I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t take vacations as often as I should. Usually, time off work is spent catching up on stuff around the house. In fact, the last real vacation that my husband and I went on was in 2012. Life happens, time slips away. So when the opportunity presented itself in the form of a girls trip, I was ecstatic! A good friend’s birthday was coming up, and she wanted to go to Saint Louis for a long weekend away. From where we live, Saint Louis is just over a six-hour drive, which is very manageable. She did most of the work in finding activities for us to do once we arrived and had everybody chose one thing that they wanted to do while we were there. Since my thing is baking, all I wanted was to find a good bakery. After all, desserts equal happiness.
Traveling was relatively easy. We got to our hotel late afternoon on a Friday afternoon, checked in, then went to find the first place on our list; an Italian restaurant located on ‘The Hill’ called Favazza’s. Favazza’s is family owned since its opening in 1978. The staff was hospitable and the food was amazing! The four of us shared the Gourmet Appetizer, on top of our meals (Chicken Prosciutto), salad, garlic bread, and two glasses of wine. To say we could have ordered two meals and split them is an understatement. The portions are enormous! And I can’t forget about dessert, because what’s a meal without dessert? Their cannoli is a must-have, stuffed full of sweetened ricotta cheese, chocolate chips, and coffee liqueur. We walked out stuffed, ready to knock a couple more things off of our list. Otherwise, we would have crashed from our food coma. Their food is authentic and without a doubt one of the best Italian restaurants I’ve experienced. If I ever return to Saint Louis, Favazza’s will definitely be somewhere I will go again.
After dinner, we found the Contemporary Art Museum. There really isn’t much to say, other than we were all expecting it to be bigger. There were a few pieces to see, but overall we thought that there would be more. What was there was interesting, though, and I am glad that we checked it out.
The rest of the weekend was spent seeing other Saint Louis attractions and trying out local restaurants. On our first full day, we did a tour of the Anheuser-Busch Brewery, learning the history of the brewery and the process of how Budweiser beer is made. It really is impressive to see firsthand the brewing process, which takes 30 days from start to finish, and the large quantities in which they brew. After the tour, as long as you are 21 years of age, you get to try 16 ounces of anything that they have on draft in their Biergarten. If you aren’t 21, sorry, but you get a soda. While there is no charge for the tour itself, they do have a shop with shirts, mugs, and other souvenirs to purchase. Oh, and the best part…getting to see the Budweiser Clydesdales! The Clydesdales are so much bigger in person than you would think that they would be but absolutely gorgeous and graceful. Seeing them was a highlight of the tour. Those who go just for the beer may disagree.
A few facts about the Brewery’s history:
- Anheuser-Busch has been brewing beer since their founding in 1852.
- Prior to artificial refrigeration, the beer was stored in natural cave formations to keep it cool.
- Anheuser-Busch produces 125-million barrels of beer at 32 breweries around the world.
The Saint Louis Zoo was also on our must-see list, which is one of the last free Zoos in the country. I haven’t visited many Zoos, but this one is definitely worth checking out. It isn’t overly large, as in you don’t have to walk for what feels like miles between seeing each animal or even just from the parking lot to the entrance. It sits on 89 acres and is home to over 600 species. The animals seem to be more up close and personal than they do at other zoos, with not as much obstructing being able to see them. We went on a Sunday, and it wasn’t overly crowded. This may be partly due to the time of day (1:30 PM), the temperature (50 degrees) or the time of year in general (mid-March). We were through 90% of the zoo in just about two hours, and that was with taking our time and seeing mostly everything. My personal favorites were the elephants and the giraffes.