The San Antonio River Stroll, lined with buzzy eating places and margarita bars
AHH, I bear in mind the Alamo,” I say to my son, Angus, 15, wistfully as we stand in entrance of one among America’s most revered websites.
The teenager appears to be like at me oddly.
“I do know you’re outdated however you’re not that outdated…are you?” he mutters, pointing on the date 1836 carved above the doorway.
Not fairly. The crumbling 18th-century Spanish mission was the location of the bloodiest battle in Texan historical past, a 13-day siege within the combat for independence from Mexico.
I grew up watching outdated black-and-white Westerns with my grandad and seeing these crumbling partitions, pockmarked with bullet holes from Davy Crockett’s final stand, was like bringing the wild frontier to life. The mayor of San Antonio has lately introduced plans to revive the Alamo to its former glory and can embrace a museum displaying Phil Collins’s (sure, that one) $15million assortment of Alamo artefacts.
Whereas the Alamo continues to be the most important draw to this southern Texas metropolis, there’s lots happening this 12 months because it celebrates its tricentennial.
Situated simply 150 miles north of the Mexican border, one among San Antonio’s largest annual celebrations is the Carnaval Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Lifeless, a vibrant competition of parades and occasions till November three. We’re staying proper within the centre within the St Anthony Lodge, a phenomenal grande dame often known as the Queen of San Antonio.
Opened in 1909 by a pair of Texan cattlemen, it’s so wealthy with old-school Texan glamour I nearly count on to see JR Ewing and Sue Ellen waltzing by way of its polished doorways. Operating the size of the resort is Peacock Alley, a block-long foyer lined with marble columns, emerald velvet sofas and showered in chandeliers which is a throwback to the Fifties, when famed New York inside designer Dorothy Draper put St Anthony on the type map.
The positioning of probably the most well-known battle in Texan historical past
Because the sultry Texan solar begins to dip behind the Alamo, Angus and I take a sluggish wander alongside the balmy streets right down to Paseo del Rio – the San Antonio River Stroll – a three-mile-long pathway lined with buzzy eating places and margarita bars.
The birthplace of Tex Mex, my Dorito-fuelled teenage son is in his ingredient and the earlier evening we feasted on quesadillas, burritos and tacos in Mi Tierra, one of many oldest and most vibrant Tex Mex diners on the town.
Tonight we’re booked on to Boudro’s dinner cruise alongside the San Antonio river. Clasping my first prickly pear margarita, a cheery mariachi band jigs noisily alongside the trail and serenades us as we board the boat.
Regardless of Angus’s gentle look of horror – in case I take part – we’re each infused with the sparky Chicano vibe. Even on this unassuming Tuesday evening, drifting gently down a fairy-lit river, melodic maracas ringing in our ears, I’m completely charmed by the town.
Vacationers on a ship tour in San Antonio, Texas
However it’s not all mariachi bands and marvellous margaritas, there’s a classy facet to San Antonio too. The Pearl Brewery District, a mile or so north of Downtown, is at the moment probably the most occurring hangout on the town.
As soon as the house of the Pearl Brewery, it’s like a hip college campus with craft beer bars, impartial eating places and artisan outlets promoting every little thing from handcrafted French-style macarons in Bakery Lorraine to uncommon books on the Alamo in The Twig bookshop.
A mile additional is the Witte Museum, an esteemed science and pure historical past museum which reopened final 12 months after a serious redevelopment and has authentic cowboy wagons to indulge my Wild West fantasies even additional.
I’m pleasantly shocked how massive successful San Antonio is with the teenager. It’s famend as a family-friendly metropolis with a bunch of theme parks, together with the Six Flags Fiesta Texas, Moist ‘n’ Wild and Morgan’s Wonderland, the world’s first totally accessible theme and water park for folks with particular wants.
The Witte Museum homes Texan dinosaurs
IT ALSO has loads of various sights appropriate for 15-year-olds as nicely. Our new favorite museum on the planet is simply across the nook from our resort, the Buckhorn Saloon and Museum, which for Western followers its just about Disneyland.
The unique Buckhorn Saloon opened in 1881, when proprietor Albert Friedrich would settle for horns, antlers and even jars of rattlesnake rattles in trade for a whisky or beer.
His stash grew into one of many world’s largest collections of antlers and over time has expanded to incorporate a zoo of stuffed animals.
Extra lately, it has been included into the good Texas Ranger Museum, the place I swagger across the old-time saloon bar like a price range Annie Oakley.
It’s our final evening and after leaving a drained teenager within the room with a double invoice of Beavis and Butthead, I sneak down for a farewell margarita within the St Anthony Membership, the resort’s superb outdated jazz bar.
Filled with overstuffed Chesterfields, and polished mahogany, this famed Texan joint was the place South West Airways was conceived on the again of a serviette in 1967.
With its marvellous cocktails, pockmarked missions and mariachi bands, I don’t think about it is going to be our final stand in San Antonio.