Walking up/down steps to reach the River Walk, walking up to 3 miles throughout the day over paved and uneven terrain; standing up to 2 hours at a time.
Breakfast buffet at the hotel.
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. 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’ll stop at a nearby restaurant.
After lunch, we will continue our walking exploration of historic San Antonio. 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. Our local expert will take us to other sites of interest in the area. At San Fernando Cathedral we will 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. From here, we will have some free time to explore the area independently or return to the hotel on foot along the river.
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.
Step outside the hotel to the River Walk — the heart of the city — for a private, narrated barge 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 amid thousands of holiday lights that sparkle all along the way.