Jan Kingsbury, a retired teacher and Comal ISD counselor, has been operating Spass Walking Tours of New Braunfels for five years. She said she was inspired to start her business after taking a trip to San Francisco with her four sisters.
“We did a walking tour that included food and drink,” she said. “We had so much fun. The whole time I was walking around in this really interesting area of San Francisco, and I was thinking, ‘You could do this in New Braunfels.’”
After running her idea by a few friends, she began offering her first tour called the Taste of New Braunfels where guests could try samples of food at a few places downtown.
“Doing the tours especially is like being a teacher,” Kingsbury said. “It’s everything good about being a teacher. You read something good that you think is interesting or funny, and people pay you to tell them about it. And there’s no tests, no grading.”
Today, Kingsbury has expanded her offerings to include a downtown art murals tour, a downtown scavenger hunt, a Landa Park tour and hike, a tour of historic New Braunfels, the Prost! saloon tour and—the most popular—a historic cemetery tour.
“At the Comal Cemetery, you can tell the whole history of New Braunfels just by talking about the people who are buried there,” Kingsbury said.
Kingsbury said she customizes each tour according to the group’s wants, and her mission is to keep New Braunfels’ history alive. She works with the New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce and Comal ISD to provide tours for teachers who take the knowledge back to their classrooms. She is also working on a partnership with the city Parks and Recreation Department to offer the Landa Park and historic cemetery tours.
“I’m on several committees focused on trying to maintain heritage and culture,” Kingsbury said. “I care so much that that doesn’t get lost in the population explosion. I understand why people want to come here, and I don’t fault them for that. That’s awesome, and this is a great place.”