STL Adventure 3 – “Outstate”

keeven drivewayMy St. Louis Adventure recently included a bonus trip only briefly mentioned in the Guidebook to St. Louis and technically not a required exploration destination for A.U.’s Adventures.  Although within the state of Missouri, the trip falls under the book’s definition of “Outstate”. My friend Dora Smith invited the girls up for the weekend to her parent’s farm near Washington, Missouri for some R&R at her and her husband Dave’s new log cabin. They started building the log cabin during the spring of 2009 using logs that stood on a nearby farm for over 100 years. You can check out the cabin progress via Dora’s blog.

angie-saraSo, after work on Friday, four gal pals packed up and headed to the Smith Cabin.  Via historic Route 66, we stopped for a mini-happy hour at the Big Chief Roadhouse in Wildwood. The seasoned house Pow Wow chips went well with my very cold Zwickle draft.  The BBQ smoked jumbo au-dorawings were perfect!  After dinner and many, many laughs, we continued our journey to the Keeven farm in New Haven, Missouri. Upon our arrival to the cabin, Dora’s dad had already built a fire in the fireplace located in the kitchen.  It was so nice to come into a toasty warm cabin!

wine-robblerThe next day after breakfast, we hiked for about an hour around the perimeter of the Keeven farm.  After the hike, we packed up our snacks and headed to Robbler Vineyard and Winery in New Haven. Owned by a couple from Glendale, Missouri, the winery was celebrating their 22nd anniversary the day we were there so the reeseatmosphere was very festive. We were able to taste a few wines as well as some cheese that a local farmer only recently started selling. We made friends with “Reese”, the very cute puppy that came with another group of people to hang out for the day. The rest of the afternoon was spent sitting in the sun at a picnic table, sipping the HIllside Blanc and the Dry Rose, laughing and enjoying the day.

cabinAfter the winery and a short walk along the river in New Haven, it was back to the cabin for Sara’s chicken and some more wine for dinner. Dora’s parents Ron and Lois came up afterwards to play cards.  An evening of rummy ensued where I learned not to mess with Mrs. Keeven. She plays a good game!  chairsThe night went by quickly and before we knew it, we were all fast asleep in a quiet, cozy cabin.  It was a very great weekend and I look forward to coming back again and checking out New Haven.  The little city seems to be booming a bit and it will be interesting to see how it grows and matures over the next couple of years.

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STL Adventure 2 – St. Charles County

old-st-charles-moSt. Charles County is located west of St. Louis and composed of Cottleville, Dardenne Prairie, Lake St. Louis, St. Charles, St. Peters, and Weldon Spring.  The first time I lived in St. Louis (1997-2000), I almost bought a house in Weldon Spring; after attending a conference in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, I realized I wanted to go further west so I turned in my letter of resignation at St. Louis University Medical Center the next business day and moved to Boulder, Colorado a month later (without a job).  At that time, my brother Jonas lived in St. Charles with his wife and four boys so I decided to pay homage to his old stomping grounds and spent a day in historic St. Charles.

lewis-clark-s-an-americanFood and Drink:  While taking a stroll down Main Street in old St. Charles, I had lunch at Lewis and Clarks Restaurant because I was starving and it was too cold to sit outside at some of the other cuter wine/lunch places.  This three-story establishment offers a wide variety of food with fast and friendly service.  I had a burger to which they accommodated my no-bun-more-lettuce-and-pickles-please request.  Nothing magical about the burger but it was really good.

stonesoupcottageMy hope was to be able to tell you all about my experience at Stone Soup Cottage in Cottleville, Feast Magazine’s Best Restaurant of 2012 but reservations are so hard to get! I actually gave the owners of the company I work for a gift certificate to this place as a Christmas gift and could only secure a reservation for them on May 17th. Stone Soup Cottage also offers cooking classes on Mondays but they are now on hiatus for the Spring and Summer seasons so I have to wait until the Fall to check it out but I most certainly will!

stcharlesRecreation: I spent about half an afternoon walking up and down Main Street in historic St. Charles as well as Frontier Park located along the Missouri River.  The ten-block 200-year-old Main street is charming and lined with over 100 small shops offering antiques and nick nacks from the Victorian and Americana time periods. The tourism center offers visitors a handy map. If you are a little more high-tech, the center offers pre-loaded iPods for an 18-stop, 90-minute self-guided audio walking tour of Main Street. Frontier Park was quiet the day I was there but there are some upcoming festivals scheduled including the Missouri River Irish Fest (May 25 and 26). Admission is free and there will be Irish food, drink, music, etc. to enjoy.

diolivaShopportunities:  Obviously, Main Street in St. Charles offers quite a few shopportunities. I love to cook so the Olde Town Spice Shoppe was a favorite stop. The store is full of spices, herbs, seasonings unique marinades, sauces, teas, and other baking ingredients.  Dog owners, check out Canine Cookies n Cream Dog Bakery. The place is full of good-looking treats (and customers who bring their dogs) and a must-go-to shop to pick up a special treat for your dog. Another favorite was diOlivas where I could have spent hours looking and ringsampling various olive oils and flavored vinegar.  I purchased a delicious Blackberry Ginger and awesome Pomegranate balsamic vinegar that I have been using in my recipes. Finally, I love a little bling and I found a very artsy ring at one of the jewelry shops that completely escapes my mind right now.  I really like this ring and can’t believe I found it amongst the million pieces of jewelry on display in the store!  It serves as a great memento of my St. Louis Adventure!