Best Of 2008

Best View of Someplace Other Than Downtown: Top of the East Slope at Art Hill

You say you want to steal away to an Archless view, devoid off any steel at all — stainless or otherwise? Here's what you do. Go to Forest Park. Then get to the parking lot just east of the Saint Louis Art Museum, directly above the site of the Shakespeare Festival. At the far end of that lot, a gravel trail will lead you through some foliage and shrubbery. You will emerge next to a Henry Moore bronze of "two people reclining." The recliners anchor a sweeping vista across Art Hill that is both majestic and elegant in its simplicity. To your left, the imposing art museum and the statue of King Louis IX (a.k.a. St. Louis). To your right, the Grand Basin with its lyrical fountains. And spread out in front of you, the newly seeded Art Hill. There are no buildings in the background. (OK, one smokestack, but with a little squinting it might be an exotic turret.) So where are we? With some time-traveling imagination, perhaps the St. Louis World's Fair of a century ago. But we also might be at the Palace of Versailles or even in the kingdom of Kublai Khan. Best of all, there's never anyone here. This pristine locale is almost always yours for the owning. So once you make this discovery, be sure not to share it.

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