Cultural and Creative Encounters in Missouri

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Missouri Theatre
Credit: Missouri Division of Tourism
One of the many fabric shops at the Missouri Star Quilt Company in Hamilton

Missourians are a creative bunch. When they’re not tinkering with recipes for food and drink or putting a new spin on craft projects, you find them experimenting with music and mirth.

As a result, there’s always something new to enjoy in the Show-Me State. 

Tasty creations

Missouri is known for several culinary creations, with dishes such as toasted ravioli, burnt ends and Springfield-style cashew chicken among them.

Some of the most creative kitchen work is happening at sweet shops and bakeries, where doughnuts are being topped with everything from sea salt and caramel to bacon and French-toast-like ingredients.

The next time you need an early morning pick-me-up, stop by Vincent Van Doughnut in Clayton (a suburb of St. Louis) to see what they’re cooking up and ask about the Chocolate Covered Chocolate Cake Doughnut. It seems like there might be a bit of chocolate in them.

About 45 minutes south of Clayton on Interstate 55 is Kimmswick, a small Mississippi River town known for its charming retail shops and beautiful river views. Right in the middle of the fun is The Blue Owl Restaurant and Bakery, which has gained national attention for its Levee High Apple Pie. Honestly, you have to see it (and better yet, taste it!) to believe it. And if you think that’s something, wait until you see its super-sweet cousin, the Levee High Caramel Pecan Apple Pie.

From Kimmswick, take the scenic drive west (on Route M and Highway 30) over to I-44, and then follow it southwest to Leasburg and Belmont Vineyards and Winery. Among their creations is a delightful Edelweiss that pleases your taste buds with flavors of pears, green melons and pineapple.

Getting crafty

Quilting has long been a popular activity for folks in the Show-Me State and there’s perhaps no better place than Missouri Star Quilt Company in Hamilton to see incredible examples of their creativity. Along with having just about every kind of quilting supply you could want/need, the friendly staff at Missouri Star does quilting demonstrations and is glad to offer tips to both novice and experienced quilters.

Missouri Star is one of the 16 quilt shops participating in the 15-city American Genius Highway Quilt Trail, which runs along Highway 36 in northern Missouri. From St. Joseph on the west to Hannibal on the east, you find quilting materials and expert advice from shops of all sizes. Be sure to check out the Highway 36 Quilt Trail Passport Program.

For a different type of creative experience, one where you learn about alpacas and alpaca products, visit Whirlwind Ranch Alpacas. Located outside Lebanon, they craft everything from blankets and shawls to gloves and socks from alpaca fibers. If you’re interested in the latest creative techniques, ask about their classes. Please note, Whirlwind Ranch Alpacas is open to the public by appointment only, so call ahead to schedule your visit.

Engaging entertainers

With two of the largest cities in the Midwest, venues that host international touring groups and local acts alike, and the city dubbed “The Live Music Show Capital of the World,” it’s pretty clear Missouri knows a thing or two about live performances.

Elsewhere across Missouri, you find shows and live entertainment of all types, from those geared for grown-ups to those appealing to children. Stifel Theatre (formerly the Peabody Opera House) in St. Louis, for example, has a diverse lineup of shows in 2018. Among the highlights are an appearance by award-winning actress and best-selling author Carol Burnett, “America’s Got Talent” winner Darci Lynne and her puppet friends, and a Christina Aguilera concert.

In Columbia, the Missouri Theatre hosts a diverse lineup of performances during its show season. When you see a show at Missouri Theatre, prepare to be wowed by the performances and the architecture.

These are just a few of the places to find live entertainment in Missouri. Learn more about the Show-Me State’s theaters and performance venues – and other spots where creative folks are showing their skills – as you continue exploring