I found this Blog from two years ago. This was the foundation of Historic Tours of Texas. It was my friends, Teresa Cazort and Lolita Cardenas, who put these thoughts in my head. Nothing like having good friends to help out!
Over the years I have led tours of teachers or students to various sites around Texas. Teresa, your comments about the architectural tours that your friend was giving in Mexico City for the ‘ladies of leisure’ and Lolita, your complaints that you wanted to learn something to stimulate your mind, gave me an idea. So, well, here’s a thought.
What about offering tours to retirees like us? These would be once a month, just a couple of days, stay at a nice–NOT CHAIN—hotel and eat at interesting places.
“In the Footsteps of: Tours of Texas”
–2 or 3 days instead of the week-long tours by Road Scholars
–less expensive – maybe $500 to $800 or so, I haven’t put the pencil to it yet.
–intimate group of no more than 10 or 12
–start or end the day with meditation or yoga to stretch out our aching bones
–Drive in a van from The Woodlands or Huntsville
–Nice, cozy hotels or historic Bed and Breakfasts, good local food
–Sign up for those that appeal to you.
In the Footsteps of Spanish Conquistadors –
Follow the route of Cabeza de Vaca from Matagorda, visit the Museum of the Coastal Bend, continue down to the Rio Grande, maybe a visit with a Curandera or Park Ranger to learn what they might have eaten on the route (that is how historians have traced their progress) and how the native Indians lived off the land. There is a great school (Schumla School) out in West Texas that focuses on that and teaches you to weave baskets and shoes and how to make food from the local seeds and berries. Maybe check out Coronado’s possible trek up into Kansas for another one.
In the Footsteps of the Spanish Missionaries (I’ve done this one before)
Start at Goliad and work our way up the river to see all five of the San Antonio Missions. Each one has its own history and we could trace the Indian, French, Spanish and Anglo histories in the region. Look at cattle ranches, early acequias, end up at the Alamo.
In the Footsteps of the Spanish Ranchers
Maybe start at Victoria and the De Leon family ranches at Mission Valley. Visit some of the big Spanish ranches down in the Valley. Look at cattle raising and what they did for a living. Get one of the “vaquero” cooks to come cook breakfast for us with “pan de campo” and dutch oven meals. Of course we’d have to read De Leon or offer it as an Audible.
In the Footsteps of Austin and the first Anglo Settlers.
Start at San Felipe de Austin, then tour Bellville and some of the early Anglo settlements. They all have small museums and old homes and interesting old codgers willing to tell stories. Maybe read some of the stories by the early women settlers.
In the Footsteps of the Czech and German settlers.
Start at Indianola and work our way up through the Polish and Czech settlements. Especially get a chance to visit all the beautiful painted churches in the area. Then go on up to New Braunfels, Fredricksburg and Groene and the German settlements. They have some museums too.
In the Footsteps of the Independence Trail
This one is always popular. We’d start in Gonzales in October, then up to San Antonio for the December and March battles, then to Goliad for the Massacre, and to Washington-on-the-Brazos for the signing of the Declaration of Independence and ending at San Jacinto. Plenty of history there.
In the Footsteps of the Cooks
What about learning to cook some of the ethnic dishes of the various settlers in Texas? Rather than just go see the Culinary Arts Institute in San Antonio. go learn how to cook the dishes – Kind of like you did in France, Lolita. Why go all the way there when you can do it here? I can even haul out the Dutch Ovens from their dusty, forgotten cabin at the museum. The high school history teachers learned to cook and what wonderful food they made, even if leaning over a smokey fire was hard on the eyes.
And then there is the architecture, and the art and the museums, and on and on and on.
In the Footsteps of
the Artists (West Texas), the Musicians (Austin), the Architects (Houston) etc.
Two years later, I’m putting the Footsteps into fact! Look for the web site soon!