Texas To-Dos: March
San Antonio, Goliad, and La Porte (Get in touch with Texas history)
Celebrate Texas Independence Day (March 2) by visiting the big three: the Alamo, Presidio La Bahía, and San Jacinto. More than 2.5 million visitors annually visit the Alamo in San Antonio, where Texian soldiers held out for 13 days in February and March 1836 against soldiers of the Mexican Army led by General Santa Anna. When you visit, take the time to stroll through the garden, where a live oak transplanted here a century ago evokes a sense of living history. Take note, too, of the round hole to the right of the chapel entrance; a cannonball made it.
About 90 miles east of San Antonio, one mile south of Goliad, you can see one of the world’s finest examples of a Spanish frontier fort at Presidio La Bahía, where Colonel James Fannin and more than 300 troops were massacred on March 27, 1836. Now a National Historic Landmark, Presidio La Bahía includes the original chapel and carefully reconstructed fort, where you can see spurs, weapons from the Mexican army, pottery, and coins from the period, as well as displays about the Texas Revolution. For an unusual lodging experience, stay overnight in the officer’s quarters, which are said to be haunted.
Finally, visit the San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site east of Houston in La Porte, where on April 21, 1836, Texian troops led by General Sam Houston vanquished Santa Anna’s troops and won freedom for Texas. Tour the San Jacinto Museum of History, at the base of the San Jacinto Monument, then take the elevator 489 feet to the top for a sweeping view of the battleground, the Houston ship channel, and the Battleship TEXAS, a dreadnought that served in the first and second World Wars.
From the January 2013 issue.