Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.
Activity note: Hotel check-in from 3:00 p.m. Remember to bring your Road Scholar name tag (sent previously).
Afternoon: Program Registration: 3:00 p.m. After you check in and have your room assignment, join us at the Road Scholar table to register with the program staff, get any updated information, and confirm the time and location of the Orientation session. If you arrive late, please locate your Group Leader and let them know you have arrived. 4:00 p.m. 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. 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 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 in San Antonio 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: Welcome dinner at the hotel.
Evening: At leisure. Continue getting acquainted with your fellow Road Scholars, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead.
Activity note: Walking up to 3 miles over the course of the day over city sidewalks and some uneven surfaces such as cobblestones, climbing up/down stairs to access River Walk area, standing for up to 2 hours.
Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at the hotel.
Morning: Our local expert will explore Texas history and culture from a Tejano perspective. Since Spanish Conquistadors first landed on this soil more than 500 years ago, there have been fascinating stories of conflicts and compromises, love affairs and bitter hatreds among our many peoples. We will explore the area's complex history together. Next, we’ll set out on a walking field trip with a local expert to San Fernando Cathedral and step back in time to the 18th century Spanish colonial era. The cathedral 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. We will gain an appreciation for the efforts of the historical conservation society in preserving the city’s past while encouraging new development. As we meander along the famous River Walk on our way to lunch, we’ll 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 lunch.
Afternoon: After lunch, we’ll embark on a field trip by foot with a local expert to explore some of San Antonio’s most iconic sites. We will 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 will then visit the Alamo, the famous Spanish colonial mission that was established in 1718, and moved to its current location in 1724. Its history is fascinating and complex. We'll hear the story of the Alamo, then visit the Shrine, view artifacts, and watch a short movie. We’ll visit other nearby points of interest as time allows and 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: Dinner at a local restaurant.
Evening: The Group Leader will accompany those who would like to walk across the plaza adjacent to the hotel 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.
Activity note: Walking up to 2 miles; climbing up/down stairs to access River Walk area of city and restaurants. Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 20 miles, approximately 1 hour over the course of the day.
Breakfast: Hotel buffet.
Morning: We’ll be joined by a college professor who will explain why Texas is the most universally famous place in America in a lecture focusing on the sweeping historical 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 travel by motorcoach to a family-owned restaurant, where we will have a culinary demonstration with all you need to know to begin Tex-Mex cooking. With the head chef and owner, we’ll 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, we’ll savor a delicious meal of Tex-Mex cuisine.
Afternoon: Next, we'll ride to the 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.
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.
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. Extent and duration of walking and other activities during free time according to personal choice.
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. Next 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: We will walk to the largest Mexican marketplace in the U.S., and have an authentic Tex-Mex meal at one of San Antonio’s most popular restaurants.
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. Walk back to the hotel on your own.
Dinner: On your own to have what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.
Evening: At leisure.
Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 150 miles, approximately 4 hours, over the course of the day. Walking up to 3 miles, standing for 1-2 hours at a time. 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 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 and directions.
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.
Activity note: Walking up to 3 miles over the course of the day over city sidewalks and some uneven surfaces, climbing up/down stairs to access River Walk area, standing for up to 1 hour at museum. Extent and duration of walking and other activities during free time according to personal choice.
Breakfast: Hotel buffet.
Morning: We'll start by learning about the life and legacy of Sam Houston. Though born a Virginian, his life’s journey would lead him to places and situations unparalleled by most Americans of his day. Well-known for leading the Texans to victory at the Battle of San Jacinto on April 21, 1836, he earned a place in American History that few can surpass. From Virginia to Texas, from Tennessee to the Cherokee Nation, our expert presenter will bring to life the triumphs and tragedies of legendary Sam Houston. Next, we will walk to the nearby Briscoe Western Art Museum to explore the museum's collection of artifacts and art depicting the Great American West.
Lunch: At the hotel
Afternoon: Free time.
Dinner: At a local restaurant. Share favorite experiences and enjoy camaraderie with new Road Scholar friends during our farewell dinner.
Evening: Linger over dinner or return to the hotel and prepare for check-out and departure in the morning.
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!