A 2020 BGES American Heritage Field University Program: The Texas Two Step

Presented by Neil Mangum

Step 1: Feb. 7–11, 2020, from Houston
Step 2: Feb. 13–17, 2020, from San Antonio

Mission Concepcion
The Battle Concepción occurred on the grounds of Mission Concepción.

Big and Brash: It’s Texas, and it’s America! Welcome to the Lone Star State. Experience American culture at a new level with this wid-ranging and keenly interesting visit to a state where they do things BIG!

This program has two parts. You can register for either one or both–they both are worth your time and money.


Friday, February 7, 2020

7:00 PM. Arrive at the Red Lion Hotel, Houston International Airport, your base for the next five nights. Meet your fellow travelers from England and across the U.S., and receive your reading materials, name tags, and an overview of Step One from your historian Neil Mangum .

Saturday, February 8, 2020

8 AM. After your included breakfast, head to the Galveston Island site of the destructive hurricane of 1900, in which more than 3,500 buildings were destroyed and up to 12,000 people perished. A hurricane of a different sort took place in 1863, when Confederates captured Galveston from the Union forces. After visits to several cemeteries, the day concludes with a visit to the Lone Star Flight Museum, where more than 20 historically significant aircraft have been restored–fly in a T-6, B-17, or B-25 for an additional fee of $350 to $500.

Evening. Join the optional “pay as you go” BBQ crawl, seeking the best BBQ in Texas–recommendations will have come from our new partners, The Kansas City BBQ Society. Lunch and dinner on your own.

Sunday, February 9, 2020

After your included breakfast, depart for a day at the Johnson Space Center. Here is the heart of the American Space Program. Walk where the great moments in space travel were managed from the newly renovated Mission Control and relive Apollos 11, 13, and the Space Shuttle program including, Columbia and Challenger, as well as Mercury, Gemini, and all the subsequent programs. Your lunch is included at Johnson Space Center. The day finishes with a tour of the 1940 Air Terminal Museum. Lunch and dinner on your own

Monday, February 10, 2020

Following breakfast, today see where Texas won her independence at San Jacinto and literally walk in the footsteps of the victorious Texicans as they attack Santa Anna’s encampment and observe one of the last existing Dreadnought Battleships in existence: the U.S.S. Texas. We will get two afternoon treats, first immersing in the history of the American Buffalo soldier at their National Museum. Legendary fighters in the Old West, the story is interesting and unique in the American military experience. We then will take in the Museum of Southern History. Lunch and dinner on your own.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Your Houston experience is but another day, and we will depart after breakfast for Washington on the Brazos. This rough-hewn site is the home of Texas Independence, for it was here that the Texas Declaration of Independence from Mexico was signed in 1836; it went on to serve as the first capital of the new republic. We then will immerse you in 19th-century Texas life at the Fort Bend Museum complex. Our day ends with a trip to San Felipe de Austin State Historic Site, where Texas founder, Stephen Austin, established one of the first communities in the new republic. Tonight join the optional “pay as you go” BBQ crawl, seeking the best BBQ in Texas. Lunch and dinner on your own.



Wednesday, February 12, 2020

BAGS OUT AT 8 AM. After breakfast, we will transition to San Antonio and the historic Menger Hotel, where you will spend your last five nights in Texas. While en route, we will visit the Coleto Battlefield, where two weeks after the fall of the Alamo, rebellious Texicans under James Fannin withdrawing from Goliad were surrounded and surrendered to Mexican forces. A week later, expecting leniency, Fannin’s men were marched out of the mission, where they were held captive and, a mile away, were massacred. “Remember Goliad” rang loudly in the ears along with “Remember the Alamo” when Texans surrounded Santa Anna at San Jacinto. While en route you will have an included lunch at the famous McMillan’s BBQ, rated as one of the 50 best BBQ joints in the world! Once we check into the Menger Hotel, we will enjoy a reception of light refreshments. If needed, we will have a brief chat to greet newcomers and provide the second portion of the reading books. Lunch is included, dinner on your own.

Sitting next door to the Alamo and the world-famous Riverwalk, we will not constrain your experience in the center of one of America’s greatest cities.


Thursday, February 13, 2020

Your San Antonio adventure starts with the Texas War of Independence and visits to Missions Concepcion and San José, detailing the 1835 Battle of Concepcion. We then make our way to the historic military plaza to discover the battle of Bexar. Following lunch on your own on the world-famous Riverwalk, we will collect again to visit the Alamo, which sits right next door to your historic hotel. Your day will include admission to the immersive living history museum, The Battle for Texas: The Experience. Afterward, perhaps you will have a beer in honor of Teddy Roosevelt in the Rough Rider Bar at the Menger and discuss the visits of Robert E. Lee or Bill Clinton’s passion for mango ice cream that is also available. All meals are on your own.

Friday, February 14, 2020

We pop off to Fort Sam Houston, where many of the luminaries of U.S. Army history were stationed and where the famous Native American, Geronimo, was temporarily imprisoned. After your visits to the Buckhorn Museum and a visit to the famous Texas Ranger Museum, you will have the balance of the day and evening to explore historic San Antonio and the Riverwalk. It has not escaped our notice that it is Valentine’s Day, so do not forget your loved one. … All meals are on your own.

Saturday, February 15, 2020

When you talk about Texas independence, you think of Gonzales. Here, rebellious Texicans defied Mexican authority and challenged the Mexican soldiers to “Come and Take It,” referring to a small cannon they were using. That defiant call still rings true to Texans’ spirit today. We will see the cannon and visit the museum before taking in some real Texas country, first visiting the “Official BBQ Capital of Texas” in Lockhart, where you will get to experience one of the top rated BBQ places in the state. We then travel into Austin, the state capital, to visit the Texas History Museum and the state cemetery, where Stephen Austin and Albert Sydney Johnston, among many luminaries, are buried. Lunch included and dinner on your own.

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Your final day starts in Fredericksburg, Texas, where you can visit the National Museum of the Pacific War and the Admiral Chester Nimitz Gallery. Finish the morning eating at a German restaurant of your choice. We will pass through the legendary Luckenbach, Texas, to have a Lone Star beer and maybe catch some country music. We then head to the LBJ Ranch before returning to San Antonio around 6 PM, where we will say our goodbyes. Tonight, join the optional “pay as you go” BBQ crawl seeking the best BBQ in Texas. All meals are on your own.

Monday, February 17, 2020

After breakfast we will dead-head the two vans back to Houston and the airport for anyone who may be flying or driving home from there.

About the Faculty

Neil Mangum

Neil Mangum is one of the nation’s foremost historians and is an expert on George Custer. A retired National Park Service official, Neil served as Superintendent at the Little Big Horn National Battlefield as it transitioned from Custer National Battlefield. The popular Mangum enjoys the clientele and small, folksy nature of the group that is usually well prepared. He is author of The Battle of the Rosebud: Prelude to the Little Big Horn. He has a following, and most people on this trip will have traveled with him before, which makes this event even nicer.


Your registration fee includes single occupancy lodging, a prepared reading book, five breakfasts in Houston, ground transportation, your tour leader and tour manager, a couple of as-indicated lunches, onboard refreshments, and all listed museum admissions. Optional tours such as flight experiences are at your own expense


The servicing airports are San Antonio (SAT) and Houston Intercontinental (IAH) or Houston Hobby (HOU) but transfers are not included.

Recommended Reading

You will be provided with a reading book and maps upon arrival. The following books are suggested to enhance your readiness for the program. Amazon.com has a program to support non-profits IF YOU SIGN UP to support Blue and Gray Education Society (EIN 54-1720582) at AmazonSmile. When you sign up there rather than the normal Amazon site, one-half of one percent of your purchase price will be provided to BGES as a donation from Amazon. This will apply not only on this purchase but others you may make at other times.

Register for this program using a secure PayPal link


Registration Type

To register by mail or fax, download this printable registration form: Texas Two Step

Questions? Need more information? Please contact us.