You win some, you lose some…
This weekend I finished She Shall Have Murder by Delano Ames (I did not correctly guess who the murderer was!), went to several estate sales where I picked up a few books, and had dinner out with some old friends at a “gastropub” in hipster Maplewood.
I also caught up on my House Beautiful reading. In her July column Charlotte Moss writes about taking a week and visiting some famous historic houses in Virginia with a friend (a great idea!) and how much we can learn from these beautiful house museums and gardens. Of course, I couldn’t agree more. I think it is a very important thing to do–especially with one’s children and grandchildren–and I would extend this to historic sites as well. She concludes by saying, “Go, see, do…three simple ideas I implore you to embrace. Explore your own town–what could be a better place to start? Then get out the map, make a mark, grab a friend, and fill’er up!”
I was inspired to get the OM motivated to do just that on Sunday. After a fair amount of hemming and hawing, he finally acquiesced and we set out for the old Fort Belle Fontaine County Park in north St. Louis County. This is the place where the first United States military installation west of the Mississippi River was established in 1805. Lewis and Clark’s Corps of Discovery expedition (1804-1806) spent the first night of their expedition on an island opposite Cold Water Creek and their last night two years later at the fort, which had been established in their absence. Other major expeditions left from this site between 1805 and 1819 to explore the newly acquired Louisiana Territory.
I had read about this little known place in an old article about WPA projects in St. Louis. The park includes massive stonework features that the Works Progress Administration added in the 1930s when the City of St. Louis owned the property. There are also great views of the Missouri River and you know how I love our river.
Finding it was not easy–our GPS took us to a non-existent entrance–but we persisted and finally made it, only to be greeted by an excruciatingly unpleasant and uninformative park employee manning the gate, who gave us no instructions, only the evil eye for causing her to have to stand up and check us in. We drove around looking, but finally realized there was no way to get to the river and the fort by car–only by a 3-mile foot trail which was too long for the OM–so we left.
Since we were up north, we figured we would head over to Alton, IL to find somewhere to eat lunch, but that town had not unrolled its sidewalks yet–maybe they don’t on Sunday–and the sports bars and pubs were all shuttered. We could have gone to the casino (!) but we opted to go home. It was a 60-mile round-trip “Sunday drive.” Well, vous en gagnez un peu, vous en perdez un peu.
This experience will not deter me from exploring, and hopefully the OM will not throw in the towel either. So go, see, do! and good luck!