Monday, December 20, 2010

A Walk To Remember

Magnet # 422:  San Antonio Riverwalk

Material:  Metal, Paper, Mylar Shell

Purchased By:  Mom & Dad

Well, we're getting pretty close to Christmas Day, so I figured I'd better include a few more Christmas-themed posts while I can.  So we're off to San Antonio, where one of the top tourist attractions is the River Walk.  This network of walkways surrounding the San Antonio River as it cuts through the downtown area was actually built out of necessity.  Back in 1921, the area flooded and fifty people lost their lives.  A change was obviously needed that would provide flood control, and the options ranged from damming the area, to paving it over and creating a storm sewer.  It wasn't until 1929 when local architect Robert Hugman proposed the construction of the River Walk.  While his plan did not receive initial support - some even said he'd be drowned if the area flooded - the public eventually warmed to the idea and Hugman oversaw the development.  It was completed in the 1940's and Hugman relocated his office along the River Walk, right next door to where the Casa Rio, River Walk's first restaurant, opened in 1946.  After the city hosted the 1968 HermisFair, River Walk's reputation grew and more businesses began setting up along its banks.  It's now crowded with hotels, restaurants, shops and throngs are drawn in daily to see all that this unique attraction has to offer.

Even though none of my family is in San Antonio, the River Walk has still played an important role in a couple of our Christmas celebrations.  My Mom's mom wanted a change in our festivities one year, so in the late 1990's, we traveled down to San Antonio for a brief visit before Christmas Day.  The drive down was a bit perilous, as there was ice on the roadway and the weather was kind of lousy - in fact, I still remember being a bit nervous as I sat in the back seat that day.  But once we got to Alamo City, the trip improved vastly.  My Grandmother paid for our rooms in a hotel that was on the River Walk.  It was so neat just walking out of the back door and immediately being on the river.  We were able to walk around, have a look at the shops, and eat at the restaurants pretty much everyday.  And, yes, it was all done up in decorations for the Holiday season.  It's too bad I wasn't collecting magnets back then, because I'll bet they have plenty of souvenir shops there.  And now that I'm older and have booked more trips, I realize that it must have been pretty expensive to stay at a hotel just off the River Walk.  Historic and touristy areas are always pricey.  It's an indulgence I wouldn't probably give myself, so it's nice to have the memories of that special trip.  And a few years later, our family - again my Mom's side - went to the Gaylord Texan for our Christmas Eve meal.  This time, the drive went much faster, as it's in Grapevine just outside of downtown Dallas.  And it was all decked out for the season, so we had a nice time just checking out all of the decor.  But this is no simple hotel - it actually has a replica of the River Walk running right through it!  There's even a bridge that spans it.  It was really impressive to see something like that in a hotel.  We ate at one of the four restaurants the Gaylord Texan has to offer at a buffet with seemingly endless choices.  It was the first time I tried turducken, a dish we've had at Holiday celebrations ever since.  And when my cousins and I were done, I walked around with them to get another look at the hotel.  We even did an art project together.  All in all, I'm not sure where I had more fun - at the actual River Walk or its tribute at the Gaylord Texan.  And while I'm not sure if either will ever figure into our future Christmas celebrations, I'm glad I got to experience both during the Holiday season - they've given me some special Holiday memories I'll always keep.


  1. Yes, I remember those two special Christmas celebrations as well. Thanks for reminding me of them!

  2. We certainly had fun during both of them.