Sunday, February 28, 2010


I was recently on a trip and I had a few fun surprises:

Driving out of Kansas City, I found a few more neon signs I hadn't seen. They won't be posted for a while, for me it's November in AZ.

We went to Dover, MO to Terre Beau vineyards. The web site said they were open but the sign on the door said closed. But the door was slightly ajar. We caught the sister of the owner there and we did get to taste and buy some wines. Whew! I have to learn to be social and call. Maybe that's my new month's resolution.

We stayed in the magic city of Moberly, MO. The title "magic" because of explosive growth in 1873. We're members of the Holiday Inn Priority club and we got to stay in a suite - for free! We went back to the Cooper's Oak Winery in Higbee, MO. Yeah, I've talked about the wines, the wine barrels. They recognized us again (I'm going to adopt them as my family - not sure how) and they had a great story about a 17 point buck and a new Deer Beer. And The owner's father, Dale, has his picture on the 2008 Norton wine. Plus, they're about to open a new location. I'm glad to see they're doing so well. I knew their hours because I did call. Funny how that works.

Then off to Ladora, IA. We show up at the Holiday Inn and they had a happy hour going on. Snackies and wine. Yes! And they had upgraded me to a whirlpool suite. It had a kitchen and pull out bed. James and I spreading out all our shit so not needing to call room service (for extra room - zing!) is a bonus. We hurried to the Ladora Bank Bistro. And there was a great cast of characters at the bar. There was a niece of Nancy Drew writer, Mildred Benson, who lived in Ladora and cashed her checks at the Ladora Bank! They have the ledger to prove it. And a hospital CEO charmed us with his skunky wine collection stories. James was impressed by the group of snow mobilers at a big table. The owners have more plans in the works. If I really love a place, I'll call. Maybe it's because I have a recognizable voice and I'm always asked, "Uh did you call before?" I really love the bank bistro.

So James and I are filled with happy stories about to come home. We go past the very cute, St Francisville Toll bridge. I get out James' notebook so we can find out how some bridges can charge a toll. It was privately built. Cool.

We had a really good run of tiny diners. Could we find one last cute ma and pa restaurant open for dinner? We drive through Pine Island, MN. The Historic Rainbow Cafe is open, filled with people. It's a more upscale restaurant, with innovative dishes and wine. Plus historic photos of Pine Island and the interior of the cafe. Joy! It was so unexpected.

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