Best Weekend Getaway - 2005
Readers' Choice: Lake of the Ozarks
As far as the Best of St. Louis Official Rules Committee is concerned, it's not a Weekend Getaway if it involves boarding a plane. No, the epitome of a Weekend Getaway requires a Friday afternoon at work, when it's 98 degrees outside with impending thunderstorms and the Cardinals on an extended road trip. You've got a car, right? Well, get your ass to Grafton, a mere fifteen miles north of Alton on the (truly) Great River Road. Here, on any given Sunday -- when Grafton (unlike St. Louis) is most assuredly open for business -- Harley aficionados, Parrotheads, cyclists, sailors and oenophiles commingle in an easy, breezy, live-and-let-live manner seldom achieved during the midweek grind. Lush cliff-top bungalows and mom 'n' pop wineries have a tendency to mellow folk of all stripes, as does a bar (the Loading Dock) that makes one feel as though he or she is in the Caribbean, happily adrift on a Red Stripe-equipped raft. Grafton's cheap, too -- especially Senger's tavern, where a can o' Stag can be had for about a buck. If that don't recharge the ol' batteries, what will?