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When travelers are delayed at an airport

Stuck at DFW. Now what?

© Dr. Elinor Garely, Editor in Chief, (a division of eTN Publishing)  Aug 28, 2016

The bad news: Your flight was cancelled. The good news: You are rebooked on a flight; however, there is more bad news – your departure time leaves you in limbo for 8 hours.

If you are lucky and did not check out of your hotel room, you may be able to keep your space until it is time to check-in at the airport. If you are unlucky, you are at DFW and have nothing to do for the next 8 hours.

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

If you are flying coach, the big question is: What to do? You could explore the numerous terminals at DFW and eat your way through McDonald’s and Red Fish candies or you could contact the tourism people at Grapevine, Texas and the Grapevine Wine tour people, and spend your day exploring the unique nooks and crannies of this small Texas town that is only 20 minutes away from DFW.

Learn Grapevine

Grapevine is a suburb of Dallas and located (mostly) in Tarrant County. As of 2010 census the locale had a population 46,334. History buffs find the area of importance for it was in October 1843 that General Sam Houston and other Republic of Texas Commissioners met at Tah Wah Karro Creek (AKA Grape Vine Springs) with 10 Indian nations to sign a treaty of “peace, friendship and commerce.”

Homesteaders could now take root in the area and because of its location on the Grape Vine Prairie near Grape Vine Springs, the area was named, Grape Vine. By the late 19th century the town numbered 800 residents and there were now enough people to publish a newspaper, open a public school, a post office, a railroad office and people were employed at the cotton gins. The town has taken an infamous place in history thanks to Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow (AKA Bonnie and Clyde) who killed two police officers during a dispute near Grapevine.

The city was incorporated in 1936, the primary crop was cotton and then cantaloupes and until the 1970s it was known as the Cantaloupe Capital of the World. With the opening of the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (1974), the area began to develop and morphed into a commercial center because of its proximity to the airports north entrance.

A Grapevine Kind of Day

So – the first contact is with the Grapevine Visitors Shuttle to check the routes and departure locations/times. For approximately $5 per person – explore downtown Grapevine, the shopping mall or other interesting shops and wine tasting rooms. One Grapevine tour starts at the Hyatt Hotel (located at the airport) and another starts at Gaylord Texan Hotel.

Alice in Wonderland and Corporate CEOs

At the Gaylord Texan Resort and Convention Center (Marriott), children, families and corporate CEO’s share space and appear to be very compatible.

The Gaylord Hotel is a unique property in Grapevine that successfully mixes children, families and corporate executives in one huge hotel. Built in 2004 the property offers 1511 rooms, 89 meeting rooms, 5 restaurants, 2 bars, pools (outdoor hotel pool, 1 indoor spa pool, 1 on-property outdoor water park, Paradise Springs), and shopping opportunities that run from high-end Texas boots to jewelry and fashion-forward frocks. While day passes are not available, delayed travelers can book treatments at the Relache Spa and this comes with access to the hotel pool and fitness center. Meeting planners will be amazed at the enormous space available for conferences and seminars and note how well Alice in Wonderland mixes with deal-making CEOs.

Whether you spend the day at the spa and swimming pool or stay in touch with the corporate office, the Gaylord should be part of your Grapevine experience. The Grapevine shuttle for other local experiences leaves from the Tour Bus exit.

Retail Therapy

With the kids or traveling solo, recreational shopping is a delightful way to forget about the new flight departure time. The Grapevine Tour Bus will bring you to the Grapevine Mills Mall. Delightfully air conditioned and teaming with people frantically looking for the next bargain or burger, discount outlets include H&M, Old Navy, Levi’s, J. Crew, Nautica and Abercrombie & Fitch.


Grapevine is filled with restaurants that offer portions large enough to feed a battalion. Noteworthy adventures start with breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner at the Main Street Bistro and Bakery. Even if you are dead set against eating more than carrots, the Croi-Dough Nut Brule has got to grab your attention. Start the AM with a champagne mimosa, and follow it with a croissant filled with Crème Brulee topped with caramel and chocolate drizzle. Demanding your continued focus is the chicken and waffles, the Nutella banana crepe, and the breakfast tacos con chorizo.

Still Hungry

Mac’s on Main is a delicious way to continue your foodie journey along Main Street. American cuisine with a Cajun attitude, the menu features Signature prime rib, ribeye and filet mignon and chicken fried steak with sides of Seven Cheese Mac and Cheese and Basil Mashed Potatoes. An excellent choice for dining with friends and family – but with enough space to invite a few dozen business associates.


Check out Chill. The ultimate sports bar that fills with locals. A casual spot “where everyone knows your name.” Monday night features Team Trivia, Wednesdays evening’s dinners are accompanied by live music, and Thursdays – Saturdays are for DJs. You can build your own pizza, enjoy a Texas BBQ Brisket sandwich, go for the bacon wrapped shrimp, dive into the Mile High Nachos or experience the Mac N Cheese bites. Save space for the fudge brownies, key lime pie, and carrot cake.

Finally, Time for Chocolate. Dessert or Snack with Dr. Sue

A physician who knows that chocolate is the best medicine, Dr. Sue has created a brand that meets all health requirements and chocolate tastings do not require a medical referral. Believing that the “Doctor Knows Best,” Dr. Sue is an internal medicine physician and when she is not making chocolates or encouraging visitors in her Main Street shop to try another flavor, she can be found at the Baylor working with acutely ill patients. Beautifully packaged, the dark chocolate is very healthy as it is filled with anti-oxidants as well as phytonutrients or flavonoids that “might” help with vascular health. After you taste all the samples it is likely that you will buy a few pounds of the cherry-pecan bark and midnight mocha.

Grapevine Vintage Railroad

With all the exercise expended on the food trail, there may still be time to catch a ride on the Grapevine Express and relax. According to the official website, Puffy, the 1856 steam locomotive is being repaired and the 1953 diesel locomotive, Vinny, is filling in. Vintage trains (think Harry Potter, Thomas the Tank Engine and the Polar Express) are difficult to locate for pleasure. The Grapevine Vintage Railroad starts in Grapevine and offers various destinations. On the weekends there are staged robberies (May – September) and other destinations are scheduled throughout the year (817 410 3185).

Texas Bits and Bites to Take Home

The brief visit to Grapevine is incomplete without a stop at the Market on Main. Local entrepreneurs have prepared the most wonderful jams and jellies, honey and catchups, while nearby farmers are making their juicy cantaloupes and watermelons available to those of us who cannot get to the farm. In a few months the Market will be able to send these local goodies to you by mail. So – stop in to get a few snacks for the flight and leave your name for their mailing list; be a bit patient – in the near future the Made in Texas treats will be delivered to your door.

Still More Time in Grapevine

If you just opened your email or read the text that your flight is not leaving until the next day, contact the Courtyard (Marriott) for reservations and the Grapevine Wine Tours for next day visits to the local wine tasting rooms. Grapevine Tours will plan your day (allocate four hours) for visiting the local wine tasting rooms and get you back to the hotel to grab the shuttle to make your flight. For additional information, click here.

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Stuck at DFW. Now what?

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