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Monday, June 13, 2011

Vacation St. Charles

contributed by Stephanie Bearce

The last few weeks have been incredibly hectic. Work, keeping track of four kids, two dogs, laundry, cooking, writing a new book, whew! All I've been longing for is a vacation! But that isn't scheduled for another two months. What to do?

I decided to take my own little mini-vacation. On a hot sultry Friday afternoon I made my way down to old St. Charles. It's my favorite place to take a break. The wind drifts over the river and gives a cool breeze. The grand old trees provide shade and the cookie store fills the street with the sweet smell of snickerdoodles. Who needs a beach?

I drifted along main street admiring the shop windows and the architecture. Oh, the detail and beauty that was lavished on the buildings in the 1800's. Sleek modern lines cannot compare to the stone work and wooden details of the previous centuries.

It was too hot for cookies, even though the scent was inviting. It was the kind of day that called for ice cream. Two dips. One chocolate and one mint chip. My mouth was in heaven.

Wandering down the streets I eventually stopped in at the French Town Museum. I wanted to see if they had any information about my house on Third Street. No such luck. Apparently “my house” is a enigma even to the avid researchers of the French Town District. The curator told me there was a picture available at the county archives, but they don't know much else. Ah ha! I have my own mystery house. How intriguing.

While I was there I enjoyed the quilt show that was on display. Hours put into piecing together those worn fabrics and creating lovely bedspreads. Again, such meticulous artistry use on something as simple as a bed cover. I admire the care that women of the 1800's and 1900's gave to making a home lovely.

After I finished exploring the quilts I wandered the streets enjoying the scenes of the porches of St. Charles. They transported me back in time to a day when people did not have television or air conditioning. The heat of the summer was absorbed outside on the porch with a cool glass of tea and the lively chatter of neighbors.

So many lovely porches all designed to allow for a cool spot to sit and visit. Flowers dripped out of planters and flags hung bravely in the heat. It made me appreciate what I have right here in my own home town.

It is a beatutiful place where families work and play. Where neighbors help each other and you can still find a porch with a lawn chair and a friendly smile.

I returned home restored. I poured myself a glass of sun tea and enjoyed it on my porch with my own flowers. Maybe I don't need a vacation as much as I just need to take the time to appreciate what is in my own back yard.

1 comment:

  1. I went on a walk through Zeeland's old neighborhood back on June 13th after I read this. It doesn't compare to Old Town St. Charles, of course. I used to make a long drive to do that.