St. Louis’ Best Excursions
Best Folk-Art Collection: Lauded by arts-and-crafts publications nationwide, Bluestem Missouri Crafts (13 S. 9th St., 573/442-0211, www.bluestemmissouricrafts.com) in downtown Columbia is a can’t-miss stop. The gallery-caliber work and artful displays make Bluestem a great place to browse, and the prices are so reasonable that visitors can afford to take something home.
Best Place to Feel Like a Student Again: The University of Missouri (www.missouri.edu) campus is pretty much the Platonic ideal of a university. Stroll along the broad lawns, taking in the lovely Peace Park and the affecting Memorial Union. Wear a Mizzou sweatshirt and you’ll fit right in.
Best Underground Attraction: While some caverns are little more than cheesy tourist traps, Bridal Cave (526 Bridal Cave Rd., Camdenton, 573/346-2676, www.bridalcave.com) near Lake of the Ozarks is a truly stunning sight. This series of subterranean rooms got its name from the delicate “veils” of stalactites — and from the Osage Indian marriage ceremonies that were once performed here.
Best Golf Excursion: There are plenty of nice golf courses in the St. Louis area, but Osage National Golf Resort (400 Osage Hills Rd., Lake Ozark, 573/365-1950, www.osagenational.com) is a true golf getaway. The course, which was designed by no less a golfer than Arnold Palmer, is both challenging and gorgeous. Thirsty players can repair to the bar inside the 20,000-square-foot clubhouse.
Most Picturesque Winery: When St. Louisans think about Missouri wine country, they usually conjure up images of Hermannhof Winery (330 E. 1st. St., Hermann, 800/393-0100, www.hermannhof.com). This idyllic German-style vineyard is the perfect place to relax, to picnic, and to (of course!) drink wine.
Best Wine Innovators: The winemakers at Sugar Creek Winery and Vineyards (125 Boone Country Ln., Defiance, 636/987-2400, www.sugarcreekwines.com, Mon.–Sat. 10 a.m.–5:30 p.m., Sun. noon–5:30 p.m.) do things a bit differently. Rather than bottling the same varietals that are available at other wineries, they take those varietals and create bold and bright blends. The results are nothing short of delicious.
Best Place to Commune with Nature: The Katy Trail (www.bikekatytrail.com) just might be Missouri’s most beautiful hike-and-bike path. Run or ride along the trail, and you’ll get a perfect view of the Missouri River below. Lush greenery and the occasional darting eagle complete the tableau.
© Brooke S. Foster from Moon St. Louis, 1st Edition