A Weekend in St. James, MO

As much as I love the good ol’ STL, it’s nice to pack up a few things and get away for the weekend. Whether you’re wanting to drive to another city for a different kind of nightlife or escape to the countryside for stargazing and quiet, there are many places to travel for a great weekend outside the ‘Lou. This month I bring you the quiet, small town of St. James, Missouri.

Where To Stay

day

The Painted Lady
Located right off the highway, The Painted Lady is a cute and unique bed and breakfast that accommodates all guests. The house is beautifully decorated with interesting antiques, comfortable beds and deep Jacuzzi tubs (with incredibly strong jets!). Innkeepers Sandy and Wanda Zinn keep the five rooms (Melanie, Little Tara, Scarlett, Prissy and the Guest House) immaculate and you might never want to leave.

Greenstay Hotels and Suites
For those of you who want an easy check-in and a quiet night, Greenstay Hotels is the place for you. Not only is the St. James Winery located right across the road, but it’s conveniently located off the highway and close to all major restaurants. This is the perfect stop for that weekend getaway.

Where To Eat

2

Just a Taste
Recently opened and located right in the heart of town, Just a Taste is the wine and coffee bar of our dreams. The building, originally built in 1907 in the spirit of the St. Louis World’s Fair, accommodates the menu’s range of wine, whiskey, beer and cocktails. The owners, Eric Taylor and Casey Stuck, merged their two talents and passions–Taylor’s love for wine and Stuck’s passion for beer–into one fantastic location. Even though they don’t identify as a wine bar, coffee shop or pub, we can confirm their wine, espresso and beer on tap are pretty excellent.

Sybill’s
Friendly is an understatement when it comes to describing the staff at Sybill’s Restaurant and Gift Shop. Their fresh, flavorful menu–we recommend the Caprese– and large array of wine make this restaurant an oasis in this small town. One of the best parts about Sybill’s? The restaurant is committed to the environment and is a community leader in waste diversion and recycling efforts.

Country Bob’s
You can’t miss Country Bob’s Diner when you pass through St. James. The food is some of the best Southern comfort food you can get your hands on. Get up early for their Saturday and Sunday Breakfast Buffet to try the biscuits, gravy, bacon and pancakes. You won’t regret it.

What To Do

St. James Winery
With more than 160 acres of vineyard growing more than a dozen types of grapes, award-winning St. James Winery is a great place to get away to for the weekend. Start early and sample a wide selection of wines, ranging from very sweet to extremely dry. Our favorite thing at the moment is the Cranberry Sweet Wine–perfect for those family gatherings around the holidays.

3

Public House Brewing Company
This recently opened brewing company has already had a successful run in Rolla and has brought good brews to St. James. Situated next to the winery, this is the perfect spot to grab dinner after spending the day at the winery. And all you have to do is walk on over–no driving needed! Head on over on a Saturday for a night of local (and not-so-local) artists in their taproom and try the award-winning Rod’s Cream Ale. Cheers!

Vacuum Cleaner Museum
Definitely an odd stop along the way, but still very interesting. If you’re not intrigued by their billboard on the side of the highway, you’ll be intrigued by their collection. There are more than 600 vacuum cleaners (all in working condition) including novelty cleaners such as the Hoover Constellation–a vacuum that is built to float like a hovercraft. No, really.

Meramec Caverns
One of our favorite places for a weekend getaway is Meramec Caverns. Whether your thing is camping and canoeing or delving into the depths of an old cave, Meramec is sure to have something for you. Feeling daring? We recommend taking an adventure along the tree tops on a zip line or embarking on a nightly lantern tour of the caverns.

Originally on my weekend guide on ALIVEMag.com. Check them out.

Advertisements

Doing New York (on a major budget)

If you’re like me, you probably don’t have tons of money to go travel, but still want to see as much of the world as possible. Now, I don’t have all the answers when it comes to traveling, so this is just what I did and how I saved money on going to a very expensive city.

Getting there:

When buying plane tickets, I tend to go into “incognito” mode and check Skyscanner, Google Flights, and Kayak. The reason for going incognito is that the websites use cookies to track what flights you are looking at, so when you go back to check prices at another time, they tend to bump up prices based on your past searches. When you go incognito, they tend to not be able to track your activity.

I bought my tickets to New York at the start of the year when ticket prices tend to drop (about a week after New Years), and I bought a roundtrip ticket to New York for $200.

Where to Stay:

If you have friends in New York, I highly recommend staying with them, obviously. If you don’t, a great option is Airbnb or Couchsurfing. You meet great people who tend to know the city well and can give you great ideas of where to go, eat, and walk. The best advice I can give for both is to research, research, research. Make sure they have photos, lots of recommendations, and email them to make sure you don’t get a bad vibe from them! Trust your gut and be safe. Remember, if you do agree to do Airbnb or Couchsurf, meet in a public place. You always have the option to say no.

However, if you’re uncomfortable with the idea of staying with a stranger, here is a list of fairly cheap places to rest your head for the night. . .or day:

Hostels

The Bowery House // Average nightly stay is around $55 with free wifi (which is definitely the most important thing to have in your hostel). A bar is located downstairs and a nice rooftop terrace that has incredible views of the city.

BH BH2

The Local NYC // Average nightly stay is around $45 with free wifi, book exchange, laundry room, and board games. This hostel is very “Brooklyn” with great wood tables, exposed brick, and plaid everywhere.

LO

Hotels

City Rooms // Average nightly stay is around $120 (much higher than the hostels, but you get your own room!) Centrally located with unique doodles painted on the walls of each room, City Hotels is a nice place to stay if you’re on a budget.

The Jane Hotel // Average nightly stay is around $90. If Wes Anderson’s film “The Grand Budapest Hotel” was real, The Jane would be it. The interior is what I picture hotels used to look like before they became “hip” and modernized. The hotel is located right next to the Hudson and close to subway stops to get you anywhere you need in New York.

TJ TJ2

MetroCard

If you’re going to be staying for close to a week, I recommend getting the 7 day MetroCard for $30. The card has unlimited rides for those 7 days on any subway and bus in New York.

Places to Eat

Chelsea Market // Not only does Chelsea Market have great clothing and book stores, but they have an array of foods for you to try (and a lot of the places have samples that you can scour!). I recommend Fat Witch Bakery for their brownies.

CM CM2

Shake Shack // Oh, how I love me some Shake Shack. You can get a nice double burger and fries for around $10. However, shell out that extra $5 for a shake. You need one.

Murray’s Cheese Bar // My body hated me after eating the largest grilled cheese sandwich at Murray’s, but it’s worth it. I recommend the Murray Melt with a side of tomato soup for $12.

MC MC2

Convenient Stores

When I was staying with a friend in Red Hook, we were starving and ran down to her local convenient store at the corner of her street. With boxes of cereal and kale chips in hand, we ordered an Everything Bagel with ham, cheese, turkey, lettuce, tomato, onions, and mustard toasted. It was $3! Look out for those kind of deals. They’re usually the best ones.

Free Things

A lot of people don’t talk about the free things that you can do while you’re in one of the most expensive cities in the world.

The High Line // The High Line used to be an old subway track that New York revamped with gardens, flowers, and restaurants. The views along the Line are incredible and worth climbing the steep steps to the top!

HL

Central Park// This is an obvious one. You can be like me and pretend you’re in “Friends” and do the handclap by the water fountains.

Brooklyn Brewery // Free tours on Saturday and Sunday at Brooklyn Brewery. It’s in such a hip part of Brooklyn that you’ll never want to leave.

morebrooklyn

Bronx Zoo // On Wednesdays, entry is “pay what you want” and if you like zoos, it’s supposed to be a good one.

Museum of Modern Art // On Fridays, from 4-8pm, entrance to the museum is free. I highly recommend going early as it is bound to get packed!

Walking Tours // There are also a lot of free walking tours you can take to see the city. I love taking walking tours as they usually have interesting information on the city and I’ve always had a blast meeting people on the tours!

I hope this has been somewhat, if at all, helpful if you’re looking to travel to New York, but don’t have tons of money! I went for four days, and including airfare, food, and transport, spent $600.