issouri is the “Show-Me” state, a phrase relating to the state’s unofficial motto of “Show Me”. The origin of that phrase is popularly ascribed to an 1899 speech by Congressman Willard Vandiver, who declared that “I come from a country that raises corn and cotton, cockleburs and Democrats, and frothy eloquence neither convinces nor satisfies me. I’m from Missouri, and you have got to show me.” To this day, when someone says “I’m from Missouri” in response to something it means “I’m highly skeptical of the matter and you’re going to have to convince me.”
If you do not live in the United States the chances are good that you may not know much about this state, though you are sure to have heard about some of the people who came from here: President Harry Truman; Mark Twain; Jesse James; T. S. Eliot; Joseph Pulitzer; Tina Turner; Chuck Berry, George Washington Carver; and Tennessee Williams to name just a few.
Missouri played a big part in the settling of the American West in that St. Louis, Independence and St. Joseph were on the edge of the frontier at the time, and these were the last main places of “civilization” that white settlers saw before they set off for the west. St. Joseph was the eastern starting point for the famous Pony Express, and Independence was the place where “overlanders” often stepped off the steamboats from St. Louis, ready to embark upon the trails west. St. Louis early on became a terminus for stage coach lines from the east and later joined Independence as a starting point for similar routes to the west over the Oregon, Santa Fe and National Trails.
From 1843 to 1869, over 300,000 pioneers made the passage under terrible conditions along the Oregon Trail and other routes. The Oregon Territory drew them with stories of rich farmland and unlimited opportunities throughout these years, and in 1849 the discovery of gold in California set off a whole different kind of migration.
St. Louis was founded when, in November, 1763, Laclede and his band of traders from New Orleans chose the site for a trading post. Laclede declared that, “This settlement will become one of the finest cities in America.” After wintering at Fort Chartres, Laclede sent his lieutenant, young Auguste Chouteau, and thirty men to clear the site in February, 1764, and today St. Louis is indeed a fine city, spreading out along the banks of the mighty Mississippi River.
All of its history is well documented and proudly displayed throughout the city of St. Louis. The city’s most famous memorial to its role in the westward expansion of America is no doubt the Gateway Arch, where you can take a ride to the top if heights don’t bother you.
If you are not that interested in history, the city and its surrounding areas have plenty to amuse you year round. Often called “Sports-town USA”, St. Louis supports the Rams, (a professional football team); Cardinals (baseball); and Blues (hockey).
Major attractions include the St. Louis Zoo (one of three free admission national zoos); St. Louis Science Center; the Anheuser-Busch Brewery; Grant’s Farm (where Anheuser-Busch’s Clydesdale horses are groomed and cared for); Purina Farms; plenty of riverboat gambling and the nostalgic Union Station Shopping Center.
In Eureka, not far away, is the Six Flags over Mid-America amusement park with its hair-raising roller coasters and other rides. Or you can visit the Stanton-Meramac Caverns, in the foothills of Missouri’s Ozark Mountains, where the infamous outlaw Jesse James is said to have hidden both men and horses, and where you can take guided tours through a series of passages and vast caves.
Also just a short distance away is Kimmswick, a quaint retreat founded in 1859 by German immigrants. Today’s community is a living museum stocked with homemade crafts, antiques and historic architecture with simple charms.
There are many things to do in this area. Jefferson County is home to two state parks, Sandy Creek Covered Bridge State Park and Mastodon State Park, and eleven County parks. It is also home to five Public Conservation areas and seven Public River Accesses, and if you’re lucky you might be in the region during one of the many festivals that are held throughout the year.
Once you leave St. Louis and drive south into the rolling wooded hills you’ll be in a whole new country. Less than an hour’s drive away you’ll reach the little town of DeSoto (population: around 6,500), where the old main street has been revived to within an inch of its life, with many new cafes and boutiques and a delightfully restored old movie theatre. The city is known as “Fountain City” because of the numerous artesian wells. Water from these wells and springs was bottled and shipped by tank car to the 1904 World Fair in St. Louis.
Clean air and clean water, scenic highways and hiking trails draw visitors year-round for outdoor activities in this area. Dogwood and redbud blossoms in the spring, and colorful foliage each autumn attracts much attention. Wild flowers and creatures including deer, foxes, coyotes, bobcats and many smaller animals and birds are abundant.
And in the midst of all this, on a forty-acre lake in the south-central part of Jefferson County, is Silverleaf Resorts’ Timber Creek Resort, offering a tranquil setting for relaxing or plenty of opportunity for sailing, angling for catfish, bass and bluegill, and other active things. And it’s dog friendly, too!
An RCI-affiliated Gold Crown Resort, Timber Creek features 2-bedroom lockoff Lodge suites, a themed 18-hole miniature golf course, a 5-hole executive golf course, horseback riding, and a multi-use activity center featuring a family recreation area, a Kid’s Club facility, a fitness center with exercise equipment and tanning beds, and a video arcade.
So you can see that you and your family really don’t ever need to leave the resort if you don’t need the thrills of a rollercoaster on your vacation. Silverleaf will see to it that you have a good time and everything you need right there in the beginning of the eastern Ozark foothills.
Silverleaf specializes in drive-to resorts that are very family friendly, but they should not be overlooked by the destination traveler from far away. Very popular with people who live nearby, these resorts can actually be difficult to trade into sometimes– and that tells a lot. Summer is the ultimate time for visiting here, but the shoulder seasons should not be ignored. It can be very beautiful, and oh so much less crowded, at the off times of the year.
Come on down– you’re welcome here!
Websites with information about the area:
- http://www.silverleafresorts.com/ Silverleaf Resorts’ Web site
- http://www.desotomo.com/ The city of DeSoto
- http://stlouis.missouri.org/ For excellent information on St. Louis history as well as today’s city.
- http://www.nps.gov/jeff/index.html For history and information about Lewis and Clark, the Gateway Arch and St. Louis
- http://www.america101.us/trail/Oregontrail.html For history of the Oregon Trail, and more.
- http://www.ponyexpress.org/ The official site for the Pony Express
- http://www.ci.independence.mo.us/tourism/ Independence, MO: Things to see and do
"On the Road" is a compilation of destination ideas, resort reviews, videos and more gathered from a variety of sources that includes our readers.
The purpose of "On the Road" is to showcase some of the magnificent places in the world to visit, to give you an idea for someplace to go that you might previously not have thought of or known about. In most cases, but not all, we have provided a brief overview of a timeshare resort in the spotlighted area. Most of those resorts are either RCI Gold Crown or I.I. 5-Star quality. However, these resorts are not usually the only timeshare resorts in the area; be sure to check in your exchange catalog for a complete listing of available resorts. Check it out--- enjoy yourself, go somewhere new this year!
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