Take in the fresh air and beautiful sites of this charming Midwest area. Picturesque and historic. Great for the entire family.
Thee Abbey Kitchen Restaurant & Bakery 211 S, College St./(573) 546-4249 You won’t believe this place. These guys mill their own wheat grain; they also make fresh, homemade ice cream. We had the roast beef sandwich served on a fluffy dinner roll. The freshly carved roast beef was juicy and delicious. We also had the strawberry salad served with leafy green lettuce, savory croutons, caramelized pecans and a smooth strawberry-vinaigrette dressing. The most amazing part: Always enormous, always delicious cinnamon rolls always on proud display. We’re still torn over the caramel pecan vs. the cream cheese frosted. We had both. We’re considering mail ordering them. Thee Abbey is part of the Arcadia Academy, a historic, red-bricked Catholic school turned convent turned bed & breakfast.
Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park 148 Taum Sauk Trail, Middle Brook, MO/(573) 546-2450 Take a stroll through clear waters fed from the Black River until you get to one of several stone chutes carved by the rushing waters. Visitors and locals alike flock to slide down the smooth water slides, which carry and deposit you into one of the several plunge pools. It’s a great experience with the family on a hot summer day. Free admission and suitable for all ages. Bring your inner tubes and water shoes.
Elephant Rocks State Park 7406 MO-21, Belleview, MO/ (573) 546-3454 Giant, rare red granite rocks that look like elephants. Use your imagination on this one and trunks, tusks, ears, feet and even eyes start to appear. Self-guided tours, free admission and includes a braille trail.
Millstream Gardens Conservation Area Paved trails of Millstream Gardens State Forest offer breath-taking views of the St. Francis River winding through boulder strewn shut-ins. They offer an annual whitewater race each spring.
Main Street in Ironton: See the beautiful red brick Iron County Courthouse. Stop in at one of several boutiques, such as the Arcadia Valley Soap Company (573) 546-7627, and sample local fragrances. The Ulysses S. Grant monument marks the historic site where the Civil War General received his promotion to brigadier general in summer 1861. This square also hosts several local music festivals, such as the bi-annual Arcadia Valley Mountain Music Festivals held each May and October, and the weekly Friday night Pickin’ on the Square event, a favorite among bluegrass and folk music lovers.
Battle of Pilot Knob 118 Maple St, Pilot Knob, MO/ (573) 546-3454 Across the street from the Fort Davidson Hotel (where we stayed) is a sprawling, peaceful, 10-acre landscape of Fort Davidson and history museum with battle relics, scaled fiber-optic dioramas and a 20-minute documentary that explains it all. Civil War history buffs meet every three years when the museum hosts a live re-enactment of the battle, which draws tens of thousands of worldwide visitors.
Arcadia Valley Tours For $30, Joseph and his team will take you to all of the above and more.