Super Late Edition of Festival Friday

Okay, okay, I know. I’m a horrible blogger. I’ve already missed one day this week (so much guilt) and here I am trying to post at 10 pm on a Friday night (I wasn’t always as lame as being home and in my pjs on a Friday night but apparently having children does such things to ya). I have just had one of those weeks where I feel like all I’ve done is chase my tail. I worked an extra shift at work and Hubby has been working into the evenings which puts me in overtime for Mommy duty. I will try to do better. I promise.

So, for this week’s edition of Festival Friday, there’s not a wide array of activities since the Easter holiday is upon us. I have a premonition that your weekend (and mine and your neighbors and my sister’s friend’s daughter’s pet cat) will have a weekend full of ham dinners (don’t forget the cheesy taters) and egg hunts. Quick funny story…. My oldest sister hid dyed Easter eggs under her bed when she was a kid because they were so pretty she didn’t want to get rid of them. Took my mom weeks to figure out what that awful stench was!

This pic was hijacked from Google

I have never heard of such a thing as what I’m about to reveal to you, but Kansas City is hosting an Easter Parade tomorrow (Saturday). Location is Zona Rosa on Dixson Avenue. Parade starts at 11am and you can call 816-587-8180 for more info.

St Louis is also playing host to several events over the holiday weekend. Head to the Anheuser-Busch Consumer Hospitality Center on Saturday from 11am-1pm for their Clydesdale Camera Day and get a chance to snap a shot with one of the famous Busch Clydesdales. If you’re a classic car fan, looks like the 51st Annual Concours d’Elegance will be on Saturday in the Upper Muny parking lot in Forest Park. This event features the classics, sporty rides, and mini trucks. And no, I don’t know what Concours d’Elegance means. Take a drive to Six Flags at your chance to hunt for 4,000 (yep, that’s how many zeros there are) eggs on Sunday, the holiday itself. Be quick to register (registration begins at 10:30), as this is only open to the first 1,000 visitors. Also, this event is only for children 12 and under.

If you’re into the Farmers Market thing and live in the Springfield area, you can check out the grand opening of the Spring Gardening Kick-Off. I badly wish Jefferson City had a decent Farmers Market. Nashville living provided me access to the biggest, widest selection of locally grown fruits, veggies, and even meats! It was fabulous. This event is celebrating the new Farmers Market of the Ozarks and will feature vendors, cooking demos, live music, and kiddie to-dos. Be sure to bring canned or box food for donation as a thank you.

Hope somebody out there can get out and enjoy some of these activities. Be sure and let me know what you got to do. Hope everyone has a Hoppy Easter (overused I know, yet I just couldn’t resist myself). The Gravel-Roadin’ Guru, Pan

Wishlist Wednesday

Good morning, er… afternoon folks! It may be your afternoon but it definitely isn’t mine. After working last night, I slept most of the day, just recently waking up, to prepare for another night shift tonight. Only a couple more weeks of this and I will be working a different shift. Boy, am I ready for it too!

Today’s Wishlist Wednesday takes us to……. Wenwood Winery in Bland, MO. On one of our spontaneous gravel-roadin’ adventures several years back, Hubby and I stumbled upon this country farm winery off a gravel road (how fitting!) and we haven’t forgotten it since that beautiful fall day. Wenwood Winery is located in Bland, MO (I know, I’ve already said that), at 1132 Brick Church Road to be exact. Bland can be found off Highway 28 just east of Belle and just west of Owensville.

If you are a lover of the fine wines (or the cheap wines, to me it makes me no difference), you have to get to Wenwood! This small-town winery features an assortment of dry or sweet, red or white. The owner of this winery, told Hubby and I that he studied the exquisite art of wine making all the way in Italy (well it was Italy or France, but I’m pretty sure it was Italy). After his wife took over her family’s beautiful farm in Bland, they turned some of the old farm buildings into a picturesque setting for a winery. During the spring and summer months, Wenwood Winery plays host to lots of live music events and festivals. You can’t tell me that live music, a beautiful setting, and awesome wine isn’t calling to you right now!

You can visit Wenwood’s website at See their event calendar for all that’s coming up. Until tomorrow, The Gravel-Roadin’ Guru, Pan

Karst Topography at Ha Ha Tonka

That’s right. Karst topography. Are you reaching back yet? Go ahead, reach back far in your memory (probably middle school years) of Geography. Yesterday, when we were at Ha Ha Tonka State Park, I remembered I had learned this once before. Many years ago actually but we don’t have to talk about that. Karst topography means an area that is composed of springs, caves, natural bridges, bluffs, and the like. Exactly what we found yesterday at Ha Ha Tonka. According to one of the brochures I picked up, this park is a prime example of karst topography. If you go there, you can definitely see why. The views are amazing! Sitting on the shores (and encompassing almost an entire cove) of The Lake of the Ozarks, sits this glorious piece of Missouri history.

In the early 1900s, a man named Robert Snyder fell in love with the area now known as Ha Ha Tonka and bought nearly 5000 acres of land here. One year after construction of his castle (as shown above), in 1906, Mr. Snyder died in an auto accident. About 20 years later, his sons finished the castle but another 20 years later, the castle was left in ruins after the devastating fire that brought the castle to the skeleton it is today. Not only is the castle worth visiting, but there are 14 trails, of all lengths to hike. The most scenic (purely my opinion) is the trail bringing you to the spring at the bottom of the bluff. Caution: there are 316 steps to go down and 316 steps to go up!! You think you’re in shape until you reach about step 20 on the way back. Talk about working up a sweat!

There are some 48 million gallons of water that run through this spring DAILY! This absolutely amazes me. I can’t even begin to imagine how much that actually is. And not only that, the water comes from as far away as 18 miles just to this spring. This area is home to all different wildlife.

See the turtles basking in the afternoon sun? And there is……


Missouri’s glorious dogwood trees are in full bloom and sprinkle throughout the wooded acres. Yesterday was even warm enough for some to get the guts to swim in the lake. Not me though. Still too cold. I barely even had the courage to stick my tootsies in for a dip.

All in all, our trip was great. There was so much to explore yet so little time. Baby Girl didn’t do too bad being dragged here, there, and everywhere. Be sure to stay in touch this week for more photos of our trip. Hope you’re having a great start to your week! Pan

Sunday Funday…Finally!

Oh folks. It’s gonna be a good day. Why? Well, we’re fulfilling this week’s Wishlist Wednesday and sure enough, we’re heading down to the beautiful, blue Lake of the Ozarks and hitting the trails of Ha Ha Tonka State Park. I can’t wait! We’re taking Baby Girl with us so I hope she will cooperate and enjoy the trails as much as we do.

I’ve made up a nice chicken salad (grapes included. Yummy!) and have our lunches packed for our picnic lunch. I am so excited. I can’t remember the last time I had a picnic lunch. Actually, I’m not sure that I’ve ever had a picnic lunch. Or if I did, it’s just been so long that I can’t remember ever having one. Either way, it’s been a long time (or not at all). I’ve got the blanket thrown in the back and Baby Girl’s sunblock in the pack. Hehe. I’m a poet and didn’t know it. I’ve got my heavy-duty, strappy, outdoorsy sandals laced and my bug-eye shades in hand. I’m ready!

The last several summers, we haven’t even been getting good weather until June. I know Easter is almost always cold (if it’s 70 or below, that’s cold to me) and usually Mother’s Day isn’t real warm either. But here we are, a month and a half before Mother’s Day with 90 degree temps. Amazing. I’m really feeling the love of the Lord this year. I think He knew I needed lots of sunshine and outdoor time after the many long, agonizing days I spent inside walking with my colic infant.

Make sure and visit me tomorrow so I can show you all my pics and fill you in on the majesty of Ha Ha Tonka. Hope your Sunday is indeed a fun day! Pan

Late Night Posting

Okay, here I am. 10:30 at night and just now making my daily post. Hey, I can’t help it. I’ve been one busy gal today. Besides being Mommy all day, I made my purchase of garden plantings for the year. My front two flower beds will be full of colorful beauties and the hubby planted the vegetable garden with cucumbers, squash, watermelon (my fav!), okra, green beans, and maters (of course). We do this every year. Till the garden, make straight lines and beautiful hills and plant tons of stuff and usually it bombs. We still do it every year. One of these times we have to get it right. Right?

Tonight we spent time with Hubby’s family doing the grill thing. What summer day doesn’t deserve a charcoal-grilled dinner? In case you don’t know the correct answer, it’s NONE!

I hope you got to enjoy this day and are thankful for all God has blessed you with. Be sure to see me tomorrow when I am going to release my Sunday Funday plans! Sleep tight, The Gravel-Roadin’ Guru, Pan

Festival Friday

Oh Friday, sweet Friday. Bring on the weekend! After a long work week (I put in 4 shifts instead of my usual 3. And no, 3 shifts isn’t lazy-I work 12 hour shifts!), I am so ready to get this weekend started. I think I can honestly declare myself a summerholic. And I’m proud of it! I’ve decided I need a job that allows me to have off during the summer. If you hear of anything, let me know!

Last week for Festival Friday, we featured the Hermann Wurstfest. Did anybody get down there and eat sausage and watch the weiner derby? We want to hear your stories if you did. For today’s Festival Friday, we’ve got several to-do’s around Missouri. If equine-stuff is your forte, Missouri has got the weekend just for you! In Boone County (Columbia), the Maple Leaf Quarter Horse Show will be at the fairgrounds all weekend. If you’re going to be down around Springfield, you can hit up the Horsefest at the Ozark Empire Fairgrounds located at 3001 N Grant Ave. The Horsefest features demonstrations, horses on display, and they boast “hundreds” of equine exhibits. This event is daily all weekend from 8:30-5. Last but definitely not least, if you want some major horse action, head to the Sprint Center in Kansas City where the PBR (that stands for Professional Bull Riding if you’ve been living under a rock for several years) will be for the 11th annual Kansas City Invitational.

Now, for something that sounds kid-friendly and fun to me, Springfield is also hosting the Cherry Blossom Kite Festival in honor of the opening of the Japanese Garden (for the season) at the Botanical Center located at 2400 S Scenic. This event is Saturday only, starting at 11am and ending a short 4 hours later at 3pm. Questions can be phoned to 417-891-1515. If you don’t know what a cherry blossom is, I’ve stolen a picture from the net for you. They are gorgeous trees, I believe to be indiginous to Japan. The trees were brought to the US from Japan in 1912 (a gift of 3,000 to be exact), and planted in Washington DC by First Lady Taft and a Japanese ambassador’s wife. From there, it just blossomed. Get it! Ha!

For all you history enthusiasts, you need to get to Branson. On Sunday, the Centennial History Museum opens downtown and then all weekend, “Branson Salutes Vietnam Veterans”. For all the info for the veterans, see or call 417-230-2278.

Get outside Missouri! I know I will. Until tomorrow, Pan

Trail Thoughts

Afternoon Missouri! Hope everybody’s  day has been swell so far. Mine is just getting started (worked last night and again tonight). Well, yesterday we talked about Ha Ha Tonka State Park down by Camdenton (Lake of the Ozarks area). After I posted, I spent a little more time researching the area. I had no idea how many trails this park has! There are 14 different trails ranging from 0.2 miles to 6.5 miles so really there’s something for everybody. I’m excited! Hope you all can come join me there soon! Pan

Wishlist Wednesday

Happy Wishlist Wednesday, Missouri! We are having another absolutely beautiful day! I am loving it! I just had my first Guru whoops. I had my whole entry completely typed and low and behold, gone! I have no idea what happened. So, here we go again. For our 2nd edition of Wishlist Wednesday, I am wishing to go to Ha Ha Tonka State Park down at the Lake of the Ozarks. I have been itching to hit some awesome trails and soak up all this sunshine and this would be just the perfect place to do it! If you’ve never been here before, you don’t know what you’re missing! Miles of hiking trails, caves to explore, fishing down on the lake, and let’s not forget the empowering castle ruins, which were mostly destroyed by a fire years ago. You can spend a whole day here and probably not see all the park has to offer. So, strap on your hiking shoes and get on down to Ha Ha Tonka State Park. Until tomorrow, this is The Gravel-Roadin’ Guru, Pan

Travel Tip Tuesday

Happy Tuesday folks! Glad to have you with me here again. Today is the first edition of Travel Tip Tuesday. Now, again, this is all still in the works so I definitely need your input. Loveit, like it, or like it not at all? Our tip for this week is: Buy an atlas or map and leave it in your car. We are living in a world where everything is just a button away. I have an iPhone, I know about this. I can be just about anywhere and push my “Maps” button on my phone pinpointing my location within seconds. However, even with our awesome technological advances, this is Missouri and we do still have hills and hollers. You hopefully know that cell phone service isn’t guaranteed. During our adventures together, we’ll definitely be taking some back roads and I assure you that map will come in handy. Not only is it handy for the obvious reasons, but also for targeting future destinations. There have been several times before where Robby and I have come across some waterway that we knew we wanted to kayak but couldn’t right then and there. I would put an “X” marks the spot and then we knew how to get back to that one super cool place (usually out in the middle of nowhere). I hope ya’ll are enjoying this beautiful day! See you back here again tomorrow with our Wishlist Wednesday. Until then, The Gravel-Roadin’ Guru, Pan

Happy Monday, Missouri!

Good morning all! Happy to have you back here with me today. While most of you are at work and hard at it already, I have my barefeet kicked up while on my sun porch drinking my morning Cup-O-Jo. Why is it called that anyway? How did they get “Jo” from “coffee”? Enlighten me please if you happen to be the one fantastically great trivia person who knows the answer to this query. So, if you’ve been following me, you’ll know that I spent my Saturday morning (and what a gorgeous one it was!) roaming the walks of our glorious State Capital, here in Jefferson City. I’m sure most of you have seen the Capital building or may have even taken a tour (most of us were probably dragged here as children for a fieldtrip in school). Have you ever really toured the grounds and gotten to relish in it’s beauty?

If any of you have children, you would have been able to participate in the Easter egg hunt that was taking place in the Governor’s Gardens at the Governor’s Mansion, just down the street from the Capital.

For those of you who don’t know, this building sits atop a hill on the banks of the Missouri. During the summer months, the fountains are full of water. Go ahead, toss in your coin and make a wish! The landscaping is amazing. The tulips and other spring beauties are at their most beautiful right now (great for shooting some photos).

Aside from all this, there are the railroad tracks, the Old Lohman Building, and the Rozier Gallery to view.

The Old Lohman Building sits on the right

I think a lot of folks had the same idea as me. There were a lot of roamers on Saturday. It was great to see people getting out and about!

There’s something about a train that gives you that “old world charm” feeling

So, what are you waiting for? Get out of that chair and  engulf yourself in all Downtown Jefferson City has to offer! I will see you back here again tomorrow. Pan, The Gravel-Roadin’ Guru