Monthly Archives: April 2012

Lots of reasons to visit historic St. Charles, Mo., street

(photos by Phil and Sherry Roberts)

Ah, the Main Street Historic District in St. Charles, Mo. ( ). There are lots of reasons to visit this place listed on the National Register of Historic Places:

* There’s the history. St. Charles, which is located on the Missouri River west of St. Louis, was founded in 1769 by a French Canadian fur trader named Blanchette, as Les Petites Cotes (The Little Hills).

* The architecture is varied and beautiful. The buildings on the brick-paved street, most of which also are brick, have been restored.

* There are 125 shops and restaurants in the 13-block historic area. You’ll find art, crafts, wine, clocks, jewelry and much more. One specialty shop we visited sold scores of flavors of olive oil, all different and available for free sampling. Another store had thousands of bottles of sauces and seasonings for food items and mixes for drinks.

The restaurants offer a variety of lunch and dinner menu items. Some have patio seating available.

The portions were so large at our delightful meal at Tony’s on Main Street that we walked out with to-go boxes.

If you arrive early enough on the day of your Main Street visit, you’ll find free, on-street parking. Or you can motor in to the ample lots behind the shops located closest to the river.

If you wish to just sit and watch the world go by while others shop, there are benches in front of some of the stores, although there could stand to be more of them. Or you might prefer to sit in the gazebo in the historic area’s tree-shaded, flower-filled park to see the river flow by.

Copyright 2012 by Phil Roberts, Creative Enterprises.

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Posted by on April 27, 2012 in Uncategorized


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Ted Drewe’s is a step back in time

(photos by Phil and Sherry Roberts)

If you have a sweet tooth and are interested in historic icons like Route 66, no visit to St. Louis would be complete for you without a stop for an ice cream treat at Ted Drewe’s Frozen Custard, 6726 Chippewa St. That’s in the St. Louis Hills neighborhood.

Ted Drewe Sr. reportedly started making honey-sweetened frozen custard with a carnival, then opened his first ice cream store in Florida in 1929.

A store on Natural Bridge Road in St. Louis opened in 1930 followed by a store on South Grand Boulevard in 1931. The family opened a second south side stand, the current Chippewa location, on what then was Route 66, in 1941.

According to the firm’s website,, “By 1958, the south side stands were all that remained.”

We visited the historic Chippewa location and weren’t disappointed with the product or the service.

Ted Drewe’s offers a variety of sweet treats, listed on a sign on the side of the building. They include Cardinal Sin, All Shook Up and Terramizzou. (Get it? Mizzou?) They are made with vanilla ice cream plus the flavorings and toppings people order to go with them.

The place is best known for a specialty called a concrete, which ranges in price from $2.30 for a mini to $5 for a large.

Concrete is Ted Drewe’s custard blended with numerous ingredients and served in a cup with a spoon and straw. It’s so thick the spoon won’t fall out if the cup is turned upside down, which servers willingly demonstrate.

Customers come and go in a steady flow at this place, and there’s a large lot with plenty of free parking. There are also benches on which you can sit to enjoy your treat on a pleasant day.

Copyright 2012 by Phil Roberts, Creative Enterprises.

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Posted by on April 6, 2012 in Uncategorized


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St. Louis Zoo is the best deal in town

(Phil and Sherry Roberts photos)

Arguably the best deal in town, admission to the St. Louis Zoo ( is absolutely free!

That’s right. You can view up to 18,000 animals from 700 species without spending a dime.

Sure, there is a hefty charge if you park in one of the zoo’s two parking lots. But the zoo is located historic in Forest Park and, if you arrive early enough, you can park free on the adjacent streets if you wish.

And sure, zoo concessions are pricey, but you can leave a picnic lunch in your car if you want and take a break from your zoo visit to walk out and enjoy it. Because admission is free, going back and forth is not a problem.

There are fees for some individual zoo attractions but, if you desire, you can spend an enjoyable day at the zoo by just visiting the free attractions.

If you do decide to buy food and drink or souvenirs inside the zoo or if you do decide to pay admission to an added attraction, rest assured that your money is going to a worthy cause. All proceeds support the zoo’s conservation programs.

We started our zoo day with an enjoyable $5 mile and a half miniature train ride to get an overview of the grounds.

The 90-acre zoo is divided into various zones.

At the new Stingrays at Caribbean Cove, guests are encouraged to dip their hands into a saltwater pool to allow bonnethead, white-spotted bamboo and nurse sharks, cownose rays, southern stingrays and horseshoe crabs to safely touch them.

River’s Edge is a mythical waterway through four continents featuring Asian elephants, cheetahs and hippos.

At Red Rocks, lions, tigers, zebras, giraffes and antelope live in natural settings.

The Wild showcases bears, penguins, gorillas and other animals that, according to the zoo website, “climb, swim and swing through some of the seemingly inhospitable places on the planet.”

If you enjoy history, take in Historic Hill, one of the oldest parts of the zoo.

There’s a cypress swamp inside a 1904 Flight Cage and the buildings that house birds; monkeys and lemurs; and reptiles and amphibians have a 1920s Spanish architectural flavor.

Copyright 2012 by Phil Roberts, Creative Enterprises.

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Posted by on April 6, 2012 in Uncategorized


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