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Advantages and Disadvantages of Moving To the Country

By Things To Do
 

A trip to the countryMy townhome in the city was broken into recently–while I was home! This made me appreciate the fact that the only break-ins I have in my RV at the park is the occasional fly.

While country living has its perks, it certainly has downsides as well. When I’ve had a bad day it’s hard to go to the corner grocery store and buy a tub of chunky chocolate peanut butter and cookie dough ice cream. (Wait is that bad?) When a friend is having a get-together it takes me an extra 10 minutes to get there. Though the internet is reliable here, it’s not as fast as my super duper high speed internet in the townhome—which usually means I am forced to read and write and walk more often.

Jeez, these don’t sound so bad once I write them out. Oh here’s something. I have less room for my stuff! Oh, wait, that has forced me to be more purposeful with what I own.

Ok, ok! here’s one, no coffee shops or good bars nearby. I’m less likely to meet random city folk. Though I have met some random country folk.

Writing this brings to mind a podcast I recently recorded for my show Controversial Conversations. My guest and I talked about “Is San Antonio truly A Good Place to live?” The conclusion was that it really depends on who you are and what you are wanting to get out of life.

What is amazing about the world we live in today is our ability to craft our own destinies. In previous generations there were less paths available to anyone—even the rich. Today if you are purposeful and thoughtful, you can craft a multitude of lives.

Living in the country was not for me five years ago. I love cities. I love walking to a coffee shop near my place and writing for 6 hours. I wrote my first novel almost entirely in a coffee shops. I still love that. However, I also have come to love writing to the sound of the tall grass rustling and the warbler warbling and the crickets cricketing.

I grew up in a city where houses were packed like sardines. They practically touched walls. Now at the RV park I’m a stone’s throw from my next door neighbors. I have tons of space and tons of quiet.

Living in an RV in the country may not be for me in six months or a year. That’s the beauty of this lifestyle. It’s flexible.

In my podcast we discussed a variety of places each of us had lived. My guest was Faris Varini, the president of the San Antonio Young Professionals organization and he really loves San Antonio. He has a job he loves. He lives in a cool downtown apartment with a vibrant community. He’s really living the best life in San Antonio for a young professional.

Any location you choose to live in has a vibe, a character all its own. We’ve all heard the cliche that New York City has an “energy” to it. It does. When you are walking down a random street in a river of 100 fellow travelers at one in the morning, you can’t help but be energized. In sleepier towns like San Antonio, we tend to get tired after the six O’Clock news or that late Spurs game that ends at 8:00pm.

Most of us decide where to live base on chance. Our family is there. It’s where we were born. Some of us may find they move to a location, because it is the epicenter of a particular field of productive work. Move to Silicon Valley or Hollywood for a certain kind of job.

I’ve learned to not be too focused on a sole goal when making a decision as important as where to live. For me, productive work is paramount. I have always gone wherever I can do the work that I want to do in the way that I want to do it. There’s more to living in a place than work of course. Who you work with is critical. What mentality is dominant in a city is relevant. Your own temperament should come into play too. Some people become burned out by the high energy of NYC, while others flourish there.

I imagine i’ll want that city life again sometime soon. But when that happens, I can always pull the stops from under the RV put the key in the ignition and mosey on down to the next city.

Fun things to do around Woodland Oaks RV Estates

By Things To Do
 

 

 

 

 

 

RVers love adventure. It’s why we buy RVs. (They are called Recreational Vehicles for a reason!) When you stop by the Woodland Oaks RV Estates, check out these fun spots. Some will bring out your wild side, some will bring the wild side to you and others will bring out your inner artist. Whatever, you’re into, this area of the San Antonio country has what you need.

 

PAINTBALL

If you’ve never had a glob of paint flying at your protective facemask at 280 feet per second, then you ain’t RV Livin. Paintball has been a family fun adventure for decades. What better way to passively aggressively get back at a loved one for forgetting to dump the RV black tank then to snipe them from your perch?

Near the Woodland Oaks RV Estates there are two amazing paintball parks.

Go on a night mission and take out your enemies at missionairsoft. Visit their calendar of events and find out when their next night op is occuring. There’s only one way for this country to be safe. You have to exterminate those vicious fiends destroying our great country (whoever you think they may be!)

Play a traditional game of capture the flag, or try VIP Transport—this strategy involves a squad having a “VIP” who must be protected at all cost. There’s also Team Deathmatch, Kill Confirmed and a number of other vicious and pure carnal, fun games.

Want all out war? Go to Ares Battlefield. Be the God of War you were meant to be at this location. Best part of Ares Battlefield, they are within walking distance of the RV park.

Go alone and conquer your enemies or go with your family and experience revenge. The parks are children friendly. They each have fun games that are child safe and appropriate.

MEDINA RIVER NATURAL AREA

Enjoy one of the most beautiful parks in San Antonio and the only park in South San Antonio. This habitat has hiking, fishing, bird watching, picnicking and more. It’s a great place to get your dogs (and your kids!) out of those cramped campers and out in the open space of the San Antonio country.

Try your feet on the El Chaparral greenway trail, which is a paved, 6.64 mile one-way (non-looping) trail that winds through both upland habitat and forests along the Medina River. Areas of the trail range from flat, Level One Access to steep and windy, Level Three Access.

For something more casual try the El Camino Trail. It’s a 0.23 mile paved trail that passes by the covered pavilion and ends at the Medina River. Connects with the Rio Medina Trail and is rated Level One Access.

Along the Medina river are numerous spots to see some wildlife, especially birds.  Visitors have the opportunity to see birds such as the Green kingfisher and Painted Bunting. Running along the natural area is one of the city’s paved greenways, providing a scenic out-and-back trail.

Whether you need to get away from the camper or just stretch your legs, Medina River Natural Area has something for you. And, best of all, it is only a few short miles down the road from the RV Park.

BRAUNIG LAKE PARK

Braunig Lake is less than 5 miles away from the RV Park. It’s a top rated fishing and boating destination featured regularly on Kens5 Outdoors show. Depending on when you arrive, you may be able to catch a 20 lb or bigger fish. Here’s a tip to catch the big Red Drum fish from lake’s website: this schooling species may sometimes be located by watching for feeding activities by seagulls or pelicans. In winter, red drum may be found near the heated discharges. Crawfish and tilapia are very good natural baits; good artificial lures include spoons (gold and silver), rattle traps and trolled deep-diving crankbaits.

Other popular fish are largemouth bass, catfish, and Hybrid Striped Bass.

Relax on the lake and enjoy a beautiful sunset and then have a BBQ with the family. Play volleyball or frisbee or sit at the water’s edge and read a good book.

ENJOY SOME LIVE COUNTRY MUSIC

Woodland Oaks RV Estates IS in the country after all. And as they say, when in Rome! When you’re staying here at the park, you’d be remiss if you didn’t go to the classic R&J Music Pavilion right up the road.

This stop gives you the real country you grew up with (or maybe that you should have grown up with.) Visit their facebook page to see their constant list of shows. There’s always someone amazing on stage.

EAT YOUR FILL OF GOOD OL’ COUNTRY COOKIN’

These ain’t no city restaurants. Surrounding the RV park are several excellent and down-home cookin restaurants you’ll not want to miss. Though you may want to go on a hike at the Medina to burn off some of that gravy.

Everybody Loves Raymond’s Tacos is a Woodland Oaks RV Estates Special Pick! You’ll fall in love with those tacos, guaranteed.

Home Plate Cafe is exactly what it sounds like. Simple comfort food. Great bbq and even better burgers.

J&S Smokehouse Try their turkey legs. Get a basket of chicken and some potatoes, sit outside under a tree and enjoy the life of a southerner.

Angelicas A cafe straight out of the country past. Simple means elegant here. Try their coffee.

Here are a few notable favorites, all of them within 3-4 miles of the park:

La Cabana Mexican Restaurant

Danny’s Bar-B-Que

Sister’s Kitchen

Azteca Grill

Rios Barbacoa

GO TO THE LOCAL DIVE

After all that adventuring, driving and eating, you’ll need a drink. You can’t come this far south and not find a good dive bar.

Watch a game with the locals at Pipos Lounge or play pool at Los Coronos Bar & Grill

The Woodland Oaks RV Estates itself has great scenery and even better access to the spots around southern San Antonio that, till now, only the country folk have been able to enjoy.

 

Why you should rent an RV at an RV park before you Buy

By Things To Do
You’ve been bitten by the RV bug, but you are reluctant to pull the trigger and buy an RV. Or you are thinking of selling your home and going full-time. These are momentous decisions with lots of important smaller decisions along the way. For instance, what size RV should you buy? New or Used? Trailer or C-class? And so many more. Then you will need to learn how to live in an RV park or boondock.  Like anything in life it is always best to try before you buy. There are two primary ways that you can try the RV Life before you buy.

Rent from a rental company

Sounds simple. If you google RV Rentals there are plenty of companies that will rent you an RV. Most people use this for the occasional camping trip with the family. Recently, my friends from California piled their five kids into a rental RV and drove to Texas for a wedding and then toured around before returning the RV. They made all the classic mistakes (and some that I somehow avoided, like spilling the black tank…)  

In the end they loved RVing and look forward to it again. Now that they rented, they feel ready to buy.

They used Cruise America, which is a good company. There are plenty of other companies too.

Rent an RV at An RV Park

Woodland Oaks RV Estates in San Antonio has 10 RV units available for rent. These can be rented for a single night or weekend, or they can be rented for months at a time.

If you are visiting San Antonio and don’t want to be in a hotel, you can stay in a very nice rental RV unit, which is only 15 minutes from Downtown. You’ll get the feeling of the country with the access to the city, all without having to purchase an RV and deal with that whole pesky maintenance part. If you live in the San Antonio area and you are contemplating buying an RV, this is a great affordable way to get a feel for the lifestyle.

For those considering full-time RV life, remember, when you buy an RV the major difference is that you are responsible for absolutely everything. When the A/C goes out, it is up to you to fix it or purchase a new one. That black tank is backing up, then you will need to call someone to drain it for you. Flat tire? Better have roadside assistance or you’ll need to pay for it all yourself. And on and on.

Of course there are a ton of benefits to owning your own RV. I own my RV. However, I do wish that I had rented first. That way I would have been more knowledgeable about my own needs and wants for this lifestyle. Personally, I believe that I purchased an RV that was slightly too big for me. Of course I love my RV and have been traveling for many months now. After first living in the RV for a couple days, I realized I didn’t need it quite this big.

Boy, would it have been helpful to have rented first!

Dining on a Budget: San Antonio’s Hidden Gems

By Things To Do
 

Who doesn’t love to go out to a fancy restaurant once in a while? Sure, you’re getting married or it’s your 25th anniversary, don’t go to burger king. Go wild and visit that restaurant you’ve been dreaming about. For most of us, we want to go dining on a budget. Especially if we are living in an RV full time. Grilling tastes amazing, but we all know that it takes a bit more work to cook in an RV then at a home.

If San Antonio is known for anything it’s food. Of course, we have the best tacos (waayy better than Austin. Just sayin). There are dozens of great chains to try. Obviously there’s Whataburger, but you already knew that. There’s Texas Roadhouse and the ever-popular Cracker Barrel.

Below we have compiled a list of the hidden gems of San Antonio. Those places the locals love but spots that may not pop up as first in your search for places to go out. To make things even better, these are all very affordable locations whether dining alone or taking the whole family.

 

 

NOLA Brunch and Beignets

Of course you have an RV, so you can easily make a trek out to New Orleans and enjoy their world famous beignets. Or, you can stay at your comfy park and take a trip over to NOLA Brunch and Beignets for authentic New Orleans brunch. You won’t be able to tell the difference. Enjoy live jazz and arguably the best coffee in San Antonio. They are located in North Central part of town and open Tues-Sunday. Besides Brunch, NOLA is a great spot to sit and hangout or work for hours. Start with a beignet and Cafe au latte and then get a Blue Crab Omelette. You won’t be sorry you did!

 

Pancake Joe’s

Pancake Joe’s is a more traditional option for your breakfast lovers. They are so confident they actually put their live yelp reviews on their website! They’re most famous for having something for everyone, oh! And pancakes. Ihop ain’t got nothing on Joe. Only downside is the wait. Due to the big helpings of eggs and bacon and blueberry toppings for waffles, you are in for a decent wait Saturdays and Sundays. But hey, what are families for if not killing time in-between waiting for food?

 

Feast

The food at Feast has won it numerous awards. For that reason alone the price is slightly higher than the other places on this list. It almost doesn’t’t make it. However, their budget and hearty omelettes stuffed wish shaved brussel sprouts, Chiffonades  of chard and blue cheese. Wash it down with a $7 bloody mary.

 

Madhatters Tea House & Café

This is an editor’s choice spot!

For the funky atmosphere alone, this should win every prize in the book. Immediately upon walking in you feel as though you’ve been transported through Alice’s looking glass. The multi-colored walls and even the slanted floor work in its favor. To make things better, the breakfast is phenomenal and, even better, great on a budget! Your basic eggs bacon and toast breakfast is only $6. So grab a crazy hat, order yourself tea and breakfast and read Through The Looking Glass with the whole family.

 

Sea Island Shrimp House

Most of the places above are near the downtown area. Sea Island and the following restaurants are on the south side, near Woodland Oaks RV Estates.

NOTE: Kids eat free Mondays!

This place feels like a chain, but it’s a local one. There are six locations in San Antonio and one in New Braunfels. So you get the prices of a chain with the feel of a local hot spot. Best yet, the shrimp are from the Texas Gulf and the budget lunch specials ($7.49-$9.99) are a catch. The regular menu lets you off the hook too. Two fish tacos, fully dressed and garnished, are served with fries for just $8.49. Shrimp cocktails ($7.39) are filling on their own.

 

Casa del Kabob

If you’re staying in an RV park in San Antonio for more than five minutes, you have no doubt been stuffed with tacos. Even the best food can get a bit old. Why not try some diversity? Persia-meets-Greece at this artistically converted fast-food spot that is a beacon of culinary diversity in a taco world. Try their budget koobideh kabob ($6.99 for a wrap, $7.99 as a plate with fantastic seasoned rice and a salad), a typical Persian dish of seasoned minced beef, formed into long, flat patties and cooked on the grill. Or go Greek with a lamb gyro wrap for $4.99.

 

Bobbie’s Café

Bout as Texas as you can get here. They’re even humble like San Antonio. Their tagline is “probably the best place in town to eat.” They have been serving San Antonio for over 30 years now, so they must be doing something right. Maybe it’s just the hearty helpings or maybe it’s their budget prices. A breakfast standard of two biscuits with sausage gravy fills the bill and belly for $5, and breakfast tacos start at $1.25. There are “high-dollar” entrées like $16 steak and $8.75 fried shrimp at lunch and dinner, but choose the special club sandwich ($5.75) of ham, bacon and cheese. Feeling Tex-Mex? Two basic chalupas are on target at $5.25.

 

Little Red Barn

Now approaching its 55th year, the Hernandez family still runs this all-Angus steakhouse featuring hand-cut steaks and made-from-scratch everything else. Most entrées are in the $12 to $16 range. For the price conscious, choose the pulled pork sandwich ($9.95) or 8 ounce chopped sirloin ($10.99). Both are served with a salad (and legendary homemade dressings), a potato, a roll and a touch of Texas sass.

Visit The Corny Side of San Antonio

By Things To Do
There’s nothing wrong with being a little corny. And when you visit San Antonio, one spot you don’t want to miss is the Trader’s Village Flea Market and San Antonio Extravaganza (OK. I added the San Antonio Extravaganza). But it really does have everything San Antonio in one spot. This hangout might be corny, but it’s fun for the whole family.

There are over 1,000 vendors in this sprawling flea market, so make sure to bring your walking shoes. You’ll find everything from jewelry and tools to home furniture and rims. Plus, there are hidden gems you can’t find anywhere else in the world, because they’re exclusive to the San Antonio culture. This could be a religious trinket or a piece of pottery based in San Antonio’s 300 year tradition of decorative art.

Trader’s Village is more than just a flea market. It’s more than just a great location to buy fresh fruits and veggies. This flea market just opened up the first and only corn maze in San Antonio!


The Corn Maze:

This is not your average pumpkin patch maze. This is a real corn maze. The maze is over 10 acres in size, consisting of your choice of three trails.

First up is the easy trail for children. On this trail your small children can stretch their adventuresome side by exploring a small section of the maze. You can tag along with them or wait till they return out the other side.

The next trail is medium difficulty. This will take you anywhere from 30 minutes to one hour, depending on your skill in navigating a maze, of course. Don’t get too lost!

The last trail is, you guessed it, the hard difficulty. This one takes even the most skilled treasure-hunters at least an hour and a half to complete. For others it will take two hours or more. You’d better bring some bread crumbs to leave behind you for this one.

The corn maze is a great place to spend a few hours testing your navigation skills with your family. Which family can get out the fastest?

While Traders Village is open year round, the Corn Maze is only open October & November. Make sure to put this at the top of your list when visiting San Antonio!

 

The Market

Unlike other flea markets Traders Village not only has over 1,000 vendors, but also a wide assortment of differing vendors. This location likely has the most diverse grouping of vendors you will find at a flea market, and the prices are absolutely unbeatable.

If you’re a frequent visitor of flea markets then you know that one annoying factor are dirt floors. As you’re exploring the rugs, you find dirt floating in from the hundreds of stomping boots. Fortunately, Traders Village has all concrete sidewalk and no dirt. You can enjoy your turkey leg without worrying about getting a mouthful of dirt.

While buying your goodies, you can stop and enjoy the musicians placed throughout the venue. Traders Village is a great location to find all the uniqueness of San Antonio in one location. You may find a lone guitarist to serenade you or a full mariachi band to pluck at your fun chord.

The Entertainment

Besides musicians scattered about this huge flea market and corn maze, there are regular events and concerts to enjoy.

In October visit the market and enjoy Dia de los Muertas, the Day of the Dead. Or try Halloween Boo Bash (usually 2 or three days prior to Halloween). You’re children will love an extra chance to show off their horrifying costumes.

Check the calendar of events for all the exciting and unique treats. Here is a short list of regular events to find:

  • Amateur boxing
  • Live Wrestling
  • Crab Fest
  • Car Show
  • Roller Derby
  • And so so much more!

There’s more to the entertainment here than dudes in masks! This flea market doubles as a carnival. There are a dozen fun rides for both children and adults. Prepare your kids for exciting rides by taking them on the “bouncer,” which is a very small version of a drop tower that bounces the kiddies with joy, or plop them in the arcade while you enjoy your fruit cup.

Here are a few of the rides available:

  • Fleafall A 128 foot drop from a tower! This one is for adults only.
  • Pharaoh’s Fury sweeps like a pendulum, racing back and forth in an arc that soars five stories.
  • Fender Bender Bumper cars.
  • Rumpus Room A multi room, multi-story playground for kids.
  • StarDancer  travel up the 80′ tower and then the carousel begins to rotate.

And much more!

There’s so much to enjoy, eat, and revel in at the Traders Village. Most importantly, take the chance to spend quality time with your family and see San Antonio the way San Antonians see it.