San Antonio – The Oge House
Between Google Maps on my phone and Michael’s memory of old San Antonio, we successfully slide into the large parking area adjacent to The Oge House Inn. We are even on time. I suggest leaving our suitcase in the car till after we check-in; there must be an easier way to our room than up those beautiful wide steps that front the house. I did reserve a room with private outside access.
We walk through the elegant double doors and are greeted by name. I look down and around—am I wearing a sign that I don’t know about? My questioning countenance must give me away. “You are the last couple to check in this afternoon.”
The friendly young clerk gives us the low down on who what why and where and how for the next two days. Then he gives us a map and a list of restaurants when I mention that what we are looking for is a place to have a substantial snack—now.
After unpacking and exploring Michael and I head out our private front door proceeding down the long sidewalk to the street. We cross Washington and continue straight on Turner. It is a five-minute walk on old broken concrete till we reach South Alamo.
I am pretty much ready for tonight’s Moulin Rouge cocktail party at the McNay. My hair has even behaved and looks halfway decent. The wind is not blowing so I feel confident that we can fritter away the afternoon and have plenty of time to drive to Alamo Heights later.
We pass by The Friendly Spot, an open-air ice house with tables and playgrounds, loaded with people. Outdoor dining? Not today. We trot on, coming to a neighborhood Tex-Mex eatery. I want something more exotic. We trot on. And on. And on. And on. We pass by Mad Hatter’s Tea House, and Hot Joy and Feast and another Ice House and Casa Azul de Andrea and Liberty Bar and—nothing.
When I queried the B&B clerk about timing and hours of the restaurants I was assured they were all open all the time—not today. Forever hopeful we walk to the end of the street, check out Frank’s and then circle back to Tito’s—a place apropos for our first mini vacation snack in this old Spanish-and-Mexican-influenced city—where we used to live. Tito’s is bare bones local color—nothing fancy—splashed with bright swaths of harvest gold and avocado green walls, framed posters of things Mexican, exposed ducting and plain wide plank moldings. Seated near the door, amid a myriad of empty tables at 4 p.m., we fill up on chips and salsa and cheesy nachos flecked with strips of beef fajitas while sipping frozen swirls of a sangria-margarita concoction.
Needing to walk off the calories, and wanting to explore the neighborhood, we stroll down perfect streets of restored historic dwellings surrounded by inviting gardens. Michael leads us to the end of a road that leads us to the San Antonio River. Turning right we follow the trail, walking down verdant paths lush with grass and trees and tropical plantings.
I realize that I forgot what it is like to be in hot humid San Antonio in June much less walk around in the late afternoon sun. I feel rivulets of sweat trickling down my head, through my hair. I call out to Michael, “We may need to hurry. It’s going to take me longer to get ready than I thought.”
We continue walking along the river, passing HEB’s headquarters—the old restored armory. I can’t help but like Charles Butt—he is a preservationist and he likes old buildings.
Finally, our route takes us past the back of the Oge House, but with a fence too high to climb and no gate. Luckily the Riverwalk—as well as going straight—winds around to our right leading us back to our stately mansion home and a shower and shampoo.
And I have barely an hour to get ready.
The Oge House—one of three elegant old homes that form Noble Inn—is a southern girl’s dream come true, at least it was for this southern girl. Planted in the venerable King William District of San Antonio, bordering the quiet portion of the San Antonio River, it is a lovely and serene escape from the frantic hustle and bustle of the downtown area. However, all those sights and sounds are just a stone’s throw—walkable distance—away. An eclectic selection of restaurants is a brief five-minute stroll down Turner Street; the portion of the Riverwalk that backs up to The Oge House is a peaceful oasis and will take you anywhere you want to go.
We booked a lovely two room suite with both interior and exterior access. We had our own tiny porch and it was a quick walk to the car to retrieve our luggage. The bed was large and comfortable, and the massive antique headboard nightstand combination—unique to me—almost took up an entire wall; the air conditioner cooling, the WIFI access free, and the wingback chairs were a great place to sit and watch the large TV. In the bathroom, we had an option of a large jacuzzi tub or shower.
The staff was friendly and helpful. Breakfasts were tasty, filling and well prepared. Both the front and back porch were a welcome diversion before beginning a day of exploration. The interior public spaces were wonderful for relaxing, reading, conversation, or just hanging out.
The Oge House, 209 Washington Street, San Antonio, TX 78204