It’s happened to all of us: you glance at the calendar and realize, surprisingly, that there’s an upcoming weekend that is entirely open. No kid’s sporting events, games or practices. No family commitments. It’s just two blank boxes below Saturday and Sunday with nothing to do. Do you finally organize that downstairs storage room, clean the garage, or deep clean the carpets upstairs? Well, that would be the practical thing to do. Or, do you whisk your family or loved one away for a play day or weekend, fully taking advantage of the free time that rarely seems to materialize anymore?
If you like to shake things up (which I think you probably do), here are some great getaways that won’t break the piggy bank or force you to take vacation days off from the busy work week. Put some gas in the tank and get ready to see some wonderful sights – all within a short car ride.
Kansas City or Bust! Whether you like Kansas City BBQ or a weekend full of shopping, Kansas City, Missouri is only a handful of hours away from the Metro-East. Museums for kids and adults alike are abundant, as well as some top-notch overnight destinations like Great Wolf Lodge. Water parks like Schlitterbahn and CoCo Key are available for hours of fun, and the Kansas City Zoo offers over 200 acres of animals and attractions. Check out the website, www.visitkc.com, for a plethora of information about places to stay, events, restaurants and more. The website even lists “33 Free Things to Do in Kansas City” without paying a dime.
Looking for an adult-only destination? Check out the many Hermann and Augusta, Missouri wineries that are less than two hours away. If you’ve only enjoyed the sweet flavors of Stone Hill wines from the grocery store shelves, it’s time to experience a Missouri winery first-hand. There are over 10 wineries in Hermann, MO alone! There are also many Bed & Breakfasts to choose from, making your visit memorable, relaxing and truly unique. Camping and motels are also available for your overnight or weekend stay. Check out the Hermann website at http://hermannmissouri.com/index.html for more information. Augusta, Missouri wineries are a bit closer to home, offering an abundance of wineries, places to stay, a brewery and year-round entertainment. Plus, the views are breathtaking! Both historical districts are worth a day or weekend trip. Learn more about the Augusta wineries at http://www.augusta-missouri.com/wineries_brewery.htm.
Another destination that caters to families as well as couples is St. Charles, Missouri. Old Town St. Charles offers a unique experience, whether you are a foodie at heart or love to shop, a street in this neighborhood is touted as being “one of the most historic main streets in all of America”. You can take a Main Street Walking Tour, boutique shop for finds available nowhere else, stop and have a glass of wine, and enjoy a unique culinary experience with friends. Start planning your trip by visiting the website at http://www.historicstcharles.com/. St. Charles also has casinos close by if you’re feeling “lucky”. Hollywood Casino and The Ameristar Casino offer entertainment, many restaurants, and of course some of the best gambling around. Turn your visit into an overnight stay at one of the casino hotels, fully enjoying what this great town has to offer.
This is the perfect time of year to enjoy the famous Mississippi River from many “hot spots” in Grafton, Illinois. Just minutes from Alton, this Calhoun County location is known for American Bald Eagle watching and many other activities. Grafton Zip Line Adventures, Pere Marquette Lodge and the Loading Dock and Ice Rink are just a few of the destinations that are sure to please your date on date night or your entire family. Experience the Grafton Riverfront from a local restaurant overlooking the water, or head to Brussels Ferry, a free ferry transportation that heads across the Illinois River at IL Rte. 100. Before you plan your trip, visit the awesome Grafton website at http://www.enjoygrafton.com/.
Of course, St. Louis and Chicago are two cities that are close-by as well, offering a vast variety of things to do and places to see. If you have an available weekend and are starting to get the winter blues, don’t worry! Turn your “blaahs” into “aahhs” by taking advantage of the wonderful things to do, just a short drive from the Metro-East. I know the local market and have first hand experience about the many benefits living here has to offer! Looking for a new place to call home? Give me a call at 618-978-2384 and I’d be happy to answer your questions.