Many of my happiest memories from childhood involve trips my family took together. A good number of those trips were to other Midwest destinations with my younger brother’s travel ice hockey team. We all joined my brother’s team on the road every chance we got and my parents tried their best to work in some sightseeing and cultural experiences between hockey games. Among the destinations was St. Louis, Missouri. My brother’s team played in a tournament there at least once a season. Usually, we didn’t stay at one of the hotels in St. Louis itself, but in the neighboring town that hosted the tournament, like Affton or Creve Coeur.
We took a ride into the city on each of those trips to St. Louis, no matter where we were staying. During one visit to the Museum of Westward Expansion at Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, my parents bought me one of the most memorable souvenirs from any of our trips. It might sound silly now, but it was a pin with a miniature pair of Native American moccasins on it. The shoes were so cute and so colorful! I excitedly wore it on my winter coat every day and received so many compliments. I had that pin for a few years and every time I looked at it or wore it, I was reminded of the happy memories and fun time my family had in St. Louis.
I’ve got a collection of outstanding memories from trips to St. Louis as an adult, too. Many fun times were had at Busch Stadium, watching my beloved Cubs take on our rivals, the St. Louis Cardinals. Even in enemy territory, we were always able to relax and enjoy ourselves. The fondest memories, though, are from a trip I took to St. Louis with my mom. The purpose of our visit was to attend one of those high-profile Cubs/Cardinals games, but our time there turned out to be so much more. We stayed at a hotel in the gorgeous and historic Central West End and spent just about all of our free time wandering the neighborhood, stopping in at a variety of cafes and boutiques. Mom and I both could not get enough of the elaborate, architect-designed homes that line the boulevards adjacent to Forest Park, most of which were built between 1890 and 1910. We had a blast, imagining how luxurious the interior of the homes must be, and jokingly wondering if any of the residents would allow us in for an impromptu home tour.
Now with two children of my own, I look forward to the time when I can take them to St. Louis so we can make our own happy travel memories. I can’t wait to see the kids’ reactions as we cram into the miniscule capsules at the Gateway Arch and are transported to the top, laughing our heads off the whole way up. Hopefully when they’re older, they will look back on our yet-to-be-taken trips to St. Louis with the same fondness I do now of trips I took there with my family.