We all know how it goes. The place we live has something it’s famous for – some attraction, or park, or land formation that people come from far away to see. But not you. You live here! You don’t do those touristy things!
Well, this past weekend, I had the opportunity to become a traveler in my own city – Springfield, Missouri. I actually live 15 minutes down the road in Ozark. Ozark is my town. Springfield is my city. I went to college there, I shop there, and I work there. And really, I feel like I do a fairly decent job of keeping up with what’s available to see and do, but there’s always more. More to experience, more to learn, more streets I’ve never driven down, new shops I haven’t visited, and interesting eateries I haven’t eaten at. So whether you live far away or right here in Southwest Missouri, let me show you all the new-to-me places and people I found.
Ok, so I didn’t really “find” the Ramada Plaza Hotel. I’ve been to their Oasis conference center for events in the past, but I had never stayed there or been to their restaurant, Fire and Ice. I also found out that the hotel has an interesting story. It was originally the largest Howard Johnson in the world! What was a series of stand-alone buildings has been joined together into one big facility that includes Fire and Ice, the Oasis, and a large indoor pool and atrium. The Ramada Plaza is decorated in a tropical theme, which made it feel like I was far away from the freezing cold winter. The food at Fire and Ice is excellent. I had New England scallops that were so huge I could hardly eat them all, but so wonderful that I couldn’t bring myself to waste any! I have grand plans to bring my family back for a staycation. We’ll probably take advantage of their Family Fun Package, which my frugal blogger friend, Alicia, pointed out.
We got our creative juices flowing at Creative Escape Glass on Commercial Street. I had never heard of Creative Escapes before. It opened in September in 2015, but there is so much going on in the Commercial Street district that Creative Escape probably isn’t even the new kid on the block any more. So, we were all very excited to make our own suncatchers, and perhaps a little nervous because none of us had worked with fused glass before. Owner Rebekah Santiago guided us through the process, and then we all got to work. It was such a fun, creative experience, and as you can see from the last picture above, we all created very different pieces (although apparently bloggers really like blue!). I can’t wait to bring a group of friends back for more glass cutting creativity!
We also visited another local glass related business, Springfield Hot Glass, which does more traditional types of glass making. Located downtown, they offer classes, but they also have a great glass gallery with pieces of all sizes and price points. I bought an oil cruet that sits pretty on my kitchen counter. While we were there, there was a class going on, so we got to see a great demonstration on glass crafting! I have heard plenty about this store, but I had never been in. You better believe I’ll be back.
For lunch, we visited Relic’s, the largest Antique Mall in Missouri. I fast walked the aisles for an hour and still didn’t see it all. Owner Matthew Robb told me that if you walk up and down every aisle in the mall, it’s a total of 2.4 miles! After browsing we sat down with Beverly and Matthew, the owners, as well as Springfield’s mayor, Robert Stevens, for lunch. It was interesting to hear about how the Robbs got started in the business and to get Mayor Stevens’s take on what makes Springfield great. We had great conversation and great food! I had the Chicken Waldorf sandwich, which is the most popular item on the tea room’s menu. If you love your chicken salad with lots of ingredients, you must try this! The chicken is grilled and then chopped, and it is sooo good. For dessert I had a slice of Lemon Berry Mascarpone cake that was heavenly. I posted a photo to Facebook that resulted in a Relic’s lunch date planned for next week.
I have been to the Springfield Art Museum before, but it’s been about 100 years. They’ve added on a lot of space since my last visit and I was so impressed with the facility. Right now they have a pop art exhibit showing which includes some Warhol prints and lots of other fun. There are several other galleries as well, including a new family art lab and book nook. It’s free to visit the museum (donations accepted). The Art Museum also offers several classes, summer workshops, and lectures. Outside you’ll find several sculptures, and Phelps Grove park is right next door. If you haven’t been, go, and if it’s just been a while, go see what’s new!
We visited several other Springfield hotspots, but I’m going to leave those over to the other Missouri Women Bloggers who were on the tour. As their posts go live, I will add them below. I’m proud to be from the Ozarks, and I’m proud of the direction that our Queen City, Springfield, is moving. Come and see us. I guarantee you’ll find something you’ll love.
Filed under: 417 With Kids, Missouri, Things to Do, Travel, Weekend Getaways · Tags: Art Museum, Creative Escape, local, Missouri, Missouri Women Bloggers, ozarks, Ramada Plaza, Relics, Springfield, Springfield Hot Glass, tourism, travel