Sunday, October 17, 2010

Anniversary and babymoon: St. Louis and Hermann, Mo.

This year, for a combination 4th wedding anniversary/babymoon, we went spent a day in our beloved Hermann, Missouri and then we ventured east to St. Louis.

Hermann provided us the opportunity to visit the places we truly loved last time we were there: The Secret Vine bed and breakfast, Montague's BBQ, Time for Pie pie and coffee shop, Back Home Again store (amazing pumpkin butter), and The Chocolate Box chocolatier.

Before we knew it, it was time to pack our bags and head east on 94 highway. (Note: If you're looking for a getaway to the Missouri wine country, pack Dramamine. The drive is really beautiful but so windy that I wondered many times if we were going to have to pull over for me to leave an offering of sorts.)

I left where we were staying in St. Louis to the husband, so when we arrived at Lafayette Square and were surrounded by row house after beautiful row house, I said to him, "I wish we could go inside one." Which is when he revealed that we were in fact. Oh be still my heart. Napoleon's Retreat bed and breakfast is hands down the best bed and breakfast I've ever stayed in. We had the garden suite that was off the back of the house overlooking a small garden and courtyard. The theme of the room was sage green—the walls, the bedding, the accent pieces. The best part was this modern, crisp white bathroom with a whirlpool tub. It was such a slice of heaven! And we got to stay there for two days!

The innkeepers, Michael and Jeff, made a delicious breakfast each morning that was served in the dining room. The first day was quiche, fruit salad, and this raspberry cinnamon crunch thing. I couldn't clean my plate I was so stuffed. Then today, we were served a cinnamon poached pear, blueberry pancakes, an orange slice, and bacon. Mmm. I think I came home a few pounds heavier—or at least I hope; gotta pack on pounds for my little boy.

Each night we ate at one of the restaurants in the square. It gave us a chance to walk around the neighborhood and see more of the painted ladies. The first night we ate at SqWires. They play live music every night, and it's a pretty crowded and bustling place housed in an old warehouse. I chose the fish tacos and Jonathan had the fish boil. Neither of us were impressed enough to truly recommend what we ate, and unfortunately, our waiter left a lot to be desired in the service. The next night we ate at Ricardo's Italian Cafe, which we preferred over SqWires. The place was smaller and quieter. I had the half portion of Cavatelli Broccoli, and it hit the spot. I actually ate way too much and ended up getting indigestion. Jonathan had the shrimp scampi, which wasn't soaked in butter but instead seemed to be baked with parmasean cheese.

We didn't have a lot of time to spend sight seeing, so we stuck to only a couple things we really wanted to see: the St. Louis Botanical Gardens and the St. Louis Cathedral Basilica. We spent more than 2.5 hours at the gardens and probably could have stayed longer if it weren't for the fact that we were both tired and I'm pregnant. I can't only take so much walking! The highlights of the gardens were feeding the coy fish who you could practically pet they were so eager to be fed and Climatron, a dome structure built in the 1960s and mimics rain-forest-like conditions. I had a good laugh at the name. It's so retro future. The flower, plants, and trees were unbelievable. The only thought I did have was that the unit keeping the dome at the right temperature to sustain the right environment is so loud that it has to cost big bucks to run that thing and it probably consumes an outrageous amount of energy. The gardens do get bonus eco points from me for composting their onsite restaurant remains and growing a vegetable garden. It does cost $8 per an adult to get inside the gardens, but considering the amount of time we spent inside, it was well worth the expense. Plus, it was a gorgeous day to be outside.

We only took a quick look around the basilica since we had missed museum hours, but even going on your own is a treat. I felt like I was in Europe without leaving the States. The mosaics are mind-blowing and opulent. Some of them were even done by Tiffany and Co. I left there thinking how religion used to use (and still does to some degree) its money to create believers, suppress people, and push its own political agenda. I definitely felt like I walked back in time.

It was nice to get away for a long weekend. I thought I would be said to think of this trip as my last for awhile until Chewy is older, but I was eager and even happier once we got home. But maybe that has something to do with the fact that I'll I thought about all weekend was work and it put a damper on my long-awaited vacation, but that's another conversation that's primarily going to stay in my head.

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