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21173
Texas

Great American Get-Together in San Antonio

Join us for our gala event in San Antonio! From Hill Country to the River Walk, you’ll go big in this bold and exciting city.
Rating (5)
Program No. 21173RJ
Length
8 days
Starts at
1,999
Texas

Great American Get-Together in San Antonio

Join us for our gala event in San Antonio! From Hill Country to the River Walk, you’ll go big in this bold and exciting city.
Length
8 days
Starts at
1,999
Program No. 21173 RJ
climate
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At a Glance

Celebrate the spirit of San Antonio — and Road Scholar — as you join us for a week of fellowship, learning and fun in the heart of Texas! We’ve planned an amazing array of in-depth lectures, field trips and activities — plus a final night gala with music and cultural dancers. Immerse yourself in the history of San Antonio while exploring with new friends, and then customize your learning with your choice of enriching activities to choose from on two different days. There is something for everyone, as you experience the best of Road Scholar in San Antonio.

Best of all, you'll ...

  • Choose your own special experiences, such as a cooking demonstration or an architecture walk, alongside our best and most loved experts.
  • Join experts for explorations of San Antonio’s greatest landmarks, including the Alamo, the beautiful river walk, the missions and historic La Villita.
  • Venture to Texas Hill Country with explorations of the quaint town of Fredericksburg and LBJ ranch, topped off with an authentic barbecue and live music.

General Notes

Large-group program with max of 140; smaller groups for activities.
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.
As Texas Goes...: How the Lone Star State Hijacked the American Agenda
by Gail Collins
Sam Houston, A Life
by James L. Haley
Friedrichsburg: Colony of the German Furstenverein
by Friedrich Armand Strubberg and James C. Kearney
Three Roads to the Alamo, the Lives and Fortunes of David Crockett, James Bowie, and William Barret Travis
by William C. Davis
Gone to Texas, a History of the Lone Star State
by Randolph Campbell
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.
The Alamo Remembered, Tejano Accounts & Perspectives
by Timothy M. Matovina
Gates of the Alamo (historically accurate novel)
by Stephen Harrigan
On the Border, an Environmental History of San Antonio
by Char Miller
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.
Crown Jewel of Texas, the Story of the San Antonio River
by Lewis Fisher
The Spanish Acequias of San Antonio
by Waynne Cox
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
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8 days
7 nights
17 meals
7 B 5 L 5 D
DAY
1
Check-in, Registration, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
San Antonio, TX
D
Drury Plaza Hotel San Antonio Riverwalk

Activity note: If you chose the “Free Airfare” option and will be arriving on Day 1 of the program, Road Scholar staff will be on hand in the baggage claim area to greet you direct you to a motorcoach/shuttle. Look for Road Scholar signs. Our charter motorcoaches will depart from the airport at regularly scheduled intervals. Hotel check-in from 3:00 p.m.

Afternoon: Program Registration. After you have your room assignment, join us at the Road Scholar table in the lobby to register with the program staff and get your welcome packet containing the up-to-date schedule that reflects any changes, other important information, and to confirm the time and location of the Orientation session. If you arrive late, please ask for your packet when you check in. Orientation- at 4:30 pm., the Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. This is a Road Scholar Great American Get Together (GAGT) program. GAGT programs involve a large group of participants from all over the country who get to learn about a wide variety of topics and themes from some of Road Scholar’s most acclaimed instructors. For some scheduled activities, participants will be divided into smaller groups. What follows is a representative schedule. The order of the elements each day will vary by group, but each group will have an opportunity to experience all scheduled activities. Transportation for program-related activities will be via motorcoach unless specified otherwise. Periods in the schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding. Each evening from 5:30-7:00 p.m., the hotel hosts a complimentary “kickback” reception on the second floor with a rotating variety of food and drink. Everyone is invited.

Dinner: In the hotel ballroom on the fourth floor, we will have a catered buffet meal with beverage choices of coffee, tea, water included. During dinner, we will enjoy listening to “conjunto” music, a unique blend of sounds from Northern Mexico and the U.S.

Evening: The “conjunto” performers will tell us about and play more of their music. Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead.

DAY
2
Texas State of Mind, The Alamo, River Barge Ride, Local Lore
San Antonio, TX
B,L,D
Drury Plaza Hotel San Antonio Riverwalk

Activity note: Getting on/off a trolley, on/off a public barge. Climbing up/down stairs to access River Walk area of city and restaurants. Walking up to 2 miles, standing 1-2 hours.

Breakfast: Each day in the hotel’s second floor mezzanine, the breakfast buffet offers choices such as make-your-own Belgian waffles, scrambled eggs, sausage, fresh fruit, oatmeal, biscuits and gravy, coffee and more.

Morning: We’ll be joined by a college professor who will explain why Texas is the most universally famous place in America in a two hour lecture focusing on the sweeping events and fascinating characters that make this the amazing place it is. John Steinbeck once wrote, “I have said that Texas is a state of mind, but I think it is more than that. It is a mystique closely approximating a religion.”

Lunch: At a historic hotel near Alamo Plaza, we will have a buffet meal with beverage choices of coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

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 know 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 have 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 to see the memorabilia from T.R.’s time. In late afternoon, we’ll go out and board a public barge for a narrated ride on the San Antonio River. Situated 20 feet below street level and just steps from the famed Alamo, we’ll see how stone pathways connect shops, restaurants, hotels, and museums with a blend of architecture that reflects the development of this centuries-old metropolis. The barge pilot will tell us about the history of the area and the structures we pass as we float along the river. We’ll return to the hotel at the end of our field trip for time to relax or enjoy the hotel’s “kickback” reception.

Dinner: At a local restaurant featuring plated meals with your choice of entree. Beverages include coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase. Continue getting acquainted with new friends.

Evening: We’ll be joined by a local expert — a lifetime resident of the city — who will regale us with stories about the city's interesting past and colorful characters.

DAY
3
LBJ's Legacy, Marketplace, McNay Art Museum, Cathedral
San Antonio, TX
B,L,D
Drury Plaza Hotel San Antonio Riverwalk

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 5 miles in town, approximately 1/2 hour each way depending on traffic. Walking up to 2 miles, standing 1-2 hours.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: In preparation for our field trip to the LBJ Ranch tomorrow, we’ll be joined by a university professor who is a specialist in late 20th century American history for a presentation on former President Lyndon B. Johnson and his administration. President Johnson’s vision for a more just and honorable country contributed to the passage of the most important civil rights legislation in the 20th century. We’ll hear how Texans celebrated this legacy on the 50th anniversary of this watershed legislation passed during the mid-1960s.

Lunch: We will ride from the hotel to one of San Antonio’s most popular restaurants in the largest Mexican marketplace in the U.S. In a private room, we’ll have an authentic Tex-Mex meal with beverage choices of coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase. A mariachi band will play just for us.

Afternoon: Next, we will ride to the McNay Museum of Art, a Spanish Colonial Revival-style home that opened as the first museum of modern art in Texas in 1954, for a docent-led field trip. It features captivating 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. Next, we’ll step back in time with our Group Leader to the 18th century Spanish colonial era of San Antonio at San Fernando Cathedral. It was built from 1738-50 by settlers from the Canary Islands who had been granted land by Spain’s King Philip V. The Cathedral is the oldest religious community in Texas and is still an active parish of the Archdiocese of San Antonio. 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.

Dinner: We’ll walk a few blocks to a favorite local restaurant and have a plated meal with beverage choices of coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: Returning to the hotel, the remainder of the evening is at leisure.

DAY
4
LBJ Ranch, Fredericksburg, Barbecue Dinner & Dance
San Antonio, TX
B,D
Drury Plaza Hotel San Antonio Riverwalk

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 150 miles, approximately 4 hours over the course of the day. Walking up to 2 miles, standing in museum up to 2 hours.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We will board a motorcoach at the hotel for a full day exploring Texas hill country. Our first stop will be the LBJ National Historic Park that contains a visitor center, reconstructed boyhood home, cemetery, and the Johnson residence, known as the Texas White House. National Park Rangers will be on hand and tell us more about Lyndon, Lady Bird, and their Texas home. After our field trip, we’ll ride to Fredericksburg.

Lunch: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like at one of the many restaurants along Main Street in Fredericksburg. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Afternoon: Take this opportunity for self-directed exploration in Fredericksburg to see and do what interests you most. This small city founded by German settlers in 1846 is on the National Register of Historic Places. Our Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions, give directions, and provide brochures about local points of interest and restaurants. We recommend the National Museum of the Pacific War, located in the historic hotel run by the family of Admiral Chester Nimitz. Learn about the early history of the area at the Pioneer Museum Complex or the Vereins-Kirche (Society Church), the oldest public building in town. Next, we’ll meet a rancher whose ranch has been in his family for decades. He’ll tell us about the cattle industry in Texas and share information about interesting geological features on his land.

Dinner: At a popular venue, we’ll enjoy a Road Scholar exclusive dinner party featuring authentic Texas barbecue and listen to an award-winning area band.

Evening: We’ll kick our heels up to tunes provided by a local band. Everyone who would like to do so will have the opportunity to learn a line dance.

DAY
5
Field Trip Choices, Free Time, Movie
San Antonio, TX
B,L
Drury Plaza Hotel San Antonio Riverwalk

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach. Cooking and Hispanic culture field trips involve limited to moderate amounts of walking. Downtown field trip involves walking 2-3 miles on flat sidewalks. Nature field trip involves walking 4-5 miles at moderate pace along paved, relatively flat walkways.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: Today we will have a choice of four field trips. 1. Cooking Demonstration/West Side. We’ll learn how to prepare a delicious Mexican meal with picante style from a local expert at a family-owned restaurant. On the way to the demonstration, we’ll drive through the city’s West Side to see a few colorful murals. 2. Hispanic Culture/West Side. We’ll explore an area rarely seen by tourists with a visit to the city’s West Side. Learn more about the diversity of the city and view some of its colorful murals. View a cross section of the many murals, visit a Mexican bakery, drive down Guadalupe St. and Park where Pope John Paul II held mass in 1987; and drive by other historic and important places in the life of West Side residents. 3. Downtown Architecture. Walking with a local expert, we’ll see and identify a wide variety of architectural styless in the downtown area and how the city has blended in new structures while maintaining its historic feel. 4. Nature/Bird Watching. We’ll walk with a local expert and master naturalist alongside the San Antonio River extension trail. We will learn about the city’s urban renewal efforts and spot birds and other wildlife.

Lunch: According to which field trip is chosen. 1. At a family-owned restaurant after the cooking demonstration, we will have a Mexican meal with coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase. 2. At a West Side restaurant, we will have an authentic Tex-Mex plated meal with coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase. 3. And 4. We will return to the hotel and have soup, salad, sandwiches, and more with coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: Free time. This period of time has been set aside for your 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. Each evening from 5:30-7:00 p.m., the hotel hosts a complimentary “kickback” reception on the second floor with a rotating variety of food and drink. Everyone is invited.

Dinner: On your own to have what you like and try some of the city’s culinary gems.

Evening: We will see a Texas-themed movie at the hotel. For those who choose to go out independently, take this opportunity to see and do what interests you most.

DAY
6
Mary Menger, Tejano Traditions, Missions, Meet W.B. Travis
San Antonio, TX
B,L
Drury Plaza Hotel San Antonio Riverwalk

Activity note: Getting on/off a trolley. Walking up to 2 miles, standing up to 2 hours; climbing up/down stairs to access River Walk area of city and restaurants.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We’ll gather in the hotel ballroom where a local expert will tell us 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 could 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 and became San Antonio’s largest employer. Next, we will embrace the essence of San Antonio by examining historical and cultural influences and their presence today. Two culturistas will explore aspects of local food, music, family traditions, and festivals that are part of what makes San Antonio one of America’s four unique cities, as per Mark Twain. As we meander through the streets of the city we will see words and names such as Flores, Mi Tierra, La Villita, San Fernando, Presa, and Alamo: names given by San Antonio’s early settlers 300 years ago. They represent the mix of cultures and traditions that make the city so memorable.

Lunch: At a local restaurant, we’ll choose from a variety of dishes, with beverage choices of coffee, tea, water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: We will board a motorcoach and ride to San Antonio Mission National Historical Park, a UNESCO-designated World Heritage Site. Led by experts, we’ll explore the missions that make up this complex and learn about the early settlement and efforts of the Spanish to convert local people to the Roman Catholic Church and an agricultural form of life. We’ll see how the Spanish used “acequia” (irrigation systems) to develop self-sustaining agricultural communities along the San Antonio River. Among the highlights is Mission San Jose y San Miguel de Aguayo — the so-called “Queen of the Missions” — carefully restored by the WPA in the 1930s.

Dinner: On your own to enjoy the foods of your choice. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Evening: Regrouping at the hotel, history will come alive with a visit from William Barrett “Buck” Travis, one of the heroes of the Alamo. A local reenactor will tell us about this colorful character and his influence on the Republic of Texas.

DAY
7
San Antonio River, Field Trip Choices, Texan Cultures Inst.
San Antonio, TX
B,L,D
Drury Plaza Hotel San Antonio Riverwalk

Activity note: Cooking and Hispanic culture field trips involve limited to moderate amounts of walking. Downtown field trip involves walking 2-3 miles on flat sidewalks.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: A local expert will tell us the interesting history of the San Antonio River. We’ll learn about the importance of the river in the city’s development and how what was once an ugly creek prone to flooding has become San Antonio’s best known achievement. Today we will have a choice of three field trips. 1. Cooking Demonstration/West Side. We’ll learn how to prepare a delicious Mexican meal with picante style from a local expert at a family-owned restaurant. On the way to the demonstration, we’ll drive through the city’s West Side to see a few colorful murals. 2. Hispanic Culture/West Side. We’ll explore an area rarely seen by tourists with a visit to the city’s West Side. Learn more about the diversity of the city and view some of its colorful murals. View a cross section of the many murals, visit a Mexican bakery, drive down Guadalupe St. and Park where Pope John Paul II held mass in 1987; and drive by other historic and important places in the life of West Side residents. 3. Downtown Architecture. Walking with a local expert, we’ll see and identify a wide variety of architectural styles in the downtown area and how the city has blended in new structures while maintaining its historic feel.

Lunch: According to which field trip is chosen. 1. At a family-owned restaurant after the cooking demonstration, we will have a Mexican meal with coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase. 2. At a West Side restaurant, we will have an authentic Tex-Mex plated meal with coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase. 3. We will return to the hotel and have soup, salad, sandwiches, and more with coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: Each field trip group will return to the hotel for some “down” time. In the late afternoon we’ll travel to the Institute of Texan Cultures, an educational center showcasing 26 different ethnic and cultural groups groups that settled the Texas frontier. The Institute of Texan Cultures is located downtown on the UTSA HemisFair Park Campus, a short walk from the Alamo and the River Walk. The HemisFair campus was built to host the 1968 World’s Fair and began the revitalization of the city. The 182,000-square-foot complex features 65,000 square feet of interactive exhibits and displays that tell the stories of Texans. We will examine displays with Road Scholar exclusive, after-hours admission to the museum and learn about the rich diversity of cultures that sent settlers to Texas.

Dinner: Under the dome theater of the museum, we will have a buffet meal with beverage choices of coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase. Share favorite experiences with new Road Scholar friends during our farewell dinner. As a special highlight, we’ll also enjoy a performance by cultural dancers.

Evening: Returning to the hotel, the remainder of the evening is at leisure. Prepare for check out and departure in the morning.

DAY
8
Program Concludes
San Antonio, TX
B

Activity note: Hotel check-out 11:00 a.m.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet. This concludes our program.

Morning: If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Don’t forget to join our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram. Best wishes for all your journeys!






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