Activity note: Ability to walk up and down stairs and board a river barge.
Afternoon: Hotel check in after 3:00 p.m. ORIENTATION begins in a hotel conference room on the fourth floor at 4:00pm. The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions in a meeting room on the 4th floor. We will review the program theme, the up-to-date Daily Schedule and any changes, discuss safety guidelines, emergency procedures, roles and responsibilities, and answer any questions you may have. Indicated times are approximate. Program activities, schedules, and personnel may need to change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding. We have set aside some free time in the schedule for your personal independent exploration. The Group Leader will often be available during free time to accompany informal excursions, activities, or meals that have been excluded from the program cost. You are welcome to join if you like, with any associated costs on your own. Your group leader will give you an overview of San Antonio, explaining how the River Walk was developed and providing a short explanation about how various cultures converged on the area to make it the unique place that it is today.
Dinner: After the meeting, if you wish, you may enjoy the kickback reception on the 2nd floor of the hotel, featuring free hot food and cold drinks. The group will continue to get acquainted over dinner at a nearby restaurant on the river walk, featuring a variety of entrée choices.
Evening: Step outside to the River Walk— the heart of the city —for a private, narrated barge ride on the San Antonio River, located 20 feet below street level and just steps from the famed Alamo. See how stone pathways connect shops, restaurants, hotels and museums with a blend of historic and modern architecture that resonate the depth of this centuries-old metropolis. The barge driver will tell you all about the history of the area and the buildings you pass as you float along the river. If you like, after the barge ride, you may walk across the plaza adjacent to the hotel to the San Fernando Cathedral to see it like never before during a light show put together by French artist Xavier De Richemont. This 24 minute show tells the story of San Antonio from its beginnings to present day. The Cathedral of San Fernando was built from 1738-50 by settlers from the Canary Islands who had been granted land by Spain's King Philip V. Santa Anna raised the red flag of “no quarter” from the church tower during the siege of the Alamo. One of the most interesting of the cathedral’s holdings is what purports to be the final resting place of Davy Crockett, William Travis, and Jim Bowie.
Activity note: Climbing up and down stairs. Boarding public bus and standing 1-2 hours in museums. Walking up to 2 miles at a moderate pace.
Breakfast: At the hotel, you’ll get to choose from a breakfast buffet that includes these tasty treats: scrambled eggs, bacon or sausage, biscuits and gravy, pancakes, yogurt, granola, fresh fruit, bagels, toast, muffins, jellies and jams, oatmeal, cold cereal, coffee, juices, tea and milk.
Morning: PRESENTATION: Since the first footsteps of the Spanish Conquistadors landed on the soil of Texas over 500 years ago, there have been fascinating stories of conflicts and compromises, love affairs and bitter hatreds among the many peoples of Texas. Award-winning Professor Emeritus, Dr. Caroline Castillo Crimm, will lead you on an enthralling, fast-paced, two-hour trip through Texas history from its earliest beginnings to the modern day. As she envelops you in the history of Texas, you will be drawn into the lives of those early citizens and find yourself torn by the same challenging choices that the people of the day had to make in order to survive. Those never-to-be-forgotten stories of the past will help you understand the Texas you will see over the next few days. FIELD TRIP: Discover the city's wide variety of architectural styles in downtown San Antonio on a guided walking exploration. Visit the San Fernando Cathedral, founded in 1731, the oldest continually operating religious community in Texas. You’ll appreciate the efforts of the historical conservation society in preserving the city’s past while encouraging new development.
Lunch: Take a break along the walk to enjoy a sumptuous luncheon buffet, featuring salads, soups and a custom, made-to order pasta bar, with terrific desserts!
Afternoon: Led by a local expert, we’ll continue the walking field trip to explore some of San Antonio’s most iconic sites. We’ll also learn about the development of the River Walk and its impact on the transformation of the area. The Spanish colonial mission we know as the Alamo was established in 1718, and moved to its current location in 1724. Its history is fascinating and complex. After the gallant defense by 182 Texans against Gen. Santa Anna’s army in 1836, “Remember the Alamo!” became a rallying cry for Texas independence. You'll hear the story of the Alamo, then get some time to go inside to visit the Shrine, view artifacts, and watch a short movie. The Menger, oldest continuously operating hotel west of the Mississippi, was established in 1859 and set the standard of luxury for its day. Among the historic events that took place here, Teddy Roosevelt recruited his “Rough Riders” cavalry brigade. Your expert guide will take you inside for a peek at the elaborately appointed lobbies and the Menger bar, to see memorabilia from Roosevelt's time.
Dinner: For our last dinner in San Antonio, we'll walk a few blocks to a building with a restaurant on the top floor, and enjoy stunning views of the city over a plated dinner.
Evening: At leisure.
Activity note: Walking up to one mile and standing up to one hour. Board motor coach with limited assistance.
Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel prior to check out and departure.
Morning: FIELD TRIP: Explore the city’s early Spanish mission complex Travel by private motorcoach to San Antonio Mission National Historic Park for an exploration of the missions that make up the complex. With experts, learn about the early settlement and efforts of the Spanish to convert people to the church and an agricultural form of life. Discover the beauty of Mission San Jose y San Miguel de Aguayo, the Queen of the Missions, restored by the WPA in the 1930s. See how Spaniards used irrigation (acequia) systems to develop self-sustaining agricultural communities along the San Antonio River. Find out about the city's progress in its effort to make this area a United Nations World Heritage site. FIELD TRIP: Visit the city’s historically rich west side to learn more about Hispanic culture. Enjoy colorful murals while our group leader shares information about governmental efforts to help some of the area’s poorest residents. Find out why so many San Antonio residents and politicians are proud of their west side roots.
Lunch: Eat lunch in the largest Mexican Marketplace in the U.S. Enjoy an authentic Tex-Mex meal at one of San Antonio's most popular restaurants.
Afternoon: Travel to the Texas Hill Country and get settled into your hotel. Explore Fredericksburg on your own for a bit before enjoying dinner with the group. The group leader will provide a brief orientation to the town from the bus upon arrival.
Dinner: Multiple entrée choices await you at a Bavarian restaurant. Enjoy a traditional German dish, or a lighter vegetarian choice.
Evening: Your evening is unscheduled for you to do further exploration in Fredericksburg, if you wish. In addition to the city's breweries, there is a thriving wine industry. Find a tasting room or explore the city's other points of interest.
Activity note: Standing in museums for up to 2 hours and walking about 2-3 miles per day.
Breakfast: The hotel features a breakfast buffet on the first floor with a variety of entree choices to enjoy before check out and departure.
Morning: FIELD TRIP: Begin your day at the National Museum of the Pacific War, the only museum in the continental United States dedicated solely to the battles of the Pacific theater during World War II. Immerse yourself in Pacific history and appreciate the contributions of those who served as you learn about American and Japanese cultures during that era.
Lunch: On your own in Fredericksburg
Afternoon: FIELD TRIP: The LBJ Ranch rests along the banks of the Pedernales River where Hereford cattle, white-tailed deer, and turkey abound. In the spring and summer, wildflowers, so beloved by the former first lady, accent the picturesque countryside. Stop at the visitor center to learn about LBJ’s home, and then visit the residence, which was lovingly restored to its 1960s appearance and opened to the public following the death of Mrs. Johnson. Depart for Austin.
Dinner: Stop at one of Texas’ top barbecue joints to enjoy smoked barbecue and fixin’s at their best. Choose from several meats and side dishes.
Evening: Check into your hotel in Austin, located near many downtown night spots.
Activity note: Walking up to two miles, standing in a museum for up to an hour, able to board public transportation with minimal assistance
Breakfast: Your Austin hotel features a newly remodeled dining room with a wall of windows overlooking the Colorado River. Allow a little extra time to order breakfast from a variety of menu choices.
Morning: PRESENTATION: “Texas Political Traditions”- Explore the colorful history of Texas’ political past and present with a university professor, who will explain how the evolution of political parties changed the face of Texas politics. Find out how a state once full of “yellow dog Democrats” became one of the most conservative states in national politics today.
Lunch: Eat lunch on the UT campus prior to your visit to the LBJ Presidential Library and Museum.
Afternoon: FIELD TRIP/PRESENTATION: Visit the LBJ Presidential Library and Museum. With an archivist, learn the history of presidential museums and libraries in the United States, as well as the origins of the LBJ museum, the first to be located on a university campus. Listen to recordings made during Johnson’s years in the White House that reveal much about his personality and style and illustrate why he was able to rise to power and accomplish what he did during his career. Visit the library and museum to learn more about Lyndon Johnson, the man, and the impact that his programs still have on society today, during the 50th anniversary celebrations of the passage of the Great Society legislation. After your visit, you will have some free time to discover other sites in downtown Austin, such as the nearby Bullock Texas History Museum. You might choose to explore the 4th Street or 6th Street districts. Your group leader can tell you how to visit the trendy South Congress shopping district and choose from one of the acclaimed restaurants in the area.
Dinner: Dinner is on your own tonight to choose from one of the many restaurants near your hotel in downtown Austin. You are located near the new warehouse district, with many award-winning new restaurants.
Activity note: Boarding public transportation and standing in a museum for 2-3 hours
Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
Morning: PRESENTATION: "This is Austin" Get useful information from a local humorist about Texas' most liberal city, its traditions, institutions, and learn why locals work so hard to "Keep Austin Weird". After a short break, we'll enjoy a live music performance from award winning local musicians. Enjoy music and stories and find out why Austin is known as the "Live Music Capital of the World".
Lunch: Grab lunch downtown as you explore with a local guide.
Afternoon: FIELD TRIP: We'll head out with a local expert to explore Austin's downtown area and learn about the city's history. We'll walk down a bit of Sixth Street and stop in the historic Driskill Hotel and walk by the newly developed City Hall and Austin City Limits studio. We'll take public transportation to the largest state capitol in the country. Admire the Renaissance Revival architecture and granite masonry as you hear more about Texas history and the politics that shaped the state’s identity. Learn how Texans used inmate labor and massive land trades to finance construction of the magnificent building, listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Dinner: Celebrate the end of a week of fun and learning with a festive farewell dinner in downtown Austin.
Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
Morning: Program ends. Flight departures from Austin airport are recommended. Participants leaving from Austin arrange own transportation to airport or take low-cost Airport Flier bus.