1981
San Antonio
Signature City San Antonio
Uncover the rich cultural heritage of San Antonio as you explore historic sites, discover unique museums and learn how to prepare then feast on an authentic Mexican meal!
Rating (4.9)
Program No. 1981RJ
Length
6 days
Starts at
899
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6 days
5 nights
13 meals
5 B 4 L 4 D
Getting There
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DAY
1
Check-in, Registration, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
San Antonio, TX
D
Drury Plaza Riverwalk

Activity note: Hotel check-in from 3:00 p.m.

Afternoon: Orientation: At 4:00 p.m., the Group Leader will greet everyone with a warm welcome and lead introductions. Ask front desk staff or check signs in lobby for location of the meeting. We will review the up-to-date program schedule and any changes, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer any questions you may have. All transportation for field trips will be via trolley or private motorcoach. Free time is reserved for your personal independent exploration. Evenings at leisure offer opportunities to make the program more meaningful and memorable through personal independent exploration, engaging in available activities on your own, or simply relaxing and making new friends among fellow participants. The Group Leader will always be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may be changed due to local conditions/circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding. Our Group Leader will then present an introduction of San Antonio, explaining how the River Walk was developed and offering a short explanation about how various cultures converged on the area to make it the unique place that it is today. Before dinner, enjoy the daily kickback reception on the 2nd floor of the hotel, featuring free hot food and cold drinks.

Dinner: At the hotel, we'll get acquainted with the group over a catered meal.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
2
Texas Introduction, River Walk, Alamo, Menger Hotel
San Antonio, TX
B,L,D
Drury Plaza Riverwalk

Activity note: Walking up to 2 miles throughout the day and standing for up to 2 hours at the museum. Getting on/off the trolley and going up/down steps to reach the River Walk.

Breakfast: At the hotel, we will have a buffet featuring a variety of items including scrambled eggs, breakfast meats, biscuits and gravy, pancakes, yogurt, bagels, toast, oatmeal, and fresh fruit, plus coffee, tea, juices, milk, water.

Morning: We’ll be joined by a local professor from St. Philip’s College who will explain why Texas stands out as one of America’s most recognizable states. Learn the sweeping events and fascinating characters that make Texas the amazing place it is; what John Steinbeck described as “a state of mind… a mystique closely approximating a religion… the obsession, the proper study, and the passionate possession of all Texans.”

Lunch: Head out on foot to a local restaurant for a sumptuous buffet featuring salads, soups, made-to-order pasta, and dessert, plus coffee, tea, water.

Afternoon: Led by a local expert, we’ll embark on a walking field trip to explore some of San Antonio’s most iconic sites. The Spanish colonial mission we known as the Alamo was established in 1718, and moved to its current location in 1724. Its history is fascinating and complex. After the fallen defense by 182 Texans against General Santa Anna’s army in 1836, “Remember the Alamo!” became a rallying cry for Texan independence. We’ll hear the story of the Alamo, and then get some time to go inside to visit the Shrine, view artifacts, and watch a short movie. The Menger, the 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. Our local expert will bring us inside for a peek at the elaborately appointed lobbies and the Menger bar, to see the memorabilia from Roosevelt’s time. We’ll return to the hotel at the end of our field trip for some time to relax or enjoy the kickback reception.

Dinner: Walk to a local restaurant.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
3
Spanish Missions, TexMex Cooking Demo, Art Museum, Cathedral
San Antonio, TX
B,L,D
Drury Plaza Riverwalk

Activity note: Walking up to 2 miles and standing for up 3 hours at museums. Ability to board a motor coach with minimal assistance several times a day.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We'll start the day with a stop that takes us back in time to the Spanish colonial era of San Antonio in the 18th century at San Fernando Cathedral. The oldest church sanctuary in the United States, it was completed in 1750 and is still an active parish of the Archdiocese of San Antonio. Construction began on the cathedral shortly after the Canary Island colonists, granted land and title by Spain’s King Philip V, settled here in 1731. We will then have a culinary adventure with all you need to know to begin Tex-Mex cooking at a family owned restaurant. With the head chef and owner, learn how to prepare a delicious Mexican meal with picante while hearing the story of how her mother struggled to start the restaurant and how the family business has expanded to satisfy the hunger of thousands of happy customers.

Lunch: At the family restaurant, savor a delicious meal of Tex-Mex cuisine.

Afternoon: Art enthusiasts will delight in a field trip to one of San Antonio’s finest art institutions, the McNay Museum of Art. Situated in a Spanish Colonial Revival-style home, it opened as the first museum of modern art in Texas in 1954. Today, visitors are captivated by magnificent works of art by modern masters including Paul Gauguin, Vincent Van Gogh, Edward Hopper, Georgia O'Keeffe, Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pollock and Pierre-Auguste Renoir. We’ll finish the day at the San Antonio Mission National Historic Park where an expert will lead as we explore the missions that make up the historic park. Learn about the early settlement and efforts of the Spanish to convert local people to the Roman Catholic Church and an agricultural lifestyle. See how the Spanish used “acequia” (irrigation systems) to develop self sustaining agricultural communities along the San Antonio River.

Dinner: At a local restaurant, enjoy a choice of entrées, plus coffee tea, water.

Evening: Optional activity- If you like, this evening 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, projected on the front of the Cathedral. 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.

DAY
4
German Immigrants, River Barge Ride, Free Time
San Antonio, TX
B,L
Drury Plaza Riverwalk

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We’ll be joined by a local university professor on the intriguing story of German immigrant Mary Menger, who operated two large San Antonio enterprises in the mid 19th century and demonstrated that a woman can thrive during a time when men dominated local commerce. As a widow and single mother, Menger profited from both the Western Brewery and Menger Hotel, becoming San Antonio’s largest employer. We’ll then stop outside the hotel to the River Walk – the heart of the city – for a narrated barge ride exclusively for our Road Scholar group. Winding through downtown San Antonio, the pedestrian pathways are line with a blend of modern and historic architecture. As we pass underneath the stone bridges, the barge driver will tell us all about the history of the area and the buildings we will pass as we float along the river.

Lunch: At the hotel, we will have a buffet, plus coffee, tea, water.

Afternoon: Free Time. Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Dinner: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
5
Storytelling, Historic Homes, Western Art Museum
San Antonio, TX
B,L,D
Drury Plaza Riverwalk

Activity note: Walking up to 2 miles, standing for up to 2 hours. Getting on/off the trolley and going up/down steps to reach the River Walk.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: From campfires to cracker barrels to front porches, folks have been gathering around campfires for centuries and tales told well still work their magic. Texas history and folklore come alive through riveting tales – some true, some tall – told by our award-winning storyteller, so gather round, sit back, and enjoy. Chuckle at humorous stories and Texas myths told by our storyteller.

Lunch: We’ll venture to “South Town” for a meal at a local restaurant.

Afternoon: We’ll head to the historic King William neighborhood to hear the interesting stories of immigrants and others who were instrumental in the economic development of the city. We’ll see mansions and cottages of varied architectural styles built by successful families after the Civil War. Walk along the San Antonio River and imagine when this part of the city served as farm land to support the Alamo complex in mission days. Finally, we’ll visit downtown’s newest museum, the Briscoe Museum of Western Art. Learn more about the development of Texas and the Old West as we enjoy seeing art and artifacts from the region.

Dinner: We’ll have a festive farewell dinner at a River Walk restaurant featuring a choice of entrée while enjoying live mariachi music.

Evening: At leisure. Linger over dinner or return to the hotel and prepare for check-out and departure in the morning following our closing session.

DAY
6
Early Texas Medicine, Program Concludes
San Antonio, TX
B

Activity note: Hotel check-out by 12:00 Noon.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: Take a peek at the system of folk medicine that came to be used by the early Texans, who were often forced to find substitutes for remedies that had been available in their previous environs. They began to share “cures” with people from other cultures such as Native Americans, Mexicans, Germans, Poles, Swedes, and many others. A local educator will join us as we look inside the medical cabinets of these early settlers with a long-time local educator. This concludes our program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures. Best wishes for all your journeys!