DALLAS-BALTIMORE-NEW YORK: AUG 30, 2015 (SUN)/Overall Impression About Texas and Opinions

WEATHER: SUNNY

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Beautiful Sunday morning in Dallas.

Good morning, Dallas. I woke up around 10 a.m. I normally wake up 30 minutes before check out time and check out the hotel 30 minutes after the check out time (sorry, hotels!), but I had to leave my hotel by 11 a.m., the hotel check out time, for my flight to Baltimore, MD at 1:30 p.m.
Yes, my returning flight was to Baltimore even though I was going back to New York and had no specific plan or the connection of flight in Baltimore. The reason? Spirit Airlines had only one flight a day to New York from Dallas very early at 7:50 a.m. I wouldn’t be able to wake up before 5 in the morning. That was the reason I chose the flight to Baltimore and catch a bus to NYC. Still only a flight a day but afternoon departure. I wish I could fly to Philadelphia because NYC was much closer and departure time was later than Baltimore, but the fare was more expensive at that time of booking. Baltimore was my favorite place, so it would be nice if I could walk around Inner Harbor before catching a bus, which was actually not successful.

TO DALLAS/FORT WORTH AIRPORT
Going to Dallas/Fort Worth Airport (DFW) from downtown Dallas was easy and smooth. DART Orange Line light ran to the airport every 20 minutes. DART trains were clean and quiet.

The train view was nice. Especially after divided from Green Line at Bachman Station, the view was mainly dry glass field with newly developed upper-class residential areas. I even saw a swimming beaver at a small creek in a residential area from the train. The interesting thing was the center of each residential area and station location didn’t match. That was same with hotel areas. There were some hotel areas en route but no station nearby. The distance between each station was long for a light rail. Probably DART considered about passengers driving to station parking. Good for commuters, not for visitors.

TIP FOR THE ACCESS TO AIRPORT TERMINALS FROM DART LIGHT RAIL AT DFW: As one of the world’s largest and busiest airport, DFW has 5 big terminals. From DFW station, there is only one access to Terminal A. The DFW website informs to take Terminal Link, airport shuttle bus connects all terminals but runs only every 15 minutes, to go to other terminals in its website. That option is good only if you plan to check baggage or don’t have a boarding pass. If you have boarding pass already with only a carry-on baggage, you can pass airport security at Terminal A then move to your terminal by Skylink, train system connects all terminals within pro-security areas. Spirit used Terminal E, but I cleared security at Terminal A. The TSA security point of Terminal A was empty when I arrived. Because DFW is the big hub of American Airlines (AA) and most of the terminal are occupied by AA, you might be able to check in at Terminal A’s AA counter and move to your terminal by Skylink if you fly with the airline. I suggest you to ask the airline.
Also, have enough time at DFW. Although the structure of each terminal is functional and simple, that is still a very big and busy airport. Not only the home of the world’s largest airline (AA), Dallas is one the biggest business city in the U.S.

BALTIMORE-NEW YORK
Unlike my inbound flight to Dallas, the flight to Baltimore was completely full. The people sit next to me were friendly husband and wife from Virginia near the border with Maryland, who both were originally from Maryland. We enjoyed conversation soon after sitting down. I looked around the airplane and many strangers next each other were enjoying conversation before departure. Dialects were completely different between Texas and Maryland, but people of both states loved good conversation. Inside of the airplane was a very friendly atmosphere. I liked it!

The airplane arrived in Baltimore about 20 minutes early. I didn’t make a bus reservation to New York yet in the case my flight delayed. Because there were many buses to New York, I expected I would be able to find a bus easily after arriving in Baltimore. Soon after landed, I opened my iPad and searched buses from downtown Baltimore. The result was OMG. All buses were sold out! AMTRAK was so expensive, more than $100. Only available buses were Megabus from suburban Baltimore, where was the totally opposite side from the airport. Better than none, I booked with Megabus for the evening.

LONG WAY FROM BALTIMORE AIRPORT TO MEGABUS BUS STOP IN WHITE MARSH, MD VIA DOWNTOWN

I went to Inner Harbor in downtown Baltimore, 30 minutes away from the airport, by MARC light rail. When I arrived at one of the main street called Pratt Street, I knew why buses were sold out. The street was closed for a citywide event and parade for veterans. I sensed I might take a longer time to the Megabus stop, still an hour away by MARC city bus. I headed to White Marsh, where Megabus would leave to New York City, after a brief walk in Inner Harbor. Luckily I could catch #35 bus to White Marsh immediately. The female bus driver had a good Baltimore quality. Cheerfully greeted with each passenger. She kindly taught me the access to the Megabus stop when I got off the bus.

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Inner Harbor, Baltimore downtown. People were enjoying the street performance by a clown on Sunday evening.
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Inner Harbor. Center is Transamerica Tower, formerly Legg Mason Building. 
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Inner Harbor with former U.S Coast Guard ship.

White Marsh is located in the northeast of downtown Baltimore with several shopping malls. The last stop of #35 bus was White Marsh Mall, but the Megabus stop to New York was not same with #35 bus. I had to walk on Honeygo Blvd for about 5 minutes. The Megabus bus stop to New York was in White Marsh Park and Ride. Because I still had enough time to next bus. I took dinner at McDonald’s across the Park and Ride. There were many other restaurants around the mall.

I could change to an earlier bus to New York. There was no highway traffic. I considered I could go back to home relatively smooth but it was a long way from Texas.

NOTE: Megabus stop to/from other cities is located just across the White Marsh Mall, near Red Lobster. The location is totally different with New York City service.

OVERALL IMPRESSION ABOUT TEXAS AND OPINIONS
Texas was fun! I would definitely need more than weekend to enjoy in Dallas-Fort Worth area. Fort Worth downtown had many more things to do than my imagination. Regarding the Fort Worth Stockyard, it might be the best to visit around 3:00 p.m. and stay over in Fort Worth on Saturday night. Stockyards Rodeo had a show at 8:00 p.m. and Billy Bob’s Texas had their attractions such as concert and bull riding on Saturday night, beside Cattle Drive on Exchange Avenue at 4:00 p.m.
Dallas nightlife was definitely one the biggest and the best in the U.S. Of course, Dallas has more than nightlife such as arts and music. It would be wonderful to stay over the weekend.
I also wanted to eat nice Texas beef! My client suggested me several steak restaurants, but the time was limited. Texas is a big state and has many things to do. Still I had a wonderful time and things were smooth in Texas. I could experience many things for a weekend getaway.
The biggest gain in Texas was to be able to meet many friendly people during the short stay. Everywhere I went, people were very friendly and kind, maybe big-hearted, and I enjoyed conversation with them. I didn’t expect this before visiting Texas. People in Texas definitely gave me a positive image of the state. My memory is good enough to make me feel I want to go back to Texas again and visit many other places in the state.

If Dallas and Fort Worth wants to develop tourism more, they will need to impress people that Dallas and Fort Worth are actually fun places. Including both cities, probably the majority of people imagine that entire Texas, including both cities, is a boring place for visiting because they don’t know what Texas has. I was same, too, and that was why I hadn’t visited Texas until then. If Spirit Airlines and Hotwire didn’t have a cheap deal, I probably wouldn’t visit Texas. If my friend didn’t tell me about Fort Worth, probably the city would be out of my itinerary because I wouldn’t know what the city had. If I knew both cities were fun places, I might stay longer than one night.
Now, Texas started good tourism commercials to attract people on TV and YouTube. I’m sure they spent a lot of money for those promotions. All Dallas, Fort Worth, and Texas have beautiful tourism websites. I think it will be better if their website has more specific local information and suggestions as the view of the local travel professionals, not only listing attractions and restaurants. For example, what are their picks of local restaurants or attractions? What are their opinions about those places? Are there casual steak or BBQ restaurants the visitors can feel Texas, not only high end? Local tourism bureaus have better and more accurate information than other review sites such as Yelp or TripAdvisor. If they have daily or weekly picks on their website or YouTube, I think they can attract more people to Texas.

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