Where are some of your favorite places in Missouri to visit?
When others from our great state are asked that same question, is Jefferson City at the top of their list? My hope is to secure a top spot for Jefferson City and emphasize all it has to offer. Its central location lends itself as a natural place for visitors from all over the state and country. So, what is it that draws people to #JCMO? We are the only city in the country with a Capitol, a river and a retired prison. The prison drew 25,000 visitors in 2015 alone — now that’s impressive! We have powerful potential if we combine our resources and partner with the state and county to maximize our Capitol, river and prison connections, assets that no other city has to offer.
If forced to choose, my favorite place to visit is Kansas City and not just because it’s the headquarters of Hallmark. I do, however, highly recommend a visit to Crown Center, the Crayola Store and Kaleidoscope. But this city is also a favorite because of family who live there and wonderful memories of boarding the train with my grandparents at the old station by the river in Jefferson City for a visit. How I loved the train ride into Union Station! And how about those Royals?
The city I visit most frequently and fondly is Springfield. I am a proud Bear and serve on the Missouri State University Board of Governors, which gives me the opportunity to visit often. Bear fans can catch a football game at the newly renovated Plaster Stadium or take in a concert or event at the JQH Arena. The Keith Urban concert is still one of my favorites — what a show! Or while there, enjoy a Springfield Cardinals game. The stadium is amazing and makes me wish we had a similar venue in Jefferson City. Here’s an opportunity to dream big.
Springfield is still home to my college hangout, DiGiacintos, where I am able to order the best chicken salad sandwich ever. Although they have expanded and the back booth where we solved the world’s problems is no longer there, the food is still amazing. I also enjoy taking in the uniqueness of Springfield’s downtown, which has come to life in my years since graduation. While recently staying at the newly renovated Hotel Vandivort, complete with brick features, tall ceilings and great stories, I felt like a cool, hip loft resident. Imagine if our retired prison could be revamped into such a hotel affording some of the most stunning views of the Missouri River right from your hotel window…another big dream.
If you choose to stay closer to home, I recommend you get out and enjoy the Katy Trail. Did you know that City Parks and Recreation completed a pavilion at the Katy Trailhead last fall? The Katy is a connector, a crossroads where walkers and bikers meet the bluffs and the river and where visitors follow the path straight to Jefferson City with a spectacular view from the pedestrian/bike bridge across from the stunning Missouri River right into downtown for unique shopping and dining. And of course, our beautiful state Capitol serves as a backdrop for much of the ride.
Make new friends on the trail, breathe fresh air and take in all that it has to offer. Consider the Governor’s 100 Missouri Miles Challenge. It’s too fun to call it fitness, and it’s beyond what you’ll find at a gym. Your feet crunching the trail and the spectacular views will allow your entire body and mind to be inspired by every Missouri mile. So grab your family, kids, friends and the dog, and come to the Katy. Connect yourself to nature
and to Jefferson City. We live in the greatest state on earth. Take time to enjoy it. #DreamBig #CarrieOn #ProudBear #BearUP! #staycation #ILoveMissouri #ILoveJCMO!