Tuesday, June 7, 2016

St. Louis, MO 2016

Last week we visited St. Louis, Missouri. Here are things we did and what we saw.

We left home at 6am, crossed into the Central Time Zone and arrived in St. Louis at 4:30pm. Our hotel was the Hampton Inn at Gateway Arch ($95.20/night + $15/parking per night). After checking in, we walked down to the ticket office at the Old Courthouse. We talked to a really nice ranger (Nancy Hobbe) who answered our many questions, offered to give us her recipe for Gooey cake, showed us how to get to a Pasta House, walked us to Visitor Information, and then talked about the arch and the tours. After finding out that she was giving a tour in the morning, we scheduled to be there for her tour. She was an awesome introduction to St. Louis! We walked to the Pasta House but it was closed for the day so we ended up eating at Pi’s Pizzeria and had a great thin crust pizza – The Hill and 2 diet pepsi ($24 for 2 people). I would definitely eat there again! After dinner we walked down to the waterfront and then back to the Arch. They are doing construction under the arch so the museum is closed until the construction is finished. After that we returned to our hotel for the night.

Breakfast was served 40 minutes late but we left the hotel at 7am so we could get in line for Arch tickets by 7:30. At 8:15, we joined the tour that Ranger Nancy Hoppe led and she was absolutely amazing! The hour long tour lasted about 90 minutes and she took us up into different courtrooms as well as explained the trials that went on. There was an active 10-year-old with us and she was so patient with him by getting him engaged with helping out to tell the stories. I learned so much from her talk and didn’t realize how fascinating the Old Courthouse was! You could tell that she loved her job and shared her knowledge in a way that you wanted to hear more! She said she has been working there for 30+ years and it was great to hear from her about the changes that have happened over the years. When we left she was so sweet to give us copies of the Gazette and a book! Just being around her made us glad that we came to St. Louis!

After the tour, we had time to get a snack at Hardees before heading to the Arch and going on our tour at 11am. I’m glad we got there early because we had to go through a strict security check before going to the top. The little tram that we rode held 5 people and it was a very small area. It took 4 minutes to go up and we were allowed an unlimited time to walk around looking out all of the windows before boarding another tram back down to the ground. We went up on one leg and down the other. After walking around, we headed back to Hardees for lunch around 1pm.

After lunch we headed to the river cruise and boarded the boat “Tom Sawyer” to take a cruise down the Mississippi River. We had nice views of the Gateway Arch from the boat. After the boat ride we walked around town and had dinner at Sugarfire BBQ which was pretty good.

It was raining in the morning so we walked to the Federal Reserve Bank and went to the Inside the Economy Museum (which was free). We enjoyed the interactive exhibits. Then we walked up to Union Station which is now a hotel so I could take pictures of the beautiful former train station. After that we went to the City Museum which was very interesting. After that, we got in the car and went to Ted Drewes Frozen Custard on Route 66 where I had one called Cardinal Sin (hot fudge and tart cherries). It tasted divine!! Then we went on an Anheuser-Busch brewery tour. Since it was still early, we went to Imo’s on The Hill (Italian section) to try toasted ravioli. Next we went to the World’s Fair Pavilion for more picture taking. We finally called it quits and went back to our hotel!

I’m glad we stayed downtown in St. Louis so we could walk around. I was surprised how little traffic was downtown all the time we were there. I was also surprised to hear on the news that there were shootings downtown.

Things I Learned

1.     Louis Brandeis passed the bar at the Old Courthouse.
2.     The courthouse paintings were painted by Carl Wimar depicting four events in St. Louis history by Carl Wimar.  Ettore Miragoli painted over them in 1880.
3.     Taylor Blow bought the Scott family for $1 each and then paid $1000 each for their freedom papers.
4.     The Gateway Arch is really the Jefferson Expansion Memorial Monument.
5.     The arch is 630 feet tall and 630 feet wide.
6.     Ted Crewes frozen custard is worth getting!
7.     Sugarfire BBQ was terrific! 

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