The second year of marriage started with us visiting a new city! A tradition we have started with our first anniversary was to take an “Anniversary Trip” to somewhere new. No kiddos. No kitties. No work. No business. Just the two of us.
Our idea was to step away from “life” (at least as much as possible). Even if it’s just for a couple of days. So, this year when discussing where we wanted to head, Ryan randomly said “how about St. Louis.” Being adults and doing a little bit of research, we decided it would be a fun place to head.After a busy weekend with each side of our families, celebrating Nicole and Caleb’s birthdays, we hit the road. Ryan took the wheel and off towards the west we went.
Since lunch was late, we began to get a little hungry a few hours in… however, we hit a national forest and there were NO restaurants open. Finally, we found an Applebee’s. THE COLDEST APPLEBEES EVER! So cold, Ryan went out to the car to find sweatshirts. (We may have over eaten and were a little tired, we went next door for a room for the night).
We arrived in St. Louis early afternoon on our 2nd Anniversary. Ryan found a parking lot near all the downtown attractions and we began our adventure! One of our favorite parts of going to a new city, walking around and just enjoying all the sites. Everything from beautiful parks to stunning architecture.
Who could resist taking a photo of a pink suit statue?!
This is a Nicole in her natural habitat…
What is a trip to St. Louis if you don’t visit the arch? Incomplete… that’s what it would be.
To get to the top of the arch, you are compacted into a “container” with up to 6 people. There is NO room to move a centimeter. It is not for someone who get claustrophobic or has an issue with someone in their bubble. However, the view was breath taking and well worth the sardine can ride. Nicole even managed to be OK at the top… even if she has a slight fear of heights.
Can you spot Nicole? Good thing she had on a BRIGHT pink shirt. Otherwise she may have gotten lost.
Our initial plans for our anniversary dinner was to do a sunset river boat cruise. By the time we went to buy our tickets… they were sold out. Total bummer. All day while walking around, we looked for places to eat. Finally, we decided to ask the lovely lady working at the tourist desk at the Gateway Arch. She recommended an Italian place just a couple blocks away, Charlie Gitto’s. Talk about deliciousness. Who knew putting pepper on pasta was an amazing flavor combo?! We were glad our initial plans didn’t work out or we would have never had such amazing food.
(Don’t mind the cell phone selfie)After dinner, we headed to relax at our hotel. Being married in October, it’s not a “swimming” month. When we choose our hotel for the trip, we specifically chose one that had an indoor pool. What better way to unwind?! After settling into our room, we headed towards the pool.
There was a sign on the indoor pool, stating closed for repairs. However, the outdoor pool was heated, and the temperatures were not super cold. We swam for thirty minutes, when we were told by a maintenance man the pool was closed as well. Note… when we walked past the front desk and found our way outside, there was not a single indication the pool was closed. But as we were leaving, there were signs put up everywhere stating BOTH pools were closed.
On the way there, we past this beautiful church. So, before we went out and about the next day, we stopped at the church. We spent the few hour of the day, walking around and enjoying the beauty.
Since we got out “religion” on, we figured it was time to be a bit on the “sinner” side. Our day was spent at the Anheuser-Busch St. Louis Brewery. Because we are slackers and didn’t plan ahead, our initial plans were ruined. Originally, we were going to do the Beermaster Tour but it was sold out by the time we arrived. (Do you see a theme going on here?!) So, we did the general tour. No major complaints. We saw the Clydesdales, learned some history, and of course got free beer!
During our time at the brewery, Ryan would send photos like this to his co-workers, along with his mom and his sister. Teasing them on how “drunk” he was getting.
Choosing to have lunch there, we were around for the 3pm toast… and once again… More free beer!
Spending most of our day at the brewery, we topped off the day by grabbing some Ann & Allen Gooey Butter Cake (a STL fave) at the Park Avenue Coffee Shop. The shop was very cozy, filled with wonderful coffee smells, and the cake was delicious. So much so, Nicole wants to order some to be delivered to our home.To top off our day, we went for a little walk downtown. Passing by the stadium for the St. Louis Blue’s hockey team. (Sadly, they were playing the day we had to leave) Our trip ended by visiting the Union Station. The space was beautifully ornate but a little crowded. At this point, we were just tired and we kept our visit short.On our walk back to the car, while taking a small break, Nicole looked across the street to discover an Anthem BCBS building. Her reaction…”Go figure, can’t get away from that place?!”Our third day in St. Louis was a rainy one. Good thing we decided to head over to the Science Center. While at the science center, we drove a rover, played in sand, watched a science show (designed for kids… but hey, we’re big kids!) and discussed the big giant dinosaurs. Nicole experienced a lifetime first. Never before had she had any astronaut food, so she ate a freeze-dried ice cream sandwich. Yes… Ryan put his initials as AZZ when he got a high score on the NASA moon landing game. (P.S. He’s sporting his anniversary gift. A “I Shoot Raw” tee from one of his fave photographers Jard Polin).
When we left the science museum, we went to dinner at Fitz’s Root Beer Restaurant in The Delmar Loop. Ryan enjoyed his bottomless glass of root beer, both in the traditional root beer flavor and a cream soda root beer flavor. Personally, we though the food was OK, nothing spectacular but there was plenty of it. We didn’t leave hungry.On our way back to the hotel, Ryan had to make a pit stop at Walmart for super glue. During the day, he broke the lens and wanted to “fix” it. Yep, typical guy! While there, Nicole randomly acquired a bad of animal crackers. Of course, we had a huge bag of snacks in the room and Ryan questioned this decision. Nicole’s reaction? How could I have married someone who questions my need for animal crackers?! Guess what came back to the hotel room… that’s right, animal crackers.
As we drove back to the hotel, we took a small detour to visit the World’s Largest Catsup Bottle! Sadly, it was so high up, we couldn’t get the full impact of its size. At least we can say, we saw a roadside attraction on our trip.
Directly under the big bottle was a cake statue. This was St. Louis’ equivalent to our Flying Pigs.
On the last day of our getaway, we decided to connect with nature and animals at Forest Park. This park is as big as Central Park in NYC. Inside the park was a zoo, multiple golf courses, an art museum, and so much more! We barely had time to explore what the park had to offer.
One part we couldn’t help but visit was the St. Louis Zoo. Most of our time was spent hanging out with the Penguins… mainly because they were very active and close enough to touch (don’t worry, we didn’t touch them). The zoo was enjoyable and way smaller than we were use too. Guess, we’re very spoiled by our hometown zoo. However, it offered a intimate experience and beautiful scenery. (Best part… no huge hills).
This little guy put on a show for everyone and was a total “model”
Feeling a little on the hungry side, after the zoo, we went decided to grab food. The closest place to eat was near the St. Louis Art Museum. The parking lot was closed, so we found a spot on the side street and started walking. According to Ryan, we should access the restaurant behind the museum. So, we headed that way just to find, there was no restaurant. Just an employee parking lot. When we took a closer look at the map, we concluded food was inside the museum.
Time to walk back around, this time through the outside sculpture park. As we were enjoying the sculptures, we saw a door to the museum. Nicole commented it looked like you need a key card to enter and she doubted it would be open. So… back up the hill towards the front of the museum.
In the lawn of the museum was a giant plug sculpture. Guess this is art?
While in Forest Park, we stopped by the the World’s Fair Pavilion. They were setting up for an event and appeared to having a wedding rehearsal. Therefore, we were only able to get an outside view but no time to explore around.
We headed inside, grabbed some food and decided to check out a couple of the exhibits. Sadly, there was no photography exhibit as there was a special exhibit at the time. The last few hours we were in Forest Park, we explored some of the beautiful green spaces. Afterwards… we headed back home. After spending four days together, just hanging out and doing what we felt like, it was time to go back home. Our second anniversary trip was a success and we have some great stories to share! Life is about the memories we create with the people we love. Marriage is very important to us and this is something we’ve promised ourselves. Taking time to reconnect.
Have a great day,
Nicole & Ryan