Monday, August 25, 2008

EPIPHANY


Hi Everyone.
I just returned from several speaking engagements in Missouri. While in Cape Girardeau my hostess took me a neat little place for breakfast called, "My Daddy's Cheesecake." A darling little place that isn't a chain! While enjoying a low fat Blueberry muffin and coffee, I told her that I couldn't wait to write about it. Then it dawned on me that I would have to wait a long time until I got to the "M" states. But if I waited the feeling of this place, the warm comoraderi of the locals, the eclectic mix of cultures drawn by the university here, would have lost it's freshness in my mind.
That is when it hit me. I can't continue to write about places to visit in the USA like I started out. First of all, you can read about anywhere in the states on the Internet. It is the personal experience that gives travel information its "sparkle."
I'd forget the charming interior, a great place to meet and catch up. The friendly staff that is attentive, but not intrusive. The fact is isn't a chain, but a real American success story that started as a daughter persuading her father to bake just four cheesecakes for the resturant she worked at and then persuaded her customers to try a piece of "my daddy's cheesecake."
The desserts became a local sensation and now in addition to having a successful store, they also ship desserts all across the country. And I can say in good authority that their food is yummy. I liked it so well that I returned for lunch before I left the Cape.
Visit their website at: http://www.mydaddyscheesecake.com/
So I've decided to change direction in this blog. I will write about places where either I have visited or a friend has recommended. Today I want to continue with the Cape.
I absolutely LOVE Missouri. Cape Girardeau is in the southeast part of the state just 118 miles south of St. Louis. If you happen to be visiting St. Louis, make some time to spend a few days in the Cape.
Cape Girardeau is on the Mississippi River. In the 1730's a Frenchman named Jean Baptiste Girardot established a trading post at a rock jutting from the bank which became known as Cape Rock. In 1793 the community was founded by Louis Lorimier, however, the town was named for Girardot and was called Cape Girardeau.
This place is full of history and that is exactly my cup of tea. The downtown area is a treasure mine of antiques. Shop after shop. And plenty of places to refresh yourself as well while resting your feet.
After many devestating floods, a flood wall was constructed to protect the downtown area. Along the wall are impressive murals depicting the Cape's history. Also on the wall is the "Missouri Wall of Fame," with paintings of the states famous sons and daughters. I was really surprised at some. Did you know that Walt Disney, Betty Grable, Bob Barker, and Sheryl Crow are from Missouri?
Nature is a big attraction. I visited in August. Although a little warm, they had plenty, almost too much, rain and the vegetation was dense and green. I could hardly keep my eyes on the road between the green fields and huge blue sky!
Be sure and visit the Trail of Tears State Park which is a memorial to the Cherokee who died on the forced march to Oklahoma beginning in 1838. This tragic part of our history is painful to even imagine. There is an Interpretive Center there and it really reminds us to treat our fellow man with compassion.
There is golfing and fishing, hiking and biking. And several wineries! For you shoppers there is a nice mall and the usual chains. For more information, visit the Cape Girardeau Convention and Visitors Bureau.

You will find some great bed and breakfasts there. Oh, and don't forget to visit My Daddy's Cheesecake!
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NEXT UP: My absolute favorite place in the Show Me state of Missouri, BRANSON!