.) It was enormously fun and interesting to watch the process, which dates back into the last century BC. This is a great place to stop and make a Christmas gift for anyone on your list, and the price was right, too. They came out amazing ó you would think I knew what I was doing! If you prefer to buy your art, thatís fine with Vetro, which has a large and constantly rotating art and gift store. You can custom-order pieces for your home or business.

I also made sure to have dinner at the Texas Star Dinner Theater, where I tried to solve a murder mystery while enjoying a meal. Not so much murder, no drama, and very, very funny, this is for everyone and every age. The cast interacted with the audience in, yes, corny ways, but that just made it enjoyable for even the youngest diners. With updated, family friendly humor, nothing crass was uttered but the room was kept in stitches. At the end of the night, the room is divided by tables, and each is asked to guess "who done it," with the winners receiving a certificate and T-shirt.

Grapevine has festivals and celebrations every month (sometimes more than one). To learn more, visit



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