This will be a two-post bike ride description – because I have too many pictures to share – eye roll. We parked at the N Riverfront Park on the St Louis Riverfront Trail VERY early in the morning – we got up at 4:30 and were on the road by 5:15. Another hot/humid day was predicted plus thunderstorms in the afternoon.
First we headed north to ride across the 1-mile long Chain of Rocks Bridge – a unique bridge with a 22% bend in the middle and served as a Route 66 crossing from 1936-1965.
A rest area just before the bridge:
A rest area at the state line between Missouri and Illinois:
On the other side of the bridge, in Illinois, we turned around and headed back to our starting point.
Up and out early again, but not early enough. It was too hot by the time we finished – which was at 10 am btw! We parked at Francis Slay Park.
Intersection with Grant’s Trail:
We took the Carondelet Connector, a 1-mile trail which linked us to a Starbucks for breakfast, then Carondelet Park. We were so hot and sweaty by this time, we decided to head back to the car as fast as possible, chose the shortest route through the park and took no pictures. We exited onto Holly Hills Blvd, tree-lined with a bike lane,
then turned left onto the Christy Greenway:
A pedestrian/bike bridge over the river put us back on the River Des Peres and back to the car.
Even though the heat and humidity were depleting, it was a great ride, 17 miles. Load the bikes, turn on the AC and head for Exit 272.
White Haven: a 2-bedroom home on a plantation owned by Frederick Dent. Here US Grant met and courted Julia Dent. They also lived here, in one of the bedrooms, with their four children from 1854-1859.
Behind the house. in the lower right, were stairs leading down to the basement winter kitchen:
The heat from this room rose to heat the floor above:
To the left of the back of the house was a separate stone building. One side was the laundry, the other was the summer kitchen:
The chicken coop and ice house:
A really good tour, including the 20-minute movie at the beginning. The park ranger tour guide also did a great job.
Back on our bikes for the final hot/humid 3 miles back to the car. Bikes loaded/gear in the backseat, AC in the car turned on high … our reward was just up ahead. Exit 272 on I-44 West, a drive-through only Starbucks … ahhh!
We were up and gone early. This trail honors Ulysses S Grant and passes by his farm and the Anheuser-Busch Clydesdale pastures. We started at the west end.
Quite a few street crossings but all were well-marked and had signals or stop signs.
The Clydesdale pastures – I think they were still sleeping in the barn.
At the bridge, we crossed over the River Des Peres (a drainage channel into the Mississippi River) where Grant’s Trail ended but …
also intersected with another trail – the River Des Peres Greenway. The long-term goal is a 600-mile network of interconnected trails throughout the St Louis area. Great idea! This was our turn-around point.
Grant’s Farm was about 3 miles from the end of our ride. I decided I could ride 3 miles back to the car no matter how hot or humid it was, so we stopped here for about an hour and toured the house and grounds (next blog post). Across the road was Grant’s Farm – Home of the Budweiser Clydesdales. By the time we left, the parking lot was full and tour groups could be spotted. I stopped at the only window of opportunity to take this:
A very good ride. 20 miles round trip. Next stop: Starbucks.
St Louis is the HQ for this huge company founded in 1850.
Social distancing was non-existent but masks were required and their proper use nicely enforced. Just about the first we’ve seen since leaving in early April.
The Beechwood Aging Cellars. Each big tank held 1.2 million 12-ounce servings of beer. And there were MANY tanks.
The bottling/labeling/packaging process:
The final step in the process is … consumption. As we left the bottling area, we were given a bottle of Bud Light that had come off the line this morning. Then, you got to choose a 16-oz beverage of your choice. Alas, no Stella Artois, which has been a part of the A-B family since 2008. Then you entered this pavilion/bar/restaurant.
The lunch menu looked pretty good. The appetizers were excellent. Salted Bavarian pretzels with cheese sauce and spicy mustard:
Another really fun day. Planned at the last minute because the weather made bike riding a poor choice.
We learned a lot today about this very interesting and tight knit community on a food tour. About 2500 people live in this neighborhood – the largest Italian American enclave in the nation. Our tour began at Guido’s.
In the bright orange shirt, John, the owner of Eat St Louis. Because of demand there were three tours today spaced 30 minutes apart and John had to lead one of them. Nice touch: the orange water bottles, one for each of us. A good idea too, since it was hot (84 degrees) and humid (71%).
This tasting – the first of six! – was pizza St Louis style. Thin crust, provel cheese, and cut into squares.
On to one of two Italian grocers on The Hill:
We walked through the grocery section, past the kitchen prep area, to the back of the restaurant:
Delicious shaved beef/cheese sandwich (warm and wrapped in foil, ready at each table setting) plus delicious Italian stuffed olives:
We learned a lot about the neighborhood as we walked between stops including these shotgun houses built for the Italian miners who came to The Hill to work in the clay mines.
Next was a salumeria – a delicatessan – but this one specialized in sausages. Jill, in the green shirt, was our guide:
These are charcuterie cones were filled with an assortment of the meats available inside.
Inside the shop:
Next, Mama Toscano’s:
This is where Toasted Ravioli began. These were meat filled and hot. Delicious!
Two stops to go, time for dessert?
Jill brought out a box of …
A stop at Piazza Imo. Behind the fountain are several tables with chess sets. There are also a couple of bocce court venues in the neighborhood.
This marble fountain is relatively new – imported in 2019 from Italy – pristine with no signs of weathering yet. In the background is St Ambrose Church, another focal point of the community:
Final stop … for gelato. Before we went in, Jill said it would be perfectly fine if we asked for a taste of EVERY flavor. Be still my heart. I tried a few, but quickly knew salted caramel was the perfect choice.
It was really really good … and I forgot to take a picture. Great food tour, excellent guide – thank you Jill – great information about The Hill. We might have to come back to this neighborhood and do more exploring. And eating.
We drove 20 miles to New Burnside, a very small community of 250 people.
We rode to Harrisburg and had lunch at Angi’s Eats and Sweets.
Great food which seems to have evolved from a food truck. Inside the building was the kitchen, tables to sit at, a bench with MANY to-go orders ready for pick-up, and a friendly person to take our order. If you’re in Harrisburg, be sure to eat here.
As I was waiting in front of the building with our bikes while Billie checked out the best place to eat, where to order, etc, a lady drove up, parked and got out of her car. I asked, “Good food inside?” And our conversation began – what a delightful friendly person – Jacqueline! We decided to eat at the back of the building where there were tables and our bikes could be nearby. There was Jacqueline again – having lunch with some friends – we had a wonderful short visit.
Time to ride back … in the next picture, that would be riding from right to left … uphill.
The city of Harrisburg maintains a paved trail within the city limits:
35 miles! Excellent cool weather and a very shaded trail. Good day.