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San Antonio Celebrates the Holiday Season: Lighting Up the River Walk

Program Number: 7019RJ
Start and End Dates:
12/16/2012 - 12/21/2012; 11/30/2014 - 12/5/2014; 12/14/2014 - 12/19/2014;
Duration: 5 nights
Location: San Antonio, Texas
Price starting at: $798.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Holidays Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 13; 5 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 5 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian; Gluten Free    

View the River Walk ablaze with millions of lights while journeying along the river during the annual Festival of Lights. Through expert-led visits to San Antonio’s iconic historical sites such as the Alamo and The King William District and explorations of the vibrant and lively El Mercado and La Villita areas, you will welcome a greater perspective and understanding of this fascinating city in its most beautiful time of the year.


• Walk the King William Historic District, home to 19th-century mansions, and experience it decorated for the holidays.
• Experience the San Fernando Cathedral, built in 1731 as a center for city life — 5,000 participate in weekend masses and 100 weddings are held here each year.
• Learn about the life of LBJ on a day-long field trip to the Texas Hill Country.

Activity Particulars

Walking up to one mile with rests, some uneven terrain in historic areas, one flight of stairs, getting on/off trolley car and motorcoach without assistance.

Coordinated by Barshop Jewish Community Center of San Antonio.

San Antonio

Explored in 1691 and 1709 by Spanish expeditions that named the San Antonio River and San Pedro Creek, the city of San Antonio today incorporates its colorful past into its present, offering the bustling River Walk, botanical gardens of native Texas flora, and the Missions National Historic Park, which includes the famous Alamo.

Historic hotel in the heart of downtown, just 18 steps from the Alamo grounds. Outdoor pool, fitness room located in sister property.

Road Scholar Instructors
These instructors are participating on at least one date of this program. Please note that changes may occur.
Hector Cardenas

After a 34-year career as a paramedic and firefighter for the San Antonio Fire Department, Hector Cardenas retired and began a second career sharing his love of his native city as a group leader. The Vietnam War veteran has also long been a community activist, focusing on issues from urban housing to public parks. Hector continues to help San Antonio by serving on the boards of several community groups and commissions.
Della Savage

Born in Mississippi but residing most of her life in San Antonio, Della Savage retired in 2005 after 25 years with San Antonio College, a college of Alamo Community Colleges. She volunteered for two years on Road Scholar programs with the Jewish Community Center before becoming a certified program leader. She is a member of the San Antonio Professional Tour Guide Association and enjoys sharing with others the wonderful history, sights and tastes of San Antonio.
Meals and Lodgings
   The Crockett Hotel
  San Antonio, Texas 5 nights
 The Crockett Hotel
Type: Boutique Hotel
  Description: Located just 18 steps from the Alamo. Like Texas, the Crockett Hotel is well-located, independent, spacious, comfortable, has a great history, and is friendly and personable. A 2007 renovation gives each of its 138 non-smoking guestrooms the freshest of furnishings and colors. From soothing sage to a comforting cream, all of our guestrooms invoke the intimacy and elegance of a boutique hotel in San Antonio. The feel is simple and understated, with all the traditional comforts of a hotel built nearly 100 years ago.
  Contact info: 320 Bonham
San Antonio, TX 78205 USA
phone: 210-225-6500
  Facility amenities: The classic San Antonio Crockett hotel offers 138 guest rooms, including a variety of lodgings, including suites, on each floor. Crockett guests enjoy an outdoor pool and restfully landscaped fountain, complimentary continental breakfast, wireless and dial-up Internet access, in-room movies and video games, luxurious Gilchrist and Soames bath amenities, in-room coffee makers, irons, ironing boards and hair dryers. Refrigerators are provided in a number of rooms and are also available upon request. Valet and self-park options are available in a parking area operated by the hotel. An added measure of security is provided by the Crockett’s electronic guest room and elevator key system, which requires the use of the appropriate key card for access to any guest room floor in the hotel. Lodgings are located on the second through sixth floors of the hotel, with the seventh floor containing a series of meeting rooms and suites ideal for corporate and social functions. Guests of the classic Crockett Hotel are treated to an enhanced continental breakfast, served daily in the Landmark Dining area in the lobby. Breads, bagels and pastry are offered along with frittata, cereals, yogurts, fresh fruit juices, coffee and tea. Enjoy the San Antonio morning paper or watch the morning news on the television while enjoying your breakfast to start the day. Room service is available from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily, and The Crockett is convenient to the broad spectrum of Downtown San Antonio restaurants, including the Colonial Room at The Menger Hotel and Morton’s Steak House, both of which are across the street.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: Call for rates. Call for rates.
  Check in time: 3:00 PM
  Additional nights after: Call for rates. Call for rates.
  Check out time: 12:00 PM

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Hotel check in is 3pm, program starts 5pm Sunday - San Antonio, Texas You will be staying at The Crockett Hotel that night.
  End of Program:
Hotel check out is 12pm, program ends 10am Friday - San Antonio, Texas You will be staying at The Crockett Hotel the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required. Completed release form is required.
  Parking availability:
Parking at the hotel is 18 dollars a day. You must mention Barshop JCC Road Scholar Program for this special rate.
To Start of Program
  Location:  San Antonio, Texas
  From End of Program
  Location: San Antonio, Texas
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details


From Airport




phone: 210-222-2222


Per Person/One Way:


$27 one way to hotel, 4 people can ride for same price
Prices are subject to change.


Late hour fee of $1 from 9pm to 5am.


SAT; San Antonio International


From Airport




Commercial Van/Shuttle
SA Trans Airport Express
phone: 210-281-9900


Per Person/One Way:


$32 round trip between airport and downtown hotels or $18 one way.
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


Service between airport and downtown hotels 7AM - 1:30AM, service to airport begins at 4AM. 


SA Trans Airport Express features 12 and 24 passenger luxury vehicles with individual seating for extra comfort. Shuttle tickets are sold at baggage claim, Terminal 1 and 2. Please note that like any other similar service, you are subject to a ride along as passengers are dropped off at their locations. This WILL lengthen the time of your travel.

Driving Directions
  Downtown Amtrak Station Head north on Hoefgen Ave Take the 3rd left onto E Commerce St Take the 3rd right onto Bowie St Turn left at E Crockett St Take the 1st right onto Bonham Destination will be on the right
  From Airport Head northeast on Airport Blvd Slight right to stay on Airport Blvd Take the US-281 S ramp Continue straight, Take the ramp on the left onto US-281 S Continue on I-37 S Take exit 141B toward Houston St/The Alamo Merge onto Elm St Turn right at E Houston St Turn left at Bonham St
  From Houston Follow I 10 west to downtown San Antonio Exit #574, Johnson City, to I-37 Exit #141, Commerce Street Right on Bowie Left on Crockett Right on Bonham St
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Daily Schedule

Day 1: Check-in, Registration, Orientation and Dinner
(Sunday, December 16)
 Afternoon: Check in at the hotel is 3pm, rest up before introductions and dinner.
 Dinner: Catered Italian dinner including fresh salad and Vegetable Lasagne at the hotel.
 Evening: Your week will begin with an “Orientation and Introduction” session at the Crockett Hotel. At that time, you will pick up your packet which contains the week’s itinerary, list of Road Scholar participants, your name tag, maps of San Antonio and Fredericksburg and brochures. The tour guides will initiate a “Getting to Know You” session and will discuss the role of Road Scholar, the coordinator, the tour guides, volunteers and vendors regarding the week’s programs. This will be followed by dinner.
Accommodations: The Crockett Hotel
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: The Historic Alamo and an evening River Barge Cruise
(Monday, December 17)
 Breakfast: Premium continental breakfast at hotel.
 Morning: Tour the Alamo and watch a film about it's rich and exciting history. Meet in hotel lobby for group walk to The Alamo. An educational adventure follows awaits you on these hallowed grounds. Tread softly in the shrine where David Crockett and other heroes died to create the Republic of Texas. Hear the Alamo story told under the six flags of Texas in the Alamo patio. See the Alamo video and Long Barracks museum. The Alamo represents nearly three hundred years of human activity. On your visit to the Alamo grounds, the Alamo Education department will give a presentation on the battle of the Alamo, reminding us of the sacrifices of a few that were made for many. A quick tour of the elegant historic Menger Hotel reveals stories of the many famous people who have stayed there and (yes) ghosts of the past and present. Find about the close connection of this hotel and Teddy Roosevelt.
 Lunch: Enjoy local cuisine at a the Buckhorn. The Buckhorn Saloon has always been known as a gathering place for good conversation and cold beer (well, except during Prohibition, that is). Today, the saloon includes a Café. We'll rustle up a mouthwatering burger or sandwich and chips or potato salad.
 Afternoon: Dr. Gilberto Hinojosa from the University of the Incarnate Word, will present “Destination Texas”. Learn about Texas history and participate in a question and answer session with the professor.
 Dinner: Dinner at the Zuni Grill, enjoy colorful Southwestern cuisine on the San Antonio Riverwalk.
 Evening: Enjoy a lovely holiday lit boat cruise on the River. The cruise is one hour long and will cover two and a half miles of the beautiful San Antonio River Walk. The cruise ride will be on a beautiful, safe, fully accessible, environmentally sound cruise vessel. The boats are operated by well-trained and pleasant "goodwill" ambassadors, supported by skilled cruise personnel and state-of-the-art technology.
Accommodations: The Crockett Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Guided tour of the Missions, San Antonio Museum of Art.
(Tuesday, December 18)
 Breakfast: Premium continental breakfast at hotel.
 Morning: Guided tour of the Missions. To continue on our journey of the Spanish influence on Texas culture, we will tour two of San Antonio's five missions. Step back in time at our Queen of the Missions, Mission San Jose. Built by Indian labor at the direction of Spanish artisans, view the meld of the New and Old World cultures. See the splendid church, the working grist mill in the guided tour. A video, "Gente de Razon" - "People of Reason", gives overview of mission life.
 Lunch: Lunch at the unforgettable Mi Tierra restaurant in "El Mercado" (Mexican Market). Choose from the entire lunch menu; rice, beans, tacos, enchiladas, salads and more! Mariachi music while you dine is sure to impress!
 Afternoon: Later in the afternoon, visit the San Antonio Museum of Art. SAMA is dedicated solely to furthering its mission to promote a deeper understanding of human cultures, values and traditions by displaying and interpreting art works from all cultures and periods. At the conclusion of this docent guided tour, board the private charter bus to the Boardwalk Bistro for dinner.
 Afternoon: Enjoy the Mexican Marketplace or tour the San Fernando Cathedral. San Antonians have been shopping at Market Square, or the Mexican Marketplace, since the 1820's, before Texas joined the United States. The first businesses were a pharmacy and a dry goods store, and the area served as a marketplace for produce and other foods. Built by Spanish citizens from the Canary Islands, it is the oldest active parish church in the United States. San Fernando Cathedral has always been at the center of San Antonio. It is a special place that occupies a unique position in this city and for the many visitors who come by the thousands every year. From its founding on March 9, 1731 by a group of 15 families who came from the Canary Islands at the invitation of King Phillip V of Spain, this church was planned to be at the center of the life of this city. Over 5,000 participate at weekend Masses each week of the year. Over 900 baptisms, 100 weddings, 100 funerals, and countless other services are performed each year. Symphonies, concerts, and television specials are but a few of the special events held in the cathedral regularly.
 Dinner: Boardwalk Bistro for dinner, a locally owned and operated restaurant featuring Mediterranean cuisine in a friendly, informal ambience.
Accommodations: The Crockett Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Drive to the Texas Hill Country
(Wednesday, December 19)
 Breakfast: Premium continental breakfast at hotel.
 Morning: Board the private charter and enjoy a drive to the famous Texas Hill Country. Anyone with an interest in World War II will have the opportunity to visit one of the finest war museums in the United States. The National Museum of the Pacific War is the only institution in the continental United States dedicated exclusively to telling the story of the Pacific Theater battles of World War II. For those of you who would like to investigate the unique and quaint shops and wineries along the Main Street of Fredericksburg, you may.
 Lunch: Experience lunch on your own in Downtown Fredericksburg.
 Afternoon: We start our day by visiting the LBJ ranch in Stonewall TX. The LBJ Ranch is the location of President Lyndon Johnson's birthplace, first school, ranch house, and final resting place. Few presidential sites give a better reflection of a president than this ranch which is a virtual portrait of a larger-than-life historical figure. The video, "LBJ's Texas" sets the mood before our tour. See if the white Continental is truly parked out back!
 Dinner: Enjoy a true Texas meal at the Waring General Store. Established in 1903, the "General Store" offers quite a unique setting. Don Strange purchased the general store in 1987 and "Steak Nite" was developed in 1997. There are plenty of dishes for everyone and every taste.
 Evening: See the Hill Country a glow for the Holiday Season. "Oh" and "Ah" from your comfy seat on the bus as you gaze at the Holiday Lights.
Accommodations: The Crockett Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 5: See the city by Trolley! Lunch at the Guenther House, a tour of Steve's Homestead and the Institute of Texan Cultures.
(Thursday, December 20)
 Breakfast: Premium continental breakfast at hotel.
 Morning: Visit and tour the Historic District. Walk through Steve's Family Home, a true gem rich in culture. Travel by public transportation to the King William Historic District. By the latter half of the 19th century, the King William Historic District had grown into a fashionable neighborhood popular with another large cultural demographic, the German immigrants. Here you will tour the Victorian home of Edward Steves, a notable German merchant and stroll a few blocks in this fashionable neighborhood to your lunch spot.
 Lunch: Lunch at historic Guenther House Restaurant on the site of the original 1859 flour mill on the banks of the San Antonio River.
 Afternoon: Visit the Institute of Texan Cultures, the state's center for multicultural education which focuses on ethnic and cultural history. More than 50,000 square feet of exhibit space, the Institute showcases the artifacts of more than twenty three major ethnic groups that formed the State of Texas.
 Dinner: Bon Voyage Dinner
Accommodations: The Crockett Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Presentation, "The Cowboy".
(Friday, December 21)
 Breakfast: Premium continental breakfast at hotel.
 Morning: Institute of Texan Cultures will teach you about "The Cowboy". Discover the secrets of chuck wagon cooking and learn about life on the cattle trail by examining cowboy clothing and gear. Hold a pair of spurs and try on leather chaps while listening to cowboy music and lore.
Meals Included: Breakfast
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List

Place Names of San Antonio plus Bexar and Surrounding Counties

Author: David Green

Description: This second, much-enlarged edition of Dr. David Green's pioneering book on place names now identifies, often for the first time, more than 700 familiar and less familiar names in eight counties in South Texas. There are dozens of new illustrations of namesakes. Chapters on San Antonio s names reveal origins in numerous categories streets, parks, schools, libraries and learning centers, landmarks, military bases, suburbs. Another chronicles the blizzard of names on the streets and buildings of the South Texas Medical Center. Origins of many Spanish names are included, as are those of a few names less officially designated, such as Pace Picante Sauce and the Quarry Market. Vanished families reappear, forgotten achievements gain new recognition, and those who just happened to be around when a name was needed get their credit, too. This is a book with answers that will be referred to again and again.

Hemisfair ’68 and the Transformation of San Antonio

Author: Sterlin Holmsely

Description: Memoirs and contemporary first person accounts offer valuable evidence about the history of San Antonio particularly when they offer commentary on events that affected the city, its population, and its development. Or, in this case its transformation. In the mid-1990s, Sterlin Holmesly undertook the job of gathering an impressive set of such personal accounts, that document the motivation, planning, building, presentation, context, and aftermath of HemisFair ’68. While the book offers glimpses into the way the Fair had the trappings and political intrigue of any big-budget infrastructure project, it also sets out a complex picture of the socio-economic environment that confronted the organizers. This was the 1960s after all, and just as battles about poverty, peace, and liberalism gripped the nation, those challenges faced the people of San Antonio, too. In a time of drop-outs and drug use, draftees and draft dodgers, race riots and voting rights, confrontation and assassination, a group of civic leaders decided to advance the town’s participation on the international stage. With such a historical event offering much fertile soil for producing significant documentation and analysis, Holmesly set an elegantly simple route to presenting the story. In lengthy tape recorded interviews, he applied his polished inquiry method, to get the principles involved in the HemisFair project to discuss their aspirations, methodology, setbacks, and victories. The finest picture of the value of the book comes from a glimpse at the table of contents, because even novice students of San Antonio history will see the breadth of the offerings.

San Antonio: Portrait of the Fiesta City

Author: Susanna Nawrocki

Description: The spirit of this unique city in Texas is captured in this entertaining text and Langford's vivid colour photographs. The book is a thorough introduction to San Antonio, detailing the city's history, architecture, military tradition, and cultural events. The authors outline the history of what is perhaps San Antonio's best-known landmark, the Alamo. They also highlight more recently developed points of interest in San Antonio, focusing on the River Walk, the development that turned the San Antonio River into a graceful, romantic, and historic centrepiece for the city. They recommend several of the city's many Botanical Gardens, the San Antonio Museum of Art, Brackenridge Park, and HemisFair Plaza. And they present San Antonio's varied menu of cultural opportunities, from a day spent at the rodeo or Sea World to an evening at the Grand Opry House or the San Antonio Symphony. Finally, the authors summarise the city's most popular fiestas and festivals. Throughout, Mark Langford's colour photographs celebrate the diversity and spirit of San Antonio.

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