Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Overnight Layovers? Make the Best of It! Dallas & the Sixth Floor

Recently I went on a trip that required an overnight in Dallas. While initially I was annoyed not to be able to reach my destination right away, I decided to make the best of it and do a little sightseeing. The result? Two trips in one at a lower price!

Anyone that knows me knows that I am not a cowgirl, but when in Rome...

With the rising cost of airfares, getting creative with your travel plans is becoming more common, and overnight layovers have the potential to save you some considerable cash. The key is flying through a city that has something to offer, and Dallas is just that city!

For starters, DFW has two hotels connected to it - the Hyatt Regency DFW and the Grand Hyatt DFW. It is a large airport, with five terminals, but has a great transportation system within the airport that will take you to any terminal or either of these hotels at no charge. In my case, I booked a room in advance at the Hyatt Regency DFW for $89 - an incredible rate for such convenience! After I claimed my luggage, I walked over to the "hotel wall," picked up the phone and pressed the button for the Hyatt. The polite gentleman asked me where he should pick me up, and within 5 minutes I was sitting in a cool van headed for my hotel. How simple and flawless was that?

The rooms had a very nice decor. The best part was, for an airport hotel, I never once heard an airplane!

The hotel itself was much more than I expected. It was chic and modern, with an upscale restaurant/bar off the lobby. After checking into my room, it was time to hit the city. I went down to the entrance and asked the bellman to hail me a cab. I did not have to wait for a minute before a car drove up to take me wherever I needed to go.

The opposite side of the room had a great setup for business travelers.

It's about a 20 minute ride to downtown Dallas, and my destination was the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza. The museum is located on the 6th and 7th floors of the Dallas County Administration Building, at the corner of Houston and Elm, or as it was formerly named, the Texas School Book Depository. Yes, it is the building from which Lee Harvey Oswald launched the fatal shots that changed a nation.

This is the view from the 7th floor of the building. Pictures aren't allowed on the 6th floor.

View of the building from right around where the President's car was located. The shots came from the far right window on the 6th floor (2nd from the top). This corner section has been restored to its original status and is enclosed in glass.

The museum opened in 1989 in response to the hundreds of visitors each week that came to Dealey Plaza to pay their respects to President Kennedy. They found that people wanted a place to remember the great man and his legacy. I'd like to share with you the Vision Statement of the museum, to give you a better understanding of the purpose of such a place as a tourist destination: "To be an impartial, multi-generational destination and forum for exploring the memory and effects of the events surrounding the assassination of President Kennedy, through sharing his legacy and its impact on an ever-changing global society." I think it's important to note that it did not have a sensationalized, TMZ-like quality to it, but rather the feel of the museum was reflective and engaging. They do such a nice job of engrossing you in the status of the era, the mood of the nation, and the political and social climate of the times.

This view is from the Grassy Knoll, almost to the fence. In the far left corner, the trees frame the window from which the infamous shots came. In the lower right corner you see the X placed at the location of the President's car. It really is quite some distance between the two.

The Sixth Floor Museum is open every day except Thanksgiving and Christmas, so you should never have a problem getting in. The hours are Mondays from 12pm - 6pm, and the rest of the week from 10am - 6pm. Allow yourself about 90 minutes to go through the museum. Admission is $13.50, but children and seniors can save $1. As far as kids go, there were some children there while I was there, but they either looked really bored or were crying in their strollers. I would recommend ages 12-13 as a minimum, or else you won't be able to really read, listen and engage in the information. A walking audio tour is included, which you can stop and start at any time. You will want to pause the recording to watch several videos, which are approximately five minutes long.

The Grassy Knoll is much smaller than I had imagined.

After you're done with the museum, give yourself at least another half hour to walk around Dealey Plaza. It really is amazing to stand in the Grassy Knoll, and to walk around and read the plaques and dedications surrounding that intersection.

Fence at the left side of the Grassy Knoll. Some believe that may have been a shot fired from this location as well.
View from behind the fence.

After walking a few blocks to have some dinner downtown, it was finally time to head back to the Hyatt and get some sleep for an early flight the next morning. The wake-up call came promptly at 4am, and the shuttle was ready and waiting at 5am to take me to the terminal for my departure. Staying at this hotel was truly seamless!

So next time you're traveling internationally, consider an overnight. You may be able to save some money, as well as add an unexpected, educational experience to your trip!

No comments:

Post a Comment