love the layover

Love the layover: At DFW? Go to Grapevine!

If you’ve got a few hours to spend before or between flights at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, Grapevine is a great, ‘secret’ place to spend it – especially this time of year.

grapvine santa

Like the airport, Grapevine is located between Dallas and Fort Worth, and its historic downtown – packed with shops, restaurants, winery-tasting rooms, public art, art galleries, a ‘performing’ Glockenspiel Clock Tower, the Vetro Glassblowing Studio & Gallery (where you can design and help make your own glass projects), vintage railroad and other attractions – is easy to get to by hopping on the Grapevine Visitors Shuttle bus, which operates daily and stops at the Grand Hyatt DFW as it makes its way to destinations in and around town.

Fares on the shuttle are $5 per person and $10 for a family (2 adults + kids up to age 18).

Grapevine lays claim to being the Christmas Capital of Texas, so this time of year is an especially good time to head for Historic Downtown Grapevine.

Among the seasonal highlights are:

A nightly light show and a chance to sing-along with the city’s Christmas tree.

Through January 15, 2015, “Crafting Christmas: Hand-Carved Santas from Around the World” is an exhibit in Grapevine’s Grand Gallery in the Grapevine Convention & Visitors Bureau headquarters building, right downtown.

Victorian-style Christmas decorations, entertainment, parades and hay rides are all part of Grapevine’s Christmas on Main – and although tickets aboard the North Pole Express via the Grapevine Vintage Railroad appear to be mostly sold out already, it should be fun to visit the railroad terminal right downtown as well as the Palace Theater, which will be hosting holiday concerts and showing holiday films, including ‘It’s a Wonderful Life,’ ‘White Christmas,” and ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas.’

grapevine santa gals

Love the layover: more offbeat museums

In a previous post, I told you about some of the offbeat museums I included in my Bizarre Museums slide-show for Bing Travel.

That list included Leila’s Hair Museum in Independence, Mo., the Museum of Bad Art in Dedham, Ma., and the Plumbing Museum in Watertown, Ma.  The Cockroach Hall of Fame, in Plano, Tx. was also on that list. It’s where more than two dozen costumed and preserved award-winning cockroaches are on display, including the bejeweled, piano-playing Liberoachi.

Liberoachi plays on forever at the Cockroach Hall of Fame

Here are few more unusual museums from the story:

If this museum could talk, it would slur its words.

In Bardstown, Ky., the Oscar Getz Museum of Whiskey History traces American whiskey history back to the 1700s with displays of liquor memorabilia ranging from moonshine stills and antique bottles to Abraham Lincoln’s liquor license and the hatchet used by temperance crusader Carrie Nation.

Vacuum or Lamp? Both!

They suck — and that’s why several dozen antique, vintage and just plain wacky suction-producing cleaning devices are displayed at the Vacuum Museum inside Stark’s Vacuums in Portland, Ore. Some of the most unusual models offered time-saving conveniences. Our favorites: vacuum cleaners that double as hair dryers, neck vibrators, lamps or footstools, for those quick clean-ups in the den.

Giant Shoe Museum in Seattle

Giant shoes: not just for clowns

Compact and coin-operated, the Giant Shoe Museum displays about 20 giant shoes dating from the 1890s to the 1950s. A feature of Old Seattle Paperworks in the Pike Place Market in Seattle, the oversized footwear includes The Colossus, a 5-foot-long black leather wingtip from the 1920s, and a shoe worn by Robert Wadlow, once the world’s tallest man.

Want to see more unusual museums? See the Museum Monday post here on and check out the full story with 14 Bizarre Museums – on Bing Travel.

Museum Monday: hair, cockroaches, plumbing and more

Thousands of museums in the United States document important events and valuable objects.

But if it’s the funny and offbeat you’re after, hightail it to the Plumbing Museum, the Pencil Sharpener Museum and these other offbeat and somewhat off-kilter places I profiled in a recent slide-show story titled Bizarre Museums for Bing Travel.

Here’s a sampling:

Established to celebrate “the labor of artists whose work would be displayed and appreciated in no other forum,” the three galleries operated by the Museum of Bad Art in the Boston area celebrate paintings that have “gone horribly awry in either concept or execution.” Rescued from trash heaps, yard sales, thrift stores and attics, the collection now includes more than 600 works of art, all of them bad — but in a good way.

Whether it’s a good hair day or a bad one, Leila Cohoon is happy to weave stories about the history of hair and take visitors through Leila’s Hair Museum in Independence, Mo. The carefully coiffed collection includes locks snipped from the manes of celebrities, 400 framed Victorian hair wreaths and more than 2,000 pieces of antique brooches, bracelets, necklaces and other jewelry made entirely with, or containing, human hair.

Located, appropriately enough, in Watertown, Mass., the Plumbing Museum’s collection snakes back to the 18th century and includes antique sinks, toilets, water closets and bathtubs as well as historic tools of the trade. If you’re curious about water mains, overflows and septic tanks, this museum devoted to piping technology through the ages will help flush out the answers.

When he’s not out removing unwanted critters from private homes, pest-control expert Michael Bohdan is tending to his Cockroach Hall of Fame and Museum in Plano, Texas. The museum features live insects, such as Madagascar hissing cockroaches, and more than two dozen costumed and preserved cockroaches, including the bejeweled, piano-playing Liberoachi and the sexy Marilyn Monroach.

Get the picture? There are 14 offbeat museums featured in the Bing Travel story, Bizarre Museums.
I’ll let you contemplate these a while and post a few more tomorrow.

Have I missed your favorite offbeat museum? Drop a note in the comment section below and perhaps your recommendation will be featured on a future edition of’s Museum Monday.

Fresh art at Phoenix and Austin airports

Stuck at the airport?  Look around. You may find an art exhibit right around the corner.

A new exhibit at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport- Fiber Art Unraveled: Material and Process – features work by 19 Arizona artists.

Here are a few samples:

Nick Georgiou’s Green Reindeer is made from newspapers and discarded books;

Clare Verstegen’s Compass is made with screen-printed wool, felt and birch plywood;

And Carol Eckert’s, The Raven Addresses the Animals is made with cotton embroidery thread and wire.

Fiber Art Unraveled: Material and Process will be on display until September 21, 2011 at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX), Terminal 4, Level 3 in eight display cases outside the security checkpoints.

At Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS), the newest exhibit shows off beads and beadwork from members of the Austin Bead Society (ABS) and includes vintage African trading beads, handmade jewelry  and the work of 20 Austin artists, including this polymer clay face framed with bead embroidery by Laura Zeiner.

AUSTIN Airport beadwork on display

The beadwork exhibit at Austin Bergstrom International Airport will be on display through October 18, 2010 in the airport concourse showcases, post-security, across from gates 7-11.

Have you seen some great art while you were stuck at the airport?

Love the layover: Museum of Bags and Purses

There are a lot of things to love about Amsterdam, including the canals, The Van Gogh Museum, The Rijksmuseum, the cheese, the bicycles and the chocolate.   On my most recent visit, I discovered one more: The Museum of Bags and Purses Hendrikje.

The 4000 piece collection includes pouches, pockets, purses, suitcases and accessories dating back to the 16th century and tells a wide variety of stories about fashion, art, history, decorative arts, and industrial innovations.

Here a just a few of my favorite items in the collection, starting with, of course, this assortment of trunks and suitcases:

This bag is actually a working telephone!

And this tortoise-shell bag inlaid with mother of pearl is the purse that started the collection.