Posts Tagged With: Texas Christmas

USS Lexington Visit

 

Part of the reason we chose Corpus Christi for our Christmas time visit was that the USS Lexington was open on Christmas Eve.  In fact they only close on Christmas and Thanksgiving.  Part of the frustration of holiday travel can be closed attractions so I am always on the look out for something that is open and appeals to our family.

Husband has been on USS Yorktown before and is always open to visit another ship. I like to poke around and am always impressed by the size of these ships.  Daughter is pretty tolerant and when she is done we break off and let Husband finish looking around longer.

We could see the ship from our hotel balcony at the Radisson and it was a short five minute walk to the entrance. The ship opens for tours at nine am and we were up the walkway ready to board.  They do offer a shuttle if you do not wish to walk up the slight incline to the ship.

Radisson Corpus Christi view

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Blackbeards on the Beach

I hunt through Groupon almost daily for weeks before a trip.  I hit paydirt when I saw a Groupon for Blackbeards on the beach.  It had good reviews and was right in back of our hotel.

With the time difference we tend to be in restaurants a bit earlier than usual but that also means no wait for a table.  And our waitress was very attentive, she was really good!

We came for seafood so Husband had to start with oysters.

Blackbeards oysters

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I had something else in mind, a huge frozen margarita!  I just had to walk back to the hotel through the parking lot so why not? Everything is bigger in Texas!

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Our Christmas Texas Trip Rollup

Here is a roll up of our Christmas Texas trip.  Somethings I think we did very inexpensively like our hotels.  Other things we went a little over budget on like food…  I wish I had been able to convince the family to do more food planning to save on those costs.  I think we did alright on our entertainment costs between Groupon and picking lower cost options like the mission tour.  Some things like sitting in the hot tub on Christmas Eve after opening our presents do not have a price tag!

 

Residence Inn Austin Round Rock – 15,000 points

Dickey’s BBQ  – Groupon

Innerspace Cavern – Buy 1 get 1 free so had to pay for 2 people instead of 3 with the entertainment book coupon online.

Radisson Austin Downtown – 44,000 points for two nights.

Dinner at Russian House – no discount      https://stretchingittotravel.wordpress.com/2016/01/06/russian-house-of-austin/

Austin Trail of lights – no discount but got airline miles through Groupon  https://stretchingittotravel.wordpress.com/2016/01/08/austin-trail-of-lights/

Austin Zoo – Groupon and generous sharing person covered our 3rd person  https://stretchingittotravel.wordpress.com/2016/01/14/austin-zoo/

The Salt Lick BBQ – no discount         https://stretchingittotravel.wordpress.com/2016/01/15/the-salt-lick-bbq/

Government Canyon Park Hike – no discount but still cheap

https://stretchingittotravel.wordpress.com/2016/01/20/government-canyon-state-natural-area-dino-walk/

Residence Inn Alamo Place – Marriott anniversary night free category 1-5

Iron Catcus for dinner – no discount

Bad Wolf Ghost Tours- Groupon

https://stretchingittotravel.wordpress.com/2016/02/05/bad-wolf-ghost-tours-san-antonio/

Mission Trail Visit- no charge to visit the 4 missions

Radisson Corpus Christi – 2 nights 44,000 points and 1 night $80.50

Blackbeard Restaurant – Groupon

USS Lexington Ship Tour – $1 off coupon

Christmas Night Dinner at Radisson – very painful price with no discount due to Holiday

Alamo Car rental for the trip $169.02 and very little on gas.  This car was amazing on gas considering how many miles we drove with the AC on high.

Flights on South West had to pay for one and a half tickets, points for the other round trip and a one way.

 

Russian House

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Mission Espada

Our last stop on the mission trail and my favorite mission.  This stop took me a little too long and the family was getting restless.

Mission Espada

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I loved all the potted plants under the archway.  There was a cute little bistro table set to relax in the shade.  This mission felt used and appreciated.

Mission Espada

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Mission Espada

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The interior is very simply decorated for Christmas.  Until you see their Nativity in the side alcove…

Mission Espada

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Wow!  This Nativity even had running water in the scene.

This was my favorite mission.  They even had a little gift shop where I stopped to buy a candle to take home.  Inside is a great map with pins from all the visitors to the mission.  Everyone who works here is so friendly.

The family got tired of waiting for me and went to the car.  It was time to make the drive to Corpus Christi and luckily the highway was very near the mission so we were on the road in no time!  We saw some sights, learned a little history and had a no cost morning looking at the missions.

The mission can be found at 10040 Espada Road, San Antonio, Texas, 78214.  More information here: http://www.nps.gov/saan/learn/historyculture/espadahistory1.htm

 

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Mission San Juan

Mission San Juan

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The family was holding up pretty well despite the heat so we continued on to the next mission.  The ten minutes driving in the air conditioning from the prior mission helps everyone cool down a little.

Mission San Juan

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Mission San Juan

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We chatted with the park ranger here for a few moments.  No one else was inside the building and it was a few moments out of the sun.

Mission San Juan

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We stayed the shortest amount of time at this mission.  We were here for maybe fifteen minutes, just enough to walk the grounds really.

The mission can be found at 9101 Graf Road, San Antonio, Texas, 78214. More information here: http://www.nps.gov/saan/learn/historyculture/sanjuanhistory1.htm

 

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San Antonio – Mission San Jose

Our next stop was Mission San Jose.  Here is the first Mission we encountered people who were biking the Mission Trail and they looked a bit warm!  We also spent the most time here exploring the buildings.

Mission San Jose

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Mission San Jose was finished in 1782 and restored during the 1930s.  It is certainly the fanciest mission we encountered.

Mission San Jose

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And I think of the four we visited this mission had the largest worship area.

Mission San Jose

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There is also a National Parks Visitor Center here.  We did not enter the visitor center, the family was getting a bit hot on our visit.

Mission San Jose is located at 6701 San José Drive, San Antonio, Texas, 78214.

More information here: http://www.nps.gov/saan/learn/historyculture/sanjosehistory1.htm

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Bad Wolf Ghost Tours San Antonio

We have in the past taken a couple of ghost tours in historic cities.  We find they mix a bit of history with an embellished tour that is a good way to see a new city. Usually I find them on Groupon and this time was no exception.

We purchased a Groupon for our family during a Groupon sale which took the $32 Groupon down to $25.60 total.  Not bad for a nights entertainment plus tip.    This time we booked with Bad Wolf Ghost Tours.  They are really easy to work with, call them up and reserve your tour time.  It was easy to find our guide in from of the Alamo and our entire group arrived a few minutes early which means we get to start on time at 8pm.

Alamo

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The tour is maybe a mile total in length.  You meander around town and over the Riverwalk.  The old hotel stories are very interesting.  I think our tour was almost an hour and a half.

Each family was given an EMF sensor to carry. Our Daughter carried our but it was a quiet night, nothing really set it off on our tour.

Ghost tour

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I think there was maybe 10-12 in our group.  Perfect size for a tour. And a mix of girls out for a weekend to families with kids 10 and over.

Ghost tour

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We had fun and heard some history on our tour.  There are some great old buildings in San Antonio as you walk around. The next morning on my run I went back past the theater and few others to see them better in the day light.  And these tours are a great way to get a little bit of the cities orientation in your head.

Regular price is $15 a person and $10 for kids 12 and under.

More information here: http://www.badwolfghosttours.com/ghost-walk.html

Reservations and Inquiries 805-757-0512

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Iron Cactus San Antonio Riverwalk

Usually I have done my research and know what restaurant I want to try in a town. It might be the Russian House or Salt Lick but I have an address and a destination.  Somehow I could not pick for San Antonio and decided we would ask opinions once we arrived.  There were so many choices!  There is a Dick’s Last Resort, Rainforest Cafe and too many options!

The front desk clerk said when she had people in town she went to Iron Cactus.  She liked it because aside from good food the tables were not on the sidewalk so there is more privacy.  Sold!

We took some time strolling the riverwalk and admiring the holiday lights. Even for a Tuesday night in December this place was packed!

San Antonio Riverwalk

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San Antonio Riverwalk

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A short wait at the hostess stand has us seated outside with several tables at Iron Cactus.  Our waiter was very busy but provided good service.  You could tell he was hustling to keep up with all his tables!

I was really excited to try the brisket enchiladas.  I had been thinking enchiladas the whole time we hiked back from the dinosaur tracks.  They were worth it, amazing!

Iron Cactus

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Husband tried the Southwest Paella and was in love.  He would have licked the bowl clean, there was nothing left!

Iron Cactus

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Daughter had a cheese burger that she ate every bit of.  She was in heaven to not have to eat Mexican food.  She did also eat most of the chips and salsa that were on the table as appetizers.

They have a large menu at Iron Cactus and I am sure something for everyone. The dessert tray looked so good but we did not have room for anything else!  I would recommend calling for reservations if you have a party of 6 or more.

Iron Cactus  200 River Walk Suite 100  San Antonio, TX 78205   Tel: (210) 224-9835

More information here: http://ironcactus.com/san-antonio

 

 

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Residence Inn Alamo Place

We spent our one night in San Antonio at the Residence Inn Downtown/Alamo Plaza.  We had many Marriott choices when picking where we wanted to stay.  Husband had his free anniversary stay certificate to use for our trip so we needed a category 5 or lower Marriott.  We could have done the Fairfield Inn across the street, Sprinhill Suites or Towneplace Suites all in the same area.  Residence Inn had a one bedroom suite available so they won by default.

The hotel is a five minute walk from the riverwalk.  Its so close!  Even closer is the Alamo!

Our one bedroom looked just like any other Residence Inn so I must not have taken a picture of our room.  Daughter was pleased to take over the couch and her own tv.  We were a bit worn from our hike earlier so Daughter elected not to visit the pool with Husband and I .  The pool are was empty at 4pm and we had the hot tub to ourselves.

                                             (photo Marriott website)

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Government Canyon State Natural Area Dino Walk

Driving between Austin and San Antonio we needed something to break up the day a little and chose to do a hike in the afternoon. Government Canyon looked interesting and the family was up for a small stop.   For some reason no matter what our plan is hiking always takes us longer in Texas.   This was no exception….

Government Canyon has over 40 miles of hiking trails according to their website, this place is huge!  They offer camping and we would like to try staying there in the future.  Camp sites are only $18.  Over the Christmas holiday the park is open more days than the usual weekends.  We hiked on a Tuesday and still encountered a dozen people over our trek.  The cost to use the park is $6 an adult. Kids under 12 are free.

IF it has been raining the trails will be closed.  I would not want to be stuck out hiking in a heavy rain event, you could visibly see where deep flooding has occurred.  So please check the Facebook page before heading out.  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Government-Canyon-State-Natural-Area-Texas-Parks-and-Wildlife/305329736542

We parked and paid at the nature center with ample bathrooms.   Those are the only bathrooms we saw so I would recommend you use them before setting out on your hike.  Going in I knew it was 3 miles one way to our destination.  No big deal!

But this was much more hiking than walking.  The trail is very uneven and rock covered in several areas. I was too busy looking at my footing to take many pictures.

Government Canyon

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There were cute little signs like IF you do not have water at this point turn back.  And part mile markers either direction to remind you how far you really did not walk the last fifteen minutes.

Government Canyon

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The rattlesnake sign was at the almost halfway point.

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