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Texas

San Antonio: Heart of the City, Heart of the Hill Country

All hat and no cattle? Not this adventure in the Lone Star State! Find out why San Antonio is true Texas as you explore the River Walk, enjoy authentic cuisine and learn about LBJ.
Rating (5)
Program No. 22272RJ
Length
6 days
Starts at
999
Texas

San Antonio: Heart of the City, Heart of the Hill Country

All hat and no cattle? Not this adventure in the Lone Star State! Find out why San Antonio is true Texas as you explore the River Walk, enjoy authentic cuisine and learn about LBJ.
Length
6 days
Starts at
999
Program No. 22272 RJ
Prefer to enroll or inquire by phone? 800-454-5768
climate
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Prices displayed below are based on per person,doubleoccupancy.
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Oct 4 - Oct 9, 2021
Starting at
999
Nov 8 - Nov 13, 2021
Starting at
999
Feb 14 - Feb 19, 2022
Starting at
999
Mar 21 - Mar 26, 2022
Starting at
999
Apr 18 - Apr 23, 2022
Starting at
999
Oct 10 - Oct 15, 2022
Starting at
999
Nov 7 - Nov 12, 2022
Starting at
999
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Oct 4 - Oct 9, 2021
Starting at
1,249
Nov 8 - Nov 13, 2021
Starting at
1,249
Feb 14 - Feb 19, 2022
Starting at
1,259
Mar 21 - Mar 26, 2022
Starting at
1,259
Apr 18 - Apr 23, 2022
Starting at
1,259
Oct 10 - Oct 15, 2022
Starting at
1,259
Nov 7 - Nov 12, 2022
Starting at
1,259

At a Glance

Bold colors, brave battles, big fandangos and bigger appetites — San Antonio stands a breed apart from other American cities. As gateway to the borderlands and crossroads of culture, it showcases the best of North and South, old and new. Experience San Antonio as the embodiment of the strike-it-rich spirit of Texas, a city embracing contemporary culture while paying homage to its storied past.
Activity Level
Keep the Pace
Keep the Pace: Walking up to 2 miles, climbing stairs. Getting on and off public bus and motor coach with minimal assistance. Standing in a museum for up to two hours.

Best of all, you'll ...

  • Stroll along the landscaped walkways of the River Walk and discover the city's rich history with a visit to the Spanish missions designated as a UNESCO World Heritage cultural treasure.
  • Explore Fredericksburg, in the majestic Texas Hill Country, to learn of its rich German heritage.
  • Recall the era of LBJ as you learn about his early life, legislative accomplishments and visit his Texas ranch.
Featured Expert
All Experts
Profile Image
Mary Brennan
Mary Brennan is dean of the College of Liberal Arts at Texas State University. She has exhaustively researched conservative politics in America and has penned a number of books related to the subject, including "Wives, Mothers, and the Red Menace" that evolved from her curiosity about Joe McCarthy’s wife, and "Pat Nixon: Embattled First Lady." Mary has appeared on numerous radio and TV shows, including CNN’s "The Sixties" and CSPAN's "First Ladies: Influence and Image."

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

Profile Image of Mary Brennan
Mary Brennan View biography
Mary Brennan is dean of the College of Liberal Arts at Texas State University. She has exhaustively researched conservative politics in America and has penned a number of books related to the subject, including "Wives, Mothers, and the Red Menace" that evolved from her curiosity about Joe McCarthy’s wife, and "Pat Nixon: Embattled First Lady." Mary has appeared on numerous radio and TV shows, including CNN’s "The Sixties" and CSPAN's "First Ladies: Influence and Image."
Profile Image of Gregg Eckhardt
Gregg Eckhardt View biography
Gregg Eckhardt is an environmental scientist with 26 years of experience in environmental modeling and analysis, water resource planning and development, state and federal permitting, and water treatment. As a senior analyst for the San Antonio Water System, he is involved in the management of the city's water supply and wastewater systems, and much of his work focuses on developing and implementing environmental initiatives. Outside of work, he is active in community education, providing lectures and web-based learning curriculum on regional water resources and environmental history.
Profile Image of Allen Hamilton
Allen Lee Hamilton View biography
Allen Lee Hamilton is a professor of Texas and American history at St. Philip’s College in San Antonio. The author of four books and 30+ articles in historical and popular journals, Allen has won three NISOD Awards from the University of Texas for Teaching Excellence. He completed his undergraduate and graduate work at the University of Texas at Arlington, and his doctoral work at the University of Oklahoma. Allen is a fourth generation Texan whose family has been in this great state since 1866.
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.
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.
Friedrichsburg: Colony of the German Furstenverein
by Friedrich Armand Strubberg and James C. Kearney
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.
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.
Three Roads to the Alamo, the Lives and Fortunes of David Crockett, James Bowie, and William Barret Travis
by William C. Davis
San Antonio Missions National Historical Park
by Louis Torres
Sentinel of the Southern Plains
by Allen Lee Hamilton
A history of Fort Richardson, one of several military posts established in 1866 to protect the Northwestern frontier of Texas. An interesting look into frontier military history, soldiers, life on the trail and federal policy.
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.
Crown Jewel of Texas, the Story of the San Antonio River
by Lewis Fisher
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.
The Alamo Remembered, Tejano Accounts & Perspectives
by Timothy M. Matovina
Gates of the Alamo (historically accurate novel)
by Stephen Harrigan
The Gates of the Alamo enfolds us in history and, through its remarkable and passionate storytelling, allows us to participate at last in an American legend. Filled with dramatic scenes, and abounding in fictional and historical personalities-among them James Bowie, David Crockett, William Travis, and General Santa Anna--Harrigan describes the battle from both sides.
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6 days
5 nights
11 meals
5 B 3 L 3 D
DAY
1
Check-in, 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: 3:00-4:00 p.m. After you have your room assignment, join us in our hotel meeting room 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: 4:00 p.m. 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. Our knowledgeable Group Leader will serve as our primary educational resource. 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. The Group Leader will give us a presentation on San Antonio, explaining how the River Walk was developed and explaining how various cultures converged on the area to make it the unique place that it is today. Each evening, the hotel hosts a complimentary “kickback” reception with a rotating variety of food and drink daily from 5:30-7:00 p.m. on the second floor. Everyone is invited.

Dinner: In the hotel, we’ll have a buffet dinner with beverage choices of coffee, tea, water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure. Continue getting acquainted with your fellow Road Scholars, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead.

DAY
2
Texas State of Mind, River Walk, Alamo, Menger, S.A. River
San Antonio, TX
B,L
Drury Plaza Hotel San Antonio Riverwalk

Activity note: Getting on/off a public bus. Walking up to 2 miles, climbing up/down stairs to access River Walk area, standing in museum for up to 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.” Next we’ll embark on a field trip by foot with 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.

Lunch: We’ll stop at a nearby restaurant for a buffet lunch with beverage choices of coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: After lunch, we will continue our walking exploration of downtown San Antonio with our local expert. 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 its gallant defense by 182 Texans against General 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. We will then visit the historic Menger hotel, across the plaza from the Alamo. The Menger, the oldest continuously operating hotel west of the Mississippi, was established in 1859 and set the standard of luxury for its day. Historic events that took place here include Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders cavalry brigade recruitment. 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. From here, we will have some free time to explore the area independently or return to the hotel on foot along the river.

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: We will regroup to hear about 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.

DAY
3
About LBJ, Barge Ride, Free Time
San Antonio, TX
B,L
Drury Plaza Hotel San Antonio Riverwalk

Activity note: Getting on/off a river barge. Walking up to 1 mile; climbing up/down stairs to access River Walk area of city and restaurants.

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 the passage of the watershed legislation passed during the mid-1960s. After a short break, we'll catch a narrated barge ride on the San Antonio River, located 20 feet below street level and just steps from the famed Alamo. We will learn about the history of the area and the blend of old and new from our barge driver as we float along the river.

Lunch: At a restaurant on the river walk, we’ll have plated meals with a variety of entrée choices and beverage choices of coffee, tea, water included; 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.

Dinner: On your own to have what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
4
LBJ Ranch, Fredericksburg, Barbecue Dinner
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. Extent and duration of walking and other activities during free time according to personal choice.

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 Lyndon B Johnson National Historical 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: On your own to have what you like at one of the many restaurants along Main Street in Fredericksburg.

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.

Dinner: On the way back to San Antonio, we'll stop for a tasty barbecue dinner and some music in a quaint Hill Country town.

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

DAY
5
Spanish Missions, Marketplace, Institute of Texan Cultures
San Antonio, TX
B,L,D
Drury Plaza Hotel San Antonio Riverwalk

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 10 miles with several short rides during the day. Walking up to 2 miles; flat, paved sidewalks.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We will board a motorcoach and ride to San Antonio Mission National Historical Park, a UNESCO-designated World Heritage Site. Led by our expert Group Leader, 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.

Lunch: We will ride to the largest Mexican marketplace in the U.S., where we’ll have an authentic Tex-Mex meal at one of San Antonio’s most popular restaurants.

Afternoon: After lunch we’ll ride to San Fernando Cathedral. 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. Next, we’ll take a short ride 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’ll return to the hotel via motorcoach after our field trips.

Dinner: We’ll walk a few blocks to a popular local restaurant and have a plated 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.

Evening: We’ll set out with our Group Leader to San Fernando Cathedral for an outdoor light show by French artist Xavier De Richemont. This 24 minute show tells the story of San Antonio from its beginnings to present day.

DAY
6
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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