Adventures in Texas – Fiesta in San Antonio – Part 3

Inaugural Retirement trip – Part 10 – STILL partying, wine tasting, and then heading home

If you missed the previous posts about our Texas journey, the first trip since our retirement in March, you can go back to the beginning here. There are links at the end of each post to the next.

In the last post, I shared our Fiesta, and other, activities during the first 5 days in San Antonio. There is so much to do and see that we really only scratched the surface, prioritizing seeing friends both old and new, over constant activity. Although I could see how the uninitiated, reading this blog series, could think otherwise.

Day 6 involved an early arrival at the studio of San Antonio’s Public Television station, KLRN, where our friend John is a Vice President. We had the absolute pleasure of being invited to participate in a river barge cruise being filmed to kick off a new PBS travel series which will highlight Fiesta! Our role involved smiling, having cascarones cracked on our heads, smiling some more, and yelling “Viva Fiesta” on Que, numerous times. I must say, we excelled at this tough labor. 🙂

KLRN staff and dignitaries arrive on the dock

KLRN staff and dignitaries arrive on the dock

Jerry, me and Dorcas with the crew working behind us

Jerry, me and Dorcas with the film crew working behind us

A view of our fellow cruiser while floating down the river

A view of our fellow cruisers while floating down the river

A bronze outside the Briscoe Western Art museum on the Riverwalk

A bronze outside the Briscoe Western Art museum on the Riverwalk

An interview in progress for the travel show

An interview about Fiesta and San Antonio in progress for the travel show

Sights along the river cruise

Beautiful mosaic along the river walk

Lovely riverside park

Lovely Riverwalk park

Flowing waterfalls behind stone walls cascade into the river

Flowing waterfalls behind stone walls flow into the river

Following our morning cruise on the river barge, we made our way to the Guenther House for a scrumptious brunch out on the limestone patio. The historic 1860 mansion sits right on the Riverwalk south of town and was the home of the Pioneer Flour mill’s founding family. Definitely worth a look (and a pop into the bakery) after a meal! Lovely weather, great conversation, and awesome food, what more can you hope for?

Festive treats in the Guenther House bakery

Festive Fiesta treats in the Guenther House bakery

That evening, we attended another Fiesta event, Cornyation, a spoof of the muckety-muck coronations of the Fiesta King, Queen, and their court. It’s a rollicking good time, but can be bawdy, so it’s best for adults only! The huge cast puts on elaborate skits that poke fun at issues, politicians, and celebrities, both local and national.

One of the bawdy skits during Cornyation

One of the bawdy skits during Cornyation

Day 7 was reserved for wine tasting in the Texas Hill Country. A two-car caravan of Dorcas, Jerry, John, me, Manuel and Illeana converged at William Chris Vineyards, just outside of Fredericksburg, where we enjoyed a leisurely tasting on the porch overlooking this view. We really enjoyed their wines, especially a lovely rose on this spring day.

Looking at the vineyard in the hill country from the porch at William Chris

Looking at the vineyard in the hill country from the porch at William Chris

From there, we moved on to Grape Creek Vineyards, whose tagline reads ‘Tuscany in Texas’. An apt description; the property is lovely and does invoke the feeling of Tuscany, with its mix of soft yellow stucco, timbers and terra cotta roof.

The gracious entrance to Grape Creek's courtyard

The gracious entrance to Grape Creek’s courtyard

We thought that Grape Creek might have a restaurant, but alas, it was still under construction, and we were in dire need of sustenance. So, following our second wine tasting, we did the only sensible thing: we went into Fredericksburg and chowed down at Whataburger. 😀 Oh and what-a-burger it was!

Our third stop on our wine tour was at Alexander Vineyards. We were slightly disappointed that they did not have any wines made from Texas fruit, since they currently only produce wines from French and German grapes, but did enjoy their tasting. And their sign:

LOL, I love this sign...

LOL, I love this sign…

This is the old tasting room, but they have grand plans ahead

This is the old tasting room, but they have grand plans for the future

The next stop was a multi-vineyard collaboration, representing vineyards located around Texas in one grand location, called 4.0 Cellars. This was a great idea, as we would not have experienced their wines had we to travel to Burleson, Commanche or Lubbock! The structure was very interesting as well, as you can see here.

The entry tower at 4.0 Cellars

The entry tower at 4.0 Cellars

The tasting room building - Texas meets industrial

The tasting room building – Texas meets industrial

Our last stop was at Messina Hof Winery, one of three locations for this winery. Again, a lovely building beckoned us to stop and sit awhile. I thought I was done with wine for the day until I had a sip of their Sparkling Almond wine. 😀

demi-sec sparkling almond wine - YUM!

demi-sec sparkling almond wine – YUM!

The glow of Day 7 stayed with us during the scenic drive back through the Hill Country to San Antonio, and then was sealed with a nice steak dinner at the local favorite roadhouse, Josephine Street.

Day 8 found us worn out from the prolonged period of fun and excitement, and prompted a very laid back day of lounging around, eating, and resting. That evening, we had one more dinner with friends Paul and Julie, at another La Fonda restaurant. It is amazing how the years just fall away when you see friends you haven’t seen in many years, and you pick up right where you left off!

Jerry, Julie, me and Paul

Jerry, Julie, me and Paul

Day 9 was departure day. It was truly bittersweet; we were sad to leave San Antonio, and would miss all our friends and especially our gracious hostess, Dorcas! But sweet because we had enjoyed the most awesome time, and the company and warm hugs from so many dear, dear friends. It was not goodbye, but “until next time”!

Departure morning - sad but happy at the same time

Ready to roll on departure morning – sad but happy at the same time

We took our time on the way home, meandering through Texas and Louisiana, stopping in beautiful and historic Natchitoches the first night.

Natchitoches, Louisiana

Natchitoches, Louisiana

Instead of busy Baton Rouge, we crossed the Mighty Mississippi on a brand new, spectacular, and nearly deserted, bridge near New Roads.

The John James Audubon bridge

The John James Audubon bridge

We stopped in Zachary for a leisurely lunch at Le Blanc’s restaurant, proudly celebrating 37 years of service, and a great find in our search to avoid chain restaurants during our travels.

We made our way that afternoon to the home of long-time friends in Louisiana, that we hadn’t seen in some time. We met Mark and Kathy through the Honda Valkyrie group, circa early 2000s, and have kept in touch, sometimes more, sometimes less, ever since. As we experienced in San Antonio, once back together, we picked up right where we had left off! We spent a great evening catching up, and trying to convince them of the benefits of retirement. 😉

The next morning, we enjoyed our friends’ hospitality much longer than expected due to some severe storms that passed through the area. With vigilant use of the radar apps, we timed our departure perfectly, and traveled as far as Meridian, Mississippi by that evening, enjoying the freedom to take our time.

Day 11 found us in familiar territory, Alabama, and we decided to re-visit an old favorite natural area that had been revitalized, Little River Canyon National Preserve. If you are ever in the area around Fort Payne, Alabama (home of the country superstar group, Alabama), be sure to check it out. At the western end of Lookout Mountain, you’ll find a natural spectacle of river, falls and a lush, green canyon. Just a couple of photos before I close out this tale…

Little River Falls

Little River Falls

The Little River heads down the canyon

The Little River heads down the canyon

Words are inadequate to fully describe how much this trip meant to Jerry and me. To have just retired, been able to travel at our own pace, see lifelong friends, celebrate 20 years together, ride our motorcycles, see wonderful sights…it is just more than we could have ever hoped for. We are humbled with gratitude for all our blessings, including you, dear reader, for following along.

Peace and love to you all!

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18 thoughts on “Adventures in Texas – Fiesta in San Antonio – Part 3

    • Oh you MUST do it! And the hill country around Frederickburg is so worth it for the riding, the sightseeing, the wine, the food…YES! And then write about your impressions, please!

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    • Thanks, Dar! We are indeed enjoying our travels! Big trip coming up to the BMW MOA rally in Montana…can’t wait…so many fabulous roads to ride out there! 🙂

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  1. Well don’t you guys look sooooo cool on your bikes. You are rockin’ them. And wine – seriously – its a serious subject and the barge. How fun is that. We are currently in a KOA in San Anoton – going to the Alamo tomorrow – upgrading our rig with one from one in Katy. Can’t wait to pick it up. Not as awesome as yours but awesome just the same.

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    • Thanks, Lynn! While you are in San Antonio, I highly recommend the barge cruise…not too far from the Alamo at all. And you’re getting a new rig??? Whee! I need to go catch up on your blog…hopefully it will tell me all about it! Happy trails!!

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