June 2-16, 2010: A Trip to Fort Lauderdale
April 10, 2010: A Visit to the Trinity River Audubon Center
Return to Index for 2010


April 12-15, 2010
A Visit with Ron and Prudence
in San Antonio


 

Fred and I have not been to see Prudence and Ron in a while, and Prudence has been after us to come down and visit, so this week we did so.

 

Getting to Ruckman Haus


You've probably seen a map of the route from Dallas to San Antonio before. It is pretty simple, for once you get on the Tollway south from my house, and merge onto I-35 South, it is a straight shot for about 280 miles all the way to downtown San Antonio.

Once in downtown San Antonio, all you have to do is follow I-35 South until you come to the exit for San Pedro Avenue. Once off the expressway, you just take San Pedro Avenue north.

Finally, you just take San Pedro Avenue by San Pedro Park on your left, and, one block past the park, you turn left onto French Place. Prudence and Ron have their bed and breakfast at the end of the first block on your right.
Our trip down here this week was not for any special event, or for a visit by Guy Blair; it was just time for a visit with Prudence and Ron. We didn't do much these three days except hang out with them, and Fred helped Prudence with some of her spring planting. I also wanted to talk with Prudence about some changes to her Web site. Finally, I was going to take this opportunity to visit with Anne Barfield at the Chicken Paradise B&B. She is an acquaintance of Prudence's, and Prudence has put her on to me to do a renovation of her own Web site. I decided to work on it, not so much because I needed the business but rather because anything I can do to elevate Prudence and Ron's standing among their circle of B&B owners I am happy to do.

NOTE:
As of this writing in November, 2010, I have completed the Chicken Paradise Web site and turned it over to their hosting company, which is the same one Prudence uses. If you would like to have a look at it, just visit www.chickenparadise.com.

One thing we did do was go down to walk on the new Riverwalk Extension to the south of downtown.

 

The South Extension of the San Antonio Riverwalk


We got into Ron's SUV and headed down to the "Blue Star" artist enclave, there to park and walk down to the river itself.


Here is a detailed map of the area where we were walking. From where we parked the car, we headed down a new path along the river. I noticed that there was a way to cross over to the other side, and walk along closer to the river itself, so I left the group (although they were never out of sight on the opposite bank), used the stepping stone crossing, and walked down the other side of the river- just for something different.

A short ways downstream there was a new bridge that had been built, and I met up with Ron, Prudence and Fred there.

Then we continued walking down to Lone Star Blvd., stayed there a while, and then walked back.

I want to be able to point out where we were when pictures were taken, so I am going to use a large aerial view. Since it takes up the whole page, I have put it in a scrollable window below; you can use the vertical and horizontal scroll bars to follow us along our walk.

We began our walk up near the Blue Star Artist Enclave; there are lots of little art shops and craft shops there, and also some restaurants and apartments over them. It is an up-and-coming, trendy place to be. We walked from the car right over to the new walkway along the west side of the river, where Fred took this picture of Prudence and I. As you can see, there is still a lot of construction going on as they finish some of the walkways and landscaping. While we were here, a group of naturalists came by; they were surveying the natural plants along the river to determine which should be saved and become part of the landscaping. To me, it all looked like weeds, but there were, apparently, some unusual plants here.


As we started walking south, I could see that there was a new pathway that led down to some stone blocks that seemed to allow one to cross to the other side, where there seemed to be a path that you could follow down that side of the river. Seeing that there was someone on the other side led me to believe that it wouldn't just be a dead end, or a walk just up to the neighborhood on the other side, so I went ahead down that path (while the other three continued on the new sidewalk on this side, and I crossed to the other side of the river. I continued on that path, going in the same direction as Ron, Prudence and Fred and pacing them. I found out that the improved path did, indeed, end just around the bend, ascending to meet one of the streets in the neighborhood to the north. Not wanting to backtrack, I just made my own path along the embankment until I met up with my three companions at the next bridge.

From his vantage point along the walkway on his side of the river, Fred could look ahead and see the pedestrian bridge at Eagleland Drive. He could also see me walking on the embankment on the other side of the San Antonio River.

When they got down to the pedestrian bridge, the three of them crossed the bridge to meet up with me, I having climbed up the embankment to Eagleland Drive and walked over to my end of the bridge. When they all got across, I took their picture.

We walked along the improved sidewalk on the east side of the river for about a half-mile, turned south and came to a railroad trestle (looking back at after we'd gone under it) over the river. Continuing underneath, the sidewalk opened out onto a a broad plaza, and the sidewalk itself continued on up to Lone Star Blvd. I learned from some Internet searching that we had just walked a section of the Riverwalk known as "The Eagleland Project." This project is part of the general southern extension of the Riverwalk. The next and southernmost section begins on the other side of Lone Star Blvd. It will take pedestrians another six miles or so to the San Antonio Missions. This section will be known as "Mission Reach." When I got up onto Lone Star Blvd. after a while, I could see the new construction on Mission Reach. For now, though, the improved portion ends here, at Lone Star Blvd., in front of what appears to be either a water treatment facility or some other facility involved with water levels in the river. (Even after all my searching, I could not find out what it was, actually.)

We spent some time just wandering around this area taking pictures, since we were as far south as we could go. I asked Ron to take a picture of me at the end of the trail. The Harry Jersig Bridge behind me carries Lone Star Blvd. over the river; the next section of the Riverwalk, "Mission Reach" begins on the other side of the bridge (and is currently under construction). From this same vantage point, I looked back along the Riverwalk towards the railroad trestle and Hemisfair Tower.

For his part, Fred took a number of excellent pictures here, and if you would like to see some of them, just click on the thumbnails below:

Fred also used his amazing camera to stitch three pictures together, capturing the entire curve in the San Antonio River between the Harry Jersig Bridge on the left and the railroad trestle on the right:


Southern End of the Riverwalk

While we were here at the current southern end of the Riverwalk, I made a movie looking all around the area.


After spending some time at this end of the Riverwalk extension, we turned around and headed back. This time, I didn't separate myself from everyone else, and we crossed the pedestrian bridge togther and headed back to the car.

On the way, Fred took some additional interesting pictures, and you can have a look at them if you click on the thumbnails at right.

When we got back to the car, we decided to stop in at one of the local restaurants at Blue Star, so Ron could get a drink and Prudence and Fred could have some wine. I stuck with iced tea. Ron got some chips and salsa and I took a picture as they raised their glasses. We had an enjoyable snack before getting in the car for the ride home.

 

The Neighborhood Near Blue Star


One of the best known neighborhoods in San Antonio is King William. It is here, mostly north of S. Alamo St., where most of the bed and breakfasts in the city are located. The area is historic, the homes are old and large, and it's just a short distance to downtown. In the area of King William that is south of Alamo, there are few bed and breakfasts; there are mostly single-family homes. But the houses are just as old, although not so large, and a great many of them have been refurbished.

We'd seen some of them from the Riverwalk, but we thought we might drive through this neighborhood and have a look at some of the houses. As we drove along, Fred and I took pictures of the more interesting or colorful homes, and I just want to include a selection of those pictures here. Click on any of the thumbnails below for houses that interest you and I'll show you the full-size picture:

 

 

Visiting the New "Indigo" Hotel Downtown


From the Indigo Hotel Web site, we can learn a bit about this hotel, part of the Indigo chain of some thirty hotels: "Imagine a 100% smoke free historical boutique hotel, whose focus is delivering guest peace, serenity, and renewal. Quite deliberately the Hotel Indigo San Antonio at the Alamo has been designed as an oasis for travelers who yearn for an escape from the common hotel, but still need the convenience of a 24-hour fitness center, Phi Bar and Bistro, and 100% valet parking."

Being in the hospitality industry, Ron had heard about this new hotel and that it was due to open this coming weekend. So he was curious as to what kind of place it was, and wanted to stop there on our way home. The hotel is in a renovated building formerly known as The Gibbs Building. We pulled up front and I went across the street to take a picture of the hotel entrance.

The very first thing we noticed when we came in (other than the fact that there were hotel reps still walking around trying to get things ready for their opening) was that the architectural details of this 1909 building had been almost totally preserved. Just as an example, take a look at a couple of the pictures I took of some of the ceiling detail here and here. Next, we noticed that the entry doors didn't actually take you into the hotel lobby; they took you into the restored actualy lobby of the old Gibbs Building. The hotel lobby was off to the side in a separate area. Right in front of you are the original elevator doors- but they don't work any more. When the building was renovated, new elevators were built through the doorway behind the old doors; the old ones are just for looks! Anyway, we thought the work they'd done was pretty impressive, and you can take a look at some of the great pictures Fred took in and around the entrance lobby by clicking on the thumbnails below:

We'd stopped so Ron and Prudence could get a drink or some wine, so we headed down the hall to the hotel's bar and bistro- The Phi Bar. We found that there was a bartender setting up and putting away glassware and spirits and that the bar wasn't officially open yet. Ron, in his gregarious way, chatted up the bartender and a manager who came in shortly thereafter with the result that they opened the bar early just for us- and the drinks were on the house to boot! (although as is his way, Ron left the bartender an excellent tip). Ron had one of his gin and tonics, Prudence and Fred had wine, and I had a drink that was one of the bartender's specialties- kind of like a margarita but different. If I'd known there would be salt, I would have asked for him to leave it off, because that was the only drawback to the drink which was otherwise quite good (but not as sweet as I'm used to.

Prudence, Ron and I sat at the bar for a while while Ron talked with the hotel manager and the bartender. Ron always likes to stay on the good side of other hoteliers; sometimes they can refer business to him and vice versa. Meanwhile, Fred was taking a picture out the window of the Phi Bar. We stayed for a while longer and then headed home.

 

 

The Rest of Our Visit

We stayed with Ron and Prudence until Wednesday, when we headed home. During the remainder of our time, I was able to go out and visit Chicken Paradise and get some pictures for possible use on the Web site that I will be designing for them.

NOTE:
That Web site is now up, and you can have a look at it if you visit www.chickenparadise.com.

Just before we left on Wednesday, I happened to take a picture from the Ruckmans' new apartment over their reconstructed garage of the also new balcony off the French and Luxembourg Rooms. You can have a look at the nicely furnished private balcony here.

We enjoyed our visit this week, and I look forward to returning sometime this summer.

You can use the links below to continue to the album page for different day.


June 2-16, 2010: A Trip to Fort Lauderdale
April 10, 2010: A Visit to the Trinity River Audubon Center
Return to Index for 2010