WANDERLUST - May 2019
All aboard the Missouri River Runner train to Hermann, Missouri where you’ll discover wineries, German food, shopping, and a unique glamping experience in a tree house
By Jill Dutton
“I need to get away for a few days,” my youngest daughter, Tara, announced.
Her statement came at the perfect time as I had just been offered a chance to go glamping via Glamping Hub. With more than 35,000 properties hosting 27 different types of glamping, we found numerous locations near Kansas City. When I saw a property in Hermann, MO—in a treehouse, no less—I knew we found the perfect weekend getaway.
I booked our train tickets online. It turned out that Amtrak was having a buy one, get one free offer that weekend so we got both tickets for the price of one!
We packed a cooler with snacks, threw a few outfits into our luggage, and were ready to go.
Missouri River Runner
The train runs daily from Kansas City to St. Louis with a choice of the morning ride that departs at 8:15 a.m., or the afternoon ride at 4:00 p.m. For about four hours, you can kick back, relax, and enjoy the scenery. Unfortunately, because of the recent flooding, the train wasn’t running. They put us on a bus instead, and although we missed the adventure of riding the train, the chartered bus was comfortable and fun too.
We were booked to stay at The Cottage, a rustic getaway set in the woods just outside town. Our first night we slept in the cabin, a delightful space with a queen bed downstairs and a loft that held two twin beds and an entrance to the deck with a hot tub.
Each morning we would walk to the dining room, a sunny and vibrant space where Keely Pettijohn, the host, would chat with the guests while serving some of the best meals of our trip.
My daughter is sensitive to gluten, so the first morning Keely whipped up the best gluten-free pancakes I’ve tasted, with bananas and walnuts and topped with maple butter. Each breakfast comes with a smoothie, a savory, and a sweet, and that morning, in addition to the pancakes, we enjoyed a ham and cheese egg and a mixed berry smoothie.
The second morning brought a Monkey muffin (think pull-apart cinnamon roll covered with cinnamon butter) that I still think about today—it was that good—plus an orange and banana smoothie and a Tuscan frittata with roasted peppers.
We slept in the treehouse on Saturday night. It was all about the view. Set high in the woods, there were two decks to sit and drink coffee or watch the wildlife, plus an abundance of windows inside to savor the view into the evening.
With a late arrival Friday evening, the Tin Mill Steakhouse, where we’d planned to have dinner, was about to close. Instead, we ran across the street to the Tin Mill Brewing Company which stayed open an hour later. They were accommodating and quickly had a couple of cheeseburgers and a beer flight ready for us.
For lunch on Saturday, after touring the Stone Hill Winery, we dined at their Vintage Restaurant. Nominated a “Best German Restaurant in America” by GermanDeli.com, it was satisfying to sample their authentic dishes. For a variety, try the German Trio, a smaller portion of schweineschnitzel with your choice of sauce (I always pick the Jager sauce, a delightful wine and mushroom sauce); tender sliced, house marinated beef sauerbraten with a spicy Hermannsberger wine sauce, and a locally produced wurst served with whole grain mustard.
Dinner that night was at Harvest Table, where they serve freshly cooked items using locally-sourced produce and meats when possible. Tara enjoyed a huge piece of prime rib with smashed potatoes and I had the schnitzel with green beans.
We departed on Sunday at lunchtime so made a point to stop by Hermann Wurst Haus to buy a couple of sandwiches to eat during the ride home to Kansas City. You’ll want to allow plenty of time to peruse this deli and store as it’s packed with unique food items, their award-winning bratwursts, plus artisan beers and craft sodas.
Hermann is a walkable town. Print a map from the Visitor Center before you go, or pick up a Visitor’s Guide at many of the businesses, to be sure and not miss any of the unique shops like Sugar Momma’s candy store, Antiques Unlimited2, and Topiaries garden, gifts, and art store.
History buffs will enjoy touring the Deutschheim State Historic Site, Historic Hermann Museum, and more. Learn about all the museums on the Visit Hermann website.
And of course, there are the wineries for which Hermann is famous. Set in Missouri Wine Country, the lush landscape provided the perfect location for German settlers to plant grape varietals. Check out the Hermann Wine Trail before you go to plan your route. The Hermann Trolley makes regular rounds to the wineries and you can book unlimited rides for a day for $25.
*While parts of this trip were hosted, the opinions are my own.
Jill Dutton is the publisher of Evolving Magazine. As a travel writer, she takes an intimate look at authentic travel experiences. Follow her travels at www.USAbyRail.blog. Her train guide, “Ride the Southwest Chief” publishes in 2019. Find her “Best of Kansas City: 3-Day Itinerary” book on Amazon.