Once a month, residents at The Gatesworth ‘get out of Dodge.’ They pile into a 36-person coach and head for the hills. That will be them you see, barreling down the highway, faces in the windows, eager for the day-long excursion. “These outings are miniature vacations,” says resident program director Kathy Davis, who plans the getaways. “I’m a keen reader of Missouri Life, which gives me great ideas.”
The monthly trips take residents of the senior living community to a variety of locales, including historical towns like Ste. Genevieve and Arrow Rock, home to J. Huston Tavern, (the oldest continuously serving restaurant west of the Mississippi River). Meals are woven into the day—a fried chicken lunch at Huston’s, tea at a tea shop somewhere along the Great River Road, or up on the Missouri River bluffs. Wine tastings are popular—Montelle Winery, high in the trees above a patchwork of farmland in Augusta, or Stone Hill Winery in Hermann, which Davis describes as “charmingly set in a wood-beamed carriage house.” Davis says she loves these outings. “It’s a different dynamic, more casual. I feel like Peter Pan leading the way. And residents love it.”
Through the years, Davis has become quite the tour guide. “I am the shepherdess,” she says of her role, and speaks knowledgeably about trumpeter swans and the bald eagles that rest on Mississippi ice floes on their way from Alaska to Argentina. She says she has seen pelicans, and eagle nests “the size of Volkswagens.” In Arrow Rock—home of 19th-century Luminist artist George Caleb Bingham—the residents sometimes see a play. Beside a pretty glade and housed in an old Victorian church, the town’s Lyceum Theatre has attracted professional talent from all over the country for 50 years.
Ted and Doris Weiner, St. Louisans who have lived at The Gatesworth since 2009, say they take advantage of the trips whenever they can. Although Ted, 86, still drives (and only recently retired), he says he enjoys “getting on a nice bus and leaving the driving to others.” He and Doris, his high school sweetheart, say they particularly enjoyed the trip to Warm Springs Ranch, the Clydesdale breeding farm, and visits to area wineries. “The scenery out there is beautiful, and I like wine,” Ted says.
Other points of interest have included Jefferson City to visit the State Capitol and Governor’s Mansion, with lunch at Madison’s Cafe, famous for its homemade Italian cuisine; and Lebanon, Illinois, which is said to have been Charles Dickens’ inspiration for A Christmas Carol after he visited in 1842.
In addition to these farther-flung excursions, The Gatesworth also offers days out to places in town: the Missouri Botanical Garden, Saint Louis Art Museum, Gaslight Theater and notable local restaurants. Davis says she tries to pick meaningful destinations. “I want everyone to be stimulated by the things we see,” she notes. “There’s great energy in going out into the world. And most important, it’s a lot of fun!”
The Gatesworth, a residential community located at One McKnight Place, is known for outstanding service and enrichment activities. For more information, call 314. 993.0111 or visit thegatesworth.com.
Cover design courtesy of The Gatesworth | Cover photo by Tim Parker Photography
Pictured on the cover: Gatesworth driver Neil DeForest with residents Donna Ward and her dog Nikki, Ted and Doris Weiner, and Jack Ward.
Pictured above: Doris and Ted Weiner at Warm Springs Ranch | Photo courtesy of The Gatesworth