Before Texas: Historic Ranches and Towns of Nuevo Santander Study Tour


Enrollment for the study tour is limited. To inquire about registration, please call (713) 666-9000 or email [email protected].


$2,800 per person, double occupancy

$500 single supplement

The Houston Seminar will continue the in-depth study of historic ranches and towns (Nuevo Santander) when we explore the shared history and culture of Texas and Mexico.

This tour will begin in Houston, with a motorcoach to San Antonio. The tour will then will focus on the river ranches between San Agustín de Laredo and Brownsville. Only after the U.S.- Mexico War of 1846-1848 was the southern tip of the state incorporated into Texas. From 1748 until 1824, this territory comprised the northern half of the Spanish colonial province of Nuevo Santander. In 1824, when it became a state of the Mexican Republic, Nuevo Santander was given the indigenous name of Tamaulipas. Highlights will include a welcome dinner in San Antonio with guest speaker Mary Margaret McAllen, acclaimed author and historian; a private tour of the River Pierce Foundation in San Ygnacio, named one of the nation’s most endangered historic sites by the National Trust for Historic Preservation; and a visit to the World Birding Center, which is part of a major bird migration corridor.

Our guides Stephen Fox and Rafael Longoria are uniquely qualified to lead this tour. Architectural historian Stephen Fox grew up in Brownsville before attending Rice University. His work focuses on Texas architecture of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Rafael Longoria, a native of Nuevo Laredo, is an ACSA Distinguished Professor of Architecture at the University Houston. His areas of research include economic determinants of urban form and architecture and planning in the cities of the American Southwest and Mexico, with a particular interest in sustainability, cultural hybridity, urban context, and public spaces. Together they will bring new insights to our perceptions of the Texas Border region.

If you’ve ever wanted to see Miles and Miles of Texas, this trip is for you!  We will depart from Houston, drive west to San Antonio, south to Laredo, east to Brownsville, and finally head north back to Houston. Pricing includes all transportation, meals, private receptions, guides, entrance fees, foundation donations, and daily walking tours.

Before Texas:Historic Ranches and Towns of Nuevo Santander Itinerary (details subject to change)

Tuesday, March 12

9:45 AM Meet bus at St. Luke’s Methodist Church (3471 Westheimer)

10:00 AM Depart for San Antonio (boxed lunches on bus)

Check in to St. Anthony Hotel (300 E Travis St, San Antonio, TX 78205)

Visit Ruiz-Healy Art Gallery (201 E Olmos Dr, San Antonio, TX 78212)

Welcome Dinner and presentation, Mary Margaret McAllen

Wednesday, March 13

9:00 AM Depart for Laredo (breakfast on bus)

Lunch – Casa Ortiz

Walking tour of historic downtown

Check-in La Posada Hotel (1000 Zaragoza St, Laredo, TX 78040)

6:00 PM Depart for dinner, private residence

Thursday, March 14

8:45 AM Depart for Los Corralitos Ranch (5330 US-83, San Ygnacio, TX 78067), Rancho San Francisco, Rancho La Unión

Tour, presentation and catered lunch of the River Pierce Foundation

Continue on to Roma, Los Sáenz, Rio Grande City and Los Ebanos

Late arrival Casa De Palmas, Trademark Collection by Wyndham (101 N Main St, McAllen, TX 78501)

Friday, March 15

9:00 AM Depart for a full day of touring. Highlights include: Humanitarian Respite Center, World Birding Center National Butterfly Center and La Lomita Mission

Saturday, March 16

9:00 AM Checkout from Casa de Palmas Hotel Driving tour includes Jackson Ranch Church Cemetery, Chapel of St. Joseph the Worker, Rancho Toluca

Visit Casa Blanca-Shimotsu House and Landrum Ranch House

Check-in Courtyard by Marriott Brownsville (3955 North Expy #77/83, Brownsville, TX 78520)

Evening reception – JH Fernandez Building

Dinner at Terras Urban Mexican Kitchen (1212 E Washington St, Brownsville, TX 78520)

Sunday, March 17

9:00 AM Checkout from Courtyard by Marriott Brownsville hotel

Visit Sabal Palm Sanctuary (8435 Sabal Palm Grove Rd, Brownsville, TX 78521)

Visit Richard J. Neutra’s George Kraigher House (525 Paredes Line Rd, Brownsville, TX 78521)

1:00 PM Lunch

2:00 PM Begin drive to Houston

7:30 PM Arrive St. Luke’s Methodist Church (3471 Westheimer)


Registration Details

Reservations will be made on a first come-first served basis upon receipt of a $500 deposit, the online Reservation and Deposit Form, and the signed Release of Claims form.

Travel Registration and Cancellation Policy

Reservations will be made on a first come-first served basis upon receipt of a $500 deposit, the Reservation and Deposit Form, and the signed Release of Claims form. Payment in full is due on January 12, 2024. Reservations received after January 12, 2024, may be accepted if space is available and payment is made in full. Your reservation is not confirmed until you have received written confirmation from the Houston Seminar.

If payment in full for the tour is not made by January 12, 2024, your reservation will be canceled, and your $500 deposit will be forfeited. Should the Houston Seminar cancel the tour for any reason, your deposit and any additional payments will be refunded in full. Should you have to cancel for any reason, you must notify the Houston Seminar in writing. For cancellations before January 12, 2024, all payments, less the $500 deposit, will be refunded. A cancellation between January 12, 2024 and February 12, 2024, will result in the forfeiture of your $500 deposit plus 50% of all other amounts paid. After February 12, 2024, cancellation will result in the forfeiture of 100% of all amounts paid. We recommend that you consider purchasing travel insurance.