Arnold and Kimmswick: A last-minute vacation idea before the kids go back to school could be right in your own backyard

By Sally Tippett Rains

“Where did the summer go? “That is being heard all over the area as suddenly families are realizing the end of the summer is coming and they are trying to pack as much into it as they can.

Any way you look at it, school is about to start in the Greater St. Louis Area. Some start this coming week  such as the East St. Louis public schools starting Aug. 14, and many start the following week.  Just for a quick look at a few: the St. Louis Public Schools  and schools in the Hazelwood  School District start back school Aug. 21;  Mehlville, Ladue and Lindbergh School Districts start Aug. 22– so you still have time for a quick get-away.

We have a suggestion for you if you want to add one more fun activity: take a day or a couple of days and go to a local hotel or campground. You can choose any area and tailor your trip to suit your family’s wants and needs. Getting your family away from your home provides a chance for good one-on-one time. And you trip can start as close as Arnold, Missouri.

This time of year is both exciting and stressful. Parents are hurriedly trying to get all the school supplies, school clothes and be sure they have their children enrolled in whatever they are planning on. The kids of course for the most part are just wanting to hold onto a few more days of summer– and you can help them.

If you find a hotel close to you or the area you are thinking about going– or even camping like the KOA Campground or Jellystone Park– you can make your own last-minute vacation.

The Drury Hotels are our favorites, so we always try to stay at one and you would probably have to look hard to find an area which is not close to a Drury Hotel. They really are a perfect hotel for a family get-away.

We found out this week there are 23  Drury-owned properties in the Greater St. Louis Area. That’s a lot of hotels, and there are more located all over the United States. They always have such an inviting lobby, like the one shown right, at the Drury in Arnold, our featured hotel for today.

When thinking about a hotel in St. Louis many think of downtown where the sports teams and Union Station are. You may also want one near Six Flags. There are also Drurys on the East Side of the Mississippi.

We wanted to shine the spotlight on an area, which does not get a lot of mention as a vacation spot, so we enlisted the help of  Jessica Devereaux, the Market Sales Leader for the St. Louis Area Drury Hotels and David Nischwitz who is the Director of Marketing for Drury Hotels to show us around the Drury Inn in Arnold.

Our tour guides showed us around the hotel with all of its recent remodeling just completed. Besides the beautiful lobby, there is an office area, a little store in case you forgot something and a meeting room.

Most of the Drury Hotels have been getting face lifts or complete remodels over the past several years and the one located off of highway 55 just south of St. Louis is in the category of looking brand-new.

A short vacation to the Drury in Arnold could provide you with a couple of days of lounging around the hotel, pool, and workout room– and spending time with your family; but there are so many things you can do within a short distance that you may not know about.

While Devereaux and Nischwitz were the perfect guides for the hotel, Arnold resident Tim Seidenstricker who has served as the Mayor Pro Tempore and as an Arnold City Councilman in the past served as our expert on the town.

Seidenstricker was born in St. Louis and grew up in Pevely but moved to Arnold in 2012. He has lived in Arnold for 11 years and gave us some great ideas for what to do there.

“Arnold has some wonderful places to shop and many places for dining,” he said. “We have some great parks but  beyond that, we have some of the nicest people you will ever meet.”

And Kimmswick is only nine minutes away.

“Kimmswick is a very neat, historic area,” said Seidenstricker

It’s a small  picturesque town nestled along the banks of the Mississippi River, with a rich history dating back to the 1850s. It is known for its preserved historic buildings, quaint shops, and warm Midwestern hospitality.

There are some delicious and unique restaurants there including the iconic Blue Owl; and the Dough Depot which has amazing food, with many of the entrees being made from fresh pretzels. There are many other restaurants along with fun shops.

One of our favorite shops is Savannah Rose at 209 Market Street, shown in the photo, left. They have lots of interesting gift items.

Cindy Schmidt is the owner and she always seeks out both unique and popular gift items.

“We try to carry something for everyone,” said Schmidt. “We carry Southern Tees, Vera Bradley items, Happy Everything giftware, backpacks for back to school, and much more. We pride ourselves with our customer service and and welcome all to our fun, happy place.”

After shopping there several times, we can attest that is a fun, happy place. Cindy Schmidt is proud of the entire town of Kimmswick.

Kimmswick has long been a destination for shoppers during the Christmas Holiday season and each year they host the Apple Butter Festival in October.This year, it is the weekend of October 28-29, 2023, 10am – 5pm both days.

The Apple Butter Festival is the largest celebration Kimmswick has annually drawing more than 100,000 visitors– put it on your calendar right now and you will remember it in October. Typically there will be  food, drink and craft vendors, as well as  live entertainment throughout the town including bluegrass, country rock, and dulcimer music.

“We have 28 shops,” Cindy Schmidt says. The Kimmswick merchants like to promote each other and she also mentioned the three restaurants and the winery.

“LaChance Winery in Kimmswick is great also,” said Seidenstricker.

LaChance Winery,  6035 2nd St, Kimmswick, MO 63053,  is a family-owned winery  (in Kimmswick) and they have a vineyard nestled amidst the picturesque, rolling hills of nearby De Soto, Missouri. They serve fine wines, and visitors can enjoy breathtaking views of their vineyards.

Another day trip nearby is Mastodon State Park and Historic Site,  which is just seven minutes away by car. Mastodon State Park 1050 Charles J Becker Dr, Imperial, MO 63052 is at the same exit as Kimmswick so you could go check out the Mastodon Visitor Center and then eat lunch in Kimmswick.

“Mastodon State Park is a good place to go,” said Seidenstricker.  “There is a small, but very nice museum with a replica of mastodon. And a nice smaller trail perfect for kids.”

Mastodon State Historic Site contains an important archaeological and paleontological site: the Kimmswick Bone Bed. This is where scientists discovered the first solid evidence of the coexistence of humans and the American mastodon in eastern North America.

If you have kids, ask for a scavenger hunt sheet at Mastodon, and the kids will enjoy looking for things in the Visitors Center.

There is a short movie which is very interesting and a life-sized mastodon skeleton, shown in the photo, right.

There is also a hiking trail at the park with a “mindfulness” meditation for hikers to take before the hike.

It was put there to give you a chance to take a deep breath and be mindful of the peaceful surroundings you are in before starting the hike. This is found at the start of the hike, on the way to the Visitors Center. There are two trails, the Spring Branch Trail, Wildflower Trail and Lime Hill.  Just being out in the woods with your family or even by yourself can be just what you need during these busy days.

Once you are out on a hiking trail you won’t remember where you are, you will be a thousand miles away in your peaceful thoughts.

If you want to know more about Mastodon State Park,  CLICK HERE.

For more outdoor fun, Arnold City Park is located off Jeffco Blvd. at #1 Bradley Beach Road. There is a lot to do at the Arnold City Park.

For families with children there is a playground and horse shoe pit.

Besides the playground area, there is a paved ½ mile hiking trail, volleyball poles, and restrooms. If you enjoy being in the outdoors but would rather not be in the middle of the woods like at Mastedon Park, a walk around the lake might be for you.

For those who like fishing or just being around a lake and watching the Canadian geese or ducks, this 68-acre park has an eight-acre fishing lake. There are also  pavilions, each with electricity and a barbecue pit.

Seidenstricker has many good things to say about Arnold and why you should go there. He also likes the close proximity to South County.

“We share a border with St. Louis County,” he says. “I recommend Suson Animal Park. Technically in St. Louis County, but only minutes from Arnold. There is a playground and live animals to see. And of course Downtown St. Louis is only about 15 minutes away.”

And here’s a little known fact from Seidenstricker: “Arnold has the largest Anheuser-Busch can factory in the world.”

Since 2012, Anheuser-Busch has made a significant investment in Metal Container Corporation (MCC) facility in Arnold to increase production of cans both for beer and soft drinks.

Anyone who reads on a regular basis knows that Drury Hotels are our sponsors. We do not tout them because they are our sponsors—we want them as sponsors because we love the hotels.

We travel often to either the minor league games or some of the major league stadiums and there is usually a Drury Hotel in a convenient spot. When you travel as much as we do it’s nice to have a place with comfortable beds, free food and drink available and a friendly staff.

While many hotels have gotten on the bandwagon and provide a free breakfast, none have the “Country Fresh” scrambled eggs with the shredded cheddar cheese – and the Kelso Brothers coffee. That’s always our staple breakfast; the Kelso Brothers Coffee is delicious.

Kelso Brothers coffee is named for the small town that the original Drury family grew up in: Kelso, Missouri near Cape Girardeau.

One of the main reasons we love the Drury Hotels is they still have the “family” and “small town” values and commitment to service– while they have grown way beyond their initial vision and have some of the most innovative ideas and hotels you will find anywhere.

Drury Hotels and the Drury family  do so much for the community and when we want to shine the light on them in that area, they remain humble and modest but they have helped so many charities, churches, and communities in so many ways. Chuck Drury who heads up the hotel division and his staff instill in their employees the ethics of Chuck’s late and great father, Charles Drury which include hard work and being nice to people.

Drury Hotels all have pools, free wifi, large lobbies, and their signature popcorn popping in the late afternoon. If you haven’t checked out a Drury Hotel, at least check out their website so you can see all the locations for when you plan your next trip.

And while you are looking, maybe you will find a good location and take a short trip this week. When you make your reservations, don’t forget to use the promo code: SPORTS.


And now that you know all about Arnold, Missouri, drop in and see Dr. John Tosi at the Tosie Dental Office in Arnold. John, who is a big sports fan and a longtime reader of– and also a longtime friend– and his brother Richard Tosie started a dental practice years ago. Later, to eliminate the confusion of two dentists with the same last name, John changed the spelling on his name.

Today, Richard’s son Dr. Kyle Tosie has joined the family business after Richard’s retirement. They are located in Arnold at  3855 W Outer Rd, Arnold, MO 63010. They are a great group of people, so if you are looking for a dentist, call Tosie Dental: (636) 296-4800 or check out their website:




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For the latest news and features in St. Louis Sports check out Rob Rains, Editor.