Grapevine Texas Has it All: Art, trains, chocolate, and wine

Art and wine in Grapevine Texas

Several times a day, a gunfight breaks out in Grapevine Texas. This cheery town about 10 minutes northwest of the Dallas-Fort Worth airport isn’t filled with violence, and these aren’t actors pretending to shoot one another on the streets. It's Nat Barrett and Willy Majors, animatronic outlaws circa 1890 who argue and finally battle it out high above the gathered crowds. But this friendly town also offers an urban wine trail, great art, historic trains, and healthy chocolate. Grapevine's Main Street invites strolling with its galleries, shops, and restaurants. Start at one end, walk your way down to the other enjoying art, food, chocolate and wine. Oh, yes. And murder.

The Glockenspiel Clock Tower

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Grapevine Texas has a rare type of Glockenspiel clock tower rising almost 12 stories high. Glockenspiels are popular in Europe, where they play music, or have animated characters rooted in European history. But the Grapevine Clock Tower reflects America's old west in the form of two outlaws, both hoping for one big score.

Visitors can hear the entire scenario via hidden speakers and read the complete back story on each of these fictitious outlaws at the viewing plaza. In addition to the story of Nat and Willy, the clock tower also provides time, temperature and wind direction.

Art Galleries and Historic Railroad Depot

Several working art studios and galleries are clustered within easy walking distance along South Main Street by the railroad station. Scattered throughout town there's even more art. Grapevine's Public Art Trail showcases over a dozen bronze tableaux both small and large.

Grapevine Texas has paintings, sculptures, and western art
The Great American West Gallery is a clear Western art highlight. Located in a 100+ year old building, the gallery specializes in paintings and bronzes and they are as impressive as the setting. The one-time retail building, constructed in 1897 and beautifully restored, was also a bank and today the vault houses some of the gallery's most valuable art.

David Gappa founded Vetro Glassblowing Studio and Gallery in 1999 and visitors to this art gallery and studio right by the historic depot can certainly enjoy and purchase the lushly colorful translucent art, as well as watch glass being blown to create those works of art. Time it right and you can also create your own glass art in one of their special holiday themed events.

In the same art gallery row there's a foundry operated by bronze artist Linda Lewis-Roark – who also offers sculpting classes. Stop in the Grapevine Foundry and learn about the intricate process of casting and see what Linda and her staff are currently creating. You can even sign up for a welding course -- who could resist bending metal to your desires?

Holder Dane Gallery & Art Studios completes the artistic trio by the Depot. The diversity of artists represented makes it a great place to shop for art.

Wine and Chocolate

There's no shortage of wine trails anywhere in the country, but nothing beats the convenience of an urban wine trail where, with the right amount of walking, it's possible to be convinced that doing the trail is actually a form of exercise. Grapevine offers this wine-tasting convenience in the form of their Urban Wine Trail.

There's currently 10 wineries on the Urban Wine Trail with an impressive diversity of varietals. Messina Hof Grapevine Winery is the latest member. It's located in a replica of the historic Wallis Hotel right in town.

Chocolate lovers must head to Dr. Sue's Chocolate. Dr. Sue Williams is an active practicing physician at nearby Baylor University who believes that chocolate can be healthy. Or, at least that there is a healthy form of chocolate. These dense, dark chocolately morsels are all natural and her shop is a smorgasbord of familiar as well as innovative flavors from Blueberry Ancho Chile Bark to Hazelnut Coconut Bark and so much more. Of course, you'll need to taste these delights before deciding. Dr. Sue knows that and has samples available at her shop.

Grapevine Texas has paintings, sculptures, murder, and western art

Dinner and a Murder Mystery

Murder can be fun, at least when presented by the Texas Star Dinner Theater. Besides the quality of their performances, what sets this venue apart is that it was actually built to create the right atmosphere and sight-lines for their shows. As a result, there's not a bad seat in the house. And best of all -- it's wonderfully acted and genuinely funny.

Take a Train Ride

Grapevine's historic railroad features two trains for their excursions. Puffy is the 1896 steam locomotive (the oldest continuously operating steam engine in the South) and Vinny is a newer 1953 diesel. Different rides and packages are available, including one that does a round trip to the historic old west part of Fort Worth. Kids will enjoy the Grapevine Fun Train. This family friendly and shorter trip, which comes with horns for the kids to toot along with the train whistle. Just across the street is the turntable used to switch direction of the train.

Explore Grapevine's History

Grapevine's Settlement to City Museums depict the history of this Texas town.

Learn more about Grapevine Texas at: Grapevine USA

Learn more about travel in Texas and the USA

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Neala McCarten

Unless otherwise indicated, all photos by the author

Updated: September 11, 2016

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