LOCATION: Ste. Genevieve, Missouri, in SE part of state
CAMPGROUND: Cave Vineyard and Winery with Harvest Hosts. A very small winery with a saltpeter cave. They allow one RV only. We had our choice of the parking lot or space behind the winery. Level and paved. 4 stars out of 5
WEATHER: Rain almost the entire day. High 64
DISTANCE DRIVEN: 30 minutes
It rained quite a bit overnight and in the early morning, so I was afraid we would have a hard time leaving the grassy meadow at Chaumette Winery. (Later I read a review of this Harvest Host site in which it said that their RV did get stuck and they had to get the host to pull them out with his tractor!) The grass was soggy, but George got us turned around safe and sound.
We drove in to Ste. Genevieve, about 30 minutes away. We are so glad we had done our exploratory trip, as we knew the layout of the historic district and where to park with Joy attached. We returned to the Visitor Center where we watched a short video about the history of the town. Ste. Genevieve is Missouri’s oldest European-settled town, established in 1751 by the French Canadians. They came here for the fur trade and to produce salt and to mine lead.
The town is very quaint due to the preservation of the original settlement – narrow streets, fenced gardens, and French architecture. Many of the homes are B&Bs.
We toured this house, built in 1818. Its French Colonial architecture was typical of that era. One part of the house was a shop and the other was the owners’ living quarters.
In the back, they have re-created an herb and flower garden from the era.
Ste. Genevieve has 3 of the 5 remaining “poteaux-en-terre” (post in earth) style homes in the USA. This one was built in 1807.
This house was originally a bank built in the French style
The rain might not be too pleasant for us tourists, but the flowers and grass are sure happy!
We stepped into their beautiful church – very European. (Almost the entire community are Catholics).
This town thrives on tourism. There are lots of restaurants, shops, inns, and B&Bs. I imagine it sometimes gets overwhelmed with tourists, but today we had the town almost to ourselves. We lucked out in finding a great bistro in a little 7-room inn. We caught up on internet activities, as we have been without internet for about 3 days. I still don’t have any cell service. We shared a huge and tasty pork schnitzel sandwich. This stems from the German influence that occured here in the 1900s.
After lunch, it was time to go back out in the country to our second Harvest Host winery in this “Napa Valley of Missouri”. Being a rainy Monday, we were the only customers here, which was kind of nice.
The attraction at this vineyard is a large saltpeter cave which is now used for picnicking. It had been used previously to mine saltpeter for gun powder and for sausage preservation. On hot days, people buy a bottle of wine and take it down to enjoy in the cool cave. Today, with the cool rain, we just walked around the cave.
We tasted some wine, brandy, and grappa in their small tasting room, and bought a bottle of wine, along with some local cheese and sausage.
DINNER: Chicken tikka masala. I added sauted onions and chicken to a jar of the sauce. Nothing too exciting, but tasty. Side was salad leftover from last night’s restaurant.