Can you think of anything more fun than playing host in San Antonio to a group of 12 people, the majority of whom have never been to the Alamo City? I recently had the pleasure of doing so and was thrilled to have partnered with some of my favorite San Antonio brands and businesses to highlight what our beautiful city is all about!
Alamo City Moms Blog is part of the City Moms Blog Network, a network of 54 (and quickly growing!) sites around the country that serve as local parenting resources in their communities, just like we do in ours. Each site is locally owned by moms who live in a given community and, just like our site, highlights a team of contributors who have unique voices in their city. Don’t tell anyone I said so, but I might be a bit biased in thinking the team right here in San Antonio is top of the tops! In addition to co-founding Alamo City Moms Blog, I also serve on our national team, so while we had a lot of fun while we were here, the weekend was chock full of meetings, planning, and growing our network so that we can provide the best sites for our readers both here in San Antonio and around the country.
We were hosted by the always gorgeous JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort and Spa. Set in the beautiful and picturesque hill country, this hotel boasts more than 1,000 guest rooms while still offering an intimate Texas welcome! We had the chance to tour the property while we were there and visit some of my favorite things about this property like its 36 holes on the TPC San Antonio golf course, the relaxing and rejuvenating Lantana Spa, and the fabulous restaurants like 18 Oaks. But this local gal was thrilled to find out more about the new water park expansion. Many San Antonians staycation with families and are familiar with the JW’s six-acre River Bluff Water Experience, but did you know that the resort is currently undergoing a $16 million expansion that will include an additional pool, spa, and cabanas, two new water slides (one with a 60-foot drop!), and a beach-entry pool? We had a sneak peek of this exciting new addition, and when it opens on March 1, 2016, I’ll be making reservations for my family staycation!
When showing off San Antonio, one of my favorite “new” places to go (and I say new as a native San Antonian, so new to those of us who grew up here) is the Pearl Brewery. Boiler House welcomed the CMBN National Team, where we sat up in the “Aquarium,” the private glass room on the second story. Seriously, everything they put on the table was fab, but a few of my favorites were the Quail Poppers, the Zucchini with Quinoa & Golden Raisins, and the Brussel Sprouts with Grilled Lemon & Chorizo. My mouth is still watering as I think about that meal!
After dinner, we walked to Lick Ice Cream to show off what homemade local goodness in a frozen form is all about! As a team, I think we tasted about every flavor they had to offer, but some of the voted favorites were the Texas Sheet Cake Ice Cream, the Goat Cheese, Thyme & Honey, and the Roasted Beet & Fresh Mint. With a few dairy-free and vegans in the group, we didn’t have to make any exceptions since Lick offers options for almost any dietary need.
On Saturday, we headed back to the Pearl to take advantage of their beautiful backgrounds, where we met the ever-so-talented Haley with Laura Haley Photography. Laura not only captured stunning head shots of the team, but captured the spirit of City Moms Blog and how much fun our team really has together in our group photo shoot. These gorgeous shots will be used on the new layout of www.CityMomsBlog.com when it launches later this spring. Haley is a talented family photographer and—pssst!—she’s available to book in San Antonio AND Port Aransas for families looking for a beachside background for family portraits.
When pictures wrapped up, it was time to show these out-of-towners some true San Antonio flair, so we headed down to El Mercado for a restaurant tour of the Cortez Family restaurants. Starting off at La Margarita, we munched on chips and salsa and then dined on delicious sizzling fajitas while being serenaded by mariachis. And as any tourist does, my fabulous guests put in the request for “La Bamba” (why must it always be “La Bamba”?!).
A short walk through El Mercado landed us in the newest of the Cortez family restaurants, Viva Villa. While I’d been to Viva Villa before to enjoy their tasty street tacos, their Big Red Soft Serve and Mexican Vanilla Soft Serve were on the menu for our group. Holy smokes! All I can say is do a swirl of the two and you won’t be sorry.
After we all but devoured our soft serve, we were off to our final stop, the infamous Mi Tierra. This San Antonian loved it as our guests marveled and snapped pictures at the decorations, asked all about what papel picado is, inquired as to the faces on the murals that that line their walls, and indulged in margaritas and treats from the Panaderia. The hospitality that is shown by every single staff member in the Cortez family restaurants just exudes a true San Antonio welcome, and the pride of the staff is not only obvious but infectious. No visit to San Antonio is complete without a stroll on the grounds of the Alamo and a walk down the River Walk, probably necessary with the incredible meal we had just inhaled!
During our meetings on Friday and Saturday, we were treated by one of ACMB’s very favorites, Annie’s Petite Treats. Annie provided her always incredible cake balls but also treated our team to Fruity Pebbles bars and a hot chocolate break. Yum! We also had a tasty tray of cookies from one of our most loved products that hails from right here in San Antonio, Dr. Smith’s Diaper Ointment, who provided the team with a “sweet relief” break. The cookies were perfect for our San Antonio destination!
I so love our city, but nothing makes me love it more than hearing others fall in love with all that the Alamo City has to offer! A big thank you to our hosts for the weekend and to our city for being one that makes us so proud.