After several crazed weeks which included illness, conferences, and sudden high temperatures (yeah, we’re in for a hot one, St. Louisians!), our family felt as though we were missing something.
We were a bit cranky. A bit short with each other. A bit in need of a “Sunday” drive.
It was a Friday, and we had a lot of things to do that day. Aaron had a full day of work, the boys and I were planning a playdate and babysitting later in the day. But we intentionally got up early and took the time to drive together. We knew we needed to metaphorically stop and smell the roses. We ended up literally stopping and discovering a massive new friend.
This magnificent tree lies in the middle of Minnie Ha Ha Park which has a fun history (see: Drive by History) while being only a few years old officially. In the hot summers of Missouri people have always looked for ways to cool down and the Meremac River provides just that. Even in the 1800’s people flocked to Minnie Ha Ha Beach to dip their toes in the water or go fishing. In the 1850’s it became an important river crossing point by ferry and eventually a covered toll bridge. Eventually MO-30/Gravois Rd became the 1st paved road in the state of Missouri and crossed right at this point.
I found a fun story of a family that bought their first car, a 1936 Chevy Coupe, with a rumble seat and would all go on Sunday Drives. But then during the height of WWII when gasoline rations were in full swing they needed some place closer. Minnie Ha Ha Park was the place. Here’s his recollection of their picnics:
“I remember my first trip to Minnie Ha-Ha Beach. By removing the lid from the trunk of the ’36 Chevy, we converted it into a rumble seat and along with pillows and blankets made a comfortable place for the three of us youngest kids to ride and still had room for the picnic basket and a cold watermelon.”
They sound like a family we could have a good time with! Thankfully in 2005 the city of Sunset Hills decided to make this a favorite recreation spot once again. And though we only spent a short time there, it’s now on our list of favorites.
After burrowing in and out of the great tree for some time, we enjoyed a glorious view of the river. There were ducks, which always make any day brighter.
We came away from our Sunday drive with satisfaction. We had discovered a new favorite hidden gem.
It was probably one of our very shortest drives ever, but see what a big treasure we found?