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  • Writer's pictureChristina Mantas

Visit to the First Village

Updated: Dec 31, 2020

A peaceful way to end a trip to San Antonio, is a stroll through it's first neighborhood, La Villita. Though now an arts district, with several restaurants, the size and style of the homes, are original: They are, in fact, the original San Antonio Resident's homes, and represent yet another, snapshot in time.

Initially part of the Mission San Antonio (now, The Alamo), La Villita was given to Spanish Settlers in 1773. Most of the homes you see, come from two main periods: Mexican (pre-1840s) and German (post-1840s). By 1850, there were 3,488 residents in San Antonio, and La Villita became home to tradesmen, like cabinetmakers, shoemakers, stonecutters, and yes, even saloon owners: Whatever was needed to make a western town function, and all with Spanish Charm.

As you walk through the streets, take a moment to read the historical makers: Who was the colonel whose house remains named after him, but that he never was able to live in? Which home was the residence of a French consul? And which house has been both a saloon and a private school? You might even read about a Norwegian Sailor named, "Olaf" who did some work here.

The La Villita Cafe is the perfect stop for lunch, and after checking out the "LIttle Church of La Villita," walk over the the Arneson River Theater. Moms may remember the scene in Miss Congeniality where Miss Rhode Island is asked what her perfect date is, it was filmed here; although we seriously question April 25th as being the "perfect date" in San Antonio: October is much more comfortable.

Now that you're on the San Antonio River, follow the signs to the San Fernando Cathedral. There, in Main Plaza, you and your children can learn about the Spanish Settlers from the Canary Islands, how government was founded here, and see the church where the bones of Jim Bowie, Davy Crockett (who didn't particularly like being called Davy), and William B. Travis are kept in a vault.

It was in this church that Jim Bowie had been married, and where Santa Ana would later wave the flag indicating "no quarter."

Stay until sundown for "The Saga," a music and lights show of the history of Texas, projected onto the San Fernando Cathedral, free, every Tuesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

We'll have your rooms freshened up and cozy by the time you get home to your room at O'Casey's Boutique Inn.

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