Well, it’s my busy season for work which means lots and lots of travel and most of it (this year) to Texas. I’m in Dallas for some meetings and I am staying at one of my favorite hotels in the city…one of my favorites anywhere as a matter of fact.
When you travel a lot for work, your best bet is to pick your airline and your hotel chain and then stay consistent. That’s how you best max out miles and points (and those pay off when it’s vacation time). I’m a Hilton girl (you’re welcome, Hilton!) and I adore a hotel in their Curio line here in Dallas. The Highland is a swanky, sexy hotel close to the campus for Southern Methodist University (which is also beautiful, btw). There’s an attached spa – who doesn’t love that? – I’m getting my massage on later. Also on property, a great restaurant called Knife. Knife is the baby of chef John Tesar. (He’s kind of a big deal…James Beard-nominated and contestant on Bravo’s Top Chef.)
I got upgraded to a suite which is far too sexy for a solo traveler. I mean, there’s a jacuzzi tub and a photo over the bed that’s got a little bit of a bondage flair. (Plus a bathroom phone! Is anyone talking on these things?! If you have recently had a conversation on a hotel bathroom phone, please comment below. I need to know about this). Anyway, the steak is delicious and I’m thinking about eating it while in my jacuzzi tub.
Day 2 on my Texas run takes me from the Big D to San Antonio. Being in San Antonio always reminds me of the movie Pee Wee’s Big Adventure. Wait, you haven’t seen Pee Wee’s Big Adventure?! It’s a classic! Pee Wee has a series of, well, travels and misadventures (see what I did there?!) trying to locate his stolen bicycle. He eventually finds himself in Texas and there’s a great scene in which he calls a friend to announce his location. When asked to prove he’s really in Texas, he does so by singing out: “The stars at night are big and bright….” and hundreds of Texan movie extras sing back: “Deep in the heart of Texas.” On his quest, Pee Wee makes it to The Alamo and so do I…
In fact, I made it to ALL of the missions! (Ok, ok, but I am (a) an overachiever and (b) a history nerd). The Mission Trail in San Antonio is easily navigated in a day and spending time relaxing, meditating, praying, and/or walking the grounds of these missions isn’t a bad way to spend a few hours.
The San Antonio Missions have a World Heritage Designation from UNESCO ( that’s the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization.) Pretty amazing when you think about it…this is the same designation given to the Taj Mahal, among others.
The Missions were intended to settle the area around what is now San Antonio for Spain and to enforce Christianity. Four of the missions that were established by the Spanish in the 1700s are just south of today’s downtown and are set about three miles apart along a 12-mile drive. The fifth, and most famous mission, The Alamo, is right in downtown San Antonio and is an easy walk from any of the downtown hotels.
Each of these missions were beautiful and interesting in their own ways. Mission San José was perhaps the most architecturally interesting. I got the most creepy-crawly feelings at Mission Concepción (anyone else believe in wee ghosties?!) and found Mission Espada to be the lovliest.
On day 3, I made it to The Alamo. It’s by far the most well known, but it’s well known for a 13-day battle (Santa Anna, Bowie, Crockett, Travis, et al being the main characters) and not for its history as a Spanish Colonial Mission. Let me preface this by saying that it is Spring Break in San Antonio. There was no peace to be found at the Alamo. The history of the place is fascinating, no doubt, but it was my least favorite of the missions. Still, if you like American history, I’d recommend a quick jaunt up to The Alamo. (PS: Take all the pics you want on the outside, but none are allowed indoors. You will however, be asked to pose for your very own commemorative photo on your way in. I declined).
From The Alamo, I decided to take a quick walk around the historic downtown before heading to the airport to catch a flight home. San Antonio’s historic quarter is surprisingly walkable and you can pack a lot of sightseeing in in a short time (which was perfect for me).
If you enjoy a good Catholic church like I do, don’t miss the San Fernando Cathedral. It’s beautiful and if you want to find where the heroes from the battle at The Alamo are interred, it’s here. Of course, there are many fun shops and you can keep yourself occupied eating your way up and down the River Walk – it’s worth it!
San Antonio is climbing my list of favorite American cities and I’m kinda sad to leave it behind today.