Air and Military Museum of the Ozarks: U.S. Military Heritage

Air and Military Museum of the Ozarks: U.S. Military Heritage

The Air and Military Museum of the Ozarks often comes as a surprise to visitors. Tucked into a strip mall, you would never expect it to be filled with not only 5,000 artifacts, but also to include military aircraft and vehicles. Read more

Hotel Vandivort: Local History, Art, Food

Hotel Vandivort: Local History, Art, Food

The Hotel Vandivort, Springfield, Missouri’s first urban boutique hotel, is built in a former Masonic Temple. Giving a nod to the building’s history, as well as to the local community, the 50-room upscale downtown hotel incorporates Masonic symbolism, as well as artwork by local artists, throughout the hotel. In addition, the hotel’s restaurant, The Order, uses locally-sourced food as much as possible. Read more

Hurts Donut: Wackiest Donuts Ever

Hurts Donut: Wackiest Donuts Ever

The young man at the Hurts Donut counter in Springfield, Missouri, told us, “When they first started, people were like, people aren’t gonna wait out in a line for a donut.” Yet, two days before our visit, a Sunday morning, there was a line out the door for four hours. What’s all the hype over donuts? One look in the donut cases will tell you. Hurts donuts are the wackiest, most over-the-top donuts I have ever eaten. Read more

Exploring the Gardens of Nathanael Greene/Close Memorial Park in Off-Peak Seasons

Exploring the Gardens of Nathanael Greene/Close Memorial Park in Off-Peak Seasons

Twice this year we’ve had occasion to visit Springfield, Missouri, and on both trips we spent time in the botanical gardens at Nathanael Greene/Close Memorial Park. Neither March nor mid-October is considered an ideal Midwest garden season, but on both visits we found plenty of beauty in the park. Read more

Relics Antique Mall and Tea Room: Largest Antique Mall in Missouri

Relics Antique Mall and Tea Room: Largest Antique Mall in Missouri

Row upon row of French and English antique china cabinets, dining tables and beds…booths stacked with nostalgic toys that bring back childhood memories…fashion jewelry just right to complete your outfit…the perfect statue or painting to add pizazz to your newly decorated room. Over 500 vendors in 90,000 square feet of space make Relics Antique Mall in Springfield, Missouri, the state’s largest store of its kind. In fact, Relics is so large that it’s a destination in itself, complete with a tea room so you don’t even have to leave for lunch. Read more

Fantastic Caverns: The Only Drive-Through Cave in the U.S.

Fantastic Caverns: The Only Drive-Through Cave in the U.S.

Stalactites hang tight to the ceiling. Stalagmites grow from the ground up as calcite from dripping water builds up. When the formations meet in the middle they become a column. I’ve heard how cave formations build every time I take a cave tour. Yet, I never tire of touring the underground beauty of a cave. Each one is different in its own way, with unique formations,  history, and in the case of Fantastic Caverns in Springfield, Missouri, its mode of transportation. Read more

Askinosie: From Beans to Chocolate

Askinosie: From Beans to Chocolate

I’ve tasted artisan dark chocolate candies from shops throughout the Midwest. I have savored every bit of every chocolate I’ve nibbled: chocolate infused with flavors like rosemary or chili; beautiful chocolates with a colorful coating painted like artwork; and decadent dark chocolate truffles. But until I discovered Askinosie Chocolate, I had never had an artisan chocolate made completely from scratch, starting with the bean. Read more

The Many Faces of Dickerson Park Zoo

The Many Faces of Dickerson Park Zoo

On the chilly, late-March early morning that we visited the Dickerson Park Zoo in Springfield, Missouri, many of the animals were where we should have been—indoors. That’s where other humans were, apparently, which meant we had the zoo practically to ourselves. So although we didn’t get to see as large a variety of animals as we had hoped, there also were no crowds of people with heads and hands popping in front of the camera lens just as we snapped photos. Read more

Looking for Ghosts in Pythian Castle

Looking for Ghosts in Pythian Castle

We spent the early evening at a murder-mystery dinner in Pythian Castle’s ballroom. Now the mood changed, from light-hearted to eerie, on a 10 p.m. tour of the Pythian Castle. We were going  to look for the ghosts that haunt the building. Read more