Western Trips

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Visit St. Charles, Missouri / Historic Attractions

Historic St. Charles is the third oldest city in Missouri with a very rich past. Once named the "Williamsburg of the West" by Southern Living Magazine, St. Charles' Main Street is Missouri's first and largest historic district.

missouri attractionsLocated along the banks of the Missouri River and just about a thirty minute drive west of downtown St. Louis, historic St. Charles has been welcoming visitors since 1769 and was Missouri's first state capital.

Today, the city is much as it was many years ago and continues to welcome tourists who enjoy early American history.

Lewis & Clark 

The famous Lewis & Clark Expedition set out from St. Charles up the Missouri River and eventually reached the Pacific Ocean near today's Astoria, Oregon. This expedition which covered the period 1804-1806 is credited with opening the American West.

Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail is approximately 3,700 miles long, extending from Wood River, Illinois, to the mouth of the Columbia River, near present day Astoria, Oregon, following the historic outbound and inbound routes of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. The trail connects 11 states (Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Washington, and Oregon) and many Tribal lands. The trail was established by Congress in 1978 as part of the national trails system (NTS) as one of four original national historic trails. One site for more information about traveling along the trail is....www.lewisandclarkcountry.org

Here's some of the great attractions in St. Charles...

lewis & clark center st charles
Lewis & Clark Boat House and Nature Center 

The Lewis & Clark Boat House and Nature Center is the Discovery Expedition's permanent home. Situated beside the Missouri River at Bishop's Landing in charming historic St. Charles, Missouri, the museum and educational facility features exhibits relating to the Lewis and Clark expedition, historic St. Charles, and the Missouri River ecosystem. When not on the river, the Discovery Expedition's hand-crafted replica boats will be on display on the building's lower level.These are full-size replicas of the keelboat and pirogues used by Lewis and Clark. Some interesting information about the original Lewis & Clark keelboat was that it was constructed in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, had a cannon purchased in St. Louis mounted on it's bow...was 55 feet long and 8 feet wide,T usually carried 27 men. he Lewis & Clark Boat House and Nature Center is a must stop and great fun for the entire family.

St. Charles Main Street 

Filled with unique shops, specialty shops, restaurants and historic structures, Main Street is St. Charles centerpiece.

st charles main street
St Charles Main Street
St. Charles Main Street National Historic District is the site of the first permanent European settlement on the Missouri River.With brick-lined streets, historic buildings and a heritage that spans two centuries, this charming Missouri River village has attracted travelers since the early 19th century.

St. Charles Main Street was a main shopping area for explorers and fur traders during the nineteenth century. Today, visitors to St. Charles, Missouri shop on the same street and in many of the same structures that were there in the early days. The items you will see for sale include teas; tobacco; books; artwork; fashion accessories; furniture; antiques; clothing; home decor; wine; hand-blown glass; fine jewelry; and stained glass as well as more items.

st charles historic buildings
First State Capital
Missouri's First State Capital Building 

The First Missouri State Capitol State Historic Site shown in this article is a state-owned property in St. Charles, Missouri that preserves the building that served as Missouri's capitol from 1821 to 1826. St. Louis had serves as the territorial capital. St. Charles was the first state capital until a capital in Jefferson City was built.

The meeting place for the state legislators was provided on the second floor of the brick building, owned by merchants, Charles and Ruluff Peck, and a craftsman named Chauncey Shepard. The floor was divided and used as Senate and House chambers, an office for the governor, and a small committee room.

More Western Trips articles you may enjoy are found on the links below...

Drive Kansas Route 66

Attractions in Independence, Missouri

lewis & clark statue

Lewis & Clark Sculpture

The 15-foot bronze monument features Meriwether Lewis and William Clark and Clark's Newfoundland dog, Seaman. The sculpture was dedicated on May 18, 2003 and marks the rendezvous site for Lewis and Clark before setting out from the last "civilized" stop of St. Charles to follow the Missouri River westward. The Lewis & Clark monument sits along the Missouri riverfront in Frontier Park.

Annual Attractions 

A few of the annual events put on in St. Charles, MO include the Lewis & Clark Rendezvous in May...the Blue Grass Festival and Civil War Reenactment in September and the St. Charles Christmas Traditions on Main Street in December.  For more information on annual festivals and events see...www.discoverstcharles.com/events/festivals/

(Article and photos copyright Western Trips)

Monday, September 4, 2017

Fun Travel in the Mountain West

The U.S Mountain West states offer some of the best and most diverse travel experiences in North America.

arizona travel
The mountain and desert geography gives every tourist abundant opportunities for great photos as well as terrific hiking adventures. In a lot of ways, the mountain west is all about the outdoors.

Yes, things have changes since the days of the Old West but most of the Old West towns, many you may already have heard of have survived and their history has survived with them as well. You'll still be able to taste the Old West lifestyle and add to it the great travel stops found in the big cities of Phoenix, Albuquerque, Las Vegas, Denver, Salt Lake City and more.

Below you'll find the kind of fun travel sites to add to your next road trip out west. We've listed interesting travel stops in the states of Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico. These are just a small sampling of sites. You'll find many additional western U.S. travel stops on this website westerntrips.blogspot.com  and also on www.tripsintohistory.com

southwest travel sites
Arizona's old west includes towns such as Prescott, Yuma, Tucson, Tombstone, Benson and more. Arizona is the Grand Canyon state and in addition to the breathtaking views there you can enjoy a scenic train ride between Williams and the Grand Canyon South Rim on the famous Grand Canyon Railroad. Here you can ride along 45 miles of track laid back in the 1800's during the great mining days of Colorado.

Tucson's rich old west history will call for a stroll through Old Town with it's historic buildings. Old Tucson is Where the Spirit of the Old West Comes Alive! Just to the west of Tucson is the Old Tucson Studios where many a western movie was filmed. Old Tucson Studios today is a theme park just west of Tucson, adjacent to the Tucson Mountains and close to the western section of Saguaro National Park.

Prescott, which at one time was the capital of the old Arizona Territory, is rich in old west history and was a major destination of old Arizona stage coaches. 


Aside from the mile high city of Denver, Colorado Springs and Pueblo...the state has a rich history of mining with many of these old mining towns still in existence. In the southwest portion of the state is Durango with it's beautiful mountains, horse back riding, and the historic Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. Ride this historic train on 45 miles of rails originally laid in 1882 between the mining town of Silverton and the railroad-built town of Durango.

colorado travel list
Alamosa is a two and one half hour drive north of Santa Fe New Mexico which makes it a good addition while visiting in Santa Fe.

Where the early railroad laid rails to, in many instances, decided what towns prospered and what towns faded away. In the case of Alamosa, the real engine of growth was the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad which built to it in June of 1878 from Garland Colorado to the east and eventually continued onward. Alamosa, which means cottonwood in Spanish, is the place to stay when visiting nearby attractions including the Great Sand Dunes National Park which is located about thirty-eight miles northeast of town.

New Mexico 

Albuquerque, Santa Fe and Taos have long been popular travel destinations. Albuquerque which is the largest city in the state has a very interesting Old Town area, just west of present day downtown, and features many historic buildings and sites as well as a great selection of restaurants. Add to that the Sandia Peak Tramway just north of the city and you'll be assured a fun visit.

santa fe things to do
Santa Fe, the City Different, is the state capital with it's historic Plaza. Add to that Loretta Chapel, St Francis Basilica and terrific museums. Shopping is great and you'll find some of the finest dining and hotels in the state.

Taos is a city that inspires, amazes, and captures the hearts of all who visit this scenic mountain town. Taos has a scenic Plaza lines with shops and restaurants. Visit the old home of Kit Carson who called Taos his home. Today the home is a terrific museum displaying artifacts from Kit Carson and the old Taos days. Another good stop is the old Charles Bent House, once owned by the first governor of the New Mexico Territory, and now an interesting museum. Just north of town is the Taos Pueblo. Taos Pueblo is  a living Native American community located at the base of the beautiful Sangre de Cristo Mountains.  It is the only living Native American community designated both a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and a National Historic Landmark.

southern new mexico travelMesilla is located next to Las Cruces and is both the most visited old community in southern New Mexico as well as one of the most historic. Mesilla's location placed it in the direct path of many historical events of the mid 1800's including the American Civil War. 

Mesilla's distance from the old Territorial capital at Santa Fe and the more populated northern New Mexico area meant that lawlessness was a major factor to contend with not to mention a running battle with various Apache tribes. Mesilla was also a stop during the days of the Butterfield Stage Route between St. Louis and San Francisco

Silver City sits atop a site that has been home to Native American, Hispanic and Anglo settlers for hundreds of years. The town was named Silver City because rich deposits of chloride silver were discovered just west of town during the 1870's. Silver City is the site of two historic district downtown hotels. One is named The Palace Hotel and the other The Murray Hotel. Lots of historic buildings including the unique Silver City Museum will be found along with good dining choices and shopping. 

(Photos and article copyright Western Trips)