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Near and Afar

By plane, train or automobile:
tips on getaways in Missouri
and their namesakes elsewhere
Wednesday, December 3, 2003 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 10:17 a.m. CDT, Sunday, July 6, 2008

California, Mo.

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Approximate travel time: An hour and 10 minutes drive each way.

Where to stay: Memory Lane Bed & Breakfast & Antiques, (573) 796-4233, or the Oak Street Bed and Breakfast, (573) 796-3530.

What to do: Burger’s Smokehouse is the pride of California, Mo. The smokehouse is located on a farm three miles south of the town and houses the Good Old Days Theater, which shows films about the 18th-century process of meat curing.

Once an old post office, the Cultural Heritage Center now houses exhibits on the history of Moniteau County, a library for genealogy research and a town information center. Additionally, the Moniteau County Courthouse, built in 1840, sits in Heritage Square and houses two museums about the early settlement of the area and the role of Moniteau County soldiers in national wars.

Explore the outdoors at Proctor Park or the California Country Club, which has a nine-hole golf course. During the summer, visitors can also enjoy races at the Double X Speedway.

For more information, visit www.calmo.com.

San Francisco, Ca.

Approximate travel time: 4 1/2 hours by plane or 29 hours by car each way.

Where to stay: Try the Andrews Hotel, (415) 563-6877, located just two blocks from the Cable Cars and Union Square in the heart of the city. If that doesn’t match your needs, it won’t be difficult find something that does in the wide range of hotels in the city.

What to do: Visitors can tour around neighborhoods of Victorian houses, including “postcard row” in Alamo Square. “Postcard row” is one of the most photographed areas in the city, where a rows of painted Victorian houses are back-dropped by the city’s skyscrapers. Chinatown, Japantown, North Beach and the Mission District are all cultural areas with restaurants, food markets, shopping and museums pertaining to their respective Chinese, Japanese, Italian and Hispanic heritage.

No visit to San Francisco would be complete without a ride down Nob Hill in one of the city’s famous cable cars, taking in the best view of the San Francisco Bay from the city. While you are there, check out the Cable Car Museum. And don’t forget to take your photo in front of the Golden Gate Bridge.

For more information, visit www.sfvisitor.org.

Mexico, Mo.

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Approximate travel time: Less than one hour each way.

Where to stay: Amerihost Inn Mexico, (573) 582-0055, or Holiday Inn Express, (573) 582-0700.

What to do: The 11-acre Robert S. Green Park contains three major historical sites. Mexico’s American Saddlebred Horse Museum is the oldest of its kind..

Graceland Museum, an antebellum mansion built in 1857, has nine rooms open to the public. The Country Church and Country School have been restored to their original condition and are also open to the public.

Visit Binders Hilltop Apple and Berry Farm, which is open year-round upon appointment. The farm has an apple orchard, a berry farm, more than 20 alpacas and a health food store. To make an appointment, call (573) 581-0088.

For more information, visit www.maain.com

Cancún, Mexico

Approximate travel time: About a five-hour flight each way.

Where to stay: Choose from hotels, condominiums, villas and resorts with a variety of amenities. Travelers who don’t plan on leaving their resort much might also want to look into all-inclusive hotels, such as the Meliá Cancún Beach and Spa Resort, where meals and alcoholic beverages are included in the room rate. Call (998) 885-1114.

What to do: While many travelers choose to sunbathe on the sandy beaches, there are also activities for active visitors. Kids and adults can swim with the dolphins, snorkel, scuba dive and sail.

Aktun Chen, a local eco-park with caves and 400 acres of unexplored rainforest, offers an easy walking tour through one of the main caves. Cancun also boasts endless shopping, a variety of gourmet restaurants and a fabulous nightlife.

For more information, visit www.cancun.com.

Nevada, Mo.

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Approximate travel time: The 215-mile drive will take about three hours and 40 minutes each way.

Where to stay: Candle Creek RV Park is located next to a miniature-golf course and a skating rink and sells handmade candles in its gift shop. Call (417) 549-6228 for more information, or try the Red Horse Inn, a bed and breakfast, at (417) 667-7796.

What to do: “You can really get some history in Nevada,” said Cindy Johnson, director of membership services for the Nevada Chamber of Commerce. Nevada is full of history, starting with the Vernon County Court House in the center of town. The courthouse was built in 1908 in the Romanesque revival style, and it has a dominating presence in the town.

A self-guided walking tour of the Osage Village State Historic Site allows visitors to explore the village, which was occupied by the Osage Indians between 1700 and 1775. The Bushwhacker Museum and Bushwhacker Jail house exhibits on the Osage Indians, Civil War memorabilia and genealogical records. Seven colorful interior and exterior murals throughout town display the history of Nevada and Vernon County.

Visitors can also take the Victorian Homes Tour, a driving tour guided by audiotapes. The tour highlights historical homes and landmarks of the area.

For those more interested in the outdoors, Nevada also has several parks and recreation areas, including Radio Springs Park, where families can swim, fish and take a stroll on the half-mile lighted walking trail surrounding a seven-acre public lake.

One of Nevada’s largest draws is the Champion Diamonds, the site of the 2001 Little League World Series, where hundreds of people gather during the season to watch little league baseball games.

For more information, visit www.nevadamo.org.

Las Vegas, Nevada

Approximate travel time: 3 1/2 hours by plane, or about 23 hours by car each way.

Where to stay: Take your pick — Las Vegas is a Mecca of luxurious hotels and enormous resorts. The MGM Grand alone has more than 5,700 rooms and suites, which is more than enough space to house the entire population of Nevada, Mo. With locations this large, visitors can find rooms at any number of hotels that can accommodate specific needs and price range.

What to do: A tour of Las Vegas Blvd., known as “the Strip,” offers enough entertainment to keep adults and children entertained for days. Hotels on the Strip boast replicas of world sites such as the Eiffel Tower, a Manhattan skyline, the canals of Venice, and even a working volcano.

Outside the Bellagio hotel dances a choreographed fountain that propels water 240 feet into the air. Pirates outside Treasure Island hotel stage a full-scale battle every night after dusk. Who could forget the casinos?

Those seeking solace from the flashing lights of the Strip can enjoy air tours of the city, explore Madame Toussaud’s Wax Museum or play 18 holes of golf at any number of nearby golf courses.

For more information, visit www.vegas.com.

Washington, Mo.

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Approximate travel time: A two-hour, 92-mile drive each way, or take the Amtrak from Jefferson City and spend 1 hour and 15 minute on the rails headed straight into town.

Where to stay: Schwegmann House Bread and Breakfast Inn, located in a 1861 brick Georgian house, overlooks the Missouri River and features antiques from the 1900s in every room. The staff serves fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies, breads and muffins daily and provides handmade, scented soaps for every guest. Call (800) 949-2262.

What to do: The Corn Cob Pipe Museum, Washington Historical Museum and Mid Missouri Fine Arts Gallery will keep museum lovers occupied for a day, while several antique stores await shoppers. Just four miles outside of town is Willow Creek Antiques, a 6,000 square-foot barn filled with collectables, quilts, tools and furniture, and Loaves and Fishes Bulk Foods sells Amish and natural goods, old fashioned candies, teas, soup mixes and more. There are also about seven wineries close by for visitors to explore. Inexpensive guided tours of Washington are available daily and include a tour of the town, the Washington Historical Museum and a winery.

Tourism coordinator Mark Wessels said most visitors treat a trip to Washington as a romantic getaway. “They spend the night at a bed and breakfast, take a walk along the river, go shopping in town and visit some of the nearby wineries,” he said.

For more information, visit www.washmo.org.

Washington, D.C.

Approximate travel time: About 2 hours by plane, or 15 hours by car each way.

Where to stay: Shop around for a good deal at a hotel near the city center to make sightseeing easier. The Hilton-Capitol hotel is only two blocks from the White House and a mile from the Smithsonian (202) 393-1000.

What to do: Historical attractions abound in the nation’s capital. Attractions include the Lincoln Memorial, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the Washington Monument and dozens more.

The Smithsonian, the world’s largest museum complex, is also located in the city and contains a wide variety of art and artifacts. Several other museums with thousands of treasures to share are scattered around the city, as are parks and botanical gardens. See thousands of animals, including the famous giant pandas, at the National Zoo.

Visitors can also make a trip to the White House, the U.S. Capitol building and the Pentagon. Tour groups are available to help visitors navigate the many hidden treasures of the city.

For more information, visit www.washington.org.

New Madrid, Mo.

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Approximate travel time: At 274 miles, this journey will take about 4 1/2 hours each way.

Where to stay: Try the Relax Inn in town, which has RV hookups, or the Super 8 in nearby Marshton.

What to do: This quiet, riverside town offers many outdoor activities for visitors. An observation deck, situated at the bend of the Mississippi River, allows visitors to see the portion of the river that runs east to west. The area also has several parks and recreation areas for hunting and fishing.

Year-round, visitors can tour the Hunter Dawson Historical Site, an antebellum home built in the 1860s that has been refurbished with original furniture from the period. In December, the house is decorated with live greens and candles, and staff members dress in period costumes, giving candlelight tours every night.

The New Madrid Historical Museum, contains Civil War artifacts, antique furniture, quilts and clothing. The Higgerson Historical Site, a one-room schoolhouse restored to its original condition, open throughout the summer.

For more information, visit www.newmadrid.mo.us.

Madrid, Spain

Approximate travel time: A 12-hour flight each way.

Where to stay: Like any major city, Madrid has numerous options in every price range. Find something in the center of the city, such as Rafael Atocha hotel, which is situated just blocks from the “cultural mile,” an area of the city that houses many museums and other tourist attractions. Contact a travel agent for more information.

What to do: The bustling city of Madrid has much to offer, especially for art lovers. Madrid’s Prado museum is one of the world’s finest art galleries, displaying some of the best Spanish, Flemish and Italian art of the 15th to 19th centuries. The city’s other large art museum, the Museo de la Real Academia de Bellas Artes, has a more modern collection and is considered one of the most important in the country.

Visitors can also view the artistic architecture, tapestries and rococo decorations of the royal palace, a 3,000 room mansion where Spanish royalty once lived. Don’t miss Madrid’s main historical plaza with its murals and baroque architecture, or the Buen Retiro park with its woodlands, lake and rose garden right in the center of the city.

While tourists can spend days in museums and visiting historical sites, Madrid is also an excellent city in which to experience true Spanish culture. Café de Chinitas has one of the most well-known flamenco dancing shows in the city and often sells out nightly. More daring visitors can attend a bullfight at Madrid’s historic bullring from March to October.

Tourists should also be sure to try some tapas, an assortment of bite-sized foods similar to appetizers, and experience some of Madrid’s colorful nightlife.

For more information, visit www.alltravelspain.com.


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