The Ivory Swan is a collection of curated stories about travel, fashion, home, recipes and weddings. A celebration of all things beautiful, elegant and classic. I hope you'll step into my storybook and be inspired to find your own fairytale. 

 

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San Antonio Missions National Park - Mission Espanada

 

Continuing on our summer mission of visiting the beautiful Missions along the San Antonio River, our next visit was to Mission Espanada. It is the furthest away from the Alamo. While this is the smallest, it's perhaps my favorite, architecturally speaking.  I adore this church. Those church bells on top are everything. I could just imagine a charming small wedding taking place here. And guess what!....it is available for weddings. This is a Catholic Church still in operation, you just have to contact the church directly. So dreamy, timeless and romantic. The grounds would be a beautiful place to set up a reception underneath the oaks and stars. But for those of you not getting married, this is still a very charming stop while visiting San Antonio. I've included a map below of the trail. 

 

 

We visited during a very hot 105 degree day! My light beige linen dress from Nordstrom's kept me cool and chic. I love the pic a boo of skin under the bow. Very sexy, but still classy and elegant. This dress is perfect for exploring, whether at the Missions or somewhere in Europe. You will feel very feminine and refined. You can find dress (here), similar shoes (here), bag (here) and jewelry (here and here). I also included links to some of my other favorite dresses from ASTR and accessories above, just click to shop! 

 

 

Now for a little history lesson, this mission was built in 1690! In what was then called New Spain, now Texas. The mission's sole purpose was to convert Native Americans to Christianity and to solidify Spain's presence in the New World, protecting themselves from France.  

 

 

This Church was built later in 1731 - and it is absolutely beautiful. I think a lot of Americans believe we have to travel to Europe to see this kind of history and architecture, but now you know, you can just travel to Texas to see some amazing history and Spanish colonial designs. 

 

 

 

Another unique fact about this mission is the aqueduct system, still seen on the grounds today. The main ditch continues to carry water to the mission and its former farm lands. This water is still used by residents living on these neighboring lands.The use of acequias was originally brought to the arid regions of Spain and Portugal by the Romans and the Moors. When Franciscans missionaries arrived in the desert Southwest they found the system worked well in the hot, dry environment.

 

 

Walking around the grounds you can see so many different cultures intertwined. The Romanesque arches and aqueduct, the Spanish Colonial Church and even the Native Americans put their touch on things, some structures were Adobe inspired. Very interesting times in 1700s Texas. It was not easy settling this land. You had outbreaks of diseases, fear of other European armies taking over, raids by Comanches and Apaches and unforgiving heat during the summer months. Yet, this place remained a holy place to commune and spread the word of Christianity. It is just amazing that these structures have survived and I'm so grateful to have been able to visit them. It really does make you so grateful for those that came before us and just how fortunate we are today living with so many modern conveniences. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After spending some time looking around the hallowed grounds of Mission Espanada, it was time to Feast! We headed over to one of our favorite neighborhoods in San Antonio, the King William District for some Tapas. We felt that was very apropos 

 

 

FEAST is a mediterranean style influenced menu and EVERYTHING is AMAZINGLY delicious! Any veggies or greenery you find on the menu is sourced right from their organic farm on the side and back of the restaurant. Fish is from the Texas waters and poultry is organic as well. And the design is whimsical, modern and elegant. I love their faux taxidermy wall (seen behind me) complete with a huge disco bull!

 

 

 

The outside is just as inviting. You'll find beautiful shade trees and lots of sparkling crystals and lights adorning the trees. Great place to watch people. And if you are looking for a place to stay in San Antonio, look no further than Hotel Emma! My favorite. I hope you enjoyed touring Mission Espanada with me and learned something new, and bonus.....a cute new outfit! :) 

 

 

 

 

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