|Missouri River bank at St. Charles, Missouri|
Remember that infamous Barbara Walters question, "If you were a tree, what kind would you be?"?
Well, I think I would be a willow, most of whom have deep and widely spreading roots. Willows are used a lot for stabilizing soil in danger of sliding or eroding away. Yes, I would be a willow.
I put down roots slowly and deeply. I've lived in the St. Louis region now for over three decades, and it finally feels like home. It will never be my hometown, but I've come to like it very much, if not love it as much as my birthplace.
When I first moved here, I was enchanted by the small historic district in downtown St. Charles (which is on the west bank of the Missouri River across from St. Louis). I knew it would be my saving grace for having been torn, roots and all, from my happy, fertile, spot in Kansas City.
We moved to the St. Charles County area soon after, and have been here now for thirty-five years. I still love going down to Main Street, which is a lovely combination of the French Quarters of New Orleans with a good dose of Williamsburg thrown in for historical significance.
St. Charles, first founded in 1765 as Les Petites Côtes by French Canadian fur trader Louis Blanchette, played a significant role in the United States' westward expansion. It was the staging area and the last "civilized" stop for the Lewis and Clark Expedition, which was commissioned in 1804 by President Thomas Jefferson to explore the newly gained territory of the Louisana Purchase.
Even many native Missourians are still unaware that St. Charles served as the first Missouri capitol from its entrance into statehood in 1821 to 1826, when the capitol was moved to a more geographical center of the state, Jefferson City. For more information about historic St. Charles, click HERE.
The Fête des Petites Côtes (Festival of the Little Hills) takes place late in the summer each year, and is a great time to come visit if you like historic re-enactments, lively music, and funnel cakes.
See how far my roots have grown into this new soil of mine? I may be up for a job with the St. Charles Visitor's Center if this keeps up.
Anyhoo, I had a lovely lunch with friends this week down on Main Street, and thought you might enjoy a walk with me there.
The city is still located right on the banks of the Missouri, just within feet of the Main Street.
|The atmosphere here is always vibrant.|
The wavy cobblestone streets enforce a firm "NO HEELS" dress code
And the old wavy glass in the window panes gives an eerie, ghostly reflection to the wares displayed...
Many visitors think this was the location of the first state capitol..
|St. Charles County Courthouse|
|Missouri's first state Capitol Building|
The French influence is undeniable. Fleur-de-lis are everywhere
As are French names on shop signs...
Hmmm...this one may be pushing it...
This is a small area packed with huge charm...
With intriguing tiny alleyways...
As well as enormous monuments
|Lewis and Clark on the banks of the Missouri River |
Bronze sculpture, Pat Kennedy, 2003
I hope you find a charming spot to spend the day today.
Thinking no one would really care, I opted not to include music on this post. Well, my sweet friend, Vicki, has called me out on this decision, and so I found this music just for her.
This is an anonymous woman singing a French folk song. I'm sorry I can't be more specific than that. I love the beautiful simplicity of this music, and can well imagine a young woman hanging freshly washed linens from the balcony of one of the buildings set along the picturesque cobblestone streets of Les Petites Côtes over two hundred years ago. I hope you like it as much as I do. Enjoy!