One of the things I love most about blogging are the friendships I’ve made with friends from around the country. My husband calls these my “online friends” so it’s always a treat to get to see them in real life at conferences and things.
Two weeks ago I had the opportunity to head down to San Antonio for the Insight Blogger Retreat. There were a handful of Texas bloggers invited to the event. I found some familiar faces and met some new friends. It was SO much fun. We also had a chance to talk to one another and share our blogging successes and failures. It was such a great time!
Another reason I loved it was because I had the opportunity to experience San Antonio in a whole new way! Most of the time I visit, I am there with my kids and do lots of kid friendly activities. It was a welcome change to rediscover some of San Antonio’s historic beauty and find new gems too. Here is a little photo tour of my overnight visit.
Hotel Valencia Riverwalk
We stayed at a beautiful boutique hotel, the Hotel Valencia Riverwalk. I loved that it had a more modern interior. It was a nice departure from the traditional Spanish style decor you see in so many other hotels. The rooms were spacious and I ended up with a nice corner room with a nice view of the city. I can’t even begin to tell you how nice it is to have an entire hotel room to yourself for the night. I was in heaven.
The Hotel Valencia Riverwalk had a beautiful courtyard and a terrace overlooking the Riverwalk. It was lovely. We also enjoyed cocktails one night in the V Bar. It was so fun to sit around and visit with friends. It’s so rare that I get to do that these days. They had some fun really fun cocktails. One of the most creative were the poptinis. It’s a martini with a popsicle in it! I didn’t have one but everyone who did said they were fantastic.
We also checked out the Citrus Restaurant for breakfast in the morning. Their French toast was incredible. They also had one of the coolest teapots I’ve ever seen! It dispenses tea from the bottom. If you follow me on Instagram you probably already saw it. If not, see it here. We had such a great time at the Hotel Valencia. I’ll have to come back and stay again with my hubby.
The City of San Antonio
When we weren’t at the hotel we had an opportunity to get out and explore the beautiful city of San Antonio. We took a riverboat cruise and I’m always amazed that I learn something new each time I ride. The guides are so knowledgable about the history, architecture and culture of the area. I really enjoyed our afternoon down on the Riverwalk.
Another day we had a chance to visit the Historic Pearl area. It was full of restaurants and cute shops. We enjoyed some delicious macarons and other treats from Bakery Lorraine, but more on that later. It was a really fun place to spend an afternoon. I love a leisurely day of eating and shopping!
Fogo de Chao Brazilian Steakhouse
Of course we had to eat while we were there and boy did we eat! We went to Fogo de Chao for Churrasco. If you’ve never been to a Fogo de Chao restaurant you need to find one near you. My husband absolutely loves it and was pretty jealous that I went without him. Unfortunately I was too busy stuffing my face to get a good picture because the experience is almost as good as the food.
They have dozens of chefs that cook the meats slow and expose their natural flavors. Then each chef walks around with his meat and sliced it for you at your table. The chefs continue to walk around filling your plate with many varieties of the most delicious Churrasco. Everyone has a disc at their plate. Green means keep serving and red means you need to take a break or you are finishesd.
I can’t even adequately explain the experience. You just have to see it for yourself. But make sure you go hungry. In addition to the meat selections, they have an amazing market table with fresh salads, smoked salmon, artisan cheeses and more. Again, you really need to go experience Fogo de Chao for yourself!
NAO Latin Gastro Bar
We went to NAO Gastro Bar for lunch. This place was really cool. The restaurant is in the Historic Pearl district. Like I mentioned earlier, the Historic Pearl district is home to some really unique finds. This particular restaurant is locate inside The Culinary Institute of America – San Antonio. Prior to graduating, students spend their final months working front and back-of-house during lunch service to get hands-on experience.
The food was amazing. Pictured above was one of the side dishes for our lunch, roasted vegetables and quinoa. They were incredible. In fact, everything we had was really good. The food was eclectic, latin cuisine. I will definitely eat at NAO Gastro Bar again!
Last but not least, we closed the trip at Bakery Lorraine. This cute little bakery is a 2 minute walk from NAO Gastro Bar. Right through the Historic Pearl District. The bakery is light and bright and full of so many yummy things. We had brownies and muffins and scones and cookies but oh-my-word the macarons. So GOOD!
I’m kind of a sucker for macarons but these were truly delicious. There were so many unique flavors that I’d never had before. Pictured above is the box that I took home to my boys: Raspberry, Pistachio and Lemon but I also got to try Horchata and Earl Gray. Next time you are in San Antonio, pop into Bakery Lorraine for a cup of coffee and a plate of something sweet. It’s the perfect spot for an afternoon.
Smart Destinations Go City Card for San Antonio
We seriously had so much fun on our little blogger getaway. We also went home with a fun little surprise, a Smart Destinations Go City Card for San Antonio. The San Antonio Explorer is a pass you can buy for one low price that grants you admission to your choice of 3 or 5 top San Antonio attractions, tours, museums, and more.
You pay nothing at the gate and choose as you go from attractions including CitySightseeing San Antonio, The Buckhorn Saloon and the Texas Ranger Museum, and more. It will save you up to 40% off gate ticket prices and the best part is you can use the app on your phone and not have to keep up with anything. So simple! My boys and I have several fun adventures planned in San Antonio later this summer and the San Antonio Explorer Pass will come in so handy. We can’t wait!
Thanks again to all the fabulous Insight Blogger Retreat sponsors who made our trip so much more exciting. It was such an treat to rediscover the beautiful City of San Antonio with friends. I can’t wait for our next adventure!