ROMANCE ON THE RIVER WALK
Photos and article by Eleanor S. Morris
The Alamo City is home to many romantic sites perfect for exchanging your vows.
SAN ANTONIO, Texas - Paseo del Rio, the River Walk along the San Antonio River, is the city's most picturesque offering. This is saying a great deal, since San Antonio is famous for that shrine to Texas Independence, the Alamo, as well as a wonderful trail of Spanish missions, a spate of fine museums, and many other attractions.
Romance, culture, food are to be found along the winding river, along with fine hotels, shops, cafes, and the excitement of being part of the throngs strolling along the river.
Nestled 20 feet below street level, the cobblestone and flagstone paths of the walk border both sides of the San Antonio River as it winds through the very heart of downtown,the center of the business district. Stretching for about 2.5 miles, from the Municipal Auditorium and Conference Center on the north end to the King William Historical District on the south, most of the walkways, arched bridges and entrance steps were completed between 1939 and 1941, making the River Walk of San Antonio a romantic destination for visitors to the city.
But most romantic of all is the Marriage Island. Around the bend from the tourist attractions, this small island had been discovered by lovers as an unforgettable spot to make their vows. As many as 80 weddings a year take place on this green wedge of land, surrounded by the waters of the San Antonio River and sheltered by a high stone wall.
Then, to top off an unforgettable ceremony, it's possible to have the wedding breakfast or wedding dinner aboard one of the Yanaguana barges that cruise up and down the river at a leisurely pace. All you have to do is pick the River Walk restaurant of your choice, indicate that you want the meal served aboard the Yanaguana Cruise, and the restaurant will handle all the details from there. (Reservations: 210/207-3138; $100 for 30 minutes, and of course you must bring your own Justice of the Peace. Allow at least two weeks to reserve the Yanaguana Cruise.)
And there's more: San Antonio has another romantic wedding spot, none other than the beautiful McNay Art Museum. The museum is housed in the opulent Mediterranean-style mansion, lovely grounds and exquisite courtyard that was the home of art patron Marion Koogler McNay. Weddings can be on the lawn of the museum, by the main fountain, or in the gazebo.
Dozens of weddings are held every year, and thousands of brides have been photographed. A favorite background is under the arches of the museum, off the garden. (Reservations: 210/805-1761; 30 minutes are allowed for a wedding, which are standing services for no more than 50 people. Contact: Kay Sharpe, Special Events coordinator.)
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