John Ray stood in his cornfield watching the nightmarish scene unfold before him, the rest of his family crouched in the farmhouse cellar. Cannon booms resonated in the usually quiet setting. Soldiers’ cries pierced the hot, humid summer Ozark air as bloody bodies fell. The Battle of Wilson’s Creek, in which 1,317 Union Soldiers and 1,222 Confederate soldiers lost their lives, is considered the first significant Civil War battle west of the Mississippi River. John Ray’s farmhouse is the only original structure that still stands today. It is one of the eight interpretive stops at Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield in Springfield, Missouri.
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.
I’ve tasted artisan dark chocolate candies from shops throughout the Midwest. I’ve 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.
A good farmers market is a foodie’s gold mine. Veggies and fruits, organic meats and eggs, artisan breads and organic honey brought to the market directly from the growers and producers are as fresh as you’ll find. The Farmers Market of the Ozarks (FMO) brings all of that, and more, to you each week, year-round. The impressive market opened in April of 2012. Only one year later it was named the number 15 farmers market in the country by The Daily Dish.
It was 1938, the heyday of The Mother Road, when brothers Elwyn and Lawrence Lippman built eight sandstone cottages on their grandfather’s apple orchard along Route 66 in Springfield, Missouri, and accented the property with a rail fence. By 1946 the motel had grown to 28 rooms. In the early 1950s it became part of the newly formed Best Western chain of motels. The property went through many upgrades from the mid-1950s to the early 1970s, including changing from cottages to a strip motel. However, by the early 1990s, the Rail Haven had started to slip.