A Very Missouri New Years: what to do outside of St Louis for New Years
December 17, 2011 8:43 PM   Subscribe

A Very Missouri New Years: what to do outside of St Louis for New Years

My SO and I recently moved to St Louis. The few friends we've made here will be out of town on New Years, so we thought we would take the opportunity to have an out-of-town weekend together.

We're looking for suggestions about places to spend New Year's night in Missouri or Illinois, preferably not too far a drive from St Louis. We love the outdoors and observing wildlife, so some sort of snug cabin or bed and breakfast in a beautiful location might be nice. That is, a place that is beautiful even during this leafless, dreary, grey and frosty time of year. (No snow to date.) We're also interested in history, local culture, quirky sites and delicious local specialties.
posted by scrambles to Travel & Transportation around Missouri (9 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Look at the Mississippi River towns Like Hannibal.
posted by lathrop at 9:08 PM on December 17, 2011

Hermann, MO might have some events at the wineries. Hannibal is also a good idea, or maybe Ste. Genevive. BBOnline tends to be my goto place for finding bed & breakfasts.
posted by jferg at 9:35 PM on December 17, 2011

Yeah, check out Ste Gen. Might be a little late, but the folks at Crown Valley have a number o B'n'B's, the winery, and the brewery all clustered together. It's about an hour south of town.

(If we weren't in a wedding on NYE, I'd say "I have too much beer at my house. C'mon over." but, well, yeah, we're in a wedding.)
posted by notsnot at 9:59 PM on December 17, 2011

I would call the Hermann Hill Inn (they also have villas) and see if they have any rooms available. The innkeepers are absolutely fantastic and Hermann is an incredibly charming town with access to plenty of wineries. We try to go once a year or so.

We also like Thousand Hills State Park up near Kirksville, but you'd definitely have to bring your own provisions. But there are petroglyphs and a beautiful lake.

If you are up for adventure, check out the book "Scenic Driving in the Ozarks." Then head down south to some of Missouri's beautiful springs and old mills.

But you can't go wrong with Hermann Hill.
posted by Ostara at 11:15 PM on December 17, 2011

I would head to the Ozarks. I spent every summer in the mountains near Kimberling City, Missouri and the area is gorgeous. There are lots of small cabins around there to rent and plenty of hiking in the mountains. Plus, if you're into quirky, Branson is very nearby and is weird as hell. I've never been at Christmas but I'm positive they do it up pretty extensively.
posted by something something at 7:17 AM on December 18, 2011

Best answer: Yea! Welcome to town. :) All within approx. an hour's drive of the city:

Ste Gen! Specifically, the lovely 1700s-esque French "villas" (cabins) at the Chaumette winery are fantastic. It's about as far away from the crowds & raucous atmosphere at Crown Winery as you can get. Excellent wine, delicious food and really pretty countryside. The founder, Hank Johnson, is really passionate about viticulture and with a little advance planning, sometimes gives private tours. I think there are also some La Guiannee events in town.

You could also cross the river & visit the Grafton/Alton IL area. Pere Marquette is nearby as is the Riverlands Migratory Bird Sanctuary. Cold, but a lot of fun if you're into bird watching. Pelicans, eagles and swans. Oh my. Pere Marquette lodge has a great NYE party.

Another little known but *amazing* place to visit on the East Side, especially this time of year, is Maeystown, Illinois. It's a tiny, almost exclusively German town where time stopped in 1900. The entire village is seemingly made out of cut stone and is on the National Historic Register. The Corner George Inn on main street is a cute B&B.

And if you're into skiing, definitely hit up Hidden Valley - they're open on NYE and have fireworks. (Yes, there really is skiing there - they make their own snow.)

If you're still looking for things to do in early January, the French Colonial 12th Night Ball in Prairie Du Rocher, IL is a-w-e-s-o-m-e. Lots of people come in costume, but it's not required. Rather like living in that certain Sofia Coppola film. ;)
posted by muirne81 at 8:00 AM on December 18, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks for these recommendations. Would places like the Thousand Hills State Park or areas in the Ozarks be nice to visit even at this time of year? Or are those better saved til summer?
posted by scrambles at 8:24 AM on December 18, 2011

Oh yes -- Pere Marquette lodge is worth checking out, too!

I think places like Alley Mill are still beautiful in the winter. Thousand Hills might be better in the spring, now that I think of it. Their cabins aren't that cozy -- no fireplaces.
posted by Ostara at 8:45 AM on December 18, 2011

Kirksville is my hometown! Thousand Hills is nicer in warm weather - what lake isn't? - but I just saw a picture from a friend who had been there in the last couple of days, and it looked pretty nice. I'd look for a B&B a bit away from the lake for a little nicer stay.
Hannibal is a cute old town too, and right on the Mississippi in a more intimate way than St. Louis / St. Charles and environs. You can also, from there, zip across to Quincy IL, which also has some fun stuff.
posted by attercoppe at 10:48 AM on December 18, 2011

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