Month: July 2018

Are you looking for a quick and fun road trip with kids?  I’ve got all the tips for a successful road trip to Cape Girardeau including where to stay, where to eat, and things to do your kids will love.  

Cape Girardeau MO

Cape Girardeau Road Trip with Kids

Recently we headed south for a family wedding to my hometown of Cape Girardeau, MO.  I’ll break down all the kid-approved hot spots you should check out. Cape is an easy drive only 120 miles from St. Louis.  If you’re looking for a relaxing escape, here are some ideas my boys recommend.

What To Do:

Buchheit’s Farm Supply

Buchheit Cape Girardeau

If your kids are animal lovers like mine, you need to stop at Buchheit’s Farm Store; it’s one of my boys’ all-time favorite activities.  On Saturday and Sundays from 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. you can walk a potbelly pig around the store.  They put the pig on a leash and feed it fresh-popped popcorn available at no cost. It’s the funniest sight to see, ever kid will go bonkers.  The newest pig is named Curly Sue. There’s also a variety of cute little farm animals to see, such as chickens, chicks, bunnies, pigs and more.  The last time we were there, Curly Sue had outgrown her leash, so we couldn’t take her around the store but remained in the enclosed animal area.  The other perk my boys love is the free popcorn.    

Buchheim Cape Girardeau MO

Buchheim Cape Girardeau MO

Buchheim Cape Girardeau MO

Trail of Tears State Park

We love hiking, and Trail of Tears State Park has several trails to choose from.  Make sure to come prepared for your hike, and I recommend wearing long pants instead of shorts.  Our favorite trail features a bluff overlooking the mighty Mississippi River, with a fantastic view. There’s also a different river overlook if you don’t want to walk the trail.  The visitors center is small but worth a peek to see different animals and also has clean bathrooms.

St Louis Iron Mountain Railroad

All aboard!  This place brings back childhood memories for me.  This was my first job when I was 14, and I sold snacks on the goodie cart.  If you have any train lovers in your family, this is a must. A lot of the rides offered on the train are themed.  We went on the Easter one, where the Easter Bunny makes an appearance, and there’s a huge egg hunt included. I’ve heard the Santa Express is very popular, and I always loved the one where characters dressed like Jesse James and his gang board and put on a robbery performance.  Also, they offer a chocolate-addict ride, which sounds absolutely fabulous.

Downtown Cape Girardeau Farmers Market,

This is a small farmers market featuring live music and local vendors selling fresh goodies.  My boys are obsessed with their donut truck.  These aren’t your average donuts, they’re made on site and are humongous!  My mom introduced this destination to us, and it’s become one of our traditions when in town.  After you’re done at the market, you can take a nice stroll down to the Mississippi River.

Downtown Riverwalk

The flood wall by the banks of the river feature hand-painted murals with history of the surrounding area.  

Riverfront Cape Girardeau MO

If you’re lucky there will be a barge or boat cruising down the river, and will honk its horn; my boys always get a kick out of that.  A lot of the 2014 movie Gone Girl, starring Ben Affleck, was shot in Cape Girardeau, especially downtown which is located near the Riverwalk.  You can check out some of the sites from the movie including a saloon called “The Bar”. They also have a driving tour where you see some of the filming sites and special stops.  This isn’t necessarily a kid-friendly tour, but something fun if you’re in the area.

The Discovery Playhouse (Children’s museum)

This place is a blast.  They have tons of hands-on exhibits, and they’ve always added more each time we go.  My boys always enjoy the slides, water tables, grocery store, critter area, firetrucks, tire tower and more.  Your kiddos won’t want to leave.

Discovery Playhouse

Discovery Playhouse

Melaina’s Playground

This is a great playground that will peak the interest of your kids and definitely burn off a lot of their energy.  It was built in honor of a 3-year-old girl who passed away in 2009. She had physical limitations and was unable to enjoy most playgrounds, so through large fundraising efforts, this terrific playground was built.     

Melania's Playground Cape Girardeau MO

Melania's playground

Levi’s Adventure Trail

This is one of the most unique playgrounds I’ve been to in a while.  It features a ride that’s a zip line/ roller coaster/ swing rolled-into-one, that my boys couldn’t get enough of.  I got a kick out of watching them play on it, and secretly wish I could give it a whirl. It was blazing hot outside, and my guys were super upset when we had to leave.

Levi's Adventure Trail Cape Girardeau MO

Levi's Adventure Trail Cape Girardeau MO

Other kid-friendly places to try depending on the weather:  

Lazy L Safari Park

Cape Splash Family Aquatic Center

Where We Stayed:

There’s a new Drury Plaza Hotel and Conference Center off the Cape Girardeau/ Gordonville exit on I-55.  We partnered up with Drury for this getaway, and this location was amazing.  Drury Hotels began in the Cape Girardeau area, so staying here supports a local company and is truly the best value available not to mention the hotel is modern and gorgeous.  

Drury hotel and convention center, Cape Girardeau MO

Drury hotel Cape Girardeau, MO

Drury hotel Cape Girardeau, MO

When we arrived they were having their famous kickback hour (#kickbackhour) that runs every night from 5:30- 7:00.  They call it a snack, but it’s more of a meal. That evening they had a taco bar, which is perfect for my guys because tacos are one of their favorite meals.  While they ate tacos, I grabbed some cocktails (#win-win). We took our food and drinks upstairs to the terrace, and as the name indicates, kick backed and relaxed.  

Drury kickback hour Cape Girardeau MO

After kickback hour we headed to the pool.  My boys can’t wait to show off their cannonball skills any chance they get.  There was a little baby there who would let out a belly laugh each time an older kid jumped in the pool; it was super cute.  

Drury pool Cape Girardeau MO

The next morning before the boys woke up, I snuck downstairs for my coffee fix.  The breakfast at Drury is amazing. My boys love to indulge in special treats they don’t normally get, like waffles, donuts and Lucky Charms cereal. I try to stay with healthy options, which are readily available too.

Drury waffles, Cape Girardeau MO

Drury breakfast, Cape Girardeau MO

Drury breakfast, Cape Girardeau MO

One thing you can count on anytime you stay at a Drury Hotel is friendly staff and the amazing value.  During our stay, we met the GM David, who was greeting people during breakfast.  The great thing about Drury Hotels, is they’re a large company, but always have that personal touch.  They’re current hashtag “#travelhappy” is quite fitting for this top-notch hotel chain.

Where To Eat:  

You can find all kinds of chain restaurants right off the highway, but of course, I have my favs when I go home, that are musts:  

  1. Lambert’s Cafe,  Located in Sikeston, MO, just 30 minutes south of Cape Girardeau.  Bring your appetite, and keep your head up for their delicious hot rolls, which they actually throw at you.  They also bring around carts with amazing all-you-can-eat homemade side dishes. Make sure to bring cash, because they don’t accept credit card or checks.  If you forget, they do have an ATM in the lobby.
  2. Gordonville Grill, Fun bar, and grill located in the tiny town I grew up in.
  3. Gabriel’s Italian.  This place will make you feel like your in Italy.  They feature amazing gourmet Italian cuisine.  They also offer kids cooking classes
    Gabriel's Cape Girardeau, MO
  4. Minglewood Brewery, kid-friendly and great pizzas.  Also, make sure to try their Bavarian pretzels and beer cheese dip with your brew.Minglewood brewery Cape Girardeau, MO
  5. My Daddy’s Cheesecake, a cute little cafe with great sandwiches and salads.  But make sure you save room for the cheesecake!
  6. Simply Swirled, Frozen yogurt and cookie dough.  Need I say more?

Overall Cape Girardeau will always be one of my favorite places in the world because of all my family and memories there.  If you need a fun, getaway, are attending a sports tournament, passing through or like to explore new parts of the state like me check out Cape Girardeau.  I hope this helps guide you in having fun with your family.

XOXO  Sarah~

If you want to see our other travel post check them out here:

Nashville road trip with kids
Gulf Shores AL, Beach vacation
Echo Bluff State Park

Thank you so much for Drury hotels for partnering with us on this post.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Who is excited about the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale?
I know I am which is why I booked my appointment with Amber Kemp, the Nordstrom personal stylist in St Louis.  

If you are like me and time is the most valuable asset you have to call Amber to make an appointment.  Her number is 314-452-6589 Her email is: Amber.R.Kemp@nordstrom.com To see my previous post with Amber and to get her list for wardrobe basics click here.   

Why call Amber?  

  1. Her service is FREE.  Why would you not use her??????  
  2. She will listen to what you want and have your sizes ready and waiting for you in the fitting room.  
  3. She’s a stylist.  She’ll help you pull it all together for the look you want.  

In the end, you’ll end up saving time and money.  Here are a few of my favorite looks from this sale.  

I’ll be wearing this look straight to Eckert’s pumpkin patch this fall.

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale

Sperry rain boots | DenimMoto jacket | More love graphic T | Flannel | Flannel (similar) | Statement necklace
Panama hat
This moto jacket is my favorite piece from this outfit.  The price, the fit, the removable hood, it’s such a fun jacket.

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale

This dress is perfect now and into fall.  How perfect is this look for brunch with your girls at The clover and the bee?  

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale

Floral dress | Denim jacket | Booties | Gold earrings | KS Favorite |

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale

Every mom needs a superwoman shirt.  How perfect is this look for weekend soccer games and trips to the Kirkwood farmers market?

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale

Graphic T | Cammo jacket | KS earrings | Crossbody | Boots | Denim

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale

A simple but updated business casual look for work.  Nordstrom Anniversary Sale

Leggings | Sweater | Kendra Scott pendant | Earrings 
Shoe options:  Mule | Studded pump | Kentvi sandals

Perfect night out with your girlfriends at Billy G’s patio outfit.

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale

Denim | Lace top | Booties | Leopard Clutch | KS earrings

Perfect night out with your girlfriends at Billy G’s sitting by the fire sipping on red wine outfit.  Nordstrom Anniversary Sale

Denim | Lace top | Booties | Leopard Clutch | KS earrings | Suede jacket

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Beach Vacation, Gulf Shores AL.

When I asked my boys where they wanted to go on vacation they both yelled, “the beach!” Who doesn’t love the beach, right? I know I do, so I was eager to start planning the trip. And since the beach pretty much makes a perfect family vacation all by itself, the hardest part of the decision was choosing which beach to go to. I know several families who love Gulf Shores, so I thought we would check it out this summer.

Gulf Shores is a town on Alabama’s Gulf Coast that’s known for its endless strip of white, sandy beaches, lively dining and entertainment scene and natural habitats. It’s a relatively easy drive from St. Louis, but we broke up the trip by spending a few days sightseeing in Nashville first. Check out that post here.  Then we headed south down I-65 to the white sandy beaches of the Gulf.

Gulf Shores AL

As we were driving to the Gulf we had some time before we checked into our condo so we stopped in downtown Mobile and found some fun street art.  There are several cafes and restaurants in downtown if you need a snack.

Mobile AL

Battleship Memorial Park

My boys loved climbing all over the huge battleship.  It is a great place to stop if you need to get your kids out of the car and run some energy out plus an amazing way to bring history to life.  We all loved the submarine tour too.  It’s a quick tour and not as many places for your kids to hide.

USS Alabama

USS Alabama

Another fun adventure on your way to Gulf Shores would be to take the ferry to Dauphin Island.  You can then explore the island and then take a ferry over to Gulf Shores.

Where We Stayed in Gulf Shores, AL

When I planned this trip, I had one requirement: a place right on the beach so that I could listen to the waves at night. I can’t remember the last time I woke up feeling so relaxed and calm.

Gulf Shores AL

Space was another consideration when looking for a place to stay. I wanted my boys to have a room where they would get a good night’s rest and have their own space, and we had Grandma with us on the trip—I knew she would definitely need her own room to escape the madness!

I ended up finding the perfect place that fit our needs exactly: a condo with two bedrooms and two bathrooms beachfront, plus a bonus bunk room for the boys.  The condo was beautiful and spacious with upgrades throughout, pool and beachfront views. But the best was, it was right on the beach. Check it out here.

If you ever find yourself looking for a condo rental in Gulf Shores, I’d highly recommend renting through Gulf Beach Rentals. They were a great resource for ideas and kid-friendly suggestions in the area.  Not only that, they were super helpful when we got locked out of the unit (don’t ask), and flexible when we decided to stay an extra day because we were having too much fun! #familyfun

For a packing list when renting a beach condo check it out here.

Gulf Beach Rentals
Info@gulfbeachrentals.co
Contact Emily at (251) 500-0596

Gulf Shores AL

EAT
When I asked the locals what the area is known for food/drinks they said:

The Bushwacker, a frosty rum drink
Snapper, grouper, oysters fresh from the Gulf

Since eating out with two boys isn’t always relaxing we used the kitchen in our condo quite a bit. It was functional and had everything we needed to make simple meals and enjoy them while relaxing on the balcony of the condo. Many breakfasts were spent just waking up to the ocean waves and watching dolphins as we ate.

Gulf Shores AL

When we did head out to eat, we tried to hit all the best kid-friendly restaurants in the immediate area. Bonus points for establishments that didn’t have golden arches or Kraft mac & cheese as an entrée! Here’s a run-down of our favorites:

Lulus is named after its semi-famous founder, Jimmy Buffett’s sister, Lucy. It’s a super-popular establishment with three locations; one in Destin, Florida, one in Gulf Shores and one in Myrtle Beach. With live music, fresh fish and seafood, and a giant sand area for kids to play in while families eat, we found Lulus to be absolutely perfect for kids. My advice is to plan to go at an off time (early or late lunch/dinner) to avoid looooong waits and huge crowds.

Matt’s Homemade ice cream.  You can’t go on vacation without ice cream, right? My boys are always looking for a treat, and Matt’s certainly delivered—it was perfection. It’s the only homemade ice cream shop in Gulf Shores, serving 40 different flavors of ice cream, along with delicious throwback confections like banana splits, sundaes, and milkshakes. The boys couldn’t believe how amazing it was, and Logan was complaining his wasn’t as big as the rest of ours. Because, you know, comparisons.

The Hang Out.  This fun beachfront place was perfect for families, with their loud, boisterous ambiance. In fact, while we were eating, an announcer came out and asked if anyone was celebrating a birthday. And I’m pretty sure that the few brave souls who admitted to it won’t soon forget it! The fun, friendly staff routinely gets people up dancing on tables, doing the electric slide, and generally having fun like you should on vacation.

Gulf Shores AL

A few places we didn’t have time to try that came recommended were:

Flora-Bama, home of the Bushwacker (the must-try frozen drink of the area)
The Gulf, a waterfront restaurant made of shipping containers
GT’s on the Bay

What we did for fun

There are endless activities that tourists enjoy in Gulf Shores, but we chose to keep things a bit more simple since we were traveling with young kids. We spent a ton of time on the beach, where we hunted for seashells, rode waves and built sandcastles. We went on walks and set up little scavenger hunts for the boys, which they loved. And at night after dinner, we’d return to the beach to get pictures and hunt for crabs as the sunset and the beach got dark. Don’t forget your flashlights and buckets for this fun activity!

Gulf Shores AL

 

Gulf Shores AL

Gulf Shores AL

For lots of other fun ideas (and discounts!), check out the coupon books located all around the area. There’s a place called The Track go-karts that’s a must-do; it’s a wild, woody track that has three levels of wild driving—perfect for my boys!

There’s also Pirate’s Island Mini Golf, which is a great family-friendly option if you’ve had enough of the beach.

A couple other recommendations we didn’t have time to try were:
Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo, called the little zoo that could.
Owa, an amusement park

All in all, Gulf Shores was the perfect beach getaway! It’s easily accessible.   The beach is absolutely stunning, lodging is abundant and reasonably priced, and the dining, entertainment, and nightlife just can’t be beaten for families.   There’s truly something for everyone in Gulf Shores!

Gulf Shores AL

Gulf Shores AL

Let me know your favorite beach trips with kids.

For other kid-friendly trips check out my posts about Nashville, Bentonville Ar, Big Cedar Lodge Branson Mo, and Echo Bluff State Park

XOXO  Sarah~

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The ultimate packing list when renting a beach condo 

 

Beach Items:

Beach Bag
Beach Towels
Sunscreen
Hat
Sunglasses
Kid glasses
Swimsuits, a couple in case they need to dry
Soft cooler
Snacks
Goggles
Beach shoes/flip flops
Waterproof pouch for your phone.
Beach Balls/Toys/Sandcastle supplies/water guns/nets/mask and snorkel
Magazines
Water bottles
Scarfs to tie as a sarong
Boogie Board

 

Kitchen Supplies

Paper Plates and Cups
Dishwasher pods, one for each day
Trash Bags, one for each day
Coffee and supplies

 

Rainy Day Activities

Games, cards, legos, art supplies
Travel Booking information and contact numbers

 

The evening’s on the beach

Flashlights or headlamps (hands-free),  nets, buckets