My last destination on my recent tour of Missouri was Cape Girardeau, a town that sits on the western bank of the mighty Mississippi River.
The small town is just lovely with so much to do and see as well as having a compelling history and culture mixed with a great downtown vibe.
A Compelling Chapter in History
I started by visiting the Trail of Tears State Park, where the views of the Mississippi River are breathtaking. From one point, you can see Illinois just across the river! You can do everything in the park, including hiking, biking, swimming, fishing and camping. I wandered over to the interpretive center, where I spent quite a while learning all about the forced relocation of the Cherokee Indians back in the winter of 1838-39, a terribly sad story yet one that plays a major part in the USA’s history.
Painting on display at Trail of Tears State Park Visitor’s Center in Cape Girardeau
Experience Rustic Heritage and Nature
As it was a perfect spring day in Cape Girardeau, and I wanted to continue enjoying the outdoors, my next stop was at Bollinger Mill State Historic Site. The rustic setting, like so many other places in Missouri, takes you back to a time when life moved at a far slower pace, and it compels you to throw down a blanket, have a picnic and take a few hours to relax. I took a tour of the grist mill and then a stroll across the Bufordville Covered Bridge, one of only four such bridges in Missouri. My next stop was at the Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center which has all sorts of hands-on exhibits, aquariums and wildlife viewing areas. It’s a great place for adults and kids alike.
To gather up more of Cape Girardeau’s history and culture, my next visit was to the Crisp Museum. I loved the fine art gallery and the museum itself really captured the heritage of the region along with having the largest ceramic conch shell effigies in North America, which was pretty impressive.
View of Bollinger Mill State Historic Site in Cape Girardeau
Enjoy Quaint and Colorful Downtown
As the day neared its end, I drove to the city’s quaint and historic downtown. It is full of antique shops and local eateries and really nice to just wander around. I walked to the Riverfront Trail and was amazed to see that along the flood wall was the Mississippi River Tales Mural – more than 15 feet high and 1,100 feet long. The paintings are incredible and depict the history of Cape Girardeau – very cool!
As has been tradition it seems whilst touring Missouri, before heading back to the hotel, I stopped at the Broadway Biergarten to try a local brew, which was as delicious as all the others I’ve sampled. Missouri has some fantastic craft beers.
I had such a wonderful time there and met so many fabulous people, that the joy of seeing my family was mixed with missing the wonderful state. Would I go back? Absolutely, and you should add it to your bucket list, too!
History told by the murals in Cape Girardeau