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On the Road: San Antonio, Texas Hill Country and Austin

Program No. 10459RJ
Explore Texas with experts on a bigger-than-life adventure as you discover Tex-Mex in San Antonio, learn about music and politics in Austin and visit LBJ's Hill Country ranch.

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DATES & starting prices
Apr 16 - Apr 22, 2023
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Oct 15 - Oct 21, 2023
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Nov 12 - Nov 18, 2023
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Feb 11 - Feb 17, 2024
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Mar 17 - Mar 23, 2024
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Apr 14 - Apr 20, 2024
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Oct 20 - Oct 26, 2024
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Nov 10 - Nov 16, 2024
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DATES & starting prices
Apr 16 - Apr 22, 2023
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Oct 15 - Oct 21, 2023
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Nov 12 - Nov 18, 2023
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Feb 11 - Feb 17, 2024
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Mar 17 - Mar 23, 2024
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Apr 14 - Apr 20, 2024
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Oct 20 - Oct 26, 2024
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Nov 10 - Nov 16, 2024
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At a Glance

Is everything bigger in the Lone Star State? Or is it just a big myth? Learn just how normal Texans really are on this adventure exploring Texas history, culture and politics — from richly diverse San Antonio to the LBJ Ranch in Hill Country to the state capital of Austin. The Old West’s six-guns are gone, but influences of the 26 ethnic groups that settled Texas beckon at every turn.
Activity Level
Keep the Pace
Walking up to three miles daily. Must be able to climb stairs and board motor coach with minimal assistance. Standing in museums for up to two hours a day.

Best of all, you’ll…

  • Take a study cruise along the River Walk in festive San Antonio to find out how the city blends new development with historic preservation of cultural treasures.
  • Delve into the life of our 36th president at the LBJ ranch and its Hereford cattle on the banks of the Pedernales River.
  • Get the “low-down” on politics in Austin, and find out why the city is known as the “Live Music Capital of the World” with a private performance from a Grammy award winning artist.
Featured Expert
All Experts
Profile Image
Carolina Castillo Crimm
A retired professor of history, Dr. Caroline Castillo Crimm won many local and state-wide awards, including the prestigious Piper Award as one of the best teachers in Texas. Dedicated to Texas and Hispanic culture, her Spanish family came to Texas originally in 1792 although she was born and raised in Mexico City. The author of “De Leon: A Tejano Family History,” she has appeared on PBS and “The History Channel.”

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

Profile Image of Floyd Domino
Floyd Domino View biography
Floyd Domino is an American musician known for his work in the genre of Western swing. Born in California, Floyd’s close association with Western swing coincided when he joined the group Asleep at the Wheel at 19. After seven years with the band, he still joins them for featured performances. While Floyd is widely recognized for the revival of Western swing, he began his career in jazz, boogie-woogie, swing and blues piano. The Floyd Domino Jazz Trio showcases a unique blend of jazz and blues.
Profile Image of Carolina Crimm
Carolina Castillo Crimm View biography
A retired professor of history, Dr. Caroline Castillo Crimm won many local and state-wide awards, including the prestigious Piper Award as one of the best teachers in Texas. Dedicated to Texas and Hispanic culture, her Spanish family came to Texas originally in 1792 although she was born and raised in Mexico City. The author of “De Leon: A Tejano Family History,” she has appeared on PBS and “The History Channel.”
Profile Image of Linda Murray
Linda Jo Murray View biography
Linda Murray grew up in San Antonio, camping in the Hill Country and fishing at the Coast. A lover of history, the outdoors, and storytelling, she has led groups as a Certified Professional Tour Guide, a Master Naturalist, and as a docent at the San Antonio Botanical Gardens and Villa Finale, the San Antonio River Authority, and the San Antonio Office of Historic Preservation. She is trained as a Master Gardener and loves to garden, read, and travel.
Profile Image of Bill Perryman
Bill Perryman View biography
A fifth generation Texan and an award-winning teacher, Bill Perryman is known throughout Texas for his historical portrayals of heroic figures in Texas and American history and for his teacher trainings, seminars and educational explorations of historic San Antonio. He is the founder of History In Person Theater which is an official arts program for the Texas Commission on the Arts. Bill’s passion for history captivates audiences!
Profile Image of Mary Jurewicz
Mary Jurewicz View biography
Mary F. Jurewicz was born in Boston, Massachusetts. She has a bachelor of arts degree in economics from Emmanuel College and worked for John Hancock Life Insurance Company Investments. After marriage, Mary moved to Connecticut and received a master’s in educational psychology from the University of Connecticut. She taught Special Education for a number of years. Mary arrived in the great state of Texas — the longest stay of any location, so far! — and served three years as a volunteer in the San Antonio Historical Parks.
Profile Image of Jane Martin
Jane Martin View biography
Jane Martin grew up in San Antonio and holds a bachelor’s in art history and a master’s in architecture. Being a Certified Professional Guide is the culmination of twenty years teaching History of Architecture at San Antonio College and over thirty years as a volunteer docent at the McNay Art Museum. She is an associate member of the American Institute of Architects. Jane’s lifelong passion for architectural history has led her to become a seasoned explorer, traveling extensively throughout the world, including studies in Italy.
Profile Image of Ken Erfurth
Ken Erfurth View biography
Ken Erfurth is a life-long resident of San Antonio whose interest in the region’s history, culture, and architecture began at an early age. He holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Houston and is a registered architect. He has been conducting educational adventures in San Antonio for various groups for over 20 years. In recent years, Ken has used photography to document the unique visual aspects of his native city and surrounding area. His images have been exhibited and published in multiple forums.
Profile Image of Janie Cadena
Janie Cadena View biography
Janie Cadena, a Texas native, is a descendant of early German settlers. She was bitten by the travel bug at an early age and has lived and explored countries around the world. She has worked as a travel agent for 30 years and is a Certified Travel Counselor. Because of her love of history, Janie appreciates the opportunity she has had to see many of the world's historic places. She even lives in a historic house built by her ancestors in the 1860s and 1890s.
Profile Image of Richard Roberts
Richard Roberts View biography
Richard Roberts is a longtime Austin resident and music aficionado who expertly tells the story of the Live Music Capital of the World. His method? Richard interviewed musicians, club owners and poster artists and distilled the history of Austin music into a concise and entertaining exploration of the sights where it all began!
Profile Image of Tari Intardonato
Tari Intardonato View biography
A born traveler, Tari Intardonato was a teacher for many years before taking her skills to the road. She enjoys leading field trips with Road Scholar, during which she shares her knowledge and love of presidential libraries, history, textiles, and little out-of-the-way gems. Tari is an avid reader and loves sewing, watching British TV shows, and spending time with her family.
Profile Image of Bruce Martin
Bruce Martin View biography
Bruce Martin is a native Texan who has lived in San Antonio for more than 30 years. A master naturalist, he leads informative and entertaining explorations throughout San Antonio’s downtown, historic districts, and natural areas as well as the nearby Texas Hill Country. A keen observer of the built environment, he shares his appreciation for San Antonio’s architectural details and public artwork. Bruce tries not to take himself too seriously. He and his wife Barbara live in a 1937 white stucco house.
Profile Image of Tom Alter
Tom Alter is an assistant professor at Texas State University where he specializes in labor and Texas history. He received his BA in history from Indiana University, his MA in history from Texas State University, and his PhD from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Tom is the author of “Toward a Cooperative Commonwealth: The Transplanted Roots of Farmer-Labor Radicalism in Texas” (University of Illinois Press, 2022).
Profile Image of Sheila Mehta
Sheila Mehta View biography
Sheila Mehta, a recent addition to the LBJ Presidential Library, has spent her career in education. She joined the Library after almost 15 years as a high school social studies teacher. Her academic background lies in U.S. history, social studies, and relationships between conflict and society. Sheila helps visitors, students, and educators learn more about the Johnson administration and nuances of the 1960s, complementing the Library’s mission to be a “center for intellectual activity… while meeting the challenges of a changing world.”
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
Judgment Days: Lyndon Baines Johnson, Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Laws That Changed America
by Nick Kotz
Lyndon Baines Johnson and Martin Luther King, Jr., were thrust together in the aftermath of John F. Kennedy's assassination. Both men sensed a historic opportunity and began a delicate dance of accommodation that moved them, and the entire nation, toward the historic Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Drawing on a wealth of newly available sources -- Johnson's taped telephone conversations, voluminous FBI wiretap logs, previously secret communications between the FBI and the president -- Nick Kotz gives us a dramatic narrative, rich in dialogue, that presents this momentous period with thrilling immediacy. Judgment Days offers needed perspective on a presidency too often linked solely to the tragedy of Vietnam.
Empire of the Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History
by S. C. Gwynne
S. C. Gwynne’s Empire of the Summer Moon spans two astonishing stories. The first traces the rise and fall of the Comanches, the most powerful Indian tribe in American history. The second entails one of the most remarkable narratives ever to come out of the Old West: the epic saga of the pioneer woman Cynthia Ann Parker and her mixed-blood son Quanah, who became the last and greatest chief of the Comanches.
Seat of Empire: The Embattled Birth of Austin, Texas
by Jeffrey Stuart Kerr
The founding of Austin sparked one of the Republic’s first great political battles, pitting against each other two Texas titans: Lamar, who in less than a year had risen to vice president from army private, and Sam Houston, the hero of San Jacinto and a man both loved and hated throughout the Republic.
Friedrichsburg: Colony of the German Furstenverein
by Friedrich Armand Strubberg and James C. Kearney
Forget the Alamo: The Rise and Fall of an American Myth
by Burrough, Brian, Chris Tomlinson and Jason Stanford
Reviled by some and applauded by others, this controversial popular history focuses on factors related to the history of the Alamo. A saucy, journalistic-style read, it provides a perspective on how Texans think, information about the current redesign of Alamo Plaza, and a great bibliography for further study.
Gates of the Alamo (historically accurate novel)
by Stephen Harrigan
A huge, riveting, deeply imagined novel about the siege and fall of the Alamo in 1836--an event that formed the consciousness of Texas and that resonates through American history--The Gates of the Alamo follows the lives of three people whose fates become bound to the now-fabled Texas fort.
Texas, My Texas: Musings of the Rambling Boy
by Lonn Taylor
In a collection of essays about Texas gathered from his West Texas newspaper column, Lonn Taylor traverses the very best of Texas geography, Texas history, and Texas personalities. In a state so famous for its pride, Taylor manages to write a very honest, witty, and wise book about Texas past and Texas present.
As Texas Goes: How the Lone Star State Hijacked the American Agenda
by Gail Collins
Gail Collins, the best-selling author and columnist for the New York Times, visited Texas and discovered that in Texas, where Bush, Cheney, Rove, & Perry had created a conservative political agenda that is now sweeping the country and defining our national identity. Through its vigorous support of banking deregulation, lax environmental standards, and draconian tax cuts, through its fierce championing of states rights, gun ownership, and, of course, sexual abstinence, Texas, with Governor Rick Perry’s presidential ambitions, has become the bellwether of a far-reaching national movement that continues to have profound social and economic consequences for us all. Like it or not, as Texas goes, so goes the nation.
Austin City Limits: 25 Years of American Music
by John T. Davis
This book documents in words and pictures, anecdotes and behind-the-scenes images, the performances of the more than five hundred stellar recording artists who have appeared on the show. This book features a foreword by Lyle Lovett and over 200 color illustrations.
Big, Wonderful Thing: A History of Texas
by Harrigan, Stephen
Written by a great story teller, this readable, monumental work is exactly what the title implies: a comprehensive history of Texas complete with wonderful historic photographs and a focus on the stories of individual people. Not for the fainthearted, the time invested in reading this is well-spent. Actually, the book is so readable that devouring it is a pleasure. It has been described as “a must read for Texas aficionados.”
Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream: The Most Revealing Portrait of a President and Presidential Power Ever Written
by Doris Kearns Goodwin
Widely praised and enormously popular, Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream is a work of biography like few others. With uncanny insight and a richly engrossing style, the author renders LBJ in all his vibrant, conflicted humanity.
Three Roads to the Alamo, the Lives and Fortunes of David Crockett, James Bowie, and William Barret Travis
by William C. Davis
Midnight Assassin: Panic, Scandal and the Hunt for America's First Serial Killer
by Skip Hollandsworth
Before Jack the Ripper mutilated prostitutes in the dark corners of London in the late 19th-century, Austin, TX, was besieged by a vicious killer whose victims were African American servants. He cut up women with an axe to the head and left them bloody in their beds. Racism delayed justice for a year. Black men became so terrified of the police that they rubbed their feet and legs with asafoetida, a natural paste slaves had used when running away from their masters to throw off bloodhounds. This is a painstakingly researched book written by a Texas native that examines prejudices, which still keep justice at bay.
The Alamo Remembered, Tejano Accounts & Perspectives
by Timothy M. Matovina
18 Reviews
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5 Average
(5) Review left 3/10/2023

The program showed many aspects of this important area of the country. Many issues of various kinds were presented, which opened my mind and made me think a lot and engage in some interesting discussions. Dr. Crimm’s opening presentation will set you up for them. Our Program Director, Jane, was very warm and approachable, and always had time for me, often engaging in thought-provoking discussions with me about Texas history, politics, and much more, as well as about WWII when we were in a remarkable museum in the middle of a small town. Strong points were the variety of food (Tex-Mex, BBQ, Italian, German); music was covered in various forms and places; much history and politics were examined which provoked a lot of thinking for me; and of course, seeing the iconic places of Texas. A shout-out for the reading list! I especially loved "Forget the Alamo!," a very controversial book you won't find in Texas (it seems) that made me think much about the current state of Texas perspective and attitude, and "As Texas Goes..." (by Gail Collins) which does the same thing. I brought up these books with various guides and loved getting their reactions!

(5) Review left 2/21/2022

A great program with excellent leaders, tour guides and lecture presenters. If you are interested an overall view of Texas, this is a good program to start with.

(5) Review left 1/08/2022

I rate the Oct 10-16, 2021 On the Road: San Antonio, Texas Hill Country and Austin trip with 18 participants, 4.7/5. Excellent Group Leader Janie Cadena provided expert, fun San Antonio and Austin presentations and commentary everywhere-in the bus, on field trips. Janie arranged wonderful substitutions such as a stop at Luckenbach, Texas) (pop 3: Where Everybody's Somebody in Luckenbach), and filled-in as a knowledgeable field trip guide for Covid created glitches. I so appreciated that Janie used her personal time to get Ubers and join me-a SINGLE-for “free times in Austin”: Lance Lipinsky live music and chicken fried steak at the Broken Spoke honky-tonk dancehall (should have stayed for the 8pm Two Step lesson); concert with “Asleep at the Wheel” and George Strait; and Esther’s Follies (I purchased tickets months in advance). Outstanding were Dr. Crimm’s “Texas contrasting cultures” presentation, Dr. Seicraig’s “Texas political history” presentation (The Lone Star State: 1836 Texas became independent from Mexico: finally in 1845 the U.S. Congress permitted Texas to enter the U.S. as a slave state), and Emily Gimble’s musical performance (she is the Official Texas State Musician of 2020). The field trips were very good with pleasant surprises: my favorites were: private narrated barge ride on San Antonio River; LBJ Ranch; and Mission San Jose’ (built 1720-1770) with statues of Mary’s father and mother holding baby Mary, carved on the church entrance. The Indians who lived at Mission San Jose’ for protection, took 50 years to build the community and do the stone work and Rose Windows on the church. The three hotel locations were good for walking in day light for “free times” such as to the Texas State Capitol in Austin. Meals were good: the salmon and chicken dumpling soup at the Thompson Conference Center-University of Texas at Austin was the best. A friendly, always on time, group of participants (A shout out to Chris and Veronica).

(5) Review left 10/18/2021

Highly recommended. Material great, the group leader Janie Cadena was the Jewel of the trip

(5) Review left 10/17/2021

This program was one of the first to occur after the closure for Covid. I felt that everything was done to ensure our health safety. Everyone followed the guidance of Jainie Cadena, the Road Scholar group leader. It was truly a fantastic tour with lots of intellectual stimulation, plus downright fun events.

(5) Review left 3/17/2020

A perfect combination of Texas history, culture, and tourist attractions!

(5) Review left 3/17/2020

The well paced program took me to parts of Texas where I had never been, provided engaging instructors, gave me a fuller picture of LBJ and provided inviting and central accommodations.

(5) Review left 3/14/2020

There is a ton of early American history packed right in the middle of the state. If you are interested in history, presidents, museums, and the like, then this trip is for you. Learning about the early residents of the lands, the settlement of the German community, and the properties of the 36th President of the US, are all a part of this experience. And, you will see one of the finest US Capitols in the country. Furthermore, there is an introduction to the Austin music scene, that could be a journey by itself. At the end of the week you will understand why there is US history and then there is Texas history.

(5) Review left 11/26/2019

I have been on at least 20 Road Scholar programs, mainly domestic destinations and always have had great experiences. I have never been disappointed.

(5) Review left 11/24/2019

This program was excellent! I enjoyed Texas much more than I expected. learned a great deal from the lectures, which brought alive the field trips and made them much more meaningful. The group leader was fabulous and set such a positive tone for the whole week. It was a perfect balance of learning and experiencing.

(5) Review left 11/24/2019

This was a great introduction to San Antonio, Texas Hill Country and Austin. I went on this trip because of an interest in LBJ, and desire to see the Ranch and the LBJ Library, but I left with a new appreciation for the history of South Texas. It was surprisingly satisfying to see the Alamo and the other missions. Our tour guide, Janie Cadena, was amazingly nice, knowledgable, and also lots of fun.

(5) Review left 5/03/2019

I highly recommend this trip to anyone with an interest in history. It is packed full of rewarding experiences. The Texas people were all welcoming and friendly. And as usual, Road Scholar travelers are interesting people to meet and spend time with!

(5) Review left 4/07/2019

Road Scholar Texas Hill Country Tour was great. Very interesting and fun. KT Cockerell a very personable leader. Thanks KT!

(5) Review left 4/02/2019

A beautiful overview of Texas history in three wonderful settings. Really enjoyed seeing all three places and staying in "top notch" hotels. Wonderful coordinator - KT Enjoyed all the missions we saw as well as the nighttime barge trip in San Antonio.

(5) Review left 4/01/2019

Extremely insightful and stimulating program

(5) Review left 3/30/2019

I highly recommend Road Scholar trips to anyone who wants to experience a wonderful adventure.

(5) Review left 1/21/2019

This was our first Road Scholar trip and we chose it because the historical and political aspects were appealing. Due to the government shut down, adjustments were made. However, we still found the program to be exemplary. The lecturers, leaders and programs were wonderful. I also require gluten free meals and was trying this to see if I could be accommodated. While hotel free breakfasts are always a challenge, the provided lunches and dinners exceeded my expectations and were excellent. I appreciated the variety and quality. Our transportation was very comfortable and the hotels were centrally located. We learned more than we could have doing this itinerary on our own and appreciated all of the extra things that would not have been available to use traveling without a group.

(5) Review left 1/20/2019

I didn't know much about Texas History, nor did I know how much I would like learning about it until the presenters started to explain the state's history in a fascinating and engaging style. Now I understand much more than I even expected to learn and so much wiser for it. Thank you,

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