I love summertime. Even thought it comes with excessive heat & humidity in St. Louis. This year, I made a valiant effort to stay in town, so I could do all of the summertime things I love to do! A lot of people would argue that I still traveled a lot, but compared to past summers where I’ve attended MANY out-of-town weddings plus taken an additional trip or two, I felt like I had a lot of time at home.
I wrote about my adventures outside of St. Louis in separate posts this summer (my time in Europe visiting Corsica, Switzerland, and England, my roadtrip to check off three new states, and a beautiful wedding in Arkansas), but I saved all of the St. Louis photos for one big end-of-summer post. If you ever want to come visit in the summer, here’s a glimpse of all the things we could do together!
Book Club! Yes, I started a Book Club. It’s probably more accurate to say that I was pressured into starting a Book Club after posting a picture of all of the books I was looking to get rid of following a major purge I did in the spring. Our first meeting was in June. (I haven’t been recommending our first book, because I hated all of the characters. But, they are quite complicated, and the author did win a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, so it’s definitely well-written.)
I’m sure I talked about the Muny last year. It’s one of my favorite summer activities in St. Louis. The Muny is “America’s oldest and largest outdoor musical theater.” It’s huge (and when I say huge, I mean huge…it seats around 11,000 people!) and located in the middle of Forest Park. This was its 99th season! How incredible is that?! Throughout the summer, Broadway musicals run for a week at a time. In total, there are seven musicals, and this year, I made it to all seven shows! The first was “Jesus Christ Superstar.” I realized this season that I’m not into the 70’s.
Introducing my Irish friend to Shakespeare in the Park was so fun! We enjoyed a picnic while watching “The Winter’s Tale.” Like always, it was so well done!
My mom was here for a visit in late-June. We did a lot of fun things around town including visiting some of my favorite restaurants, spending an afternoon at the Missouri Botanical Gardens, exploring historic St. Charles for the first time, and introducing her to the Muny.
I saw The Little Mermaid at the Muny about six years ago. This has been one of my favorites since childhood, and the actors were amazing! I was especially amazed with the costume they came up with for Ursula the Sea Witch!
We went to see Jake Owen and fireworks in Forest Park for the 4th of July!
Introducing my Chinese friends to the Muny! We saw “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.” It was well-done, but I realized that musical comedies aren’t my favorite.
We had some water drama on my street this summer. Long story short, there were upwards of three (maybe even more?) water main breaks on my block, which led to long periods without water over the span of 4-6 weeks. The first time they turned it off was the night of our first Book Club meeting (which I was hosting). We got about five minutes’ warning. It was turned off for almost 2.5 days a couple of weeks later, which caused me to lose my joy! This was also a lesson in how unprepared I am for an emergency. When the end of the world comes, don’t come to my house, I don’t have food and water on hand to survive.
My freshman roommate had a teacher conference in St. Louis! We grilled out at my place and then walked to get some delicious ice cream for dessert! She’s been a loyal visitor to all of my homes over the past 11 summers, so it was fun to show her my new place!
Our Chinese friends have been raving about their skincare routine for some time. They swear by eating pig feet, because it contains so much collagen. They had a bunch of us girls over for a night of pig feet soup and facials. I thought the facial masks were so funny!! Several other friends were braver than me and tried some of the shock therapy options – yikes!
“All Shook Up” was one of my favorite shows at the Muny this summer! It’s all Elvis music. The story was cute, and the music was awesome!
My dad had a milestone birthday this summer (which I’m sure I’m not at liberty to disclose). I decided that a big surprise was in order to celebrate the occasion. I bought tickets to the Tuesday Practice Rounds at the Masters, so the two of us will be experiencing Augusta National for the first time next April! If it’s possible, I think he’s even more excited than me.
“Father of the Bride” has to be one of my favorite films of all time! Or maybe just the one I’ve seen the most? I was so excited to see Steve Martin & Martin Short live at the FOX Theatre this summer! They are hilarious, and Steve’s Bluegrass band is AWESOME!
I didn’t take a picture the night of “The Unsinkable Molly Brown” at the Muny, because it was 105* F, and we were SWEATING! But, it was one of my favorite musicals of the season! If you’ve never seen it, I highly recommend it!
Each year, my church hosts groups of students who come to do service projects in the city. They ask people in the congregation to take students home for lunch after church on Sunday. I had 10 students (mostly middle school & high school with one college student acting as a chaperone) over for lunch. I almost never spend time with this age group, and I laughed at myself when I started to do the math during lunch and realized I’m nearly 20 YEARS OLDER than most of them! When did that happen?!?!? After lunch, we took a walk to the St. Louis Basilica, which has one of the largest collections of mosaic tiles in the world. Had to squeeze in a bit of culture during the time I had them!
Book Club Meeting #2! The Shoemaker’s Wife was a MUCH better read! Our hostess for the evening had themed snacks – so creative!
Apparently, this is the eighth season of Movies on Art Hill, and somehow it was my first time going!! I blame it on the fact that they only run for four Fridays in the middle of summer. Typically, travel or other plans get in the way, but this year, I was determined to go. Art Hill is the large hill in front of our Art Museum in Forest Park. The setting was gorgeous for a movie, and it was so fun to watch a new-to-me movie – Alfred Hitchock’s “To Catch A Thief” starring Carey Grant and Grace Kelley! It made me want to visit the south of France again soon!
I attended a baby shower…something I’ve only done once or twice in my life (despite having lots of friends with babies)! Baby Girl arrived today, and I’m so excited to meet her!
We celebrated the birthday of a sweet friend (who shares a birthday with my brother!). Her dog, Biscuit, wanted in on the fun, too!
“A Chorus Line” was another musical from the 70’s at the Muny this season. I joked that you had to have lived through the 70’s to love the music and musicals that came out of that decade.
A friend gifted me a free week of Blue Apron meals. I invited a friend over to prepare the first meal with me. All three meals were delicious, but they are time consuming to prepare. I haven’t signed up for more weeks to be delivered quite yet, but it definitely allowed me to make some fancy meals with ingredients I would never buy on my own!
Summer in St. Louis is not complete without several baseball games. While I didn’t go to any in June or July, I’ve made up for it in August! One of my Vevey friends was in town for work, so we took her to a game with a few other Vevey alumni.
It just so happened it was the night of the Rally Cat! Somehow a kitten ran on the field during play. They had to send someone out to catch it. He didn’t pick it up by the nape of its neck, and it bit him and clawed at him as he carried it off the field running at full speed! After the cat was removed, Yadier Molina hit a GRAND SLAM off of the next pitch! In the 2011 World Series, the Cardinals had a Rally Squirrel that had a similar effect. I don’t know what it is about this town and animals on the field!
Final show at the Muny was Newsies. It was one of my favorites! I had never seen the musical or the movie, and I loved it!
Some of my Miami friends have been hosting an annual Clam Bake party at their home for eight or nine years. I’ve made an appearance once or twice, and this year, I thought it could be a fun way to see a lot of friends at once. Sadly, their kiddos got sick a few days before the party, and they had to cancel, because they were contagious. I decided to head to Cincinnati anyway to catch up with a few of the friends I hoped to see. I think I was in town less than 24 hours, but it was great to get some quality time with a few of my favorites.
If you’re ever in Cincinnati, I recommend Taste of Belgium! It was delicious!
Idina Menzel performed at the FOX Theatre, and it was a great show! (For those of you who don’t know her, she was the original Maureen in the musical, Rent, the original Elphaba in the musical, Wicked, and the voice of Elsa in the movie, Frozen.)
While I’ve done most of the major things to do in the city of St. Louis, I’ve spent very little time outside of the city. This summer, that changed when a group of us spent a Saturday hiking in Taum Sauk Mountain State Park. We hiked the Mina Sauk Falls Trail to the highest waterfall in Missouri. I expected a really tall waterfall, but we found that the waterfall trickles over big boulders. It’s the tallest because of the elevation at its starting point – not because the waterfall itself is so tall. We climbed up the boulders and had our picnic lunch on the waterfall.
My friend’s dog, Willis, joined us on the hike. He LOVES the water, so he was happy to play while we had lunch.
The hiking crew…and Willis!
We had such a beautiful day, and I was actually surprised by the lovely views!
Next, we visited Elephant Rocks State Park. I’ve heard about this place for a few years, and while it’s a pretty easy walking trail through the park, the rocks were incredible!
Aren’t these granite rocks ENORMOUS?!?! Wow!
As I’m sure you’ve heard, a total solar eclipsed crossed the US on August 21. My aunt lives about 30 minutes south of downtown St. Louis, which was in the path of totality. The total solar eclipse lasted 2.5 minutes! It was amazing!!
At 1:15pm, exterior lights were turnings on – much like they would at dusk.
I nabbed a few pictures from facebook friends who did a better job of capturing photos than we did with our iPhones.
The phases of the eclipse…WOW!!
More Cardinals baseball…this time without the Rally Cat and without a victory!
My friends were on the Kiss Cam!! It was the PERFECT night for a ballgame, and it was so fun to be there for their moment of fame! (Though, we were disappointed by another Cardinals loss.)
One of the annual events in St. Louis I’ve never experienced is the Festival of Nations. I was so amazed by how many countries are represented. There are food booths from all. over. the. world. Senegal, Laos, Uganda, Haiti, Colombia, China, Japan, Argentina, Greece, Turkey, Scotland…I could go on and on! There are also a number of booths selling clothing, jewelry, and art from a variety of countries. And finally – the music. There are a number of stages set up featuring dancing, singing, and music from all over the world! It was hotter than I expected, so we only lasted a few hours, but it was awesome!
My friend and I enjoyed some of our favorite foods from Turkey! (If you’ve been a longtime reader, you may remember that the two of us spent a weekend in Istanbul with a couple of other friends in September 2014.)
Our littlest friend was in charge of finding the best things to see and do in the program!
The final hoorah of the summer is actually a bittersweet celebration. This sweet friend (in the middle of the photo below) is relocating to Barcelona after a two-year stint here in St. Louis. She is a gem, and I’ve loved spending time with her and introducing her to some of my favorite things in St. Louis, like the Muny, Shakespeare in the Park, and FOX Theatre! I even got to take her mum with me to a musical at the FOX Theatre when she was visiting from Ireland last fall. I will miss having her here, but look forward to our next rendezvous whenever and wherever that might be!
Hope you had a wonderful summer! I’m always sad to see it go, but here’s to a season of new adventures and experiences!