My roommate joined Groupon (that group coupon discount thing) in my absence and she bought a Vineyard tour/overnight stay in Missouri Wine Country - specifically in the Ste Genevieve/Farmington area. She invited me to go along with and we had a blast. The trip included wine tasting and a tour at the Crown Valley Winery, a tasting at their Champagne House, an overnight stay at one of three bed-n'-breakfasts and a $25 gift card to spend. It was an amazing deal and a fun time.
We headed out early Monday morning and arrived mid-morning at the winery. Undaunted by the hour, we had our tastings and the tour straightaway. We both found things we liked (I tend to like slightly sweeter white wines and she's trying to expand her palate and try reds).
After a late lunch at a local resturant (Spokes), we headed to the Champagne House and sampled sparkling wines. We picked up a dinner for later and headed to our bed and breakfast - the Vineyard House. A petite house nestled in the middle of the vineyards. We went for a brief stroll among the vines as thunder and lightening menaced on the horizon.
It was a quiet and peaceful night in and we had the whole house to ourselves.
The next morning we had a delicious breakfast at the restaurant at the Tiger Sanctuary, which was not open for tours on Tuesdays, sadly. Next, we headed into Ste Genevieve proper - i.e. the actual town and historic area. During my middle school years, as part of my school's curriculum, I had had the chance to spend some time in Ste. Geneieve - first as a 7th grader during Environmental Issues class, helping clean up from the Flood of 1993 and later as an 8th grader for my final project for the Live-In Experience where I studied Ste. Genevieve and their floods. I showed her the flood line, and the house that we actually stayed in during our Live-In experience.
I was eager to show my roommmate the places I knew and remembered and we ended up having lunch at my favorite restaurant.
Unfortunately, my favorite item (the pizza burger) was off the menu and had been for several years. Luckily, they had the ingredients in house and someone was around from when it was on the menu and they made me one. JUST as delicious as I remembered. I was SO happy.
We took a few more photos and headed out of town towards our planned detour, Elephant Rocks State Park, but not before grabbing a snack on the way:
Elephant Rocks were amazing, though neither of us were feeling adventurous:
On our way to the Elephant Rocks, we saw a sign for Johnson's Shut-In's State Park and decided to make a further detour. It was worth it. A shut-in refers to the way the river carves the rocks and how it is shut-in to this smaller area. What we didn't know is that it was a really big swimming hole, and a popular one at that. For someone who is part fish (me), and it being a hot day, it was a little like being tortured. I so wanted to hand off my camera and my phone and jump on in.
After that, we were both tired (from the amazing heat and humidity typical of a Missouri summer) and had successfully missed rush hour traffic back home, so we hit the road again - having had a great mini-vacation!
As usual, you can see more photos here.