] Around Columbia: October 2010

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Ha Ha Tonka State Park

Ruins of the main building which burned to the ground.  The arches were door ways which are now largely obstructed with debris and growth.

 This is a strange and wonderful setting with ruins of one man's dream and the beauty of nature each complimenting the other.  About an hour and twenty minutes from Columbia it is well worth the visit. Ha Ha Tonka takes some effort to see, since you have to walk, and a trip there takes a bit of planning in order to do it right. 

One of the carriage houses at the entrance.

These pictures are in order of our visit.  We started at the parking lot and walked up past the carriage house.  Then we spent a couple of hours walking around the ruins and then down to the lake and back.  We then left to explore some of the other attractions at the park and came back later in the evening to take advantage of the twilight atmosphere.

This is the start of the Lake Trail which we hiked down to the Lake of the Ozarks itself.

The bottom of the lake trail.  This trail is accessible by boat from this dock.

I wanted to take advantage of the changing light for different visual perspectives.

This is one of the separate trails away from the ruins.

Here we are back at the "castle" ruins to wait for the sun to start going down.  This was our second hike to the location.

You can see it is starting to get dark.

The park closes at dark and there is limited primitive camping.  Also, there are no vendors at the park so you have to carry in anything you will need such as something to eat or drink.  A back pack, and as mentioned earlier some prior planning, makes this a very successful outing.  Highly recommended. 

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

7 Springs Winery at the Lake of the Ozarks

On a recent trip to the Lake of the Ozarks we visited 7 Springs Winery which is located off of HWY 54 at the same exit you use to access Big Surf.  The winery was about four winding miles and in the middle of nowhere.  Our expectations were very low.  However, we were very impressed with the beauty of the setting and the wine.  Both were excellent.  I highly recommend you visit this winery if you are in the area or even as a day trip.

The parking lot was empty.  We were the first to arrive at eleven a.m.  The place started to fill up around noon.

From the terrace, you can see a good deal of seating at the bottom of the hill from where the main building is located.

 The food was very good.  We just ordered a bread plate with three different kinds of bread and three different kinds of dipping sauce.

A pavilion for outside events.

Jenifer and I each tasted four wines and they were all good.  This winery is definitely worth the time and trouble it takes to get there and the whole facility was tastefully appointed.

There is a lot to do in Missouri, a lot to do around Columbia, and it can be experienced for a relatively modest amount of time and money.