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 (4.91)
Program No. 21173RJ
Length
8 days
Starts at
1,899
Special Offer
Click on Dates & Prices below to see special offer details.
Flights start at
FREE
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8 days
7 nights
17 meals
7 B 5 L 5 D
Getting There
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DAY
1
Check-in, Registration, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
San Antonio, TX
D
Drury Plaza Hotel San Antonio Riverwalk

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

Afternoon: Program Registration: 4:30 p.m. After you have your room assignment, come to 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 last-minute changes, other important information, and to learn when and where the Orientation session will take place. If you arrive late, please ask for your packet when you check in. Orientation. 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. Breakfast each day is in the hotel (later morning on weekends), with lunch and dinner at restaurants in the downtown and River Walk areas. Each day at 5:30 p.m., the hotel has a reception on the second floor to which all are invited for free with a rotating menu of hot food and cold beverages. Save room for dinner! Travel for field trips will be by public bus or trolley and private motorcoach. Periods in the schedule labeled “Free Time” and “At Leisure” offer opportunities to make the program more meaningful and memorable while going out to explore on your own, engaging in available activities independently, making new friends among fellow Road Scholars, or simply relaxing. The Group Leader will always 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.

Dinner: In the hotel ballroom on the fourth floor, we will have a catered buffet dinner, plus coffee, tea, water.

Evening: During dinner, we will enjoy listening to Conjunto music, a unique blend of sounds from Northern Mexico and the U.S. The performers will tell us about this form of music in a brief presentation.

DAY
2
Texas History, Alamo, Menger Hotel, River Barge Ride
San Antonio, TX
B,L,D
Drury Plaza Hotel San Antonio Riverwalk

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

Breakfast: In the hotel’s second floor mezzanine, have what you like from the breakfast buffet with choices such as scrambled eggs, bacon or sausage, biscuits and gravy, pancakes, yogurt, granola, fresh fruit, bagels, toast, muffins, jellies and jams, oatmeal, cold cereal, milk, juices, coffee, tea, water.

Morning: In the hotel ballroom, an expert from St. Philip's College will explain why Texas is the most universally famous place in America in a two-hour lecture of Texas history focusing on 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: At a historic hotel near Alamo Plaza, we will have a buffet lunch including coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: We’ll embark on a walking field trip with by a local expert 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. We'll hear the story of the Alamo, then 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 expert will take us inside for a peek at the elaborately appointed lobbies and the Menger bar, to see memorabilia from TR's time. We’ll understand more about Texas pride as we visit these historic sites. Late afternoon, we’ll board a river barge for a narrated ride and learn how the city was able to turn a flood control project into a beautiful attraction that has become the center point of the city. We’ll 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.

Dinner: At a local restaurant, we’ll have plated meals with choice of entrée; coffee, tea, water included, other beverages available for purchase. We will continue to get acquainted with fellow Road Scholars in small groups over dinner.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
3
LBJ's Legacy, Lunch at El Mercado, McNay Art Museum
San Antonio, TX
B,L,D
Drury Plaza Hotel San Antonio Riverwalk

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach. Walking up to 2 miles, standing 1-2 hours.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We’ll meet in the ballroom with a university professor whose area of expertise is late 20th century U.S. history. We'll learn about the broad panorama of legislation passed in the 1960s during the Johnson administration. President Johnson's vision for a more just and honorable country contributed to the passage of the most important civil rights legislation of the century including the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Texans celebrated LBJ's legacy upon the 50th anniversary of the passage of these watershed legislative achievements.

Lunch: At a favorite restaurant in El Mercado — the largest Mexican marketplace in the country — we’ll have a traditional Tex-Mex meal including coffee, tea, water. Mariachi entertainment will enliven our enjoyment.

Afternoon: We’ll board a motorcoach for a field trip to the McNay Museum of Art, a Spanish Colonial Revival-style home which opened as the first museum of modern art in Texas in 1954. During a docent-led exploration, we will see why 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 will also see the San Antonio Public Library, an architecturally striking vibrant red building designed by renowned architect Ricardo Legoretta. We’ll take in the building’s crowning artistic jewel, the colorful Fiesta Tower by renowned glass artist Dale Chihuly. The tower, comprised of 900-plus unique hand-blown glass ornaments, rises nearly 27 feet from the library’s atrium. Returning to the hotel, don’t forget the hotel’s daily reception on the second floor featuring free hot food and cold drinks.

Dinner: At a restaurant atop a bank building, we’ll have a plated meal with coffee, tea, water included; other beverages available for purchase. Enjoy great views of the city at night.

Evening: A local expert, who will share the interesting history of the San Antonio River, explaining the importance of the river in the development of the city and how what was once an ugly creek prone to flooding has become the city's best known achievement.

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

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 75 miles, approximately 2 hours. Walking 1-2 miles, standing in museum 1-2 hours.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We will travel to Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park on Ladybird Lane in Johnson City. The complex contains a visitor center, reconstructed birthplace, cemetery, and the Johnsons’ residence, known as the Texas White House. The private quarters provide a more personal glimpse into the lives of the former President and First Lady. Park rangers will lead our exploration of the residence. We will then ride to Fredericksburg.

Lunch: 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. There are many restaurants along Main Street in Fredericksburg.

Afternoon: We will have time for personal independent exploration in this scenic Hill Country town of Fredericksburg. You might like to visit German historical sites, marketplaces, breweries, or the National Museum of the Pacific War located in the historic hotel run by the family of Admiral Chester Nimitz. You can soak up the early history of the area at the Pioneer Museum Complex or the Vereins-Kirche (Society Church), the oldest public building in town. We will regroup and meet a rancher whose ranch has been in his family for decades. He'll tell us about the cattle industry in Texas and tell us about interesting geological features on his land.

Dinner: We'll have authentic Texas barbecue at a private party with other Road Scholars.

Evening: We'll kick our heels up to tunes performed by a local band. Everyone who likes will have an opportunity to learn a line dance!

DAY
5
Special Interest Field Trips, Free Time, Movie
San Antonio, TX
B,L
Drury Plaza Hotel San Antonio Riverwalk

Activity note: Breakfast begins 1/2 later on weekends; lunch differs based on morning field trips. Special interest field trips involve walking. Nature walk 4-5 miles; paved, relatively flat walkway.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet (beginning 1/2 hour later).

Morning: We will select one of four available field trips: 1. Cooking Demonstration Class/West Side Murals. We’ll learn how to prepare a delicious picante style Mexican meal at a family-owned restaurant. On our way to the demonstration, we'll drive through the city's West Side and see colorful murals. 2. Nature Walk/Bird Watching. We’ll go on an expert-led walk with a master naturalist alongside the San Antonio River extension trail to learn about the city's urban renewal efforts and to spot birds and other wildlife. 3. Hispanic Culture/West Side. We’ll explore the city’s West Side, an area rarely visited by tourists, to learn more about the diversity of the city and view a cross-section of its many colorful murals. We’ll also visit a Mexican bakery; Our Lady of Guadalupe Church where Pope John Paul II held mass in 1987; a botanica with herbal remedies; and see other places that are significant in the life of West Side residents. 4. Downtown Architecture. We’ll see and identify a wide variety of architectural styles during an expert-led walk in the downtown area and appreciate how the city has blended in new structures while maintaining the city's historic ambience.

Lunch: Differs according to field trip choices: 1. At a local family-owned restaurant, we will enjoy a Mexican meal; coffee, tea, water included, other beverages available for purchase. 2. & 4. Returning to the the hotel, we will have a meal including soup, salad, sandwiches, and more plus coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase. 3. At a West Side restaurant, we will have a plated meal featuring authentic Tex-Mex foods; coffee, tea, water included, other beverages available for purchase.

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: On your own to explore some of the city's culinary gems and enjoy what you like.

Evening: In the hotel, we will have a screening for Road Scholars of a Texas-themed movie.

DAY
6
Remarkable Women, King William District, Cathedral
San Antonio, TX
B,L
Drury Plaza Hotel San Antonio Riverwalk

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

Breakfast: Hotel buffet (beginning 1/2 hour later).

Morning: In the hotel ballroom, 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. After a short break, we'll hear an intriguing story of two women, one Hispanic and one Anglo, who faced the hardships of the Texas frontier during the nineteenth century. The way they faced adversity will reveal interesting cultural differences experienced by early Texans.

Lunch: In the restaurant on the roof of historic Guenther House, we will have a delightful lunch with coffee, tea, water included; other beverages available for purchase. After eating, we’ll have some time to explore Guenther House on our own. What we see today began as a flour mill built by German immigrant Carl Hilmar Guenther in 1860.

Afternoon: Next, we will take a virtual trip back in time as experts lead us through an area settled in the mid-19th century by affluent Germans and named for King Wilhelm of Prussia. We’ll stroll through impressive houses designed in the Greek Revival, Victorian, and Italianate styles and get an inside look at the lifestyles of rich and famous San Antonio personalities from the late 1800s. We'll then go on an expert-led visit to the heart and soul of the city, the San Fernando Cathedral. Built in 1738, the cathedral is still in operation and has played an important role in the religious and secular history of the city.

Dinner: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
7
Water Conservation, Missions, Institute of Texan Cultures
San Antonio, TX
B,L,D
Drury Plaza Hotel San Antonio Riverwalk

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach. Walking and standing to 1-2 hours in museums.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: San Antonio is a leader in conservation efforts for water and other natural resources. Local experts will join us in the hotel ballroom for an informative and entertaining presentation on the story of San Antonio’s successful water conservation efforts. We'll learn how a growing metropolitan area copes with a finite supply of water during one of the nation's worst droughts. We will then travel by private motorcoach to San Antonio Mission National Historic Park, a UNESCO designated World Heritage Site, to explore missions that make up the complex. With experts, we will learn about the early settlement and efforts of the Spanish to convert people to the Roman Catholic Church and an agricultural form of life. In particular, we will see the beauty of Mission San Jose y San Miguel de Aguayo — known as the Queen of the Missions — that was restored by the WPA in the 1930s. We’ll also learn about how Spaniards used irrigation (acequia) systems to develop self-sustaining agricultural communities along the San Antonio River.

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

Afternoon: We will travel by motorcoach to the Institute of Texas Cultures (ITC) at Hemisfair Park. Operated by the University of Texas at San Antonio, the ITC fulfills its mandate as the state’s center for multicultural education by investigating the ethnic and cultural history of the state. We will examine displays about the 26 different ethnic and cultural groups that settled the Texas frontier 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 ITC, we will have a buffet meal with coffee, tea, water included; other beverages available for purchase. As we dine, we’ll enjoy a performance by musicians and 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 by 12:00 Noon.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet. This concludes our program. 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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