Tag Archives: midwest trips

Midwest family adventure: Columbia, MO

A few weeks ago I had this daydream: A fall weekend in Columbia, MO – the crunchy college town that still possesses a piece of my heart.


image via painted post

We’d load up the bikes and hit the trail right away to do the 30-mile round trip to the blufftop winery overlooking the Missouri River. Then we’d get up the next morning and explore the Mizzou campus before heading to the Roots N Blues N BBQ music festival. Then we’d drive another two hours to meet one of my very best friend’s babies and hang until dinner time. Back in DSM late Sunday night. Crazy? Maybe. I started to think of it as a kind of parenting triathlon – a test of endurance.

Thankfully, the forecast for the weekend was gorgeous. But as anyone who’s spent more than 20 minutes with a toddler knows, their emotions are harder to predict than the weather in the Midwest. One minute, E can be happily flipping through a book and then you offer him a banana and the kid flips out.

Ultimately, the weekend turned out to be a lot of fun (despite a few scattered meltdowns), and I’m glad we pushed ourselves to make a little mini adventure happen. Here’s how it went down.


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CoMo a go-go

Now that our #freedomweekend in D.C. is a memory, I needed another mini trip to circle on my calendar and excitedly type in as my e-mail password. (Because, duh, passwords should be fun things you’re looking forward to!) Nothing major, just a little family-friendly getaway.

And then I saw that two of my favorite bands will be playing in Columbia, Missouri as part of their Roots N Blues N BBQ festival this fall. Needless to say – tickets purchased and Airbnb lodging secured! David Wax Museum and The Avett Brothers will both play Saturday shows.

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We made a lunchtime pitstop in Columbia for a few minutes on our way back from Saint Louis over Memorial Day. But it was only enough time to encourage Emmett to kiss the columns and for me to stroll a few blocks of downtown and lament that landmarks from my college days have met such a yuppie demise. I’m looking forward to getting the full (minus a football game) experience in September.

I hope the weather is golden and autumnal and that we are able to ride bikes from the city out to the sweet town of Rocheport and enjoy a picnic at the Les Bourgeois winery A-frame, overlooking the river. Then I hope our little man gets into the festival spirit and dances his diaper off shakes that little tush to the tunes past his bedtime.

It will also be perfect timing to check in on this lady and her arriving-any-day baby girl. How funny is Amanda’s cabbage patch crew of shower attendees?


Let the Columbia countdown begin!

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One night in Mnpls

Our quick overnight trip to Minneapolis was lots of babystastic fun!

The main attraction was really getting together with friends and their sweet four-month girl, Willa Irene, but of course we wanted to explore the city. We stayed in a 3-bedroom airbnb condo at the base of a spectacular neighborhood, which was a great launching spot for our adventures. It was also really nice to have a kitchen and living room, so we had communal space to hang out and spread the babies out on blankets and make a breakfast to share.


As soon as we got in, we had lunch at Rye Deli and ice cream from Sebastian Joe’s.


We took the long way home and walked past all of the beautiful architecture in the Lowry Hill neighborhood behind out condo. I would move to Minneapolis if I could afford this abode: 20130802_153008

That evening, we chaperoned Emmett on his first date: a Twins game. He was a gentleman, naturally.


It was a perfect golden evening for our walk to the game. I marveled at how much more of a city vibe Minneapolis had on a Friday night than my beloved Des Moines. We walked through crowds of people going to the theater and all of the rooftop bars seemed crowded. Target Field is pretty gorgeous, too.



The next morning, we made breakfast at the condo and then walked a few blocks to the Sculpture Park. We arrived in the middle of a 25th anniversary celebration, so they had dance troupes and kids crafts.


Joe and I couldn’t believe how many of the works were by the same artists we have at the Pappajohn Sculpture Park here. Seeing their pieces there was like running into cousins of your good friends – they were recognizable and familiar but had their own personalities.


It was free first Saturday at the Walker, so we explored the galleries while we waited for our “Art Golf” tee time. (You actually get free admission to the Walker with your mini golf tickets, too.)


There are two artist-designed 8-hole putt-putt courses on the lawn this summer, and we played Course A, but it turns out Course B is the cooler one, in my opinion. The holes are pretty silly – and tricky! And very kid-friendly. Pretty much every group had babies in strollers or carriers.

We tied our friends in our best-shot tournament*, then it was lunch at the Midtown Global Market before we hit the road home. I fell in love with Minneapolis, and we’ll definitely be back.

*If you’re in Des Moines and looking to golf for a cause this summer, the CBC Charity Golf Tournament in Grimes on August 29 benefits “I Have a Dream.” Sign up your foursome today!

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