By Sally Tippett Rains
Being cooped up during COVID-19 can produce restlessness, anxiety and sometimes just plain old boredom. Sometimes with all the social distancing rules it seems like there’s not a lot to do– but actually there is if you look for ways to have fun. A quick get-away road trip can do wonders for the mind. There are many great sights to see in Missouri and even though some things are closed, there are more and more places opening up. One thing that doesn’t have to be open for you to enjoy it is a good view– and some peace and quiet.
This past week we decided to take an unplanned road trip for a change of scenery. With the pandemic in mind, we chose stand-alone places along with the tried and true Drury Hotels. We wondered how it is out on the road. At that time we noticed a lot of people not wearing masks so we were glad we had packed our own water and some snacks so we didn’t have to stop at a truck stop. Any time you are traveling during this time be sure to bring gloves or something you can use to avoid getting germs when pumping gas. Also don’t forget to pack the antibacterial wipes and of course your mask.
The Drury Hotels are still offering their breakfast and dinners but in a different form where you go through the buffet line, choose what you want and they serve you. (Don’t forget you get a discount with our promocode: SPORTS). The staff wore face coverings and the front desk person is behind plexiglass; employees keep a social distance by not having maid service unless you ask for it. They have a special cleaning protocol to keep their hotels clean.
When deciding to go on our short get-away, in view of the current health situations– besides the hotel, we chose two places that were private for just us to avoid interaction with a lot of people.
We could not have chosen better places to relax, refresh, and rejuvenate and wanted to share our “finds” with our readers.
If looking for a completely safe place to stay we suggest these two places: Autzie’s Riverview Cottage in Hermann, Mo. and The Red Brick Guest House B & B in Higginsville, Mo. Both of the owners were very good about letting guests know how much they cleaned and sanitized the offerings; and since we were the only ones staying in our areas we felt completely safe.
The best part about choosing rural Missouri for a get-away is the relaxation. Most of our trips are fast-paced, involving sports, baseball games, and events; but this one included peace, nature, and beauty. We may be living in a world dominated by masks, gloves and antibacterial wipes, but there are places where you can take off your mask and breathe in the fresh air—the country.
Maybe it’s time you take a short trip to rejuvenate your spirit. The way so many are able to “work from home” which means from the computer, it’s become easier to pick up and leave and still be able to work– for those who are lucky enough to have a job which allows that. There are so many places to go in Missouri and one stop would be the Visit Missouri website. It’s fun to start planning a trip, and since we enjoyed these so much we want to recommend them.
Autzie’s Riverview Cottage in Hermann, Mo.
Autzie’s was named for Autzie McGuire and is owned by her granddaughter Danette McGuire Bader.
“Autzie,” was born in 1928. Her husband Marvin “Mark” McGuire, shown in the photo left, were lifelong residents of Hermann and raised their family in the house which was built in 1850. They raised three sons in this one-bedroom home, with their three sons sleeping in the attic.
Born Audrey Hillebrand, she said she never liked her name so always went by Autz, or Autzie. She loved dancing, playing cards and spending time with her family.
“I knew Autzie,” said a woman at the Hermanhoff Winery, which is in walking distance from the cottage; when she found out we were staying at Autzie’s. “She was quite a character. Everyone knew her.”
“Grandma was adventurous and spunky,” said her granddaughter Danette, shown above on the cottage property. “I remember when I was a kid, we went to visit her and she had put down some special carpet squares which looking back on it were probably a mish-mash, but we thought it was beautiful – like a patchwork quilt or Joseph’s coat of many colors – put together with love, and the faith that it would help keep her family warm.”
From everything Bader says about her grandma, she had a deep love for her and has learned a lot from her. Because of that she keeps her memory alive with the cottage. Autzie McGuire lived a very full life with multiple jobs at all times in her life. She was a strong-willed woman who could clean a squirrel or a fish to serve it up for dinner and was always providing fun for her family in the way of campouts, lake trips, and family gatherings.
Just a few of the things she did in her life included working in both a shoe factory and toy factory; she owned a restaurant, was a bartender, a hair dresser, sheriff’s dispatcher, and did many volunteer activities. It was a joy to stay in a house knowing it had housed a woman with such vigor for life and for her family.
“I remember asking her how she knew how to do all of those things, and she said ‘well honey – I just learned by doing,'” she said. “I like to think that I have my strong work ethic and belief that I can do whatever I set my mind to doing because of her.”
The warmth and love of her grandma is a tradition Bader has proudly continued with the cottage. It is filled with adorable furnishings (like the shelves shown left made from a door), including many things that were Autzies, some things that she may or may not have paid full price for.
“She and her sister Babsie were the ‘thrift store and garage sale queens’ and loved to spend the day looking for bargains,” said Bader. “She never left without something she just had to have, and I would bet the farm that she NEVER paid the asking price. I think it was more about the thrill of the hunt and satisfaction of a bargain.”
“We are being extra careful to keep it clean and sanitized,” said Bader. “We have a laundry service that abides by special COVID-19 CDC protocol; and we clean pursuant to the B & B COVID-19 CDC Guidelines.”
There were plenty of antiseptic wipes and cleaning supplies at the cottage. At no time did we ever feel worried about the virus, probably because it was such a cute place and so serenely relaxing that we felt we were a million miles away from the real world.
Bader had to give us directions to Autzie’s as the GPS got all mixed up. You go up a big hill to the house and the driveway is a steep, downhill driveway. We opted for turning the car around and parking on the street at the top, and walking down the driveway.
Upon arrival we were greeted by the quaint porch swing with comfortable and cheery pillows on it shown above in this article.
Entrance to the house is up a few steps, so someone who has trouble with steps would not be suited for this vacation rental. Once up the stairs, you are at the backyard. A large, fenced yard with several chairs and a fire pit in the middle. There is a nice umbrella table with four chairs on the porch right outside the house. It’s a lovely place to have coffee in the morning and look down at the river in the distance; and would be nice to sip some wine at the end of the day.
Once inside the cottage, there is a living room, complete with a television which may never be used, with the winery close and bicycles available in the basement. The comfortable chairs and couch were great for curling up with a book, and if you get hungry, she had snacks in the kitchen and chocolates by the bed.
We especially liked the light fixture made from a birdcage. There were so many unique touches to this cottage that made it so quaint and charming and enjoyable to be in.
The dining room table is set with cheerful sunflowers and Autzie’s good china, which is set out for guests to use. The décor is very imaginative with an old ladder combining with the chandelier fixture over the table and a multitude of necklaces and beads hanging down. It was a very welcoming room.
The bathroom is big and very creative with the tub surrounded in rustic wood and a clear sink that adds to the decor.
Bader has thought of everything when it comes to Autzie’s Riverview Cottage; there are even matching purple robes in the bathroom.
The kitchen is small with no table—we chose to eat on the patio, but the dining room would work. There is even a dress maker’s model with one of Autzie’s old aprons on it in the kitchen.
There is just one bedroom, however the love seat in the living room pulls out into a single bed for extra sleeping needs.
The bedroom has “fairy lights’ on both sides and has a “grandma’s house” feeling to it with the home-made quilts.
“I thought the bed was really comfy,” said Rob Rains. “It was really pretty with the lights; and so peaceful. That’s what I liked most about Autzies was how peaceful it was. We had heard people raving about the beautiful view of the sunrise from the cottage, but we were so comfortable and got such a great night’s sleep that we missed it.”
Autzie’s Riverfront Cottage was a much-needed getaway and provided an oasis of peacefulness. We also enjoyed playing with the Alexa in the house. “Alexa, play Sinatra,” “Alexa what is the temperature?” etc. That was just a small touch that added to the memory of staying there.
One reason to stay in Hermann, Mo. is to go to the wineries. The great thing about this cottage is you can park your car and you don’t have to move it to get to the Hermannhof Winery, 330 E 1st St, Hermann, MO, USA. Walk up Gellert Street to second street and there is a long set of stairs down the side of a hill to get to the winery.
Literally at the bottom of the stairs and to the right is the winery. Of course you can drive down to the winery but it seems easier to just walk back than take the hilly drive after sampling some wines.
As you go into Hermannhof, the tasting room is to the left and the store is to the right. We were told the most popular wine bought on a constant basis at Hermannhof Winery is the White Lady Premium White Wine.
We really enjoyed going to this winery because they had a “Picnic Basket Special” where you chose your cheese and sausage, plus they include an apple and a warm loaf of bread.
Also included in the picnic special is a knife and paper plates and we were able to go outside and have a picnic at the winery. The food area is right next to the wine-tasting and they had complimentary coffee.
There are several other wineries in the area including Adam Puchta Winery, 1947 Frene Creek Rd, Hermann, MO, Stone Hill Winery, 1110 Stone Hill Hwy, Hermann, MO, as well as the Tin Mill Brewing Company, 114 Gutenberg St, Hermann, MO, USA.
STLSportsPage.com Travel/Food Editor Suzanne Corbett did a feature with more information on the Hermann Wine Trail. To read that article CLICK HERE.
After a nice lunch, a few doors down was Sugar Momma’s candy and sweet store. They had a good assortment of home-baked pies and we chose the blackberry cream.
We ate one dinner at Concert Hall Restaurant. Well actually, we went to the restaurant to see it but we ordered take-out and ate it on our table in the backyard. We saw The Tin Mill and heard it is another popular restaurant.
One place in Hermann we really enjoyed was the riverfront. Find the train station and there are benches along the Missouri River, which flows by at a fast pace; yet the view feels like a very slow pace. We found it difficult to get up it was so relaxing sitting there, doing nothing on a beautiful day.
Autzie’s Riverfront Cottage, we’ll be back.
For more information on Autzie’s: CLICK HERE
“Aint She Cute” Travel Trailer at Red Brick Bed and Breakfast
Higginsville, Missouri is about 40 minutes east of Kansas City; and we really enjoyed our time staying in the rehabbed travel trailer they call “Aint She Cute” which is an extension of the Red Brick Bed and Breakfast in Higginsville.
Owned by Annette and Kenton Dittmer, the B & B is part of their home. Both are long-time residents of the small town and the home has been in Annette’s family for year as it was her grandmother’s house. They also own the Red Shanty Restaurant in town.
The 1920’s prairie style farmhouse, with its original 9 1/2 foot ceilings and old pine floors has been carefully renovated to recapture the charm of a bygone era. If you are interested in the Bed and Breakfast portion of this estate it’s also a beautiful venue. There are three rooms to choose from as well as the Guest House located down the road.
We opted for the travel trailer for privacy and social distancing.
When you stay in the “Aint She Cute” trailer you get full access to the yard and porch of the Bed and Breakfast as it is a part of it.
What we liked best about this cute travel trailer that has been completely renovated with uniquely sweet charm was that we felt safe during the pandemic. There was no physical contact although we did enjoy visiting with the Dittmers at a social distance.
The kitchen was adorable and they left snacks and apples for us.
It was the perfect country retreat to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life and especially after feeling cooped up during COVID-19. We enjoyed the drive up 70 and just the opportunity to go “somewhere” – especially with the uncertainty of the upcoming baseball season. Who knows what is in store for us in the coming weeks with the season starting up so we decided to take a quick get-away and found our stop at the travel-trailer to be just what the doctor ordered.
The sleeping area was very comfortable. We missed the sunrise in Higginsville also, because we got such a good night’s sleep there. There’s something to be said for going on a vacation and actually relaxing.
Sometimes we put so much into our plans to relax that we need a few days to wind down when we get home. This trip was a well-needed escape.
We enjoyed our morning coffee on the antique daybed. The bed was used as the couch but could easily be a bed to accommodate an extra guest. It was covered with whimsical pillows and equally whimsical signs were all over the walls.
After coffee, we ventured to the chairs outside the trailer to view the grounds with dozens of mature shade trees and surrounding fields. The quiet of the country is something a St. Louis native can treasure on a relaxing trip.
Just outside the cozy trailer is a patio table and chairs and a BBQ grill for grilling your favorite meal. Nearby, on the grounds, are horseshoes and a fire-pit for you to enjoy with plenty of wood. The fire-pit is a little further out from the buildings. Sitting by the crackling fire in the comfortable Adirondack chairs under the bright stars on the dark sky with nature sounds and the howls of coyotes far in the distance was a comfortable de-stressing atmosphere.
It was fun being surrounded by the cornfields which reminded us of “Field of Dreams” so we couldn’t resist going in and out of the corn like the characters of the famous Kevin Costner movie.
The trailer is small but the charm of it is that you get it all to yourself. There is a queen-sized bed and the couch is a day-bed.
The “Aint She Cute” is set on a picturesque rural three-acre country area of a 180 acre farm.
Annette Meinershagen Dittmer started out in interior design at the University of Missouri (before getting her teaching degree) and has always had an interest in decorating—and is quite good at it. She taught Home-Ec so has all that is needed of a good B&B hostess; and Kenton likes to cook.
“We lived on Lake Mizzou, growing up” she said. “My grandparents had a house a few miles away, and then my mother ended up moving into a house down the street from where I grew up. We built an apartment on that house and began renting it out as a guest house, and the B &B is our house which was originally owned by my grandparents.”
Lake Mizzou is a small lake in Higginsville attached to the farm she grew up on. Her parents, Wilbur and Jackie Meinershagen were farmers and today cornfields adorn Jackie’s property. The Guest House, shown in photo right, is next to Lake Mizzou.
Wilbur Meinershagen was instrumental in pushing to get the Missouri Veterans Cemetery put in and coincidentally families in town for funerals have their meals at the Red Shanty Restaurant or stay at their B & B.
We enjoyed lounging on the lawn furniture and gazing at the endless cornfields surrounding the property.
The Red Brick Farmhouse has a great deal of space for guests to feel comfortable in. It offers a large dining room with seating for up to ten, living room with a game table and fireplace, and family room with a flat screen television for your personal enjoyment.
There are three large bedrooms located on the second story and a true farmhouse style bathroom, including a clawfoot, soaking tub with shower. Located next to the well stocked kitchen is a half bath. Guests are welcome to sit on the large front porch or back sun porch in the morning to enjoy a cup of coffee or in the late evening to enjoy the stars.
“It was pouring down rain the night we were there but hearing the rain on the roof of the travel trailer was very peaceful and enjoyable,” said Rains. “We really appreciated being out in the country. The next morning we at a delicious breakfast prepared by Kenton and Annette. The biscuits were home-made and tasted great.”
To find out about reserving a room: Call Annette at 660.909.5573 or e-mail to make a reservation.
Whether you are looking for a bed and breakfast, guest house, restaurant or liquor store, Annette and Kenton Dittmer have you you covered. They are shown in the photo left in front of their restaurant.
They originally bought a liquor store which over the years has morphed from liquor store to a liquor and bait store and restaurant. It’s now the Red Shanty Barbecue & Roadside Cafe. This unique emporium and cafe offers a large selection of import & specialty beers, domestic & import wines, spirits of all kinds, and various novelties.
It is a Lafayette County original restaurant – is a mosaic of time salvaged from a Tabo Creek corn crib, a Lexington finishing school, a Bates City barn, the Concordia Co-op, a Mayview farmhouse, Leidigh Lumber Co., a Sears & Roebuck mail order barn in Freedom Township, and the KCI Airport. When entering the front door it is not easy to miss the seventeen foot, old pine counter previously used in Hancock’s Dry Goods Store, which is now a permanent fixture at Red Shanty.
It’s is a popular restaurant. It’s about 13 miles off of I-70 on Rt. 13. Red Shanty Roadside Cafe features real smoked meats, including barbeque ribs, beef brisket, pulled pork, whole hog sausage, accompanied by homemade sides prepared from scratch daily. Along with great barbeque, the roadside cafe features Red Plate Specials of homestyle comfort foods and desserts such as Sawdust Pie.
Even in the midst of COVID-19 the restaurant is booming. They have several different areas for patrons to sit in: the booths inside, tables out to the side of the restaurant and a large covered patio. The patio is covered but it is also open-air. The brightly colored table cloths add to a fun atmosphere.
“We do everything from scratch,” said Kenton Dittmer. “Many restaurants these days get their meat from companies who have prepared it but we prepare ours all ourself. We get started early and smoke our meat for hours so it’s just the way our long-time customers like it. We never cut corners.”
The Red Brick B & B also offers spaces for RV as well as tent camping.
“This is new, but we have had several travelers request it,” said Annette Meinershagen. “Once we started offering the camping we have had many taking advantage of it.”
The private camping spaces are near the yard and surrounding fields and are quiet, peaceful and serene. The private driveway allows plenty of room for you to maneuver your RV into place and hook up to the water and electricity. You will also have at your disposal an outdoor table and chairs, a fire-pit, firewood, a BBQ grill, and a horseshoe pit.
Our stay in Higginsville was great.
For more information: www.redshantycafe.com