Missouri - Mark Twain and - ?! Wineries!

Trip Start Jan 01, 2007
Trip End Dec 31, 2007

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Where I stayed
Lost Valley Lake Resort

Flag of United States  , Missouri
Wednesday, September 12, 2007

  Yesterday, we drove the four+ hours from Indiana, through Illinois, and past St. Louis to our membership park here in Owensville, Missouri.  It's a beautiful resort - four pools (the two outdoor pools and spas are closed for the winter, but there are two indoor pools and spas!) - there's a small cafe', a huge indoor sports arena that has mini-golf, a theater, and lots of activities.  We swam yesterday afternoon, and it felt really good, as it was still very hot here - but it cooled off a LOT last evening, and the humidity is pretty well gone.
   Today, it was a perfectly beautiful, top-down kind of day, so we drove to the town of Hermann, about 30 minutes away.  Hermann was a German settlement established in the mid-1800's - the biggest surprise is that America's first award-winning wineries were established there - who woulda thunk it ?- vineyards and gold-medal wineries in Missouri!!   The winery we toured today was Stone Hill Winery.  It was the first of the big wineries developed here http://www.stonehillwines.com/ .  One of the most amazing features of the winery was the series of huge underground aging cellars, which were carved into a limestone hill back in the 1850's, and which are still used today.  Then Prohibition was enacted in 1920 and brought an end to the local wine industry. The huge underground cellars (the largest series of vaulted cellars in America) were used to grow mushrooms during the ensuing years.  In 1965, a family bought the winery, and is bringing Stone Hill Winery back to the glory days, with award-winning wines in many categories.  They've also converted the horse barn and stable into a charming restaurant, featuring a variety of gourmet and classical German cuisine.  We really enjoyed our afternoon there, with lunch, a tour that included the cellars, and tasting of almost all of the Stone Hill wines.  
  Tomorrow, we're thinking of following the "Mark Twain" trail, to Hannibal - a little more of what we expected to find in Missouri!!
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