Get your maps out and your cars fueled up, because this weekend marks the 29th annual Mississippi River Valley Scenic Drive.
The two-day event, scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, April 27-28, is a self-guided sightseeing voyage through the rolling hills and springtime scenery of southeast Missouri. The routes wind through the counties of Perry, Cape Girardeau, Scott and Bollinger.
The scenic drive acts as a grand opening for the spring and summer traveling season and is always scheduled for the fourth weekend in April. The trip has multiple participating business locations that all have something special to offer those who take the trip off the beaten path. More than 20 locations will have special displays, food items, live music, dancing, gifts and unique events.
Along with fun sites to visit in neighboring counties, there are also numerous stops listed in the Perry County area. These sites are the hidden gems of the area and will be filled with fun tales of history and modern entertainment for the weekend.
The little town of Brazeau again enters the list of stops with the opening of the museum and other historical buildings. Weather permitting on Saturday, the town will offer kettle-cooked ham and beans on Saturday and kettle-cooked beef on Sunday. Baked goods will also be available. Don’t forget to check out the This & That Sale. Another stop in Brazeau is Hemman Winery, where visitors are invited to relax and enjoy the atmosphere surrounding the Old General Store, built in the 1870s, while having award-winning wine along with food and music. The winery will be open Friday from 1-5 p.m., Saturday and Sunday from noon-6 p.m.
In Farrar, Eggers & Co. welcomes Art from the Heartland, a spring art show of Missouri Regionalism featuring a variety of mediums including pastels, oil and watercolor works by members of the Sainte Genevieve Art Guild. Eggers & Co. General Store is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and has been restored by Ellen and Steve Frye. It was the home and business of Ellen’s grandparents for 66 years. The B&B is open Fridays and Saturdays throughout the year, making this the perfect place to start or end the Scenic Drive weekend, which also kicks off a spring plant sale, featuring locally grown annuals for bedding or container planting as well as hanging baskets. Lunch will be available. Store hours will be IO a.m.-3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
Another popular stop is Uniontown, which features two antique shops, the Country Store Emporium and the 531 Wash House. Each building has its own long history to be shared while guests browse through one-of-a-kind items.
In old Appleton and Apple Creek, visitors can view the oldest truss bridge in Missouri on its original site. In addition, visitors to the St. Joseph Parish church, first completed in 1884 with the last renovations done in 1998, can visit the waterfall, cave and statue of Mary, “Our Lady of Grace” on top of a cliff above the waterfall.
Altenburg is one of the most northern stops on the map. The town is hosting a city-wide flea market on Saturday, rain or shine, at the East Perry Community Fairgrounds. Indoor and outdoor booths will feature a wide variety of vendors. Food and drinks will be available on the grounds. Admission is free.
Altenburg is also home to the Lutheran Heritage Center and Museum, located 75 Church Street. The museum is hosting an exhibit from the National Quilt Museum, featuring a selection of award-winning quilts. Visitors are invited to enjoy all the historic displays and family research library from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. For more information, visit www.lutheranmuseum.com.
Other special stops include:
Oak Ridge’s Pinecrest Azalea Gardens, which are currently showing in full glory. This location boasts more than 500,000 jonquils, azaleas, hollies and rhododendrons and is free to enter. The garden is open for the season until May 15.
The City of Jackson’s St. Louis Iron Mountain Railroad will celebrate its 33rd anniversary this year. The weekend will have a special adventure train-robbery by the Jesse James Gang at 1 p.m. and a murder mystery dinner train which is scheduled for 6 p.m. Reservations may be made for dinner by calling (573) 243-1688.
The Pie Safe in Pocahontas will serve breakfast and lunch all weekend and carry an impressive selection of baked goods and candies available for purchase.
More information on each of the stops and trip routes can be found by visiting the Scenic Drive Facebook page at www.facebook.com/MississippiRiverScenicDrive or by calling coordinator Estalee Wood at (573) 275-7487.