Archive for the ‘Guided Tours’ Category

RVing at LCRA Nature Park, Matagorda Pennisula

CyberCelt | June 29, 2012 in Beach,Birding,Campground Reviews,Family Fun,Fish/Hunt,Guided Tours,Kayak/canoe/tube,Nature,Rivers,RV Parks,RV Travel,Skywatching | Comments (3)

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow

May and June was our time for beach trips. The last trip was the Matagorda Bay Nature Park. This is a Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) park. The park fronts on the Gulf of Mexico and the entire south border is the Colorado River. Full hookups are available or off the Colorado River. The sites had long and wide concrete slabs, picnic tables and a lantern holder. The park was one of the cleanest and best maintained parks at which we have camped.

From the website:

Matagorda Bay Nature Park is a 1,600-acre park and preserve . . . has about two miles of Gulf of Mexico and two miles river frontage and hundreds of acres of coastal marshes and dunes. It is one of the best birding areas in the nation.

The beach is a walk through the dunes to swim. When the tide was coming in the waves were perfect for body surfing. When the tide was out, the beach was perfect for children. However, beware of the rip tide that pulls swimmers toward the fishing pier.  It is stronger when the tide is in.

Matagorda Penninsula map showing LCRA park

A word of caution: Even though the map above says “Driving Beach,” the sand is powder.  If we did not have four wheel-drive, we would still be there.  The beach parking on the corner of Colorado River mouth and the Corps of Engineers was better, but you have to drive over a granite levee to get to it.

We really enjoyed our trip and would recommend this park and beach to anyone.

 


San Antonio Family Christmas, Part 2

CyberCelt | December 2, 2011 in Education,Family Fun,Guided Tours,Historic travel,Museums,Nature,Rivers,Road Trips | Comments (0)

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There is so much to do in San Antonio, even when you decide to travel on a budget.  Explore the Alamo, scene of the bloodiest battle in the Texas War for Independence, and then drive to pastoral missions where time appears to have stopped.  You will be amazed.

First Stop : The Mission Trail

Christmas Tree at Alamo Plaza

 

The Alamo

300 Alamo Plaza
San Antonio, Texas 78205
Open Monday through Saturday, 9 am-530 pm. On Sunday, the Alamo opens at 10 am.

The Alamo was first named Mission San Antonio de Valero. Construction started on the mission in 1724. In 1793, Spanish officials secularized the five missions in San Antonio. The lands were distributed to the Indian residents. The Alamo is the most famous of the Spanish missions in Texas. Although you will may be disappointed to find the Alamo in a crowded urban setting, there is something about the Alamo, especially at night, that will take your breath away. Admission to the Alamo is free.

Visit the Just for Kids page on TheAlamo.org before you visit to print out activities that you and your children may do together.  The Shrine and the Long Barrack are two original buildings, so ‘you will want to tour both. In the same area is the Clara Driscoll Theater, where you may watch a movie about the Alamo.

The battle ends at the Alamo

How much you want to talk about the death of  the defenders of the  is up to you.  The battle was nothing  like the movie and the survivors were tortured before finally being allowed to die.  There was a woman, a slave and some children that survived.  It is through these accounts that we know anything.

 Historical Map of the Alamo Grounds With an Overlay of Current Downtown San Antonio, Texas
For Accurate Positioning of all Historical Alamo Features

Alamo Map and Legend

Source: the-alamo-san-antonio.com

Explore the grounds of the Alamo. Find the Alamo Acequia and the Well. The Alamo Cenotaph, across from the Long Barrack, is an empty tomb. The bodies of the defenders of the Alamo were burned by Santa Anna after he took the Alamo. When you are tired of exploring, enjoy history talks on the hour and the half hour except during lunch (12-1 pm) in the Cavalry Courtyard.

San Jose viewed from the rubble

San Antonio Missions National Historical Park

The Alamo is just one of many Spanish missions founded in Texas. The San Antonio Missions National Historical Park was established to preserve and interpret the chain of Spanish Missions that were built along the San Antonio River in the 18th century. Here is the Map of the San Antonio Missions NHP. However, after Mission San Jose, it is best to ask park personnel for directions. Road construction is a never ending operation on the mission trail.

Mission San Jose, San Antonio Mission Trail

Mission San José y San Miguel de Aguayo

Beginning your trip at Mission San José will help orient you to the wonder of the missions and give you time to unwind from the Alamo. View a 23-minute film, take a ranger guided tour, and visit a restored Spanish Colonial flour mill, powered by gravity and water.  You are just a short drive south of downtown, but it is like another place and time.  Step into the church and light a candle.  Close your eyes and you can almost hear the 1000s of prayers echoing down through the years.

Mission Nuestra Señora de la Purisima Concepción de Acuña
Mission Nuestra Señora de la Purisima Concepción de Acuña

This mission, built in East Texas in 1716 and transferred to the San Antonio River area in 1731, is.named in honor of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception and Juan de Acuña, Viceroy of New Spain. Built on bedrock, the structural integrity of the mission protected the interior, where today you may view frescoes  painted over 200 years ago.

Mission San Francisco de la Espada

Mission San Francisco de la Espada

Originally established near Weches, Texas in 1690. Mission Espada is the oldest mission in Texas.

Acequia at Mission Espada

Acequia at Mission Espada

Espada Aqueduct is the only functioning aqueduct from the Spanish Colonial Period in the United States. Explore this age old method of irrigation that has survived 300 years.

Mission San Juan, San Antonio, Texas

Mission San Juan Capistrano

In 1716, Mission San José de los Nazonis was established to serve the Nazonis Indians in the woods of East Texas. This mission, like all the missions in East Texas, was not successful. On March 5, 1731, the mission was reestablished on the east bank of the San Antonio River and renamed San Juan Capistrano.  The 1/3 mile Yanaguana Trail at Mission San Juan takes you to a small section of the San Antonio River in its natural state. The trail is is accessible.

Links to Brochures (PDF) For Each Mission

Mission Concepción | Mission San José | Mission San Juan | Mission Espada

Guided Tours

Tours last 45-60 minutes. Meet at the visitor center or information center of the mission you wish to tour.

  • 10 am Mission San José or Mission Concepción
  • 11 am Mission San José
  • 130 pm Mission San Juan (staff permitting)
  • 2 pm Mission San José, Mission Concepción or Mission Espada (staff permitting)
  • 3 pm Mission San José or Mission San Juan (staff permitting)
  • 330 pm Mission Espada (staff permitting)

Tour Rancho de las Cabras, the grazing lands of the missions, on the first Saturday of the month at 10 am, weather permitting. Call 210.932.1001 for more information.

Scheduled Events in December at the Missions

Hubbell Trading Post NHP Navajo Rug & Jewelry Show & Sale
Visitor Center at Mission San José
Saturday & Sunday, December 3 & 4, 2011
9 am-5 pm daily

Annual Los Pastores Play
Mission San José
Sunday, December 17, 2011
7 pm (Gates open at 6 pm)
Venue is outside so bring warm clothing and something to sit upon.

Transportation

The public transportation system in San Antonio is VIA. Bus 42 from downtown will bring you to Mission San José and within two blocks of Mission Concepción. There are no buses to Mission San Juan and Mission Espada.

By automobile, drive south on South St. Mary’s Street. Approximately one mile south of downtown, after passing beneath railroad tracks, South St. Mary’s becomes Roosevelt Ave. Continue on Roosevelt for 4 miles. You will see Mission San José on your left. At the first stop light past the mission turn left onto New Napier Ave. Follow signs to parking for Mission San José.

More Information

Visit the National Park Services website for more information and to help you plan your visit.


Dad Deserves the Best

CyberCelt | June 4, 2011 in Guided Tours,Reviews,Travel Sites Reviews | Comments (0)

Father’s Day is June 19, this year. As always, I wonder what to give my husband from our sons. If I leave it up to the boys, my husband will be lucky to get a card. Luckily, I discovered a discount coupon site, Savings.com, and they have discount coupons for everything, including travel.

My husband and I love to travel. So, I went out to Savings.com and started researching travel to the areas we frequent. The more I looked, the more I realized that this was not a standard travel site. As I explored the intrepid area of the travel section, I found that intrepid travel is a different type of travel that features group led excursions, from 3 days in San Francisco to a 21 trek through the National Parks. Intrepid group adventures are designed for travelers of all ages and they have excursions all over the world.

The cost of the excursion depends on the traveler’s trip style. With a Basix trip style, you may expect traveling close to the land with few extras. The original trip style is a classic intrepid adventurer. Comfort trip style provides the type of travel with more inclusions, meals and creature comforts.

I plan on spending the next day or so, looking over the intrepid sites and doing research on the excursions. This is going to be the best Father’s Day ever!


Historic St. Augustine

CyberCelt | April 6, 2010 in Beach,Birding,Culture,Day Trips,Dining,Family Fun,Ghosts/Paranormal,Guided Tours,Historic,Historic travel,Other States | Comments (1)

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of St Augustine, Ponte Vedra & The Beaches, Florida. All opinions are 100% mine.

ana-newday-amshehadeh

New Day – Photo by AM Shehadeh

Ponce de Leon, who claimed Florida for Spain, first explored the area of Saint Augustine in 1513.  Founded in 1565, St. Augustine is the oldest continuously occupied European established city, and the oldest port, in the continental United States.

St Augustine, Ponte Vedra & The Beaches are on the eastern coast of Florida, either on the Atlantic, the intercoastal waterway or riverfront.  There are all types of lodging, from luxurious beach front suite to a cozy room in a bed and breakfast in a historic home in St. Augustine.  There are also state parks, where you may camp in a tent or RV or rent a cabin or a room in a lodge.

My choice of lodging would be to camp with our trailer in Anastasia State Park on the beach.  If that park were unavailable, I would camp in Faver-Dykes State Park, a park that is known as a birding hotspot and is only a short drive to the beaches.  If you want to be closer to the action, then I would suggest the Carriage Way Bed and Breakfast, which is located in the historic section of St. Augustine.  If you stay at the B&B, you are just steps away from sights, dining and shopping.

Once you have checked into your lodgings, look at the area map and mark points of interest to you.  Inlets, barrier islands, bays and estuaries segment the coastline, so you will want to plan your trip.  Spend one or more days exploring the historic town of  St. Augustine.  You may explore St. Augustine on foot or take a scenic boat ride, a fishing trip or an eco-tour.

augustine_lighthouse

The St. Augustine Lighthouse was built in 1874 on the north end of Anastasia Island.  The view from the 165 foot tower is wonderful and not to be replicated anywhere else in the area. Although the view of the inlet and harbor from the rampart of the Castillo de San Marcos is inspiring. The inlet is best seen from the north side at Vilano Beach.

ftcastillo

Castillo de San Marcos has daily interpretive programs by the National Park Service feature authentically uniformed soldiers from the 18th century.  Live cannon firings and discussion of colonial Spanish military life are included. .

fort_manatazas

Drive to Fort Matanzas National Monument, located 15 miles south of the city on Anastasia Island.  Pack a picnic, swimsuits and towels.  A free ferry takes you to Rattlesnake Island where you will view a historic reenactment of Spanish soldiers stationed at this remote outpost.

Suggested Itinerary

Day 1 –  get maps and brochures from CVB, check into accommodations, swim and plan your days.

Day 2 – spend the day exploring historic St. Augustine, including Castillo de San Marcos, if possible.

Day 3 – take a ride to Fort Manatazas National Monument, catch the ferry to the original site.

Day 4 – cruise to Anastasia State Park, where you can rents bicycles, beach chairs, ocean toys and umbrellas!

Day 5 – explore the beaches north and south of where you are staying

Day 6 – schedule a day for an airboat ride or leisurely cruise to view alligators in the wild. Pack up.

Day 7 -Sit back and relax as you are chauffeured in an horse-drawn carriage.

All photographs courtesy of the Florida Division of Historical Resources.

Visit my sponsor: Endless sands. Boundless waters.



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