Day trips can be fun, especially when they involve family and old friends. Bonus points if your destination is historic and has superb restaurants and entertainment. Meet Arrow Rock! The antebellum village (pop. 55, down from its peak of 1000 before the Civil War), is located 30-some miles west of Columbia. It took Russ and me only 2-1/2 hours to get from St. Louis to Arrow Rock this past Saturday.
The occasion was the 60th anniversary of the Friends of Arrow Rock, the promotional group that safeguards the memories of the village by preserving its buildings and artifact. Upon arriving, you immediately sense this is a town where time stopped. A place where visitors can amble about, eat grandly, and discover the slower pace of a bygone era.
Lunch at Catalpa
Thanks to the hospitality of my long-time friends Donna Houston and Chet Breitweiser, I felt like “Queen for a Day in Arrow Rock.” We lunched at the Catalpa restaurant, where Chef Liz Huff prepared a grand quiche and spinach salad dressed with a stunning, house-made vinaigrette. So good, that I brought home a bottle of the lemon, peach and tarragon dressing.
Chef Liz took me back to the kitchen, where I saw the blackened Himalayan salt slabs she uses for cooking some of her tasty dishes. I had heard glowing reports of the chef and her menus from friends, who go to Arrow Rock regularly for the Broadway-quality shows performed at the Lyceum Theater. They were right on!
Homes of Another Era
After lunch. we visited Prairie Park, Lo Mismo, and Oak Grove Plantation. The Prairie Park site has one of the finest antebellum homes anywhere in the country, a restoration lovingly performed by Whitney and Day Kerr.
We also drove out to the Sappington Cemetery, where lies Dr. Sappington, who came up with using quinine to treat malaria. Also in the state-preserved graveyard are two former Missouri governors, Meredith Miles Marmaduke and Claiborne Fox Jackson.
Since this is probably more history than you wanted on a Sunday evening, I’ll turn to photos of the day.