It was 15 years ago this week. Pete had been doing a lot of international travel that year, and was only 200 miles away from achieving Gold status on his frequent flyer program. One more flight would do it, and the perks were impressive. After a bit of research, we determined that the cheapest flight from Denver that was to Austin, Texas, so we made two reservations for the day after Thanksgiving and booked a rental car. Once in Austin, we drove to our final destination—San Antonio. Four nights in a hotel on the famous Riverwalk sounded like just what we needed!
We were only gone five days, but that trip remains one of our all-time favorites. San Antonio didn’t disappoint. The Riverwalk, decorated for the holidays, was as romantic as I had hoped. The Alamo was educational. We even managed to include a one-day jaunt to the beach at Padre Island! (We’ll go to great lengths for a beach fix.) But the highlight, at least for me, was the San Antonio Botanical Garden. All I can say is, Wow!
The garden covers 38 acres, about the same size as Denver Botanic Garden, but somehow it felt much bigger— partly because it was new to us, and partly because there were so many unfamiliar plants. Of course, I stopped to examine each and every one. Its’ a good thing Pete is so patient!
Back in 2003, I had never visited the southeastern U.S., so I was particularly fascinated by the emphasis on Texas natives. The East Texas Pineywoods, complete with pond and log cabin, made me feel as if I was actually walking through that part of the state. The trees were so different from our western Ponderosas, and I’d never seen cypress knobs, although I’d heard of them.
We wandered through the conservatory and posed for a selfie beneath a tropical waterfall.
Then we ventured along every path, enjoying the flowers that were blooming, even in late November. I wasn’t a birder yet (that would happen six months later), so I didn’t notice the birds much, but I was distracted from the flowers by an assortment of colorful butterflies and other insects.
We ended the day at the cafe. I ordered a simple salad, which turned out to be anything but simple!
While I would prefer to visit most botanical gardens in the spring, travel plans don’t always accommodate that preference. I’m sure San Antonio Botanical Garden is spectacular in April and May, but it was well worth a visit even in late fall. Now I’d love to go back and see what has changed in the last 15 years. Join me?