Friday, October 31, 2014

Cakeway to the West, Part 17!

Oh man, it's crunch time, you guys. I have photographed 175 cakes so far and there are 8 Fridays left in the year! By the way, that means there are only 7 Fridays until Christmas! EEK!

Calhoun County Community Foundation
Normally I don't comment on "Cake Worthiness", but I wish the cakes that are 75 miles from my house in the City of St Louis were AT LEAST at a museum or something.

Creve Coeur Lake
Endangered Wolf Center
  I'll have a blog on this one next week!
Fort Belle Fontaine 
Franklin County Courthouse
Lambert International Airport 
Six Flags St Louis
Youthbridge Community Foundation

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Grant's Farm

Grant's Farm is one of the greatest treasures we have in the St Louis area. Once the property of President Ulysses S Grant, it is now owned by the Busch family, of Anheuser Busch fame. Admission is FREE and even includes two free beers for visitors over 21! Above is Grant's house, Hardscrabble, the last remaining structure in the US that was hand-built by a US President. Across from the house, bordering Gravois Road, is a fence built from 2,563 rifle barrels as a Civil War Memorial.

It is located in the Deer Park, which is toured by tram as you make your way from the front entrance to the Tier Garten and Bauernhof areas of the park. The Deer Park has all kinds of animals besides deer, including wild mustangs, zebra, and Galloway (aka Oreo Cookie) cows. There are about 1,000 animals across 100 species living at Grant's Farm! There were not a lot of animals visible in the Deer Park on my last visit, but it was just SUCH a gorgeous day that I have to share the scenery.

The vehicle below is for Private Expeditions, which tour the Deer Park, Grant's Cabin, and Clydesdale Stables, have special animal feeding encounters, and include beverages and parking passes. Click Here for more information!

The Tier Garten area includes many different kinds of animals and interactive experiences. The Animal Encounters show includes audience participation, and my favorite was this this snake. Check out the adult lady's (middle) expression, and the little man next to her doing his part to hold up the snake.

Onward to the goats!

This is Deanna, not me.
This may seem absurd, but feeding the goats at Grants Farm is like a St Louis sport. You absolutely cannot go there without dropping a couple dollars on some milk bottles and risking your clothing and personal items in the goat pen. They used to even sell tshirts at the General Store that said, "I Survived Feeding the Goats." So bummed they no longer sell these in adult sizes.

No big deal, right? How about some more action cam (this is from 2010). You'll notice one goat is climbing my leg and I mention one behind me who is chewing on my jeans. Everyone who grew up in St Louis either has a traumatic or funny story about feeding the goats. For example, I remember my cousin getting all the bows chewed off her dress when we were kids. Good times!

The last stop on our tour is the Bauernhof. This is the complex of buildings surrounding the courtyard, where you will find the food, hospitality (beer), and carriage collection. People confuse the Bauernhof with the Tier Garten (where the animals are), probably because it sounds so much like Beer Garden.

Bauernhof is German for "farmstead" and this was the first building built on the estate. Most people probably think of Grants Farm as a place to take the kids, but think about this: You can literally walk in for free AND get free beer. It's an excellent spot to just chill with friends on a nice day.

Hospitality! The best part of being an adult at Grant's Farm. On this outing, there were several seasonal options available. I tried Johnny Appleseed cider and was particularly excited about Red, a brew crafted specially for Grant's Farm's 60th Anniversary. Three of my favorite things in life are beer, limited edition anything, and tourist attractions.

Inside the Bauernhof is the Busch family's world-renowned carriage collection, along with a ton of hunting trophies.

On our most recent visit, a lot of the riding trophy areas, and some of the horse stables, were set up for Halloween with dioramas from movies.

On the other end of the parking lot is the Clydesdale Stables, and new additions include getting a souvenir photo with a Clydesdale, and the new (last year) Clydesdale Tours, which are a behind the scenes look at what it takes to raise Budweiser's world-renowned Clydesdale horses. Next year I am hoping to do this tour, as well as the tour of Warm Springs Ranch in Boonville, MO!

If you cannot make it this weekend, Grant's Farm will reopen mid-April 2015. Follow me on Facebook and I'll let you know if they are doing the Holiday Light display this year!

Friday, October 24, 2014

STL250 Cakeway to the West, Part 16

This week I spent a ridiculous number of hours getting the "outlying" cakes. Look, I love this scavenger hunt, more than anything, but if I spend 2 hours with no cell signal 90 miles from my house in St Louis City... that's just not the St Louis Area. Anyway, that's why I didn't post anything else this week. THESE cakes are from last week and are actually in St Louis.

Cherokee Business District
Originally Clementine's, moved to Soulard Art Market
Grant's Farm
 Grant's Farm is one of my favorite places. Read more here (and I will be updating this one soon)!

Grant's Trail
Historic Trinity Lutheran Church
Luvy Duvy's Cafe
Schlafly Bottleworks
STL Style
Urban League
Venice Cafe

Friday, October 17, 2014

STL250 Cakeway to the West, Part 15

We are in the home stretch now! I am finding there are broad areas where I have no new cakes to find. You can check out all the cakes I have documented on the STL250 Cakes tab above!

Brightside St Louis
Frank Llyod Wright House
Kemp Auto Museum
Laumeier Sculpture Park

Shakespear Festival St Louis
Soulard Restoration Group
The Hill
The Sweet Divine

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Tall Tale Tuesday: The Equadome

I put out a call last week for Missouri and Illinois Urban Legend requests and this was a request from Missy A. This complex was known by several names: Aqua Dome, Echo Dome, and the portmanteau Equadome. Origianally it was St Charles' Water Treatment Plant Number 2, used from 1941-1946 to purify water that had been used to make TNT. So, if you are a long time reader of this blog, you may surmise that Equadome was near the Nuclear Waste Adventure Trail, aka Weldon Spring Site Remedial Action Project (WSSRAP). A lot of teenagers got up to a lot of shenanigans in this area in the 70s and 80s and only learned as adults how hazardous those areas were in terms of toxic waste.

The Equadome was dangerous in other ways, too. I think everyone probably has a tale of some nearby park or cemetery they heard about in high school where satanic rituals took place, and Equadome was one of those places. I don't put a lot of stock in the "devil worship" of the 80s and 90s, as I think it was mostly kids screwing around and trying to be different, but there were reports of animal carcasses, candles, pentagrams, and unidentifiable dark stains.

It was a big complex of buildings, with multiple stories and sub-basements, and at least one person fell to their death there and was impaled on a spike at the bottom of a shaft. There was also an incident where a sniper shot a pastor's wife on Highway 94 from the top of one of the towers, according to a quote from Lieutenant Craig McGuire in the book Weird Missouri. And of course, as the urban legends would have it, many unaccounted for deaths happened there, which were known to regular explorers.

Several sites reference  photos taken by Jason Pettus before the complex was demolished in the late 90s. His site is no longer active, but someone did post a lot of his pictures to Underground Ozarks. Beware: if you are into urban exploration, Underground Ozarks is a black hole that will suck away hours of your day.

The demolition of the site in the 90s is also noteworthy, as it was apparently the Rasputin of buildings. Some say it was built to withstand bombs. and apparently it took several rounds of explosives to bring the building down. Retired Army Corps of Engineers engineer Karl Daubel is quoted in Weird Missouri as saying that the first round just moved the buildings over about a foot and set them back down again. We talked to Karl ourselves the last time we were at the WSSRAP museum, where he works as a guide there. For more of the weird and wacky surrounding that area, stop in and see him sometime!

Friday, October 3, 2014

STL250 Cakeway to the West, Part 14

This fall weather has me in a CAKE PANIC! I still have to get to 105 cakes!
Drury Plaza at the Arch
Emmis Communications
Fort San Carlos/Hilton at the Ballpark
Kenrick-Glennon Seminary
Lyon Park/St Louis Arsenal
Old Courthouse
Scottrade Center
Shrewsbury Metrolink Station
Sophia M Sachs Butterfly House
 Click here for the most hilarious video ever posted to this blog (and more about the Butterfly House)

United Hebrew Congregation