Lewis & Clark Boathouse & Nature Center
The center is dedicated to the adventures and accomplishments of the famous Lewis & Clark Expedition. This certified site on the Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail is located in Historic St. Charles along the Missouri River near the 1804 campsite of the Corps of Discovery. Since 1769, Saint Charles, Missouri, a restored historic city on the Missouri River, has been welcoming visitors to its shores. Founded by French Canadian fur trader Louis Blanchette, the city was named Les Petites Cotes, ("The Little Hills") which later evolved into Saint Charles. The town regularly welcomed guests from many nations and grew into an important trading center for countless pioneers. Because of its strategic location on the Missouri River and its entrance to the western territory known as the Louisiana Purchase, it was a critical destination for thousands upon thousands of travelers.
Bask in the Glow of Missouri's Natural Wonders
If hiking, biking or bird watching are more your style, head out on the Katy Trail (www.katytrailstatepark.comand www.katytrail.showmestate.com) or any number of dozens of trails in the area for some of the most spectacular scenery in the Midwest. Towering bluffs, flowing rivers and emerald green fields define the landscape and entice the senses in the area known as America's breadbasket. The level hiking and biking paths and woodland areas are home to hundreds of species of flora, fauna and wildlife native to Missouri and the Midwest. White-tailed deer, beaver and turkey are regularly spotted. Fishing is also excellent in the area and many places sell equipment and bait for the interested angler.
For the adventurous, consider camping out under the stars just like the pioneers and the Native American Indians did. Many campgrounds are in the area and cater to a variety of needs.
National signature Event
St. Charles was honored as a National Signature Event site for the 2004 celebration of Lewis and Clark. The events commemorated the heritage of Lewis and Clark and the epic exploration of the Corps of Discovery, and particularly of their rendezvous in St. Charles May 16-21, 1804. Annually you may visit St. Charles on the third weekend in May when Lewis & Clark Heritage Days Festival takes place. Reenactors from the nation camp and bring history to life.
Today, Saint Charles' riverfront historic district is filled with quaint shops and brick-lined streets, quiet places for reflection and creative cuisine that includes American fare, French, Mexican, Italian and Spanish influences. Visit the Greater St. Charles Convention and Visitor's website at www.historicstcharles.com, or visit www.preservationjournal.org.
Saint Charles was also Missouri's First State Capitol and the home of pioneer and explorer Daniel Boone and his family. It was Boone who created Boon's Lick Trail through the Saint Charles countryside, out of which grew the Santa Fe Trail and later the Oregon Trail - critical paths for early pioneers seeking a better life in the western United States. Tour Boone's family home and pioneer village in neighboring Defiance, Missouri (www.geocities.com/Athens/Parthenon/7109).
Music and Theatre at Night
And when night falls, take a stroll down the historic district under the glow of antique gaslights or relax to the soothing sounds of horses hooves clip clopping along while snuggling in a horse-drawn carriage. If you're ready to turn it up a notch, catch live music on North Main or take in homegrown blues and jazz music at clubs down and around Main Street.
Unwind along the Wine Road
Wine lovers can tour the spectacular rolling hills of Missouri countryside in search of award-winning reds, whites and dessert wines. Collectively, the wineries of Augusta (www.augusta-missouri.com) and Hermann, Missouri (www.hermanmo.com) have won hundreds of awards in state, national and international competitions. Yet the charming towns in which these wineries are located are down-to-earth and uniquely American.
Nearby is the world-famous Anheuser Busch brewery (www.budweisertours.com/docs/stltour.htm), where you can take a tour and sample some of the brewery's well-known beers like Budweiser and Bud Light. Area microbreweries like The Trailhead Brewing Company (www.trailheadbrewing.com) in St. Charles offer a variety of hand-crafted beers that vary seasonally.
Worlds Fair Site
At Forest Park, site of the 1904 World's Fair that commemorated the 100-year- anniversary of Lewis and Clark's journey, discover the world-famous St. Louis Zoo, The Municipal Opera (Muny), the Art Museum and the recently expanded History Museum. Close by is the world-renown Missouri Botanical Garden, and various unique neighborhoods like Soulard with its oldest continuously operating farmers' market west of the Mississippi and "The Hill" - the area's historic