There are too many places we want to visit and not enough vacation days in the year, so we’re taking advantage of our three day weekends. Makes for a tired Tuesday but all well worth it.
Gorgeous collection of mostly European vintage motorcycles. I didn’t know how to read all the fancy facts, but I could definitely appreciate the color schemes, old brandmarks, and well-designed details.
Serendipitously enough, our hotel was attached to the museum. Hotel Ignacio was modern, clean, had L’Occitane toiletries and Rishi tea. So I was a content little traveler.
We had dinner at Lucas Park Grille and shared some delicious small plates: smoked trout, scallops in a butternut squash sauce, and a salad with beets, goat cheese, and pistachios. Also sipped on the local brew: Schafly pale ale and summer lager. Had frozen yogurt at Flying Cow, which was walking distance from the hotel.
This place makes you feel like you’re in a dream—complete with both wonderful and terrifying feelings. Staircases, giant praying mantis, castle turrets, old planes and buses… almost makes me feel like Stefon off of SNL while describing it. (“This place has everything: pugs, geezers, doo-wop groups, a wise old turtle that looks like Quincy Jones.”) We got there at sundown and got to see the city from a Ferris wheel on the roof. Very dream-like, indeed.
When we had reached sensory overload, we went to the Architecture Museum on the third floor for more subtle entertainment in the form of old design elements. Stone carvings, handles, door knockers, and other relics were salvaged from buildings being demolished in St. Louis and are archived on this floor. After looking up at buildings and squinting to try and see designs for so long, it was neat to see pieces like this at eye level.
It was also a good feeling to know people care enough about old, solid, beautiful design that they sought these pieces out before buildings were torn down. Not all is lost.
Next morning we had breakfast at MoKaBe’s Coffee and lucked out with a breakfast buffet, so we got to try everything and it was all delicious. After that, we headed over to Missouri Botanical Garden, the oldest botanical garden in the US.
This place stretches on and on. Loved getting close to species of trees and plants I had never seen before (Redwood, even!). Next, went to Forest Park to see the Jewel Box—Art Deco greenhouse built in 1936. Then, headed over to the (free!) zoo for, once again, seeing some animals I had never seen before.
We needed some food so we headed to The Hill, which is known for its Italian food, to try Charlie Giotto’s. Apparently toasted ravioli was invented here and I had to try it.
We headed back over to the Missouri Botanical Gardens after dinner to see everything lit up, since it was Lantern Festival time. Beautiful but crowded. Maybe don’t go on opening weekend, if you have a choice.
Went back to our hotel for the second night, The Cheshire, for gin and tonics by the pool. Not too shabby of a way to end the evening. The Cheshire was perfectly my cup of tea: each room is named after a British author (our room was Charles Dickens), they carried Aveda toiletries, and the interior design was impeccable.
Our last stop in St. Louis was the iconic Jefferson Expanse Memorial (more commonly referred to as the Arch). I had no idea there was a (free!) museum under the arch and it had all sorts of great tidbits about Lewis and Clark’s voyage and general pioneering facts.
After all that, we hit the old dusty trail, ourselves. On the way home, we stopped at the Corvette and Volkswagen Museum in Effingham, Illinois. Had a couple of Beetles from Herbie and the Corvette from Death Race. And dozens of stunning Corvettes—I rather fancied the ones from the 1960’s. We ate dinner at a place that I wish I could uproot and bring to Dayton, Ohio (so someone please follow this model!). It was also in Effingham and it was called Firefly Grill. A big, open restaurant built next to a pond, complete with its own garden that they cook with. I had a spinach salad with vanilla almonds, goat cheese croquettes, dressed with a strawberry vinaigrette along with some Dungeness crab cakes. He had a steak burger on a pretzel bun with bacon, Boursin cheese, and grilled onions. So much better than settling for a drive-through and then regretting it for the next five hours home.
In short, St. Louis more than met my expectations and was perfect for a three-day-getaway. The question is where are you going for your next long weekend?
*I referenced the article Guide to St. Louis: Our Two-Day Itinerary on chicagomag.com, which was a very helpful resource.