The right perspective.
This tour is in the heart of McAllen at Quinta Mazatlan, World Birding Center:
Enjoy a guided tour of the 1930s estate exploring the unique history of one of the largest remaining adobe homes in the state of Texas. Take a step back in time as the tour begins with the rich history of the Rio Grande Valley including native Coahuiltecan Indians living off the land, the arrival of Spanish explorers, the beginning of the Magic Valley’s agriculture boom and the founding of McAllen. Then explore Quinta Mazatlan from its creation by Jason and Marcia Matthews and exquisite restoration by Frank and Marilyn Schultz to the present day McAllen Wing of the World Birding Center. You’ll enjoy the adobe hacienda’s spectacular variety of Spanish style architecture including original Saltillo and Talavera Tile dating back to the 1930s.
For more information and to schedule your tour, visit: http://www.quintamazatlan.com/events/tours/strollthroughhistory.aspx or call (956) 681-3370.
This 3-day tour lets you soak in the history and glory of the Rio Grande Valley:
Start your day with a satisfying breakfast at your hotel and head over to Edinburg to visit the newly restored Train Depot. After hearing about the renovation project and a brief history of the station, it’s down the street to the Square. On the northeast corner is the Hidalgo County Historical Museum, which is housed in the 1910 county jail. Here your group will learn about the history of Hidalgo County in an award-winning museum.
Once you have a good overall picture of the history of the area, you’ll catch US 281 into Pharr and visit the Old Clock Museum to view over 2,000 rare and beautiful clocks collected from all over the world.
Next stop Harlingen! On the way, you can see the giant mosaic on the Virgen de San Juan Shrine in San Juan. Your first stop in Harlingen will be the Rio Grande Valley Museum Complex where you can pursue the historic buildings and view several local historical items and the latest traveling exhibit. By now your group should have worked up an appetite, so it’s off to lunch at one of the many local restaurants.
After a delicious lunch, you’ll travel down to Brownsville for a quick stop at the Historic Brownsville Museum on the way out to see the site of the last battle of the Civil War at the Palmito Ranch Battlefield, and then the Palo Alto Battlefield where an artillery duel of the Mexican War occurred.
On the way back towards McAllen, there is one last stop in Harlingen to experience the Iwo Jima Monument Memorial and Marine Museum. Back in McAllen for a quick rest and time to freshen up, then off to dinner at one of the hundreds of fine restaurants in McAllen. Maybe some Mediterranean or Japanese cuisine? If your group has some energy left, and depending the schedules, you could catch a performance at the McAllen Civic Center-maybe a traveling Broadway play or dance troupe from Mexico.
After a scrumptious breakfast at the hotel, head over to Hidalgo and visit the Hidalgo County Irrigation District Pump Station, which was built in 1908. Dr. Bob Norton, who is heading up the restoration, will explain how the gigantic pumps lifted water from the river and turned a hostile thorn forest into rich farmland.
On the road heading west, up river, you’ll make a delightful stop for a ride on the Los Ebanos Ferry, the last hand drawn ferry in the country. After the nostalgic ferry ride, head westward to Rio Grande City and visit Fort Ringgold, which dates back to 1848, and the La Borde House, a restored Victorian period inn. Next stop is Caro’s Mexican Restaurant, a favorite of Valley residents, for a delicious Mexican meal.
After your lunch, it’s off to Roma, site of several renovation projects, on the old square overlooking the Rio Grande River. This square was a location in the film viva Zapata. Roma was founded in 1765 and was the center of a thriving river trade in the 19th century. Explore the plaza and venture down to the riverside.
Then head on up to Falcon Dam and view Falcon Lake and the spillway. Midway across the dam is the international marker that marks the U.S.-Mexico border.
On the ride east towards McAllen, stop by Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto in Rio Grande City. It is a replica of the Grotto of Lourdes Grotto in France, built of rocks and petrified wood in the 1920′s and includes the statue of the Virgin and the peasant girl, Bernadette Soubirois.
Now for the restful ride back. Your group will need it for the fun time they will have that evening at Pepe’s River Fiesta, with dinner, drinks, live music and dancing - all with a spectacular view. Located on the Rio Grande in Mission, this is a popular hangout for our lively Winter Texans (and a few locals who can keep up).
After a restful night’s sleep and a late rise to recover from two exciting days of historical exploration and the lively McAllen nightlife, it is time to experience a little of “old” Mexico. After a short drive down to Weslaco and then south to Progreso, we’ll cross over to Nuevo Progreso, one of the Valley’s favorite south-of-the-border shopping destinations. All of the shops and restaurants are on the main street starting immediately after crossing the bridge. Take a few hours to explore the quaint shops and haggle with the owners for the best bargains on Mexican arts and crafts. Rest your feet at one of the fine restaurants in Nuevo Progreso and sample some traditional Mexican food – cabrito, quail, frog’s legs or bistek. Enjoy a cool, refreshing margarita with an olive, but be careful – they are stronger than what you may be used to!
Now that your group has had a small sampling of what McAllen and the Valley have to offer, it is time to say farewell and head out to your next exciting destination. Maybe you will head further south and explore the interior of Mexico, head north to San Antonio, or northeast to Corpus Christi. We hope you enjoyed your stay in South Texas and hope to have you back real soon!