Hello Fellow Travelers:
Welcome to our world of business information, adventure, birding, botanical gardens, good eating and fine wines. This newsletter provides you with “The Welge Report for San Antonio.
Please share it with your friends, customers and associates. You can also access more than 100 cities on our website plus lots of other helpful travel tips at: thewelgereport.com/
Recognition: We extend special thanks to the people who manage and/or own the institutions, museums and restaurants featured in our guides. In some instances we have relied on their descriptions and photos.
Birding Opps: Info for our birding friends. In and near San Antonio you can see these species: Long billed thrasher, verdin, Bell’s vireos, green heron, Carolina chickadee and the cactus wren.
The go to what, where and when birding site is the San Antonio Audubon Society (saaudubon.org/).
The Birding the San Antonio Area (texasbirding.net/) by Steve Hawkins is an interesting and educational report.
Here’s where to find your local Birding Pals (birdingpal.org/tx.htm).
Grape Experience – Texas currently has over 275 bonded commercial wineries and ranks fifth in the United States of America in wine production. Texas is the site of the first vineyard established in North America by Franciscan priests circa 1662.
As European settlers followed the development of mission outposts, they brought more grapevine cuttings, further developing the industry through the 1800s. Most of the noble varieties are grown here. Today Texas boasts approximately 3,700 acres of producing vineyard farmland.
Transportation: Here’s where to find info on public transportation (viainfo.net).
Amtrak (www.amtrak.com) – Your connection to more than 500 stations in 46 states. For online information and train schedules visit www.amtrak.com or call 1-800-USA-RAIL (1-800-872-7245)
Business Information: Here is help in regard to your business: (sanantonio.gov/business).
Day One: Let’s start our exploration of San Antonio with a visit to the Witte Museum – M-Sa: 10-5, Tu: till 8, Su: 12-5, 3801 Broadway St, 210-357-1900.
Located on the banks of the San Antonio River, it’s dedicated to natural history, science and South Texas heritage.
The permanent collection features historic artifacts and photographs, Texas art, textiles, the world-renowned Hertzberg Circus Collection, dinosaur bones, cave drawings, Texas wildlife dioramas and the four-story H-E-B Science Treehouse.
You can’t visit San Antonio without seeing the Alamo – Daily: 9-5:30, 300 Alamo Plaza, 210-225-1391
The Alamo was originally a Roman Catholic mission and fortress named San Antonio de Valero.
The facts surrounding the siege of the Alamo continue to be debated, but there is no doubt about what the battle has come to symbolize. People worldwide continue to remember the Alamo as a heroic struggle against impossible odds — a place where men made the ultimate sacrifice for freedom.
For this reason, the Alamo remains hallowed ground and the Shrine of Texas Liberty.
Lunch at Rosario’s Mexican Café y Cantina – L & D: Daily, 910 S Alamo St, 210-223-1806 is as good as it gets.
The tortilla soup with chicken, avocado, cilantro and queso fresco is addictive. The fried shishito peppers with sea salt and jalapeno oil is also a favorite.
Your main is the chicken breast with peanut mole sauce and toasted sesame seeds or the diced pork in a chile cascabel sauce with corn or flour tortillas.
Wash it down with a Dos Equis or two.
It’s inspirational to visit The Japanese Tea Garden – M-F: 9-5, Brackenridge Park, 400 N St. Mary’s St, 210-735-4824.
The Japanese Tea Garden is a public park with more than 90 years of rich history. It contains a large open-air pagoda, sprawling koi ponds, and a waterfall.
Next Cousin Bruce suggests that you see the McNay Art Museum – Tu-F: 10-4, Th: till 9, Sa: 10-5, Su: 12-5, 6000 N New Braunfels Ave, 210-824-5368.
The museum focuses on 19th and 20th century European and American art by artists such as: Cezanne, Picasso, Gauguin, Matisse, O’Keeffe, Diego Rivera, Cassatt and Edward Hopper.
Today the collection includes more that 14,000 objects making it one of the finest collections of contemporary art and sculpture in the Southern US.
Take advantage of the # 1 attraction The River Walk – easily accessed and crammed with restaurants and people.
Of course your walk has a purpose and that’s to have dinner along the walk at Il Sogno Italian Osteria – B,L,D: Tu-Sa, L & D: Su, 200 E Grayson St, 210-223-3900.
A favorite antipasti is the octopus salad or the eggplant with lemon caviar. The lardo focaccia goes well with this.
The pizzas are tasty but the pappardelle with the duck ragout or the whole roasted branzino with potatoes, olives, capers, celery and onions are more than worthy.
Dessert is the hazel cream napoleon.
Day Two: Breakfast is at the Guenther House Restaurant – B & L: Daily, 205 E Guenther St, 210-227-1061.
Today your breakfast comes with a museum that features stained glass, antique brass and Flemish style chandeliers.
Their breakfast platter includes buttermilk biscuits, country gravy with crumbled sausage, River Mill preserves and your choice of bacon or sausage patties.
Other specialties are breakfast tacos, waffles, fruit plates and pastries.
This morning you’ll visit the Blue Star Contemporary Art Museum – Th-Su: 12-6, Th: till 8, 116 Blue Star, 210-227-6960.
The center is a primary destination for new art in South Texas and the center has over 20 exhibitions annually showcasing new artists as well as local favorites.
On your way to the Tower of America make sure you see the Confluence of Culturas mural by Juan O’Gorman on the Henry Gonzalez Convention Center – 200 E Market St.
For a great view of San Antonio take a ride to the top of the Tower of America – Daily: 11-10, 739 East Cesar E. Chavez Boulevard, 210-223-3101.
And since we’re here let’s do lunch at the Chart House – L & D: Daily.
Your starter is the coconut crunchy shrimp with a citrus chili sauce or the chopped spinach salad with chopped egg, bacon, radishes and mushrooms.
Next the Cajun spiced mahi fish tacos with pico de gallo is a favorite but so is the prime rib French dip with caramelized onions and Monterey Jack.
The ’10 MacMurray Ranch Pinot Noir will compliment your menu choices and might enhance the view. Dessert is the hot chocolate lava cake.
Next you’re going to the San Antonio Museum of Art – Tu,F,Sa: 10-9, W,Th,Su: 10-5, Su: till 6, 200 W Jones Ave, 210-978-8100.
The museum has an important collection of pre-Columbian, Spanish colonial and Latin American folk art. It also has eighteenth-, nineteenth- and twentieth-century American and European paintings, photography, sculpture and decorative arts.
In the 1990’s through donations it established a collection of Egyptian, Greek and Roman art and Chinese ceramics plus other Asian objects.
Dinner tonight is at the acclaimed Biga on the Banks – D: Nightly, 203 S St Mary’s, 210-225-0722.
Favorite starters are the smoked salmon nachos with chipotle cream cheese and escabeche vegetables or the chicken-fried oysters with Swiss chard, pancetta and a whole grain mustard hollandaise.
Enjoy a glass of the ’09 Gustave Lorentz Pinot Blanc with either.
The boudin stuffed quail with pears and zucchini cake or the lobster ravioli on arugula with fennel is a house specialty.
Your wine is the ’04 Marques de Grinon Petit Verdot. Order the Gran Marnier Souffle early.
Day Three: The Magnolia Pancake Haus – B & L: Daily, 606 Embassy Oaks #100, 210-496-0828 is our spot for breakfast.
Their homemade syrups are perfect toppings for your pancakes, waffles and French toast to go with the applewood or Canadian bacon and ham.
The Benedicts are here with the Omelets. Fruit, oatmeal and just about any breakfast item you can think of is on their menu.
It’s time to smell the flowers at The San Antonio Botanical Garden – Daily: 9-5, 555 Funston Pl, 210-207-3250.
Here we can focus on three distinct areas. The first is the Formal and Display Gardens - The formal beds are comprised of four large rectangular display areas which are changed seasonally to display a variety of fun colors and textures.
Next is the Lucile Halsell Conservatory – where we have plants from desert regions to equatorial rainforests that are housed in individual glass buildings tucked into the earth.
These buildings surround a sunken courtyard and tropical lagoon filled with aquatic plants. Specialty collections include epiphytic plants display, desert cacti and succulents, equatorial tropicals, palms and cycads, tropical fruits, ferns and aroids, insectivores and aquatic plants.
And then we’ll see the Texas Native Trail – that consists of plant communities characteristic of the Hill Country (Edwards Plateau), East Texas Pineywoods and South Texas. The setting is enhanced by several early Texas houses which have been reconstructed on the site to help illustrate and interpret the regional theme.
For a real change of pace dinner is at Bite – D: W-Sa, Br: Su, 1012 S Presa, 210-532-2551.
This is the place to have the Gruet Brut Rose from New Mexico, the Muga Rose from Spain, the Fleur du Cap Chardonnay from South Africa and the Bouchard Pinot Noir from France.
Think small plates. Instead of half a duck it’s a quarter duck, instead of three lamb chops, it’s one really juicy nice one!
It’s a full lobster tail in your spring roll! Or maybe the grilled salmon over spinach risotto and the lamb stew over rice.
For dessert we like the chocolate blob cake.
Our lagniappe site is the Natural Bridge Wildlife Center – Daily: 9-5, located between San Antonio and New Braunfels, Texas, 830-438-7400.
The Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch is one of Texas’ most recognized family entertainment attractions.
You can meander through 400 acres of rolling hills, creek beds, oak trees and witness the behavior of over 500 animals from 40 exotic, native and endangered animal species worldwide.
For over 28 years, Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch has taken to heart the care of animals from all over the world.
A drive through the park brings zebras, llamas, antelope and rheas and a host of others to you in a natural setting.
Until next time, best wishes and happy travels,
Dick & Dee Welge
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