Missouri Camping Trip-Wine and Hiking!

Hey guys! Here is the second installment of our Missouri Trip. We have been crazy busy lately trying to get our apartment cleaned out and packed up, but I wanted to finish my recap because this trip was so much fun. You can see part one of our trip here.

The next day we headed to Hermann, MO for wine tasting and touristy things. The town of Hermann is adorable and I kind of wish we had stayed at one of the BnB’s in town, they all looked so cute! We had lunch at Tin Mill Restaurant and it really wasn’t great. But then we started hitting up wineries and we still had an amazing day! We stopped at Hermanoff Winery, Stone Hill Winery, Adam Puchta Winery, OakGlenn Winery, and Robller Winery.  We also circled back to town to visit Wurst Haus, where they were kind enough to let us sample some mead from Martin Brother’s Winery mead-style wine, which is Keaton’s favorite. (In retrospect, we should have eaten lunch here, the food looked incredible).

Our top two wineries were probably OakGlenn and Robller. OakGlenn has an absolutely amazing view over the bluffs. It was enough to convince us to sit and have a glass of wine and just enjoy the landscape.

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The view from OakGlenn Winery

Robller was my #1 favorite. While it is part of the Hermann Wine Trail, it is actually about 20 minutes outside of the town. We left knowing we would get there close to closing, but we figured we would do a quick tasting and leave. Plus, they had awesome reviews so we really wanted to go. When we arrived, I was very upset initially because the hours listed outside did not match the ones listed online, and the tasting room was closed. Our wine tasting adventure had come to an abrupt stop and I was super bummed. However, we walked back to the car and a nice little lady came outside and told us “He’s coming around to meet you”. We looked over and her husband came to unlock the tasting room door. This man was super welcoming and ensured us we were not imposing, and ushered us inside for a private tasting. We tasted probably 80% of the wines listed for absolutely no tasting fee (he told us he was sorry if other wineries were charging tasting fees, but that was not how a true winery should operate). All of the wines were carefully explained and he talked fondly of the history of the winery and the thought put into the different wines. He also gave us a quick tour of the private event rooms, and let us taste a couple of their reserve wines. We were so impressed, and really enjoyed the time and effort he put into our little two-person tasting. It was such a wonderful way to end our day in Hermann, and I truly recommend this winery be added to your must-visit list if you’re near Hermann or New Haven.

I was pleasantly buzzed at this point, so we decided it was time to head back and have some dinner. We grilled some hot dogs, played SET and ERS (cards are our #1 travel game) and fell asleep pretty early because we had a long hike planned the next day!

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One of our favorite camping meals–Italian Bread Pizza. Yummmm

Thursday morning we woke up and got ready to tackle the longest trail that Meramec had to offer: The Wilderness Trail. Keaton and I are definitely amateur hikers, so we were excited to up our game a little and do this 8.5 mile hike. We had snacks, water, swimsuits (we weren’t sure if there would be opportunities for swimming) and set out. The Missouri State Parks organization is well-run and the trail was clearly marked, and they even had a box to drop a card if you were out hiking, so if anything were to go wrong on the trail there would be a time and date stamp of when you set out. There are also options for hike-in campsites and overnight stays on this trail, so it was nice knowing that there would be someone aware of our whereabouts if we decided to do something like that.

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The trail was a lot of fun, and definitely challenging. Throughout the loop it was really cool to see how the forest changed (Missouri is actually a very diverse area as far as plant life goes). We also saw a fresh spring, a cave, and passed a bluff overlooking the river.

Honestly, the worst part of the trail ended up being gnats! The day ended up being overcast and there was a definite threat of rain hanging over us, which made the bugs go crazy. Between the bugs, the impending rain, and Keaton’s desire to always be the fastest at everything, we covered the trail extremely quick. We finished in about 4.5 hours, despite the sign saying it should take about 8 🙂

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Sweaty and TIRED

This trail was a great first long hike, and I would recommend this length to anyone who has done a 3-4 miler and is wanting to get into longer hiking adventures. We plan to do some hiking in California in August, so this gave us a good idea of how fast we can hike different length trails.

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A view from the trail–it was so green!

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The stream made by the freshwater spring. You could tell it was coming from underground because the water was so cold.

After hurrying back to our campsite to make sure our chairs didn’t get rained on, we ate our packed lunch (we opted not to stop on the trail thanks to the dang gnats). We were pretty beat at this point. Like, probably could have taken a nap, but naps in tents in the middle of the day are not usually very comfortable. So we decided to take a trip into Sullivan and see if there was a coffee shop or somewhere we could hang out for a bit and recharge.

We ended up finding Our Story Coffee House with a quick Google search, and their coffee was great! They also had lots of cute clothes and house decor in their boutique. It was a nice way to cool off and relax after the long hike.

At this point we still had yet to have more than a few raindrops, but the clouds were still hanging around. I decided to check on the weather for our last night. We had gotten so lucky by spending the only rainy day of our trip at a hotel, so I wasn’t thrilled about the idea of having to deal with soggy tents and tarps on our last night. Keaton and I weighed out our options, and ended up deciding to head on home Thursday night. We planned to leave Friday morning around 9 or 10 anyway, and Keaton was anxious to start his studying for PT boards. We decided it wasn’t worth it to stay if it meant an extra headache once we got home drying out the tent, unpacking wet gear from the Blazer, etc. Plus, we were pretty tired and our bed sounded fabulous.

Thankfully, our campsite had only been $23 a night, so money wasn’t a huge factor in determining if we stayed or not. This is why I love camping–you can’t find a hotel room that cheap anywhere! We definitely had gotten our money’s worth, so there was no stressing over heading home a bit early.

This trip was absolutely amazing from start to finish! We had perfect weather, great food, and a lot of quality time just spent together. I am so thankful we decided to take this time to get away for a second, before what ended up being a hectic summer really started.

I encourage anyone who is curious to check out what parks your state has to offer, or look into national parks! I know we have some as close as 30 minutes away, so I’m sure there is somewhere you can easily go to get away from reality. Even if it’s just a night, it is so good to unplug and unwind. If you need any help planning or looking for trip ideas, comment or check out my Contact page 🙂

With love and local travel,

❤ Alex

 

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