St. 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.
Food 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.
My 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!
Recreation: 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.
Shopportunities: 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 sampling 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!