Two Hundred and Fifty years ago, Pierre Laclede traveled up the Mississippi River from New Orleans searching for a high spot on the riverbank to establish a trading post. He found a nice area just south of where the Missouri joins the Mississippi and thus established Saint Louis (named after Louis XIV, then king of France). In honor of this historic event in 1764, dozens of birthday cakes can be found throughout key locations in the city. So happy birthday St. Louis! You look marvelous!
St. Louis was sold to the U.S. as part of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, and in 1804 Lewis and Clark started their westward expedition from this gateway to the West.
We arrived at a wonderful Westin in St. Louis late Friday afternoon. The hotel is located directly across the street from the Home of the Cardinals, Busch Stadium. The Cardinals completed this 44,000 seat downtown ballpark in 2006. The area also includes the Ballpark Village which is a mixed use retail, entertainment, office, and residential district. The village provides an exciting game day experience outside the stadium walls, including a 40′ diagonal high definition LED screen, a roof top seating deck with ticketed seats looking into Busch Stadium, and a Cardinals Hall of Fame Museum. Very impressive! The stadium is also a very popular wedding venue. Views from our room:
After settling into our spacious room, we explored the immediate area. We were first drawn to the Gateway Arch, the tallest man-made monument in the U.S. and the world’s tallest arch. It was built as a monument to the westward expansion of the U.S. Although I had experienced this site when I was younger, Bob was very excited to ride to the top. We piled into a box which held up to 5 people (it resembled more of a clothes dryer), and began our ascent 630′ up the arch. The views were spectacular!
Saturday we hopped on a Trolley Tour of the city. The Tour started at the Four Seasons Hotel and Lumiere Place Casino along side the Mississippi River. We found it odd that the casino was not actually on the river (per existing laws) until the tour guide explained that the casino floor was actually built on a barge that sits on 1/8th of an inch of water……no comment.
The Trolley took us through beautiful Forrest Park and past many interesting sites downtown, however the highlight of the day was the Anheuser Busch Brewery Tour. The tour took us through the entire brewing process where we saw the brew kettles and Beechwood Aging Cellars, and ended with a taste of some of their beers. We got to see the historic stables where the famous Budweiser Clydesdales live. As you would expect, these horses and their dalmatian buddies live in very pristine quarters.
We hope everyone had a wonderful Mother’s Day. I certainly did. We had lunch on “The Hill”, a mostly Italian-American neighborhood located on the highest point of the city. Many Italians immigrated here in the late 19th century. Yogi Berra and Joe Garagiola, Sr. grew up on the Hill. The neighborhood is home to a large number of local Italian restaurants. We had a wonderful late lunch at Guido’s Pizzeria & Tapas.
After lunch we took a drive around the city visiting Washington University and Forrest Park, both beautiful areas.
Tonight we are scheduled to attend the Cardinals vs. Cubs game (a big Thank You to Adam and William for securing excellent tickets to the game); hoping it’s not rained out! Look for us on ESPN tonight, row 9, section 151 behind the plate.
Tomorrow we have hair salon appointments, which will be our final day in St. Louis before heading to Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, the place Bob and I met. Thinking we will try to re-create our first date…