Downtownish Map

Downtown Parking Made Easy!

Pango Screenshot
Pango Screenshot

I often hear people complaining that they avoid downtown because they don’t know where to park.  I just learned about a new app from Texas Public Radio called Pango.  This app, in real time, shows where you can park and the current cost.  In the past, I have only been able to find the location of city owned lots, garages and meters through a non-gps map (let me know if there is one out there). I like that the app does include non-city owned parking including businesses with their own parking such as a hotel. The app seems pretty user friendly and if you click on a particular parking spot, you will be given details such as method of payment accepted and other parking features (e.g. Valet, Overnight Parking, Elevator).

At this time, the app is available for Iphone, Android and Blackberry.

So what do you think, will you be downloading this app?

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Kayaking on the Mission River Reach

As a Southtown resident, I have been able to readily take advantage of jogging and bicycling along the Mission River Reach.  It is just across the street! Toby and Roxy love trotting along the trails and making friends with other four legged pooches.  One of the things that I have been wanting to do is kayaking! For months, I have seen groups in the early morning unload their kayaks and paddle away in the San Antonio River.  This looks like it would be such a fun mini-adventure so close to home! This past weekend, I finally decided to actually stop dreaming about it and actually look into how I could join in on the fun.

The San Antonio Mission Reach
The San Antonio Mission Reach

A quick Google search led me to Mission Kayak. I saw there was an hourly option and several “group tours” you could choose from.  As a first timer, I was pretty nervous about falling out and not be able to complete the entire trek. After speaking to one of the owners and conveying my worries, I was convinced that the shortest tour, a 2 mile tour, would be ideal for our beginner group.  Our kayak trip ended up costing $30 a person and included the kayak rental, a life vest and shuttle to the launch area. The tours ranged from $30 to $50. Mission Kayak’s meeting spot is at Espada Park and the shuttle will drop you off at your launch site.

One of the chutes
One of the chutes

To our pleasant surprise, no one in the group fell in! I have had a few people express similar concerns and I think you can be rest assured. The kayak on the calm river seemed pretty hard to turn over. I think you would have had to lean all the way to the side and purposely flip yourself over.  In all honesty, the only “difficult” part seemed to be getting in and out of the kayak. During our adventure we discovered there were 3 chutes in the 2 mile route that added some excitement. They were pretty shallow and narrow so again, I would say it would seem difficult to fall out.

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We survived our first kayak adventure!

Overall, it was a fun experience! My arms got a serious work out and I really felt the 2 miles the following day. It didn’t take long to get the hang of it. Some fellow Mission River Reach adventurers even thought our group were experienced kayakers! I had spotted children sized kayaks to the side. This is definitely a family type of adventure suitable for all experience levels.  I would be weary of a longer route if you are a beginner. We plan on taking Toby along the next time and shoot some dog videos with a GoPro along with water and a hat.  The Texas sun is brutal.

Will you be joining in on the kayak fun? Check out Mission Kayak at http://www.missionkayak.com/ for more info!

 

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Viva Fiesta Medals!

As a proud San Antonian, I look forward to celebrating Fiesta each year like many others. Fiesta is typically a 2 week celebration dating back to the Battle of San Jacinto in 1891 composed of parades, food, and overall pachangas.  We have our Fiesta traditions (such as sitting in the same spot each year for the King William parade, attending NIOSA on opening night, dancing crazily to the high school bands during the Fiesta Flambeau) and have just barely discovered another Fiesta tradition-MEDALS!

Bare Sash
$5 Bare Sash

I have always seen medals on the Fiesta royalty and a few people with those sashes filled with them but thought you just had to “be someone”  to get one or pay a small fortune. My husband is given a TMMTX medal each year and after 8 years, I  figured that I had enough that I could start pinning on a sash.  My medal obsession had officially begun. I went to Amols and made a $5 investment for a blue sash and starting pinning my few medals on.

Once I had decided to try and be on the lookout for them, I realized EVERYONE has a medal to give out! Corporations, individuals, non-profits, politicians and of course, Fiesta royalty. And a lot of them are FREE! Liberty Bar had an event where the first 100 people to come would get one. Pin Pandemonium, held on Fiesta’s opening day, is a day to grab some freebies and trade with fellow medal enthusiasts. I learned that many companies produce their own medals. Some are exclusive to employees such as TMMTX, Whataburger and HEB (I got my hands on 2 of the three). Other company/organizations use the medals to raise monies or bring attention to their causes such as the Canolli Fund and Beethoven Maennerchor.

District 7 & Trader Joe’s medals

I have to admit Fiesta has gotten a lot more exciting since I have been on the hunt for Fiesta medals. Here are some basic tips I have learned as a first-time collector:

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Aguillon & Associates. Won in a Facebook contest
1.Social Media.  I was surprised at the amount of contests on instagram, facebook and twitter that are offered a medal as a prize. I posted a few pics of my medal haul and some of my thoughtful friends even got some for me.

2. If you get the opportunity to score duplicates, keep one and trade the others! Or just trade them all you are not particularly attached.  Some of these experienced traders are specifically looking for the current year or certain themed medals.

3. ASK! I saw people wearing Fiesta medals and I asked if they had any trades. Some did and others just gave me some. It seemed like there were a lot of people whose sole job was to pass out their medals from their organization. It was fun to see everyone’s collections and hear the tale on their medal acquisition. At NIOSA, I saw a man wearing a Whataburger shirt and I asked if he happened to have any medals. Score!

District 5 Medal
District 5 Medal

4. Wear your medals proudly! I actually had people come up to me and give me a medal for my collection. Woohoo!

Bibliotech Medal. Had to complete a research task for this one.
Bibliotech Medal. Had to complete a research task for this one.

 

There are a few days left of Fiesta left which means more time to get more medals! What do you think of fiesta medals and are you collecting?

My 2014 medals so far...
My 2014 medals so far…

 

 

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Texas State Fair

Awesome Deep Fried Nutella
Awesome Deep Fried Nutella

It’s a tradition for us to pack up and head to Dallas for the Texas State Fair.  If you haven’t been, you are missing out! The fair is held for about a month at Fair Park. Most people associate this event with fried food.  That assumption would be completely correct.  Here you can try fried deliciousness such as Fried Twinkies, Fried Pizza, and Fried Beer. Pretty much whatever your imagination can think of, it’s probably been done. This place is like Willie Wonka and his Fried Factory. Every year there is a food contest with categories such as “Most Creative” and “Best Taste”.  The common thread is FRIED. We really enjoying seeking out the new entries in the fair and doing our own judging.  This year, we were especially excited to sample “Fried Thanksgiving Dinner” and “Awesome Deep Fried Nutella”.

IMG_4678If fried food isn’t up your alley, there are plenty of other things for your family to enjoy.  A fair would not be complete without the fun rides and carnival games.  Many can’t resist the opportunity to win an oversized stuffed animal and it’s fun to see proud kids with their prizes.  There are many livestock competitions and you are able to walk among the pens and see/pet these magnificent animals.  My personal favorites are always the sheep and goats.  If you prefer to see animals more active, the dog show and ostrich races are always a crowd pleaser.

When we are in need of a break from the Texas heat, we head indoors to view the car and garden show.  This year, we stumbled upon the costumes used for Superman since

Superman Throughout the Years
Superman Throughout the Years

Christopher Reeve in the car area.  I love the randomness that’s at the Texas State Fair.

IMG_4677Like I said earlier, our annual State Fair trip is a tradition filled with many other mini rituals.  We always go during the Red River Rivalry game (UT vs. OU) and sport our burnt orange clothes.  It’s fun seeing the fair filled with crimson and burnt orange. You can always tell who is losing during the game because the

My Big Tex Pose
My Big Tex Pose

fans leave early and the fair is filled with the losing color. We always take our group pics in front of the famous, Big Tex.  This year he was back better than ever sporting those infamous Dickies after last year’s fire.

It’s nearly impossible to get to see and do everything at the Texas State Fair in one day but it’s fun to keep returning to try.

 

 

For more info, check out:

Bigtex.com

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Southtown Farmers & Ranchers Market

I was pretty excited when I heard there would be a Farmers market within walking distance of my house. The Southtown Farmers & Ranchers Market is open every Saturday “rain or shine” at the Blue Star Arts Complex from 9AM-1PM year-round. Debuting in Mid-June, my husband and I recently got a chance to walk over to Blue Star and check out San Antonio’s newest farmers market. Smaller than the well-known Farmers Market at Pearl, this market is still worth the visit.

Honey Lessons
Honey Lessons

There was a pretty good mix of vendors to browse through on a leisurely Saturday. My husband and I are on a Goldrush kick (a tasty bourbon cocktail mixed with honey and lemon) so we were pretty interested in Gretchen Bee Ranch’s stand. We were give delicious samples of honey and a lesson on how honey can taste different depending on the type of flowers the bees have been visiting.

Frio County Huajilla
Frio County Huajilla

I tried to get my husband to purchase the gallon size (honey goes quick in the Gerrish household) but we ended up getting 16 ounces of heaven known as their Frio County Huajilla blend and a beeswax candle in the shape of a beehive.

The Farmers market, like many other Southtown places, is dog friendly. There were dog bowls of H20 ready for your 4 legged friends. We left Toby and Roxy at home but made a stop at Katie’s Jar with them in mind. This vendor specializes in natural and homemade treats for dogs. We ended up getting our dogs the “Good Dog Sampler”. It was filled with various empanadas filled with dog loving tastiness such as lamb, beef and sweet potatoes.

Dog Empanadas
Dog Empanadas

We almost laughed out loud when we were told to make sure to keep it refrigerated because of the treat’s freshness. Our dogs gobbled them all up as soon as we got home. No time for refrigeration.

Given all the walking around, we were pretty hungry. There were a couple of vendors with food to taste but given my

Cheeks & Chops
Cheeks & Chops

current obsession with food trucks, I was a little dissapointed that there was only one to choose from. I had to keep in mind this market is still pretty new and the word is still getting out. The one food truck on site was called Cheeks & Chops.  Cool name. Perhaps more will park in the future.

Tasty Carrots
Tasty Carrots

We ended up decided to grill on our own and headed to a farmer’s booth to got some side dishes. The veggie selection was pretty impressive. We got some ears of corn and an explanation why our corn tops were eaten up (no pesticides). This was new to me but my Iowan born husband was already “in the know”.

 

This market is still growing and is a fun,free place to hang

Cute Candle
Cute Candle

out. Help get the word out and support your local farmers!

For more info check out:
http://www.southtownfarmersmarket.com/
http://www.gretchenbeeranch.com/
http://www.katiesjar.com/katies_jar/Welcome.html

Downtownish Map

Free Parking for Hybrids!

As a real estate broker, I drive around town a lot. When it came time to look for a new vehicle, my husband and I knew that we needed to seriously consider a hybrid. Not only is owning a hybrid better for the environment but the savings in gas is tremendous! We have been pretty pleased with our decision. Today, I just found out about a program geared to hybrid owners. FREE parking at city meters! It looks like you need to fill out an application and submit requested documentation to get your parking pass. For questions, call the city of San Antonio Parking Division at 210.207.8266. They were pretty helpful. Link below to the application.

http://www.sanantonio.gov/dtops/HYBRIDVEHICLEPROGRAM5.pdf

Will you take advantage of this program?

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Pearsall Park Dog Park

I recently found out that there are 5 dog parks in San Antonio. I gave myself the personal challenge of visiting each one to see which one Toby & Roxy liked best. Today, we ventured to the city’s southwest part of town and visited Pearsall Park. We couldn’t have asked for better weather. The sun was out but the cool breeze made it super comfortable to be outside. The park was clean and there were dogs of all shapes and sizes enjoying themselves with their owners. Roxy doesn’t always get along with other dogs so only Toby got to enjoy the park today. He had a blast. Dogs are so easy to please.

For an in depth look, click below.

1 down, 4 to go.

For more info:
sanantonio.gov/parksandrec

The Fruteria

The Fruteria

Have you been to Chef Johnny Hernandez’s newest restaurant|botanero, The Fruteria?  Check out woohoo4sa’s introduction and make sure to stop by for one of their tortas and marquitos.  Those are woohoo4sa’s personal favorites

Be on the lookout for Chef Hernandez’s openings of The Fruteria and La Gloria in the San Antonio International Airport. The travelers that fly through this airport will be in for a treat!

For more info check out:

thefruteria.com

 

Glorious Food Trucks

Third Brewsday

With “Downtown Tuesday” being the new Friday, I have found myself wanting to take advantage of the city’s free parking as often as I can (I LOVE bargains). I have been wanting to visit Third Brewsday and this past week, I finally got the chance. Beer, live music and food trucks? Sounds like a winning event to me. Best of all, this is a free event to the public!

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Diverse Crowd

Third Brewsday is held on the third Tuesday of each month at Hemisfair Park and each month has a different theme. I have seen a Mardi Gras and Cowboy theme in the past via Facebook postings. This month’s event had a Blue Moon theme. Thank to my beer connoisseur husband, Kevin, I have grown to appreciate this wheat style beer. There was beer available for purchase and Blue Moon backdrops throughout.   Groups of people could take a photo in front of the themed backdrop.  I had read that there were going to be samples given out, but probably got there too late to enjoy.  I didn’t see any samples but beer was reasonably priced at $3 a serving.

There was a live art contest going on in which each participating artist had to incorporate the Blue Moon logo. The winner would go on to get a cash prize and a full page ad in the San Antonio Current. It was interesting see the artists’ different interpretation of the logo mixed with iconic San Antonio imagery.  It felt like Hemisfair Park was turned into an outdoor art gallery with the participating artists displaying other art pieces they had created.

Glorious Food Trucks

Wheelie Gourmet, DUK Truck, Cheesy Jane’s and Say She Ate were the featured food trucks for this month.  After sampling their cuisine, you’ll quickly understand why these food trucks are some of the most popular in San Antonio and draw a big crowd.

 

 

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Blue Moon Stage

From families to obvious “date nights”, the crowd was pretty diverse on Hemsfair’s green pastures.  The park was filled with lawn chairs and blankets on the ground. Everyone had made themselves at home and it was a pleasant, relaxed environment.

Sara's Cruiser
Sara’s Cruiser

 

 

The fact that the B-Cycle station across the street at La Villita was full and that there were tons of bicycles in the bike rack and chained to the surrounding trees shows there were a lot of downtown residents in attendance. In fact, my friend and I had taken advantage of the nice weather and ridden down from the Historic Pearl Brewery to check out the event. I was on my pink cruiser and she had ridden on a B-Cycle.

 

Overall, this is a fun and budget friendly event.  Reasonably priced beer is always a plus! I’d definately return to see what next month’s theme is. Maybe I’ll see you there.

For more info, check out:

http://www.hemisfair.org/

https://www.facebook.com/HemisfairSanAntonio

Night View

San Fernando Cathedral

Night View
Night View

I had the honor of attending a wedding at the beautiful and historic San Fernando Cathedral over this past weekend. What made the wedding even more special was that my younger brother was the groom! My family has deep roots in San Antonio with my great great grandparents having been married in the same Cathedral in 1891.

Located in San Antonio’s Main Plaza, San Fernando is hailed as Texas’ oldest cathedral. Despite my frequent downtown visits, I have never ventured inside the Cathedral until the wedding rehearsal.

The Alter
The Alter

Opening the large wooden doors of this 18th century, Gothic structure, my mind immediately thought of all the masses, baptisms, weddings and funerals held over the years. In researching the Cathedral’s background, I have even read there are the remains of the Alamo defenders buried under the sanctuary railing. San Fernando exudes wonderful history!

The Organ
The Organ

During my brother’s wedding ceremony, the grand organ on the upper balcony filled the room with harmonious notes. The Cathedral’s high ceilings are breathtaking and the stained glass windows throughout allow the sun to brighten the room.

The walls are lined with prayer candles from both, the very active parishioners and tourists that come to visit. My brother and his new bride had married in one of the prettiest churches I had ever been to.

Many Prayer Candles
Many Prayer Candles

San Fernando Cathedral is nowhere near the size of Notre-Dame de Paris or St. Peter’s Basilica but it still has its own distinct beauty that is quintessential of Texas. Whether you are a tourist or a local, San Fernando Cathedral is worth the visit.

Thank you to the bride and groom, Carlos and Mari, for the opportunity to finally visit one of San Antonio’s treasures.

Majestic Ceilings
Majestic Ceilings

Wishing you both a lifetime of happiness

For more info about San Fernando, check out:
http://www.mainplazaconservancy.org/
http://www.sfcathedral.org/