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San Antonio & Austin: Lone Star Legacies

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Departure Dates

  • Apr 07, 2019 - Apr 11, 2019


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San Antonio & Austin: Lone Star Legacies

This one-of-a-kind National Trust tour combines the Old West and Hispanic heritage of San Antonio, the natural beauty and magical architecture of buzz worthy Austin, and the sophisticated country charm of the Texas Hill Country.

Study Leader
Rolf Achilles is an independent art historian, curator of the Smith Museum of Stained Glass Windows, and adjunct faculty member at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Rolf has traveled widely in Texas and has lectured on the historic mission churches, such as the Alamo Mission in San Antonio, and he has lectured on the Czech and German traditions of the painted churches in the Hill Country, just outside of Austin. Rolf has lectured on the great movie palaces of San Antonio, such as the spectacular restored Aztec Theatre and other traditional buildings in downtown San Antonio, the River Walk as an urban phenomenon, and downtown Austin, including the State Capitol building.

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For more information or with any questions call 888-484-8785 or email

Ship Information

Emily Morgan Hotel, a member of the National Trust’s Historic Hotels of America program.

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Upon arrival in San Antonio, transfer independently to the centrally located Emily Morgan Hotel, a member of the National Trust’s Historic Hotels of America program. At 3:30 pm, meet National Trust
Study Leader Rolf Achilles and set out on an architectural walking tour highlighting the Spanish Governor’s Palace, Market Square, and San Fernando Cathedral, one of the oldest cathedrals in the United States. Tonight, celebrate our arrival in Texas over a delicious welcome dinner at a top downtown
restaurant. (D)

History, Art & Architecture Start the day with a guided tour of Villa Finale, the first National Trust Historic Site in the state of Texas and the last home of local preservationist Walter Nord Mathis. Then visit the Edward Steves Homestead Museum, an elegant three-story limestone mansion built in 1876 and now maintained as a historic house museum by the San Antonio Conservation Society. Continue to La Villita Historic Arts District, settled nearly 300 years ago as one of the first neighborhoods in San Antonio and now a center for teaching regional arts and crafts, and explore the charming artists market. Enjoy lunch with the group, then continue on a guided tour of the Alamo, which began in the early 1700s as the San
Antonio de Valero, a Spanish Mission, one of the first in Texas. Beyond the legendary battle that was fought here, learn how the establishment of the mission itself played a crucial role in the settlement of San Antonio and the Southwest. After some time to relax back at the hotel, enjoy a private evening cruise along
the San Antonio River Walk. (B, L)

This morning, set out for Austin, the booming capital city of Texas. Begin at the State Capitol, an extraordinary example of late 19th-century public architecture and a National Historic Landmark
since 1986. Continue to the Neill-Cochran House Museum for a private guided tour. The museum is a beautifully preserved example of Greek Revival Architecture with a fantastic decorative arts collection. After lunch, spend time at the Elisabet Ney Studio and Museum to admire her important 19th-century
sculpture collection. The German sculptor escaped the anti-intellectual movement of the late 19th century and chose Austin as her new residence in 1892. Her castlelike studio was an important gathering place for influential Texans drawn to stimulating discussions of politics, art, and philosophy. Finish the afternoon with a bus tour of the Congress Avenue and Sixth Street Historic Districts, focusing on the many mid-19th- and early 20th-century buildings such as the Sampson-Henricks Store, the Paramount  Theatre, Scarborough’s Department Store, and the Driskill Hotel. Return to San Antonio later this evening. (B, L)

Texas Hill Country
This morning we set out for the heart of Texas Hill Country to explore the unexpected gems of the
Lone Star State, rivers that wind through stands of bald cypress trees, shimmering lakes cupped in limestone canyons, and rustic German towns. Spend the majority of the day exploring the region’s
famous painted churches, built by 19th-century German and Czech immigrants. From the outside, the churches are unassuming, but cross the threshold and encounter an unexpected profusion of color. Nearly every surface is covered with bright painting, and the inscriptions on the walls read in the mother
tongue of those who built them. Return to San Antonio this evening and join the group for a festive  farewell dinner. (B, L, D)

San Antonio Missions
Check out of the hotel, then spend the morning at the impressive San Antonio Missions National Historic Park, the most recent addition to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the United States. See what the missions might have looked like over 250 years ago with a visit to the Mission San José y San Miguel de Aguayo, known as the “Queen of the Missions.” Constructed at the beginning of the 18th century, the
Spanish missions were not churches, but communities, with the church as the focus. The Queen of the
Missions had a community of 350 Indian neophytes at its height, sustained by extensive fields and herds
of livestock. Say farewell to Texas and your fellow travelers and take a group transfer to the San Antonio
International Airport for independent departures. (B)