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Fall In Love With River Towns, Scenic Beauty



TomandHuck
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Statue of Tom Sawyer & Huckleberry Finn in Hannibal. photo by Diana Linsley (click for larger version)
April 25, 2012
Spring is here and the days are getting longer the perfect time to load up the family and experience some of the sights Missouri has to offer just a short drive from St. Louis.

View River Towns map

Hannibal

About two hours from St. Louis north on Highway 61, discover the scenic river town of Hannibal, the childhood home of beloved author Samuel Clemens, aka Mark Twain. The town was founded in 1819, along the banks of the Mississippi River. It was there that Clemens found the inspiration for his books, such as "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer," and "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn." The Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum offers a glimpse into Clemens' life with its eight historic buildings, including the Boyhood Home, a National Historic Landmark.

As part of this year's Twain on Main festival, the museum is sponsoring "The Spirit of Huck Finn Contest" on May 26 beginning at 11 a.m. The contest is open to boys and girls, ages 10 to 15, who feel they best represent the "spirit" of Huckleberry Finn. Deadline to register is May 23. To register and more details, visit www.marktwainmuseum.org.

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Cuba/Steelville

Enjoy the great outdoors without spending hours on the road. Cuba and Steelville are situated in some of the most popular recreation areas in the state.

Cuba is west of St. Louis along I-44, about halfway between Eureka and Rolla. The Meramec River cuts a path between Cuba and neighboring Steelville, so canoeing and kayaking are a draw in spring and summer.

Steelville is situated on three rivers: the Meramec, the Huzzah and the Courtois. These provide lots of fun on the water, from fishing to floating.

For area information, visit www.cubamochamber.com and www.steelville.com.

Wilderness Lodge

In Lesterville, approximately two hours from St. Louis is Wilderness Lodge, situated on the Black River. With cozy cabins, fine dining, float trips and activities, the lodge makes for a perfect retreat for a family vacation, reunion, wedding, special event or business conference or romantic getaway.

The main lodge was built in 1927 by a wealthy sportsman as a private residence. The cabins were mostly built in the 1970s when the Lodge became a business.

Near by are the state parks Johnson's Shut-ins State Park, Elephant Rocks and Taum Sauk Mountain. There are 1,200 acres of trails, plus the Bell Mountain Wilderness Area and the Ozark Trail are nearby.

Perry County

Venture south along I-55 to Perry County to discover villages settled in the 1800s. Perry County includes Perryville, Frohna, Altenburg, Brazeau and Farrar.

Upcoming events in Perry County include MayFest "Back To The 80's" on May 11-12 which kicks off with a parade on Friday evening. Saturday's events include a craft fair, live entertainment, bed races, car and bike show, plus a carnival. For details, visit www.perryvillemo.com.

The Saxon Lutheran Memorial in Frohna, an outdoor history museum set in a log cabin village, highlights the pioneering spirit of the early Lutheran immigrants from Germany who settled Perry County. On Saturday, June 30, Saxon will hold its Second Annual Bluegrass Music Fest with well-known musicians and artists. For details, visit www.saxonlutheranmemorial.com.

Gray Summit

Near I-44 at Gray Summit is Purina Farms, situated on over 300 acres of rolling hills. Youngsters can play in the hayloft, milk a cow, take a wagon ride, plus see amazing dogs during its numerous events. For more details, visit www.purinafarms.com.

Eureka

Among the rolling hills and limestone of Southwest St. Louis County is Eureka off Interstate 44. Unique to the area is Winding Brook Estate, a 17-acre lavender farm, where visitors can delight their senses among the fragrant lavender fields. The estate is open to the public for harvesting of lavender bouquets once blooming starts on late May until the season ends in October. Stop by the Lavender Shoppe in the 100-year-old farmhouse for lavender products and gifts. For information, visit www.lavender.windingbrookestate.com.

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