It is mid-January as I write this. A few weeks ago, over the kids’ winter break, we decided to take a road trip. We chose somewhere we could easily drive to in a day, for our youngest, not quite three, is at an age that any parent will tell you makes longer trips challenging. And it was, after all, supposed to be a vacation.

We didn’t go somewhere warm and balmy, or somewhere famous. Our country’s diversity of climate, geography, and culture is awe-inspiring, and so we had decided some time ago that we want to see more of it. We went to a city in a state most of us had never been to: St. Louis, Missouri. And we had a blast. We saw some of the sights they have there. We met up for lunch with an old college friend of mine and his spouse. We visited a couple more places (but not all, thanks to the government shut-down). And we hung out together.

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The famous Arch in St. Louis

Here’s what I learned about this place: like so many other parts of the country, there is a very urban/rural divide. We went through city neighborhoods where every other house had a Black Lives Matter sign in front (St. Louis is not far from Ferguson, MO). And we went through rural areas that looked very mid-America rural.

A lot of St. Louis’s most noteworthy buildings are the oldest of their kind west of the Mississippi River, which says a lot about the city’s significance as the country was expanding westward.

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(The picture on the left was taken inside the Basilica of St. Louis, King (aka the Old Cathedral), the oldest cathedral west of the Mississippi and, I must add, a beautiful building.)

For law and history lovers, the Old Courthouse in St. Louis is where the famous Dred Scott case was heard.

 

 

One building in particular, the City Museum, was recommended to us by everyone who had been to St. Louis, and we could see why. Its creator had quite the imagination, and managed to bring it to fruition impressively. The kids could have spent many more than the couple of hours we alloted there.

 

They could also have spent more time than we did at the Science Museum, which had some amazing displays and, notably, basic admission is free.

But the biggest take-away for me from this trip was that traveling with my family is fun. Famous or luxury destinations are definitely fun, but so is spending a few days away from the familiar and enjoying the journey together.

Now, as we settle back into winter hibernation and routine at home, I hope I can remember the little glimpses of my kids’ inner selves that I had the privilege of discovering, and the memories that my husband and I can add to our treasure box.

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P.S. Ten months have gone by since I last posted, and so if anyone was waiting for a blog post, I apologize for the delay. I wrote at least three drafts on other topics, and then for reasons I can’t remember, never posted them. It has been that kind of year: full of change that is welcome but with which I have barely kept up. The holidays are over and the weather encourages hibernation; maybe in this season I can finally pick up again my figurative pen, for it brings me joy.

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