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BEGINS IN: SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS

On the Road: San Antonio to Big Bend National Park

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Road Scholar
Program #20562RJ
7 Days | 6 Nights
ACTIVITY LEVEL: Moderate
EasyFor people looking to exercise their minds more than their bodies. There’s minimal walking and not too many stairs.
ModerateThese programs get you on your feet and include activities such as walking up to a mile in a day through a city and standing in a museum for a few hours.
ActiveFor people who enjoy walking as much as two miles a day, perhaps to explore historic neighborhoods or a nature trail.
Moderately ChallengingFor hardy explorers who enjoy a good physical challenge, spending most of their days on the go.
ChallengingGet ready to keep up with our highest-energy group. These demanding — and rewarding — programs are for seasoned outdoor enthusiasts.
Elevation Note
Elevation up to 7,000 ft inside Big Bend National Park

Itinerary for Mar 23 — Mar 29, 2014

Expand all
Type: Four-Star Hotel

Description: The hotel's riverside doors offer direct access to the beautiful San Antonio River Walk. Enjoy historical elegance and spectacular views along the famous River Walk. The Drury Plaza Hotel is the restored 1929 Alamo National Bank Building, located on the River Walk, and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Using Art Deco ornamentation and the principles of the Beaux-Arts, the architects designed the twenty-four story skyscraper and incorporated the Texas Stars and southwest patterns. This architectural masterpiece has been a landmark in the San Antonio skyline since its construction. The basement still contains three of the original bank vaults. The outdoor swimming pool and Jacuzzi, on the hotel's 24th floor, features city-wide views.

Contact info:
105 South St. Mary's Street
San Antonio, TX 78205 USA
phone: 210-270-7799
web: www.druryhotels.com/propertyoverview.aspx?property=0130

Room amenities: All rooms feature a microwave and refrigerator, iron and ironing board, flat panel LCD TVs, hair dryer, coffee maker, Internet access.

Facility amenities: Amenities at the Drury Plaza include a full hot breakfast buffet with scrambled eggs, sausage, pancakes, biscuits and gravy, juice, fruit, yogurt, cereals, coffee, and tea, complimentary Hot Food & Happy Hour 5:30 pm daily, complimentary 24-hour business center, fitness room and Guest Pantry, on-site covered valet parking is available for an additional charge, free fountain soda and fresh popcorn each afternoon in the lobby, beautiful rooftop pool and Jacuzzi with citywide views, and guest laundry.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes

Additional nights before: Contact the hotel directly.
Best seasonal price available. Please telephone hotel representative directly (210) 220-2990 or e-mail donna.swanson@druryhotels.com for rates and availability.

Check in time: 4:00 PM


Day One: Sunday, March 23 - Arrival & Check-in, Registration & Orientation, W...
Arrival & Check-in, Registration & Orientation, Welcome Dinner, Visit the Alamo after dark

Note: Must be able to walk on uneven surfaces up to a mile each day, stand in museums for a few hours, handle your own luggage, and climb on and off motor coach without difficulty.

Afternoon: HOTEL CHECK-IN: Available from 3:00pm.

REGISTRATION & ORIENTATION: 4:00p on 4th floor conference room. Pick up your Road Scholar arrival packet containing your name tag, up-to-date schedule, list of participants, maps, and other important information we will review.

(Border Patrol Information: Participants will pass through several border patrol checkpoints as the group nears the Rio Grande border with Mexico. Non U. S. citizens should bring passports to present to officials upon request. Texas law prohibits possession of marijuana. Drug sniffing dogs are used at border patrol checkpoints. Prescriptions for medical marijuana in other states are not recognized in Texas.) Your group leader will greet you with a warm Texas welcome, introduce everyone, and provide key staff contact names and phone numbers. We will review the up-to-date daily schedule, discuss responsibilities, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer any questions you may have. If you arrive late, pick up your packet at the hotel front desk.

During this program, you will explore the rugged beauty of the Big Bend National Park area, learn about the diversity of the geology, plant, and animal life of the area, and get an insider’s tour and a star viewing at the McDonald Observatory,

Please be aware that program activities and scheduled times could change due to weather and other local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. 5:30 p.m. Enjoy the kickback reception on the 2nd floor of the hotel, featuring free hot food and cold drinks.

Dinner: Meet other participants and get to know your group leaders at a welcome dinner at a river walk restaurant near the hotel

Evening: After dinner, enjoy a casual stroll along the River Walk to Alamo Plaza at dusk where your guide will share some little known stories regarding this famous battle site. Afterwards, a rare treat as we enter the Alamo grounds for an evening talk regarding the historic siege and battle.

Lodging: Drury Plaza Hotel

Meals Included: Dinner

Type: Three-Star Hotel

Description: Rated as one of Texas' top-ten small towns by Texas Highway magazine, Alpine is framed by the towering Davis Mountain range to the north and west, and the Chihuahuan Desert to the south. Located near Big Bend National Park, named for the vast curve in the Rio Grand River, the Hampton Inn® Alpine offers convenient access to some of the most unique landscape in West Texas.

Contact info:
2607 West Highway 90
Alpine, TX 79830 USA
phone: 432-837-7344
web: hamptoninn.hilton.com/en/hp/hotels/index.jhtml?ctyhocn=ALETXHX

Room amenities: Spacious non-smoking room features one king or two queen beds, 32" LCD HDTV, easy to operate alarm clock/radio and large work desk. The free high-speed internet access will help you stay connected while on the road. If you prefer not to work at the desk, you can use the convenient lapdesk instead. You'll also enjoy the convenience of having a coffee maker and iron/ironing board in your room. In the bathroom, you'll enjoy fluffy towels, a WaterPik showerhead and curved shower rod that allows more light and space in the shower.

Facility amenities: Hot breakfast, free high-speed internet access.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes


Day Two: Monday, March 24 - Travel to Big Bend Region; Scenic stops along the...
Note: Participants will be travelling approximately 400 miles by motor coach, sitting for long periods of time.

Breakfast: We enjoy a hot breakfast buffet before boarding our motorcoach.

Morning: Begin your excursion into the least-populated area of Texas by motor coach. We’ll stop along the way as we cross the scenic Hill Country and enter the dramatic Chihuahuan Desert. Your guide is a Texas Master Naturalist, who will be with you on the entire trip and provide instruction about plants, animals and birds of the area during your journey.

Lunch: PRESENTATION: Discover what archeologists know about life in this area from over 4,000 years ago during a brief stop at the Lake Amistad National Recreation Area visitor center near Del Rio, Texas. See what art on nearby rock shelter walls can teach us about early human and animal life in the area. Continue your journey across the desert and see first-hand the remoteness of the area. Eat a box lunch on the bus as you continue your westward journey.

Afternoon: FIELD TRIP: Heard about "The Law West of the Pecos?" You'll get to see it first-hand with a stop at the Judge Roy Bean Visitor Center in Langtry. Step inside the Jersey Lily and begin your exploration of the desert in the adjacent cactus garden learning how to identify species you'll see along your journey. Continue across the desert and begin to experience the remoteness of the area.

Dinner: After you arrive in Alpine, you’ll have a hearty meal and a well-deserved chance to stretch your legs.

Evening: PRESENTATION: A long-time resident of the Big Bend area will introduce you to the unique people and communities in the region. You'll begin to see why some people thrive in the isolated region and wouldn't live anywhere else.

Lodging: Hampton Inn Alpine

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Hotel

Description: The Hotel Limpia, an historic, restored hotel built in 1912, is located in mile high Fort Davis, nestled in the scenic Davis Mountains of southwest Texas. We currently have 31 rooms including suites. Our accommodations are fully restored with private baths, period furnishings and free Wi-Fi. The hotel setting provides a peaceful and comfortable hideaway from the busy outside world. The courtyard garden, fragrant with roses and herbs, the glassed-in veranda with its flourishing plants, and the porches with their rocking chairs are favorite places for guests to relax and enjoy the tranquility of a by-gone era of Texas. The main building of the hotel complex was built of pink limestone in 1912. Included in the interior architecture are rounded walls upstairs and 12-foot ceilings with ornamental pressed tin. The main building houses 31 rooms and suites, including a 1100-square foot master suite–all decorated in late Victorian reproduction furnishings. For guests’ pleasure are porches with rockers, a glassed-in veranda and a parlor with a fireplace. The rest of the week coffee and pastries and a breakfast plates are available at the Hotel’s Blue Mountain Bistro.

Contact info:
101 Memorial Square
Fort Davis, TX 79734 USA
phone: 432-426-3237
web: http://www.hotellimpia.com/

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.


Day Three: Tuesday, March 25 - Lunch at Historic Indian Lodge; Private Tour and ...
Lunch at Historic Indian Lodge; Private Tour and Star Viewing at University of Texas McDonald Observatory

Note: Behind-the-scenes tour of observatory involves two hours of walking to and standing in buildings and telescope/viewing areas- some uphill/downhill walking. Evening star viewing in amphitheater area, during which time you can opt to walk to telescopes on plaza, some of which require climbing 5-10 steps to reach viewing platform.

Breakfast: Enjoy a hearty breakfast at the hotel in Alpine, named one of the top ten small towns in Texas.

Morning: FIELD TRIP: Visit the Fort Davis National Historic Site, where you will develop a new appreciation of Buffalo Soldiers, early settlers, and native inhabitants of the region. Hear about life on a frontier military post, and the importance of mail coaches and freight wagons during the westward expansion of the United States. Visit the post hospital to get a glimpse of frontier medicine.

Lunch: Those for an eye for architectural detail will revel in a visit to the historic Indian Lodge in the Davis Mountains State Park. The lodge was originally built in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps, and has recently been renovated to update the building’s features, while carefully preserving details such as cane and log ceilings and casement windows. You’ll eat in the Black Bear restaurant and have some time to enjoy the lodge and the surrounding views

Afternoon: PRESENTATION: Hear a local author share amusing stories about life in the big country. The author is a retired historian and Smithsonian Institution employee who has an interesting perspective on life out west.

Afternoon: FIELD TRIP: Head for the hills as you set out for the McDonald Observatory to take a private tour. You’ll see several of the large, state-of-the-art telescopes and hear about the research conducted there, where scientists and university students continue to make important discoveries. After your tour, spend some time looking through exhibits in the visitor center as you contemplate new advances in the world of astronomy.

Dinner: Following check-in at the historic Hotel Limpia, savor a tasty dinner at the highly rated Blue Mountain Bistro.

Evening: PRESENTATION: Return to the McDonald Observatory for one of their famous star parties. Don’t miss this memorable opportunity to see stars and planets from one of the darkest and clearest night skies in the country with an expert guide. You’ll be able to see some objects with the naked eye as our expert describes objects in the sky, and get a chance to view others through the myriad of telescopes around the plaza.

Lodging: Hotel Limpia

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Resort

Description: Lajitas Resort and Spa is a 27,000 acre private estate community set against the beauty and majesty of the Big Bend National Park and Big Bend State Park.

Contact info:
HC 70
Lajitas, TX 79852 USA
phone: 432-424-5000
web: www.lajitasgolfresort.com

Room amenities: Each room is uniquely designed with individuality, offering stunning views of the valley, Rio Grande River or mountain range. Rooms are decorated with a "cowboy bordello" interior of iron beds, red velvet comforters and Mexican-tile bathrooms. All rooms offer Cable TV, Coffee/Tea Maker, Complimentary Bottled Water, Clock Radio, DVD Player, Hair Dryer, In-Room Safe, Iron/Ironing Board, Phone, Refrigerator, Wireless High-Speed Internet (Complimentary).

Facility amenities: 24-Hour Business Center, Audio-Visual Equipment, 24-Hour Front Desk, Outdoor Ampitheatre, ATM/Banking, Complimentary Coffee In Lobby, Fitness Center, Laundry Facilities, Onsite Spa, Saloon, Cowboy Art Gallery, Equestrian Center, General Store, Gift Shop, Golf Course, Rio Grande Walking Trail, Swimming Pool, Fossil Museum.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.


Day Four: Wednesday, March 26 - Scenic Drive to Big Bend Area; Big Bend Ranch Sta...
Scenic Drive to Big Bend Area; Big Bend Ranch State Park, Naturalist Guided Jeep Tour

Note: Safari-style jeep seats 4-6 persons with a naturalist as your personal guide. The 3-hr ride over primitive mountain roads has some bouncing and roughness.

Breakfast: Enjoy a full breakfast at your hotel.

Morning: You'll head for the border during your scenic drive from Ft. Davis to Terlingua. You'll visit the largest state park in Texas, the Big Bend Ranch State Park, encompassing more than 300,000 acres of rugged terrain. Explore the interpretive exhibits of the newly opened Barton Warnock Visitor Center to find out how the history, geology and landscape have shaped the region. Displays at the center interpret 570 million years of geological history and were built with support of state and national park staff from Texas and the surrounding Mexican states.

Lunch: A picnic lunch is provided at the Big Bend Ranch State Park.

Afternoon: PRESENTATION: A park ranger will explain how humans, animals and plants survive in and adapt to the harsh desert conditions of the region. Develop a better understanding of the region as the ranger tells you about clues discovered through the study of geology, plant life and animal life in the area.

Afternoon: FIELD TRIP: Get ready for action as you venture out on an interpretative jeep tour with a naturalist guide. You’ll get an inside look at rocks, plants and other natural features as your guide enlightens you about the cultural and natural history of the region. You may see evidence of wildlife and spot some birds as you venture into the wilderness. Groups will alternate between the guided jeep excursion through the desert and a stop at the State Park Visitor Center and an outing to the ghost town of Terlingua, home of the famous Starlight Theater.

Dinner: Enjoy dinner on your own at the Lajitas Spa and Resort. You may choose between a restaurant, saloon or deli on site.

Lodging: Lajitas Resort

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch
Type: Three-Star Hotel

Description: Rated as one of Texas' top-ten small towns by Texas Highway magazine, Alpine is framed by the towering Davis Mountain range to the north and west, and the Chihuahuan Desert to the south. Located near Big Bend National Park, named for the vast curve in the Rio Grand River, the Hampton Inn® Alpine offers convenient access to some of the most unique landscape in West Texas.

Contact info:
2607 West Highway 90
Alpine, TX 79830 USA
phone: 432-837-7344
web: hamptoninn.hilton.com/en/hp/hotels/index.jhtml?ctyhocn=ALETXHX

Room amenities: Spacious non-smoking room features one king or two queen beds, 32" LCD HDTV, easy to operate alarm clock/radio and large work desk. The free high-speed internet access will help you stay connected while on the road. If you prefer not to work at the desk, you can use the convenient lapdesk instead. You'll also enjoy the convenience of having a coffee maker and iron/ironing board in your room. In the bathroom, you'll enjoy fluffy towels, a WaterPik showerhead and curved shower rod that allows more light and space in the shower.

Facility amenities: Hot breakfast, free high-speed internet access.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes


Day Five: Thursday, March 27 - Big Bend National Park: Driving and Hiking Tours;...
Note: Participants will be given the opportunity to go on a short hike near the Chisos Mountain Lodge. Elevation near the lodge is approximately 5,000 feet.

Breakfast: Enjoy breakfast at the beautiful Lajitas Resort and Spa.

Morning: FIELD TRIP: Begin your visit to the Big Bend National Park with a trip down Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive with a naturalist who will describe the diversity of the region.

Morning: FIELD TRIP: Wonder at the diversity of the region as you leave the desert and head up the Chisos Mountain Trail, where you will see changes in vegetation and wildlife.

Lunch: Lunch at the restaurant in the Chisos Mountain Lodge, built in part by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s.

Afternoon: FIELD TRIP: No visit to the area is complete without a stop in Marathon, a community put on the map when the railroad came to town and now known for its quaint hotels and galleries.

Afternoon: PRESENTATION: Get a personal introduction to the Big Bend National Park from a park ranger, who will provide an overview of the park and answer any questions you might have about this large and diverse natural area. You'll have an opportunity to go on a short hike near the lodge, if you wish.

Afternoon: FIELD TRIP: No visit to the area is complete without a stop in Marathon, a community put on the map when the railroad came to town and now known for its quaint hotels and galleries.

Afternoon: FIELD TRIP: Your day in the park ends with a visit to the Panther Junction Visitor Center, where you may choose to watch a national park service film about the park or explore a cactus garden. See a different section of the vast park as you exit through the Persimmon Gap station as you end your day of discovery.

Dinner: Dinner in Alpine as you enjoy your final evening in the big sky country.

Lodging: Hampton Inn Alpine

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Four-Star Hotel

Description: The hotel's riverside doors offer direct access to the beautiful San Antonio River Walk. Enjoy historical elegance and spectacular views along the famous River Walk. The Drury Plaza Hotel is the restored 1929 Alamo National Bank Building, located on the River Walk, and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Using Art Deco ornamentation and the principles of the Beaux-Arts, the architects designed the twenty-four story skyscraper and incorporated the Texas Stars and southwest patterns. This architectural masterpiece has been a landmark in the San Antonio skyline since its construction. The basement still contains three of the original bank vaults. The outdoor swimming pool and Jacuzzi, on the hotel's 24th floor, features city-wide views.

Contact info:
105 South St. Mary's Street
San Antonio, TX 78205 USA
phone: 210-270-7799
web: www.druryhotels.com/propertyoverview.aspx?property=0130

Room amenities: All rooms feature a microwave and refrigerator, iron and ironing board, flat panel LCD TVs, hair dryer, coffee maker, Internet access.

Facility amenities: Amenities at the Drury Plaza include a full hot breakfast buffet with scrambled eggs, sausage, pancakes, biscuits and gravy, juice, fruit, yogurt, cereals, coffee, and tea, complimentary Hot Food & Happy Hour 5:30 pm daily, complimentary 24-hour business center, fitness room and Guest Pantry, on-site covered valet parking is available for an additional charge, free fountain soda and fresh popcorn each afternoon in the lobby, beautiful rooftop pool and Jacuzzi with citywide views, and guest laundry.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes

Additional nights before: Contact the hotel directly.
Best seasonal price available. Please telephone hotel representative directly (210) 220-2990 or e-mail donna.swanson@druryhotels.com for rates and availability.

Check in time: 4:00 PM


Day Six: Friday, March 28 - Return to San Antonio by bus
Note: Primarily a travel day. Return to San Antonio via Interstate 10, with occasional rest stops along the way.

Breakfast: Enjoy a hot breakfast at your hotel.

Morning: Bid a fond farewell to the sprawling Big Bend region as you head out by bus. Stop in a scenic Hill Country town along the way.

Lunch: Get your barbecue fix with some pit smoked barbecue from the well-known Cooper family in Junction.

Afternoon: Complete your return to San Antonio. Your group leader will have some educational videos for you to watch as you travel and will share some thoughts to wrap up your westward journey. Beginning at 5:30 p.m. Enjoy the kickback reception on the 2nd floor of the hotel, featuring free hot food and cold drinks.

Dinner: Pamper yourself with a catered dinner in at the hotel after the long trip. Your group leader will lead a final discussion and present a slide show of photos collected during the week to wrap up your experience as you enjoy a catered meal.

Lodging: Drury Plaza Hotel

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch
Day Seven: Saturday, March 29 - Enjoy a hot breakfast buffet before farewells and...
Breakfast: A hot breakfast buffet is included.

Morning: Free Time: Optional morning independent activities include a River Walk stroll along our hotel; or visit the Alamo or Historic Market District, which are located within walking distance from our hotel. Departures. Hotel check out is 11:00 a.m. We hope you have enjoyed this very special event and will return for other rewarding Road Scholar programs in the future. Best wishes for all your journeys!

Meals Included: Breakfast

Important information about your itinerary:
Please know that while we do everything we can to finalize all aspects of our programs well in advance, there are logistics that occasionally must be altered. Our website will reflect the most recent information, and we are committed to providing you with final program details no later than eight weeks prior to the start of programs outside the U.S. and three weeks prior to the start of programs within the U.S. If you ever have questions about your program, please don't hesitate to contact us and we will be happy to assist you.

Our Value Promise To You

You won't find a better value.

Included
at no additional cost on this date ...
6 nights of accommodations
15 meals: 6 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 4 dinners
12 Expert-led lectures
10 Field trips

Ratings

4.6
Ratings are determined by participant evaluations.

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