Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday were already scheduled with other activities so I told him we were leaving Thursday morning and returning on late on Friday. He wasn't happy but didn't argue.
Our first stop was about an hour southwest of St. Louis in Stanton, Missouri. I had read about the Meramac caves and wanted to see them for myself. After delays at the car rental store (an employee overslept), we got on the road a bit late and made it to Stanton just in time for the final tour. It was beautiful.
Our hotel room at the Crown Plaza was on the 17th floor and the views from the balcony were incredible!
The next day was super busy. It started with the tram ride up to the top of the arch. The woman behind the ticket counter asked if we were claustrophobic or had trouble with stairs. I do sometimes have trouble with tight places but hoped that it would be ok. We bought our tickets and headed down the ramp to the stairs and at the bottom we stood in line. I was very surprised when the doors (only two feet by four feet) opened. The tram, as it is called, is actually more like a pod. Tom and I were alone inside so there was plenty of room.
Any slight anxiety I felt during the four minute ride up to the top was quickly gone as we stepped out of the pod and climbed the stairs to the top. Looking out the small windows, I gasped. The view was amazing.
Afterwards, I got some great photographs below the arch.
Before heading back to Illinois, we made a few more stops. The Budwieser Factor Tour was really interesting. I have to admit the Clydesdale horses live in a stable that is nicer than any house I've ever been in.
The next stop was lunch at Fitz's Restaurant. They make and bottle their own root beer and soda. If you ever go, make sure you are seated near the large window so you can watch them bottling. Tom and I liked it so much we brought two cases - one regular cream soda and one diet root beer. The food was great, too!
Our final stop was to the Third Degree glass studio. We arrived the day after a large function so not all their pieces were out and easily viewed, however, what was out was beautiful! There were also three artists working and it was fun to watch them in action as they created their art. We'll need to go back again on a Thursday so that we participate in their hand-on demonstrations the third Thursday of every month.
There is really a lot to do in St. Louis and we will definitely return.