Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A Trip Through Grapefest (Festival) in Grapevine TX

In Grapevine, TX a thriving city in the Dallas Fort Worth Metroplex right next to DFW airport, one of the busiest airports in the nation there is a nationally recognized 4 day festival that you've probably never heard of. It's called Grapefest and it happens to be one of the biggest wine tasting festivals in the Southwest. All the fun of Grapefest takes place as the summer comes to a close, usually in the third week of September.

To be honest with you I haven't been to Grapefest in over 10 years. I decided to go back this year, only because they offer a day to get in free, which always falls on a Friday. I'm usually working on that day but I had the day off this year. It was a good thing because I really wanted to take the opportunity to go back and get the scoop on this festival for all my readers. Now, stop right there. I see something wrong with that picture. You shouldn't have to worry about having to secure a day off during the week to get in free. It should always be free no matter the day. Every, festival on this scale that I've been to, I've found that it doesn't cost a thing to get in and just be able to walk around. At Grapefest that's what $8 per adult, $5 dollars per senior and kids older than 6 gets you; the ability to walk around. Ok, let's say that price is worth it. I'm not going to completely write off Grapefest because they charge you to get in. However is it worth the price of admission? Whether you got in free or not let's take a trip through Grapefest...

What happens after we've walked under this scenic Grapefest sign and into the waiting excitement of this festival?

Something gives me a feeling that they don't close off the Main St. in Grapevine for 4 days on a Wednesday at 7pm for nothing...

There is plenty of booths to be found at almost a mile long stretch of blocked off real estate. 
Let's get a better perspective...

As you can see, the Main Street in Grapevine is an old time shopping/business district that is a main attraction in Grapevine, TX and this is true even when there is no festival on it's street. 

Let's try out the food, they have multiple ticket booths set up in Grapefest. In exchange for buying the tickets you can exchange them for a variety of fair ground food. Let's see what a whopping $20 gets you.... 

Bingo, we found a highlight! You didn't think I'd go to a festival in Texas and not get a Jumbo Corn Dog did you? I've got you've covered! There was a freshly squeezed lemonade with that but it was an epic fail. I know better next time.

Look at that, you can get an Italian Meatball sub at a festival... looks good and it was.

Was it worth almost $20 in tickets for this food? And the verdict is? Barely, if you have money to burn then it's certainly worth it but if you're on a budget and you care, then a tip for you would be to eat at one of the restaurants along Main St. You'll get better value for your money and cool A/C as a bonus.

They do have an amusement area with plenty of rides and games. Just don't eat all that food I showed you before you get on one of more intense ones please...

You read this right, it wouldn't be a wine festival without a little of that or maybe a whole lot. I didn't partake in the wine tasting but a little birdie told me that $20 gets you taste after taste of some very good wine. Thanks, for the tip birdie, I'll be thinking about trying that out next year.

Looks like Happy Hour came early for these ladies. There is plenty of Happy Hour opportunities at Grapefest including the main wine tasting event and when you've had enough, a grape stomping event.

What would a festival be without music... it wouldn't. The main stage pictured here features more acts than you would believe.

Was it worth it? It seems like they jam pack a lot on that street, so if you have time to spend and that includes a little cash, you certainly can see how you can have more than a good time.

Ranking: 5 Goode Points...only because they offer a lot of entertainment for the cost of getting in. 

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Take A Stroll On Kemah Boardwalk

With Fall within grasp and increasingly cooler days on the horizon, you may want to get outdoors especially after a long hot summer. It might look like the picture above is small town 1950's America straight out of the movie The Truman Show. It's not, but it did have that feel which made it nostalgic. Aside from being nostalgic, what I did stumble upon literally was a place as unique as it is fun and its name is Kemah? To be honest, I asked myself the same question a couple days of ago, as I had never heard of it. I found out quickly though that it's a small town, that happens to be located on Galveston Bay on the Texas Gulf Coast, just outside of Houston, TX. What you see a picture of is their entertainment district called Kemah Boardwalk which is the subject of this post. The reason for this is because I never thought when I went to Houston for a weekend getaway, that the first place I'd end up would be this unique little gem of a tourist attraction on Galveston Bay. I'm thankful that Kemah Broadwalk is once again a polished gem as it was pretty much destroyed by Hurricane Ike that hit the Galveston/Houston area on Sept 13, 2008. Please see this: Kemah Boardwalk In the Aftermath of Hurricane Ike to view of slideshow to get an idea of how badly it was hit.
    How did I come to end up here? Simple, Chef Megs my partner in food crime, because we are foodies after all, wanted to take me to a seafood restaurant that she had heard rave reviews about. We drive the long distance there thinking that we were just going to a restaurant outside of Galveston. Imagine our faces as we drove into Kemah Boardwalk. The best part about our surprise was that this restaurant we wanted to go to just happened to be one of 1 of 9 great restaurants that are part of the boardwalk.
    Now that you have the background, let me try to impress upon you, that if you're in Houston or nearby or are planning on going to Houston, this is the place to go take a nice leisurely stroll...

As you can see, Kemah Boardwalk has it's own train. If you have a family, that would thrill the kids. Maybe, you should watch out though and obey the the railroad crossing if your going to that seafood restaurant (The Flying Dutchman) you see the train whizzing past. Yes, wish I could of gone to every restaurant and given you the scoop on those but time and budget didn't allow that. Go with plently of that, the more the better because you'll need it as there is plenty to spend it on here.

Kemah Boardwalk has it's own hotel, actually it's called Kemah Boardwalk Inn, but it looks as big as hotel. Wish I had some spare time...but you might!

There are literally too many restaurants to chose from on the Kemah Boardwalk as you can start to see. That's a good thing though.

A boardwalk wouldn't be complete, without amusement rides for families and even a roller coaster. Kemah has that too.

If you build a boardwalk, make sure it has water that springs up without warning in true fountain form. That can be interesting to watch. Lots of recreation to be had as you can see, for families or couples without kids. There's something for everybody at Kemah Boardwalk. One thing I know for sure, you won't go hungry in Kemah because there is food for everybody. Everything from sushi, Mexican food, seafood, a steakhouse, and world famous Texas BBQ...starting to see the trend of the words everything and everybody here? I thought so. There's even a restaurant called the Aquarium and you guessed it, you eat with a beautiful aquarium filled with exotic fish surrounding you, it's a seafood restaurant. How ironic is that? If you want truly good seafood though, it's hard to not to leave satisfied from Laundry's Seafood restaurant which overlooks the bay. In fact, we did just that. Want coffee?  You don't have to eat at one of the restaurants for that. Kemah has its own coffee house. Want to shop? Kemah has gift and t-shirt stores. Actually want to stay on Kemah Boardwalk, they have their own hotel on site. I just can't say enough about what Kemah doesn't have because well... they have it.

I had to end with an eye-catching sign we saw on the boardwalk. I bet you didn't know that seagulls had diets, apparently here they do here. Please visit their website for more info: Kemah Boardwalk 

Ranking: 5 Goode Points