Courtesy of Camp Margaritaville

An RV resort near Galveston Island is getting a major upgrade. After a comprehensive series of renovations, the property currently known as Bolivar Beach Club & RV Resort will become Camp Margaritaville RV Resort Crystal Beach.

Located on Bolivar Peninsula, the 150-acre property features Gulf views and over 200 RV parking spots. The facility also features a concert venue, "Texas-sized" pool with swim-up bar and pool-side cabanas, and a turf playing field. Upgrades will include the addition of the Fins Bar & Grill restaurant and a bar called License to Chill.

RV drivers will find amenities such as electric, water and sewer hookups, complimentary Wi-Fi, dog parks, a gym, and facilities for showering and doing laundry. The location gives visitors close proximity to 27 miles of beaches along the peninsula.

"We’ve seen incredible success and excitement around our existing Camp Margaritaville RV Resort locations and are thrilled to expand our presence in the state of Texas,” Margaritaville COO Brad Schwaeble said in a statement. “As more and more people are finding new ways to travel and explore, Camp Margaritaville Crystal Beach will provide everything needed for a getaway for all ages.”

Camp Margaritaville joins the company's existing Margaritaville Lake Resort, Lake Conroe. Opened in the summer of 2020, it features 335 suites, an 18-hole golf course, a three-acre waterpark with a lazy river and outdoor pools, and more.

Dallas Love Field

Dallas Love Field lands No. 3 ranking among best large airports in U.S.

Airport news

Dallas Love Field flies to the top of a new ranking of the best major airports in Texas.

Nationally, Love Field ranks third in the large-airport category of J.D. Powers’ 2022 North America Airport Satisfaction Study. With a score of 825 on a 1,000-point scale, Love Field nails down the highest finish among the six Texas airports included in the study.

Love Field is preceded on the large-airport list by Tampa International Airport in Florida (846) and John Wayne Airport in Orange County, California (826).

“Providing a first-rate customer experience is, without question, our No. 1 goal,” Mark Duebner, aviation director for the City of Dallas, said in a 2021 news release issued by Love Field.

The J.D. Power study measures overall traveler satisfaction with mega, large, and midsize North American airports by examining six factors: terminal facilities; airport arrivals and departures; baggage claim; security check; check-in and baggage check; and food, beverage, and retail.

The study is based on survey responses from 26,529 U.S. and Canadian residents who had traveled through at least one U.S. or Canadian airport in the previous 30 days.

Among the six Texas airports featured in the study, Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport — the world’s second busiest airport — lands at No. 5 (score of 778) statewide. On the list of mega airports, DFW appears at No. 8, with Minneapolis-Saint Paul International claiming the top spot.

“At DFW, we continue on a path forward that prioritizes the customer’s journey, operational excellence, and a culture that welcomes all to North Texas,” Sean Donohue, CEO of DFW, said in an April news release.

Here’s how the four other Texas airports fared in the J.D. Power study:

  • Houston’s William P. Hobby Airport, No. 2 in Texas and No. 8 among large airports (score of 803)
  • San Antonio International Airport, No. 3 in Texas and No. 9 among large airports (score of 802)
  • Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, No. 4 in Texas and No. 15 among large airports (score of 785)
  • George Bush Intercontinental Airport Houston, No. 6 in Texas and No. 16 among mega airports (score of 758)

J.D. Power says overall satisfaction with North American airports fell 25 points to 777 in the new study.

“The combination of pent-up demand for air travel, the nationwide labor shortage, and steadily rising prices on everything from jet fuel to a bottle of water have created a scenario in which airports are extremely crowded and passengers are increasingly frustrated — and it is likely to continue through 2023,” says Michael Taylor, travel intelligence lead at J.D. Power.

American Airlines unveils loaded new suite seats for long-haul flights

Airline News

Fort Worth-based American Airlines will be debuting fancy new premium seating for its long-haul flights that will include privacy doors, more storage space, and even an optional chaise lounge.

The new seating will be part of the airline's Airbus A321XLR and Boeing 787-9 aircraft, in the premium cabin only, with availability beginning in 2024.

American’s Vice President of Customer Experience Julie Rath says that "the arrival of new long-haul aircraft and the customized seat design of the Flagship Suite seats will offer customers a truly private premium experience on our long-haul fleet.”

The Premium Economy seat will afford more privacy and double the amount of in-seat storage space.

Premium seating on American’s long-haul fleet will grow more than 45 percent by 2026: American’s Boeing 787-9 aircraft will have 51 Flagship Suite seats and 32 Premium Economy seats, and the airline’s Airbus A321XLR aircraft will feature 20 Flagship Suite seats and 12 Premium Economy seats.

American will also retrofit its fleet of 20 Boeing 777-300ER aircraft to include Flagship Suite seats, as well as its 16 Airbus A321T fleet, and will continue to offer lie-flat seats on transcontinental routes departing New York and Boston along with its Northeast Alliance partner, JetBlue Airways.

Customers can share personal space can on the Boeing 787-9. The Boeing 787-9 Premium Economy seats feature headrest wings to increase privacy and larger inseat entertainment screens.

The Flagship Suite on the Boeing 787-9 offers more comfort with lie-flat seating and can also convert to a chaise lounge position.

The Airbus A321XLR will have 20 Flagship Suite seats when it is delivered in 2024.

Premium customers are getting perks galore such as newly redesigned Admirals Club lounges, the first of which will open at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport this fall. They'll feature branded elements and sustainable wood designs created by design company Teague that will be echoed on the aircraft for a seamless aesthetic experience. Because if there's one thing you don't want, it's to leave the scrumptious sustainable wood designs of your premium lounge only to enter a premium cabin bereft of all wood.

Hyatt Ziva Cancun/Facebook [https://www.facebook.com/hyattzivacancun/photos/a.621214268015006/1427872504015841/?type=3&theater]

DFW Airport lands at No. 1 on new list of U.S. airports with most nonstop destinations

Ready for takeoff

Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport flies to the top spot on a new list of the U.S. airports with the most nonstop destinations.

The Simply Flying website reports that DFW now offers 239 nonstop destinations, seven more than second-ranked Chicago O’Hare International Airport.

“Before the COVID-19 pandemic, DFW was the United States airport that offered the most nonstop destinations in the country for a brief period. Now, the Dallas airport is back on top,” Simply Flying says.

Fort Worth-based American Airlines accounts for the bulk of the nonstop destinations from DFW — 220.

According to Simply Flying, the most popular destinations for American flights from DFW are Los Angeles International Airport and Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, each with 14 flights per day. Next in line is New York City’s LaGuardia Airport (13 daily flights).

The most popular international destination is Cancun, with seven flights per day.

While DFW offers the most nonstop destinations of any U.S. airport, it’s not even close to the leader for international destinations. That honor goes to New York City’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, with nonstop flights to 108 international destinations. DFW offers nonstop flights to 51 destinations.

DFW ranks as the world’s second busiest airport based on passenger volume, welcoming more than 62.5 million travelers in 2021. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is No. 1.

“At DFW, we continue on a path forward that prioritizes the customer’s journey, operational excellence, and a culture that welcomes all to North Texas,” airport CEO Sean Donohue says.

Generation Hemp

Dallas' Richard Rawlings gets into hemp with Gas Monkey Garage collaboration

Celebrity News

A Dallas company has collaborated with famed car guy Richard Rawlings on a handy new product made from hemp. Called Gas Monkey Spill-Jack, it's a plant-based item made from magical hemp that you use to absorb oil and other spills, named for Gas Monkey Garage, Rawlings' acclaimed hot-rod car shop.

The product is made by Generation Hemp, Inc., whose regular business is to dry, clean, process, and store hemp. They recently started getting into the consumer field when they launched an animal bedding item in 2021. Called Rowdy Rooster Hemp, it's animal bedding made from hemp hurd, which a release helpfully explains is the woody inner portion of the hemp stalk.

Hemp hurd animal bedding is more than twice as absorbent as wood shavings, is low dust, and its natural properties are resistant to bacteria, mold, and pests, making it one of the healthiest materials for bedding. It's also super soft on the little roosters' feet.

Spill-Jack is their second consumer goods offering, and was discovered at the company's own processing facilities, where they were dealing with hemp oil spills that seemed similar to oil spills you'd find in an automotive garage. They started to use hemp hurd to soak up those spills, and found it worked faster and better than kitty litter, which is what most garages use.

A brief treatise on spill absorbers
Spill absorbents fall into three categories: mineral based, animal or vegetable based, and synthetic or organic polymers.

The challenge is finding a material that does not pose a threat to health or the environment, whether that threat occurs with how the material is procured or whether it shows up during use.

For example, a widely used spill absorbent material in products is Bentonite Clay. But it's very dusty; has warnings of containing unsafe levels of lead; and has been associated with a number of health complaints in humans.

And now, back to hemp
Hemp hurd is preferable to products that contain chemicals, says Generation Hemp chairman and CEO Gary Evans.

"Most of the current products used are not the best environmental options, and other eco-friendly options just don't perform as well," Evans says.

The company brought their magical hemp stalks to Richard Rawlings' Gas Monkey Garage for a demo. Evans says everyone was "somewhat stunned" at how well Spill-Jack performed.

"Our team was very excited to collaborate with Richard and Gas Monkey," he says. "Getting the stamp of approval from such a well known automotive brand is one thing, but to then have the founder put his brand behind our product was just unexpected. In fact, it was our visit to Gas Monkey Garage that inspired our product's name, Spill-Jack. If you can jack up a car, you can jack up a spill!"

The initial products in the Gas Monkey Spill-Jack line will come in three sizes:

  • large 20 pound bag that can absorb approximately 24 gallons of oil
  • medium sized bag that can absorb approximately 9 liters of oil
  • mini-bag singles sold individually or in six-packs and can be kept in the purse or glove box to clean up any spills on the go, including pet messes

The mini-bag singles cost $1.99 each. Put one in your purse!

Rawlings is busy these days: He's opening two locations of his restaurant and live music venue, Gas Monkey Bar & Grill, and he's also about to sell off nearly his entire collection of classic restored cars in a big auction taking place in September.

Courtesy photo

Vintage trolley from old Dallas Spaghetti Warehouse has new (temporary) home

Trolley News

A vintage Dallas streetcar has found a temporary new home: The trolley, once tucked inside the Spaghetti Warehouse in Dallas' West End, will find a safe and secure berth at Orr Reed Architectural Co., a salvage store located a few miles south of downtown Dallas, which will provide temporary quarters while the vehicle gets renovated in preparation for its final home.

The trolley was one of the original streetcars that ran through East Dallas nearly a century ago. It surged to fame in 2019 when Spaghetti Warehouse closed after 47 years, and the company held a giant auction of its extensive collection of memorabilia.

The streetcar attracted an anonymous buyer, but that buyer bailed once they encountered the difficulties of removing the trolley from the location.

The trolley was then bequeathed to the Junius Heights Historic District, a neighborhood association representing more than 800 homes in Old East Dallas, east of Munger Place, south of Swiss Avenue and southwest of Lakewood.

The organization wanted to save the trolley because of its role in the original streetcar program that was key to the establishment of Junius Heights and East Dallas, says a spokesperson who serves on the Junius Heights' trolley committee, and who also has a personal connection.

"The streetcar lines were built by the developer who was selling lots in East Dallas," she says. "Workers could take it to their offices downtown. It operated until the 1950s. My grandfather was a delivery driver for a paper company in Richardson that would deliver paper to offices in downtown Dallas. He could park his truck outside downtown and get on a subway that took him underground into the bottom of the office buildings in Dallas."

It's one of the few streetcars from that era that still exists.

"It was of particular interest to our neighborhood since it has 'Junius Heights' in that little strip across the front where it shows the next stop," she says.

The trolley has no wheels or motor parts, so it won't be mobile. The organization's goal is to make it an interactive museum attraction.

"We hope that it can continue the purpose it served inside Spaghetti Warehouse where people can experience sitting inside a street car — but back in our neighborhood," she says. "We still need to determine the best location where it can be secure and have protection from the elements, but the objective is to preserve it and save it from the scrapyard."

When they were seeking a place where it could stay during renovations, up stepped Hannah Hargrove, owner of Orr Reed, which is dedicated to finding new homes for items of value such as reclaimed hardwood, antique lumber, doors, and wrought iron fences.

"I actually wanted to buy it — it's a piece of our city's history," Hargrove says. "But when I read the fine print on the auction, I knew there was no way I could get it out. It was heartbreaking. Then during the pandemic, I was approached by the Junius Heights Historic District. who had raised enough funds to move it."

"We determined that we could probably make the room and that our gates were big enough to accommodate its entry," she says.

The trolley is currently being disassembled in anticipation of the journey, which they're hoping will take place this fall.

Hargrove and her team spent much of August reconfiguring their warehouse to make space. (They've also been hosting sales to make space, check out the vintage sky-blue Frigidaire wall oven.)

"It's going into a corner where we usually store larger furniture items and really nice windows — nothing that was easy to move," Hargrove says.

"But we wanted to make sure that this piece of city history was preserved," she says. "We care about these things. Do I need the space, of course I do — but this is a piece of our history we cannot get back."

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CultureMap Emails are Awesome

Top-ranked high schools make the grade in this week's 5 hottest Dallas headlines

This week's hot headlines

Editor's note: A lot happened this week, so here's your chance to get caught up. Read on for the week's most popular headlines. Looking for the best things to do this weekend? Find that list here.

1. 2 distinguished Dallas high schools sit at head of the class as Texas' best in 2022. Two campuses in Dallas have earned extra credit as the best high schools in Texas. In the latest rankings from education review website Niche, Dallas ISD’s School for the Talented & Gifted tops the list of the state’s best public high schools, and St. Mark’s School of Texas in Dallas leads the list of the state’s best private high schools.

2. NFL legend Terry Bradshaw's ranch north of Dallas listed for $22.5 million. An Oklahoma ranch around 70 miles north of Dallas-Fort Worth that’s owned by NFL Hall of Famer and Fox Sports analyst Terry Bradshaw is back on the market for $22.5 million. The 744-acre ranch was relisted after a deal with a would-be buyer fell through.

3. Dallas grilled cheese restaurant abruptly closes location in Oak Cliff. A Bishop Arts restaurant dedicated to making grilled cheese sandwiches has closed: The aptly named Dallas Grilled Cheese Co. closed its original location at 310 W. 7th St., after nearly eight years. According to co-owner Diana Ezzell, the closure was prompted by problems with the location.

4. Best vegan grocer in Denton relocates to market-deli space. An acclaimed market in Denton specializing in all things vegan is making a move: Mashup Market, the plant-based specialty grocer that debuted at 316 Oak St. in 2020, is closing that original location and making its new headquarters at 1302 W. Hickory St., its second location that opened in 2021.

5. Dallas man allegedly scammed $26M from Chinese real estate investors. A Dallas-area man has been charged for allegedly scamming Chinese investors out of more than $26 million in a real estate scheme. Timothy Lynch Barton, the 59-year-old president of real estate development firm JMJ and CEO of real estate investment firm Carnegie Development, has been indicted on seven counts of wire fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and one count of securities fraud.

Beto to visit Dallas college campuses following debate on TV with Abbott

Campaign News

On November 8, Texas will vote for its next governor — choosing from either incumbent Republican Greg Abbott or Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke.

In anticipation, the two will participate in a debate on September 30, which takes place at 7 pm at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley in Edinburg. It's hosted by KXAN news anchor Britt Moreno and will feature questions from a panel of journalists.

The debate will air on Nexstar television stations which in Dallas is KDAF Channel 33; the Texas Tribune will also livestream.

It's their only scheduled debate and according to the Associated Press, Abbott conditioned his participation on the debate taking place without an audience.

"Sources tell me Abbott would only agree to face Beto with no audience in the room," said journalist Scott Braddock, in a tweet which is right here:

This will be first time Abbott and O'Rourke meet since the May 25 press conference where O’Rourke confronted Abbott after the shooting in Uvalde.

O'Rourke, who previously undertook a summer tour across Texas, holding 70 public events in more than 65 counties, is now launching a College Tour focused on young voters. It includes visits to two Dallas-area campuses, with only one open to the public, as follows:

  • Monday October 3, 10 am: Town Hall at University of North Texas, at the University of North Texas - Gateway Center Ballroom, 801 N. Texas Blvd., Denton. Open to UNT students only.
  • Monday October 3, 12:30 pm: College Tour Town Hall at Dallas College El Centro Campus, 801 Main St., Dallas. Open to the public.

During the College Tour, he'll hold more than a dozen public events at colleges and universities around the state, affording an opportunity not only for him to share his platform — reproductive freedom, reducing gun violence, raising minimum wage, legalizing marijuana — but also an opportunity to get students and young people registered before the October 11 deadline.

'Wide-awake' Dallas neighbor is 2nd best U.S city for families, says Fortune

No place like home

Fortune advises readers to not let Wylie’s “picturesque, historic downtown fool you.” And for good reason. The magazine hails the North Texas city as “a fast-growing, modern community that doesn’t skimp on the amenities.”

Thanks in large part to those amenities, Fortune puts Wylie at No. 2 on its list of the 25 best places in the U.S. for families to live. Ann Arbor, Michigan, takes the top spot.

In recognizing Wylie, the magazine cites the city’s well-above-average public schools, numerous facilities for older residents, and events such as the Bluegrass on Ballard festival and Wylie 500 Pedal Car Race.

"With its start as a stop on the Santa Fe Railway in the 1880s, Wylie has always been a gathering place," the magazine writes. "In fact, because shops stayed open late to accommodate the railway visitors and business, one of the town’s nicknames became 'Wide-Awake Wylie.' The historic downtown continues that tradition of community today..."

Fortune lists the median home price in Wylie as $399,838 and the median household income as $96,845. The booming suburb is home to nearly 60,000 residents. It now stretches across Dallas, Collin, and Rockwall counties.

To come up with its ranking, Fortune combed through mounds of data for almost 2,000 communities in the U.S.

The only other Texas city in the top 25 is the Houston suburb of Sugar Land, ranked 17th.

“Residents have a sweet spot for this Houston suburb that brings the community together through its lively downtown hub, local events, and even a ball game or two,” Fortune says.

Among other highlights, Fortune notes Sugar Land’s “outstanding schools,” the Sugar Land Space Cowboys minor-league baseball team, Sugar Land Town Square, and high-quality health care at Memorial Hermann Sugar Land Hospital.

In Sugar Land, the median home price is $399,250 and the median household income is $121,665, according to Fortune. The suburb is home to around 110,000 people.