Image of Elizabeth Campbell
Elizabeth Campbell

Convention Extras
by Elizabeth Campbell

From the Editor: The following article is the last pre-convention offering from the Texas affiliate. In just a few weeks we will be gathering for the 1998 convention of the National Federation of the Blind, and you don't want to miss it. President Maurer is hard at work on the convention agenda, and you already know from recent Monitor articles just how much activity is planned around official agenda items. So if you haven't yet made your hotel reservation, do it today. Call the Hyatt Regency DFW at (972) 453-1234; do not call the Hyatt's national toll-free number because reservations made through it will not be honored. Convention room rates are singles, $41; doubles and twins, $43; triples, $45; and quads, $47. As far as we now know, the tax will be 12 percent. The first full day of pre-convention activities is Saturday, July 4, and the closing gavel falls at 5 p.m. Friday, July 10.

Liz Campbell is the President of the Fort Worth Chapter of the NFB of Texas and a reporter for the Fort Worth Star Telegram. As you will read, she knows a good bit about the greater Dallas/Fort Worth area. This is what she says:

Howdy y'all! This is how native Texans and transplants alike welcome our friends to a state which many say is like visiting a whole other country.

Indeed, the state has everything from beaches along the Gulf Coast to mountains in west Texas. You won't have time to travel to other parts of Texas, though, because your visit to the bustling Dallas/Fort Worth area will give you so many choices that it will be difficult to decide which local attractions you, your family, and friends should choose during your free hours. So we'd better get started on our journey.

The Dallas/Fort Worth Hyatt Regency Hotel sits in the midst of the busiest airport in the world. From our convention headquarters hotel fascinating museums, restaurants, amusement parks, and other attractions are not far away.

Most of the sprawling airport is in Grapevine, a city founded during the 1850's. Now much of Main Street is listed in the National Registry of Historic Places. Main Street boasts a collection of unique shops including a German bread store and a doll maker's shop. Behind Main Street artisans demonstrate the almost-forgotten skills of glass blowing and blacksmithing. Walking tours of the Main Street area are also available. Main Street is also the home of the Cotton Belt Depot, where a nineteenth-century train called the "Tarantula Steam Train" takes passengers from Grapevine to the Fort Worth Stockyards. We'll talk about the Stockyards later in this article. The "Tarantula" train gets its name from the maze of railroad tracks that crisscross Fort Worth. The railroad map looks like a tarantula. The depot is also the home of a free museum that features the history of the city.

Grapevine got its name from the wild mustang grapes that grew there, and the city hosts the popular festival celebrating Texas wines called Grape Fest. Several Texas wineries have tasting rooms in Grapevine. For more details on things to do in Grapevine, call the Convention and Visitors Bureau at (817) 481-0454.

You won't want to pass up a chance to visit Grapevine Mills Outlet Mall, a new attraction that promises shopping bargains and good food. Two particularly interesting places at the mall are Dick Clark's Restaurant, complete with rock-n-roll memorabilia, and the Rain Forest Cafe. As this name implies, this eatery will transport you to the tropics for food and adventure. NFB shuttle busses from the hotel to Grapevine will run at various times each day from Friday, July 3, through Friday, July 10. For more details about the mall and its restaurants call (972) 724-4910.

Irving, another city close to our hotel, features upscale shopping in Las Colinas. This exclusive community is also home to the movie studios featured in our convention tours. (See the April, 1998, Braille Monitor for tour details.)

While in Las Colinas, don't pass up a chance to see the

sculptures of wild mustangs near the Four Seasons Hotel. The

horses are standing in a reflecting pool. Irving is also home to

the Dallas Cowboys and Texas Stadium. For more details about

Irving call the Convention and Visitors Bureau at (972) 252-7476

Now, let's head west to Fort Worth, the best spot in Texas. Okay, I might be just a little prejudiced. Will Rogers coined the saying: "Fort Worth is where the West begins, and Dallas is where the East peters out."

Image of the Fort Worth skyline
Fort Worth Skyline

Fort Worth, founded after the Mexican-American War, grew up around railroads, the Stockyards, and cowboys; it was an important stop along the Chisholm Trail before cowboys headed north to Kansas City and Chicago. You can still find these aspects of the West today, but now the Stockyards, in north Fort Worth, is a historic tour attraction complete with Billy Bob's Texas, the largest honky-tonk in the world, and the Tarantula Steam Train. The train departs from Stockyards Station, which is also the home of many shops and restaurants, including the Ernest Tubb Record Shop.

Fort Worth has its cultural side, too. It is often referred to as the "museum capital of the southwest." Four museums are located in an area known as the Cultural District, just west of downtown. The Amon Carter Museum of Western Art, the Kimbel Art Museum, the Museum of Science and History, and the Modern Art Museum attract many visitors.

Sundance Square in downtown Fort Worth is another fun place to visit with a coffee bar, restaurants, movie theaters, and shops. It is also adjacent to the Outlet Square shopping mall. For more information about Fort Worth attractions, call the Convention and Visitors Bureau at (817) 336-8791.

Now let's head east! If you're looking for baseball and amusement parks, Arlington, which is between Fort Worth and Dallas, is the perfect place.

The ball park at Arlington, which offers tours daily, is the home of the Texas Rangers baseball team. The ball park also features a baseball museum. Six Flags Over Texas, with rides of every description and shows for children and adults, is a must for amusement park enthusiasts. For more details contact the Convention and Visitors Bureau at (817) 265-7721.

Last but not least is Dallas, about thirty miles from Fort Worth. Don't worry; it's closer than that to our hotel. The city is famous for many attractions, including art museums and the Neiman Marcus Department Store. It is also the site of the tragic assassination of John F. Kennedy. The sixth floor of the Dallas County Administration building is a popular tourism spot.

Dallas is also known for its eclectic selection of restaurants and clubs. A well-known area for dining is Greenville Avenue, which features everything from Thai to southwestern cuisine. The West End, located in downtown Dallas, is another popular night spot. Find out more about Dallas by calling the Convention and Visitors Bureau at (214) 571-2000.

Now that we've whetted your appetite for a visit to Texas, there is no excuse for missing a great convention where you will see old friends and meet new folks.