19th-Century Mansion in King William Historic District
Though San Antonio draws most of its visitors for The Alamo, the colorful Riverwalk, and the surrounding Texas Hill Country, those who find their way into the King William Historic District discover one of the city’s little-known treats. Distinctly more relaxed than downtown San Antonio, the district is known for its 19th-century mansions shaded by pomegranate and crape myrtle trees. One such two-story Victorian estate, The Jackson House bed and breakfast blends perfectly into its blissfully subdued setting while treating guests to gracious hospitality.
Built in 1894 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, The Jackson House still maintains much of its old-fashioned charm. Within the orange-brick home, a staircase ascends to guest rooms outfitted with gas fireplaces, antique mantelpieces, and marble bathrooms. Those choosing a downstairs room get the added bonus of a private jacuzzi. For some fresh air, head out to the front porch, which looks out to an elegant fountain and the quiet, tree-lined street.
Each morning, the friendly innkeepers prepare a hot breakfast, and tea, homemade cookies, and fresh fruit are available throughout the day. During the day, feel free to relax at the limestone patio, or peruse the B & B’s conservatory, Inside, you’ll find brass-ribbed stained-glass panels and a heated spa pool, where you can unwind amid tropical foliage.
San Antonio's Southtown: Riverfront Enclave of Architectural Revival in Historic
Just south of downtown San Antonio, the King William Historic District is rife with 19th-century estates, many of which have been revitalized since conservationist Walter Mathis purchased and renovated the Villa Finale in 1967. The area has turned into a hot spot for architectural tours, as guests can snag a walking-tour map from the reception area at The Jackson House—or dial up a cell-phone audio tour—for detailed information on 14 properties within a mile radius.
Located across the street from Jackson House, the Villa Finale Visitor Center sells tickets for 45-minute tours of the estate and its more than 12,000 artifacts, which include pewter Napoleon statues and Staffordshire figurines. From Villa Finale, take a walk south along the Riverwalk to the Guenther House. Planted in the shadow of the Pioneer Flour Mills, this part-museum, part-restaurant serves southern food sourced from the onsite factory.
Take the Riverwalk north to reach the Alamo, which has become the state’s most visited tourist site due to the 1836 battle that made it a symbol of Texas independence. It's actually one of five historic Spanish missions clustered around the San Antonio River. The largest, Mission San José, lies just 5 miles south of downtown. Its famed rose window is once again on display following an extensive renovation.
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