We spent a long weekend in San Antonio, Texas and loved it.
We visited all 5 historic missions. These missions have recently been awarded the designation of a Unesco World Heritage Site.
Mission Concepcion was dedicated in 1755. It is said to be the oldest unrestored stone church in America.
Mission San Francisco was founded in 1690 near Weches, Texas. It was the first mission in Texas. In 1731 the mission transferred to the San Antonio River area and was renamed Mission San Francisco de la Espada. The new church was not completed until 1756. Life in this Franciscan missionary followed closely to that of a Spanish village and Spanish culture. Native Americans joined the missionary and were integral to the success of it.
Mission San Jose is known as the “Queen of the Missions.” It is the largest of the missions and was almost fully restored to its original design in the 1930s. Spanish missions were not churches, but communities with the church as the focus. When it was first built it was covered in a colorful geometric pattern. There is one area where you can still see some remnants of this.
Mission San Juan was originally founded in 1716 in eastern Texas. It was transferred to the San Antonio location in 1731. As a side note, this simply means that the members moved to San Antonio to start a new missionary. The Church was built in 1756. San Juan was a self-sustaining community. Within the compound, Indian artisans produced iron tools, cloth and prepared hides. There were many orchards and gardens just outside the mission’s walls.
The most popular mission of course is the Alamo. It served as a Spanish Mission from 1718 – 1793, a Fortress from 1803 – 1835 and a Battlefield from 1835-1836.
We enjoyed the downtown Riverwalk area and had dinner along the river at Landry’s Seafood.
Our favorite area was the Pearl Brewery District. We strolled through a Farmers Market there on Saturday morning and then we found the Hotel Emma. This is a hotel that was once the Pearl Brewery. The transformation from the brewery to Hotel Emma is spectacular. The hotel incorporates a large amount of the old brewery mechanics and architecture. We absolutely loved it!
In the evening we returned to the Pearl Brewery District to listen to a great Jazz band at Jazz TX. If you like Jazz, we highly recommend that you check this place out.
We enjoyed dinner at Botika in the district and highly recommend it. Here are a few more pictures from the Pearl area.
Finally, we enjoyed a nice bike ride along the river. The city recently completed a 15 mile bike trail along the river, heading out from the city to the Missions. It is a paved path with a multitude of parks and nature areas along the way.
We were surprised to see that the area around the river was filled with litter, especially considering how clean the city was. We spoke with a local and found out that the recent heavy rains resulted in the need to open the flood gates. All of the garbage was carried down from areas upstream. In the first picture below you can see how high the water level was based on where the trash is in the trees.
We stayed at the San Antonio KOA. It is a large RV resort centrally located for access to the city. We utilized the public transportation, since the bus pick-up location was right in front of the resort. It worked out great. The resort was very clean and they even deliver in-house made pizza to your site. We would definitely stay there again.
Now it is onto the Carlsbad Caverns. More on that later.