Posts Tagged ‘day tripping’

The North Texas festival season kicks off in March and carry’s through the summer. Every community has something planned, there are hundreds of communities that make up the Dallas metro-plex and then there are small towns spread across the prairie for hundreds of miles in every direction. The larger cachement areas pool their resources and pull off something spectacular. It’s an opportunity for local artists to display their hand made wares…fine oil paintings to barb wire sculpture, and a chance to see all the small town clubs and societies  dance and sing what they have rehearsed for the big show of the year. Expect professional bands to be seen alongside children’s troupes and specialties, from urban dance to farm skills.

We ardent day trippers have our weekends planned well in advance this time of year. Our festival bible is the Dallas Observer that lists every activity scheduled from music and entertainment venues to community festivals and various goings on. The Observer is everyone’s favorite paper for the entertainment and arts scene year round.

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So, off we go to Denton Texas yesterday for the Denton Arts and Jazz festival, an annual gig for local musicians and entertainers. First I should say that Denton is one of the sweet little towns surrounding Dallas that most tourists will never see, and much to their loss I assure you. The streets of Denton are lined with history and cool little shops. Denton is a distinctly casual place where people say ‘good morning’ to strangers, where you know your kids would be safe and all the cars stop for pedestrians.

I find these towns to have such a likeable vibe, people are sociable, super friendly and unhurried. Possibly, it’s the sense of continuity, people have been living and working here for hundreds of years and some businesses have been established for generations.IMG_3106

The extensive freeway system connects everything. Texans are accustomed to traveling seemingly great distances, something must have changed their DNA. We find it a no brainer to drive one to two hours from town to town, but when these places were established in the early 1800’s they would have seemed worlds apart.

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Many towns like Denton have a unique flavor to them and must be appreciated by walking slowly.

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Grapevine Mills is a mid 19th century pioneer town that was established by people who actually walked beside covered wagons into history. It’s the kind of place that sings to me, the modern world was born in places like this, along the railroad tracks and cotton fields made famous in this area before the advent of WWII. I’m glad that Texas has done such a superb job of preserving it’s heritage towns and buildings, it’s possible to see things in near original condition without the objectified pretense of those cities that try too hard to resurrect the past, for the sake of tourism development, as part of an urban renewal project with no soul. In places like Grapevine , it’s possible to imagine yourself rubbing shoulders with history, the contemporary nature has been passed down, rather than re-created by an urban planner or an architect . In Grapevine the heritage buildings are renovated as opposed to rebuilt as a mixed use synthesis, the boardwalks and retail storefronts have been in continuous use since the early 1800’s and survive on tender loving care and a lick of paint.

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