Loving St Louis
When my Hero suggested we go to a garden centre for breakfast, I imagined somewhere on the edge of town, similar to a garden centre at home. How wrong could I be? This one was situated in a residential area of town in an old warehouse.
Cafe Osage was there inside Bowood and very good it was too.
My French toast was delicious, with maple mascarpone and granola sprinkles. Mary chose that too - didn't we do well?
No corned beef hash today, but instead, poached egg on a bed of dressed greens and smoked salmon for my hero.
Having finished breakfast, we took a closer look around and noted how pretty the plants looked, arranged in small groups rather than the serried ranks of the average garden centre.
Prices reflected this for sure, but everything looked so lovely, it was hard not to be tempted - unless you had only a suitcase to bring any purchases home, of course.
My staging and display mind was working overtime.
And remember when I was looking for a book about modern macrame in Waterstones, recently?
We couldn't hang around a garden centre all day though, however lovely it might be. It was time to head for our next destination: The National Transportation Museum.
We are veterans of such places and many of our visits have been logged here as somewhat disappointing. Still we had hopes of good things here and actually, it was indeed better than most.
As a "transportation" museum, there was more than railway engines here and the small car collection included this curiosity: Bobby Darin's treasured DiDia
Outside, there were the usual ranks of work in progress, which we walked straight by. It was around 11am and already pretty hot and we didn't feel like lingering in the bright sunshine for any longer than necessary.
We spotted an electric railcar and so headed over and jumped on board.
It was a bit of a squeeze, but hey, after 38 years of marriage, we can manage!
But, no sooner had the driver got the thing going, we came to a slow stop and it was reported that something had fallen off the engine. Oh dear. We were not going any further on that vehicle today.
So we mooched around the engine shed and found a few things of interest, including a(nother) Union Pacific BigBoy engine
I took quite a few photographs of this and that, including the engine above, which I'm sure you will recognise immediately as.....well, I have no need to identify it, do I?!
Saint Louis himself stands proudly in front of the museum entrance high above the parkland.
There was a gallery full of interesting art to see here but there was one exhibition which my Hero had earmarked quite some time ago when it was showing at the British Museum. Little did he realise that a couple of years later, he'd catch up with it in St Louis!
Sunken Treasures reveals many of the finds from the sea just off Alexandria, Egypt. The first stele above was the opening shot and wow...what a treasure!
The amazing finds which had been brought to the surface and cleaned were mostly in spectacular condition and it was fascinating to see tiny earrings alongside huge stone figures and domestic ware like plates and bowls.
and the souvenirs in the giftshop? Tasteful as ever.
Foregoing the opportunity to look at more impressionist paintings, we headed straight up to the American galleries, where one painting in particular stood out:
A scene of St Louis from the Illinois side of the river. All along the water's edge were steamships and warehouses and in the foreground, a few covered wagons preparing for a long journey. On one of the canopies is written "The Oregon Trail"!
Around the corner, another exhibit caught my eye. A single bed size coverlet was framed inside a floor to ceiling frame and at first, I thought it was embroidered.
Only when I got up close to look did I see that it was painted and only when I read the script did I find it had been stencilled. Interesting!
I had a couple of favourites, one of them being this one-room school painted by Winslow Homer. No room in my bag though, so I left it there till next time ;-)
We had an hour or so left of the afternoon, so drove around the park to the history museum, stopping along the way to snap a picture of the art museum on top of the hill.
Unsurprisingly, centre stage in the foyer here is the "Spirit of St Louis", Charles Lingbergh's plane in which he flew across the Atlantic.
We particularly enjoyed the exhibtion of panorama photographs from the city, depicting events from recent history, including a women's suffrage march above. But having just come from the art museum, this photograph of the crowds greeting Charles Lindbergh on the lawns in front of the building in 1927. Wow.
By now, we were pretty much on our knees. It was hot and humid and the sky was darkening, threatening a storm. Time to go, then.
Dinner tonight was at Charlie Gitto's, where the St Louis speciality of toasted ravioli was great! Whilst we were there, the heavens opened and the storm broke. Here's hoping for cooler, fresher weather when we leave St Louis tomorrow, bound for Columbia.
Coming with us?