One of the sweetest humans I know married another keeper, and now has gone and gotten herself pregnant (actually BOTH couples mentioned in that blog have managed to get themselves knocked up which is kind of spooky, but awesome. Awesomespooky).
To celebrate KChu (who should now go by her married nickname, KHow) bringing a new awesome human into the world (and the end of girlie time as we have all known it thus far), we decided a trip out of town was in order.
I steamrolled everyone's twee suggestions about wine country and lake houses and demanded that we all go to St. Louis, because I have been dying to go to the City Museum for YEARS and I could not think of a better group of people to drag along for the party.
My sweet potluck group is the best. Every month (or so) we get together, make yummy food, and talk about our ever-evolving-ever-changing-ever-new-sometimes-scary lives. There tends to be lots of wine involved.
But we put the pots and pans away and went to the Lou for a quick girls weekend.
KHow and I took the Amtrak down to St. Louis from Chicago. What a dignified way to travel. I will truly believe that America is the greatest country when we get our collective shit together and build a high-speed railway. And then I will never get on a plane again.
The train dumped us and it was a quick walk to Lafayette Park and our amazing mansion-home for the weekend. KHow found this gorgeous house on vbro.com. This was my first time staying in a vbro-type situation and it.was.AWESOME. This house was stunning. Girls never get tired of playing pretend in a dream home, no matter how old they get.
The house was so great, we spent the first day just sitting and enjoying it. Doing work, eating snacks, occasionally going up and down staircases, just because.
Finally our diet of jelly beans and clementines was no longer sufficient and we hoped over to SqWires for dinner. We managed to get seats at the bar (which was great, because the place was packed) and ate a quick dinner. The food wasn't spectacular, but it was delicious and totally hit the spot.
The rest of our companions arrived late that night while we were dozing in the media room (as you do).
Park Avenue Coffee and their good coffee and indescribable gooey butter cake before heading out for adventures.
After a few wrong turns and an excellent photo-op by an enormous tire, we made it to a two mile wall of graffiti (if you are looking for the legal two mile graffiti wall in St. Louis - the best place to access it is at the intersection of S. Wharf St. and Chouteau Ave).
Then it was just a quick walk along the lovely industrial waterfront to the Gateway Arch.
Arch park is gorgeous. If being-up-high isn't your thing, then there is no need to go up inside the Arch. There is plenty to do and see on the ground. As with going up in any tall structure. It's entertaining for about six minutes. You take some pictures, comment on the view aaaand its time to come down. I thought it was worth the
$10, but I am sure there are those who would disagree.
All the best photo ops are on the ground anyway.
With a quick stop for a late lunch, we then (FINALLY) made it to the City Museum just at 5 PM (when the price drops from $12, to $10 - Score! And the place is open until midnight! Double score!). We had strategically planned to come later in the day in the hopes that perhaps there would be fewer children underfoot. Since we weren't there mid-day it was impossible to compare but there were still children evvverywhere. I get it, its a very kid friendly place (and on a kindofwarm early March Saturday, there aren't a ton of options for the kiddos) but, I would have been willing to pay $20 if we could have gotten some sort of adult swim type deal.
Even with the littles running around, we still had an amazing time. Not since my days spent traipsing about the original Children's Museum in Washington DC have I ever had this much fun within a museum's walls. There was very little learning, it was just more go! do! see! climb! crawl! slide! go more!
When you visit:
Play outside! You must trust that all the pieces will stay together and that you can climb out on that airplane wing and through that crazy tunnel. You can. And you absolutely should.
Make art! You'll be tired after the outside adventures. So paint. Get your portrait drawn. Make snowflakes. Create things.
Go down the slides!
There are two that cannot be missed. The monster slide - which is right near the ticket booth and is bright and colorful. And the 10-story-slide which is a little more tucked away. The entrance to it is on the first floor back by the caves. It is a surreal experience to slide down 10 stories (and one that will leave you dizzy and disoriented for a minute) but one you should have in your memory box.
Forget the Rules (or try to)! I've become a big fan of rules in recent years. But the thing about the City Museum is there are no rules. or maps. or instructions. You just go. Sometimes this can get terrifying (mostly when oblivious kids are blocking your path and you can't move) but it should be considered liberating to not worry so much about being right all the time.
After a few hours of go! do! see! all of us old farts were exhausted. We veto-ed a Washington St. dinner in favor of heading back to Lafayette Park (mostly because we wanted our walk home at the very end of the night to be as short as possible.
We made it to Square One Brewery for a yummy dinner (and even yummier drinks) before a quick trot home and a night of cupcakes, laughing and falling asleep midconversation.
We all slept late on Sunday and then stumbled back to SqWires for brunch (where there was a man playing piano! and a fireplace! the love is in the details, people) before heading back to Chicago.
I know there is more of St. Louis to see, but for the amount of time we had, it was nearly a perfect trip. We managed to get everywhere on foot! The sun shone down. We slept and ate well - there's really not much more you can ask for in a weekend getaway.