Top Off a Fall Drive with a Fabulous Meal in Missouri

Photo Credit: VisitMO.com
Trees drenched in shades of red, orange and gold make autumn one of the best times for a road trip in Missouri. To make the journey even better, choose a special place for an unforgettable dinner.
 
Here are three colorful routes and one-of-kind restaurants perfect for a fall getaway:
 
St. Charles to Hermann

Start in St. Charles where you’ll find a riverside park and a historic downtown with dozens of shops and points of interest, including Missouri’s First State Capitol and the Lewis & Clark Boat House and Museum. Head west on Highway 94, traveling along the Missouri River and tree-lined bluffs and through several small towns including Defiance and Augusta, home to wineries and bed and breakfast inns. Turn south and take Highway 19 across the river and into the picturesque town of Hermann where you can experience the region’s German heritage and explore the Hermann Wine Trail.
 
Sample award-winning wine and German specialties at Vintage 1847 Restaurant at Stone Hill Winery. Established in 1847, Stone Hill was the country’s second largest winery prior to Prohibition. The restaurant is housed in the winery’s former carriage house and horse barn, just steps from the property’s main house.
 
Caledonia to Van Buren

Explore the old-fashioned mercantile store and antique shops in the tiny village of Caledonia before heading south into the heart of the Ozarks on Highway 21. A few miles off the highway, you’ll find some of the state’s most popular outdoor attractions, including Elephant Rocks State Park, Taum Sauk Mountain State Park and Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park, decked out in fall’s finest shades. Further south, explore the crystal-clear rivers of the Ozark National Scenic Riverways. Near Van Buren, stop by Big Spring, one of the country’s largest natural springs.
 
In Arcadia, you’ll find more than 150 years of history and made-from-scratch meals at Thee Abbey Kitchen. Established in 1847 as Arcadia Academy, the original four-story building served as a private high school until the Civil War when it was used as a Union hospital. Today, the historic campus houses a bed and breakfast inn, restaurant, bakery and creamery, and is known for its giant homemade cinnamon rolls and ice cream.
 
Jefferson City to Arrow Rock

Combine fall color with Missouri history on a drive from Jefferson City to Arrow Rock. The grounds surrounding the State Capitol and the Governor’s Mansion are especially colorful in the fall. Cross the Missouri River Bridge and take Highway 63 toward Columbia where brilliant foliage lines the river valley. In Columbia, take Interstate 70 west to Highway 41 to reach the historic village of Arrow Rock. The entire town is a National Historic Landmark located on the Lewis & Clark and Santa Fe trails.

Treat yourself to lunch or dinner at Catalpa. The charming destination restaurant is known for fine dining, but during the pandemic it has transformed its shaded patio area into a perfect place for gourmet burgers, sandwiches and salads made with locally grown ingredients. Make your meal even more memorable with a frozen cocktail, shake or homemade ice cream.
 
Leaf peeping-season in the Show-Me State usually peaks from mid- to late-October, depending on the weather. Check the Missouri Department of Conservation's Fall Color Forecast to get the latest updates September through November.

 
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