Saturday, May 26, 2012

St Louis....a Whirlwind Tour

When I saw a Red Hat trip to St Louis being offered I knew I needed to find someone to travel with. One of the gals in our group wanted to go too - woo hoo!!!  I have a traveling partner.  I've been rather busy so I didn't have any time to research the arch or any of the other sights that were scheduled for our visit. Nonetheless, I was ready to pick C up at 4:30AM on Sunday. OK, I was running a little late, it's kinda hard to get going at 3:30AM when the alarm goes off, you know (wink). I drive past her house, without stopping,'s still dark at that time of the morning. Even though I am running late we have plenty of time for a potty break and to get to the park n' ride where the bus is going to pick us up. Eight different Red Hat groups from southern WI were represented. Fortunately the bus was not full so my partner and I each had a seat to ourselves. I pulled out my Nook Color to read for a bit and found that the bus had free WIFI on it, that's a cool plus as far as I am concerned.

Eight groups of Red Hatters from southern & central WI were represented:
*Red Hat Hatters
*Hats R Us
*Red Hat Rascals
*Royal Purple Belles
*Better Red Than Dead
*Hot Hot Divas
*Sweet Cherry-wine
*Curvacious Crimson & Purple Posse

I was kinda worried about wearing purple and red and a red hat all of the time, but it was really fun! .....and quite neat to see a big group of like minded women. I hope to go on more of these trips.

Our first stop when we arrive in St Louis is the Gateway Arch. At 630' it's the tallest man-made monument in the US.

relief depicting the building of the arch
 The Museum of Westward Expansion (at the base of the Arch) had many interesting, animated displays of the early settlers telling their stories. I found it to be very intriguing. We had time for a quick look around and then it was up to the top.....the teeny elevator was not my favorite but I am not claustrophobic so I survived.
Looking out of the windows one can see far...
While we were there it rained but when it was time for us to leave it was over, nice b/c we had to walk to the bus.
We took a tram ride through the Missouri Botanical Garden. The Lantern Festival opens this weekend so many of the lantern displays were set up. The dragon below is made up entirely of porcelain plates, cups, etc.  I would have liked more time to walk through the gardens and take photos but I had to search out the gift shop b/c my camera memory card was full and the extra one I brought along I accidentally 'protected' so I could not use it. That means I have a blank memory card that can not be written over.  hmmmm?????

the sea of red & purple

a Gargoyle perched on building in the Garden District

We also visited the Catholic Basilica. This church has one of the largest mosaic displays in the world and it took over 80 years to complete it. I was nearly moved to tears inside of it. It is an awesome sight!!!

One day Tod was our step on tour guide, he was fabulous. We drove through the city and he explained about the various districts. In City Garden the children are welcome to play in the fountains among the sculptures, all without any charge.  The naked people fountain (as the locals call it) aka the Meeting of the Waters fountain shocked people when it was unveiled in 1940. For decades the statues were 'clothed'. There are fountains and statutes all over, what a beautiful place.

 Another stop was the old courthouse. I love the reflection of it in the photo above.
dome inside the old courthouse
 We also visited the Anheuser Busch brewery briefly and sampled beer. I chose the lime, it wasn't bad.
our Party Lady led the way in the bus with a big smile on her face
since we were dressed similarly to the party lady we always knew whom to look for

 On the way home we stopped in Springfield Mo. to visit the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum and library. There's so much history to see in that winding museum. Photos were not allowed in most places and if you touched something an alarm went off. A group of young people were touring when we were there and the alarm rang several times, probably accidental. The children's room was set up with things the kids could play with and put on for dress up. (A nice break from 'boring' for the kiddos.) Photos were allowed in that room. Since photos were not allowed most places I figured they'd try to sell you a book about the museum....and they did....and I bought one.

playing with some of the old time toys

 We attended both of the presentations in the theaters there...a MUST see!!! Lincoln's Eyes, his story told by an artist who was commissioned to paint him, was full of many special effects. The sights and sounds immersed you into his life. You could feel the gun blasts in your seat. 

On the way home we stopped at a Culver's for ice cream and a little break. Culver's seemed to be a favorite for someone. Some of us wanted soft serve so we hoofed it across the parking lot to McDonald's, only to find out their machine wasn't working. Another reason for going there was that the bathroom would be less crowded. 

Across the road was a big quarry, Mackay Quarry, and, of course, I had to walk over and take some photos.


waving good-bye at the end of the trip- "Bless Our Hearts"

 One of the little tid-bits of information Tod, the step on guide, told us was how southerners might say something not quite so nice about a person and they add 'bless her heart' on at the end. 

We stayed at the Drury Inn in St Louis. I'd recommend it! Our room contained a small fridge - like cooler and microwave. In the evening free food (hot dogs, salad, nachos, and another hot item) is provided, along with 3 drinks (mixed, wine, beer). That was about 1-1/2 too many drinks for me. The morning free breakfast was the best I have seen: eggs, waffles, sausage, biscuits & gravy, etc. I didn't have any eggs but I did not hear any complaints so I am assuming all was good. Across the street you could take the moving sidewalk to the casino .... and we did the first night. No, I am not a gambler....but the things I do for my friends....... The 2 friends I was with lost $ but I more than doubled my $5...and I promptly collected my money and quit. I'm cheap and do that every time (if there is one.)

I got home safe & sound about 9PM and am still not unpacked. Good thing hubby doesn't complain about it....wouldn't do him any good anyway. He is out golfing now. My plans for this weekend are to: unpack, fold laundry, plant some flowers, relax at home, and help get my mom's new apartment all ready for her to move into on Wednesday.  She REALLY misses her kitty and having her own bathroom.


  1. You took some fantastic photos! I have never been to the top of the Arch and the view is awesome and I've wanted to see those Botanical Gardens forever. Sounds like it was a fantastic trip.

  2. What a great trip! That is one of the places I have wanted to see for years, especially the gardens. I'll have to look up all the places you mentioned, because they all sound wonderful to see.

  3. So glad you had a great trip. The elevator to the top of the arch is small but worth the view.

  4. So glad you had a great trip. The elevator to the top of the arch is small but worth the view.