St. Louis, MO / Fit for a Heroine

A HEROINE’S TRAVEL GUIDE TO ST. LOUIS, MO

A HEROINE’S TRAVEL GUIDE TO ST. LOUIS, MO / BY ERIN COOK

Welcome to St. Louis!

St. Louis is a great place to visit, full of live music, art, excellent food, and adventure. It is also full of history (the Dred Scott Trial and the 1904 World’s Fair among other events) and was home to Maya Angelou, Betty Grable, Susan Blow, Virginia Minor, and Josephine Baker. I came to visit for a weekend and loved it so much that I decided to stay!

A HEROINE’S TRAVEL GUIDE TO ST. LOUIS, MO

Greet the morning in peaceful Tower Grove.

Start your St. Louis adventure in the beautiful Tower Grove neighbourhood. Grab breakfast at the stunning French bakery La Patisserie Chouquette, or spend a couple of dollars (cash only) on fabulous donuts at World’s Fair Donuts.

Then stop in at the Missouri Botanical Garden and spend some time roaming among the flowers and trees. You don’t want to miss the Climatron, which is 80+ degrees year round.

The Japanese Garden and the Tower Grove House are other must-see parts of your visit. I especially love to sit in the Woodland Garden, near the stream, and write.

A HEROINE’S TRAVEL GUIDE TO ST. LOUIS, MO

Get your climb (and slide, and crawl) on at City Museum.

Next, if it’s a weekday, head to City Museum. For this part of your day, you’ll really want close toed shoes, long pants, and maybe even some kneepads! If you’re lucky enough to be in town on a Friday or Saturday, save this for the evening, when there are fewer small children.

City Museum is really the highlight of your adventure. It’s part playground, part circus, part art installation, and part museum. Make sure you try out the 10-story slide in the caves (if the roof is open, you can avoid the 10-story climb by taking the elevator to the roof).

If you’re feeling especially brave, head outside to MonstroCity and make the slightly terrifying climb across a wrought-iron slinky suspended 100 feet in the air from an airplane to a slide.

A HEROINE’S TRAVEL GUIDE TO ST. LOUIS, MO

Breathe in some quiet and beauty at the Cathedral Basilica St. Louis.

After City Museum, you’ll want to catch your breath. Head west toward the Cathedral Basilica St. Louis, which houses the largest collection of mosaics in the world.

The Basilica is open to visitors except during mass, and you can arrange a tour in advance if you’d like to hear more about the history of the building. Otherwise, wander around on your own and try not to get a neck ache marvelling at the gorgeous art.

A HEROINE’S TRAVEL GUIDE TO ST. LOUIS, MO

Chow down and shop in the Central West End.

The nearby trendy Central West End is a great place to shop and people watch. If you’ve worked up an appetite, I recommend Pi Pizzeria for lunch. Try something with provel, our locally famous cheese!

Then head down the street to Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream, which lives up to the name. You’ll also want to visit Left Bank Books next door to Jeni’s. Keep an eye out for the bookstore cat, who always enjoys a good chin scratching.

Have an adventure in Forest Park.

Forest Park could encompass a weeklong visit all on its own. It is one of the largest urban parks in the United States and was the site of the 1904 World’s Fair. The park contains a zoo (recently voted the best in the nation), art museum, science center, and history museum, all of which have free admission. On summer evenings, the MUNY offers outdoor musical theater that is not to be missed.

While parking in museum lots is expensive, all of the street parking in the park is free, so you can save big by doing a little walking.

A HEROINE’S TRAVEL GUIDE TO ST. LOUIS, MO

Relax like a local on Art Hill.

Before leaving Forest Park, make your way to the Grand Basin and Art Hill, next to the Art Museum. I have never, anywhere in the world, felt more like I was in a Jane Austen novel than when strolling around the Grand Basin at sunset.

It is a very popular St. Louis pastime to sit on a blanket on Art Hill in the evening with snacks and a drink (you can have alcohol in the park if you’re having a picnic!). Bring a book, a kite, a frisbee, or your dog. If you like, the Boathouse Restaurant will pack you a snack that you can take out on a paddle boat and eat while you explore the Grand Basin by water.

Finish with a bang in the Delmar Loop.

As your evening winds down, head to the Delmar Loop. If you like, you’ll soon even be able to take the new Loop Trolley from the Missouri History Museum over to the Loop.

Once you’re there, enjoy shopping, food, and live music. I highly recommend Avalon Exchange for vintage and gently-used clothing. Bowl at Pin Up Bowl, see a show at the Pageant or a film at the historic Tivoli Theater, and follow your nose to dinner. I recommend Mission Taco, but you really can’t go wrong.

For dessert, pop into Piccione Pastry. Don’t miss their collaboration with Clementine’s Naughty and Nice Creamery and get some ice cream to go with your cannoli.

A HEROINE’S TRAVEL GUIDE TO ST. LOUIS, MO

Swim, climb, and dive at Johnson’s Shut-Ins.

For extra credit, if you are visiting in summer and have a day to dedicate to it, visit Johnson’s Shut Ins, a natural area about two hours south of the city. At the Shut-Ins you can swim in deep pools, jump off of cliffs, climb up waterfalls, and adventure until you drop.

10 minutes away is Elephant Rocks State Park, where you can climb pink granite boulders larger than a house. Also nearby is Taum Sauk State Park, which contains the highest point and tallest waterfall in Missouri.

A HEROINE’S TRAVEL GUIDE TO ST. LOUIS, MOErin Cook is a writer, educator, adventurer, and photographer at Erin Takes Pictures. She is a volunteer butterfly wrangler who has never yet had to announce a Code Eagle for an escaped butterfly. She is passionate about social justice, sexual health and education, literature, and cats.

Xandra recommends: Read Erin’s extensive style analysis on why the first chapter of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone is a literary masterpiece!

Is your hometown the perfect fit for a heroine? I’m always looking for fabulous locals to contribute to this Fit for a Heroine travel guide series. If you’re interested in writing for Heroine Training, read the guidelines and get in touch.

This guide is filed under GRYFFINDOR for encouraging exploration and braving the great heights of the City Museum.

Plymouth, MA / Fit for a Heroine

Plymouth, MA / Fit for a Heroine

A HEROINE’S TRAVEL GUIDE TO PLYMOUTH, MA / BY MELANIE KRISTY

Welcome to Plymouth, Massachusetts!

Downtown Plymouth is an area that’s unique and full of stories. Established in 1620 by the Pilgrims, Plymouth has come a long way since the British Puritans stepped onto the Plymouth Rock.

The town is gearing up for its 400-year celebration in a few years, so now is a great time to see it thrive. Full of independent shops and restaurants, the downtown area of Plymouth is very walkable and perfect for a traveler like yourself.

Whether you enjoy being outdoors near the ocean, learning about history, or eating at different restaurants, you will enjoy what downtown Plymouth has to offer!

Plymouth, MA / Fit for a Heroine

Eat a farm-to-table breakfast at The Local Yolk Company.

There are many breakfast places to choose from, but The Local Yolk stands out for its simplistic menu and farm-to-table ingredients. Eat on the deck and people watch while you eat a tasty breakfast and plan out your day.

Plymouth, MA / Fit for a Heroine

Explore a little bit of history at the Plimoth Plantation.

There are a few places to get a taste of history in Plymouth, and visiting the plantation is probably the more immersive choice (Although the Mayflower II is another one!).

Step back into colonial New England where you can interact with women and men of the 17th century. The Plimoth Cinema plays independent movies twice a day, and if you’re there on a Thursday, be sure to check out the Farmer’s Market.

Plymouth, MA / Fit for a Heroine

Look for shells, play on swings and feed the seagulls at Nelson Park.

This beach, the most walkable from downtown, is a good ocean and outdoor fix. It’s not the type of beach for building sand castles, sunbathing, and swimming, but you can nap in the shade or get your feet wet in the sand while looking for cool rocks and shells to collect.

Plymouth, MA / Fit for a Heroine

Order a clam bake and enjoy the view of Plymouth Harbor at Wood’s Seafood.

Steamers, lobster, and New England Clam Chowder is the most New England-style meal you can imagine. Grab a soda from the fountain, sit where you can see the ocean, and enjoy your fresh lunch.

Plymouth, MA / Fit for a Heroine

Shop independent stores downtown and at the Village Landing.

If you take the time to shop around downtown or at the Village Landing Marketplace you will find the best homemade ice cream around (Peaceful Meadows, owned and operated by women), Ecochic (where the items sold are recycled, upcycled or just plain old neat), an old used bookstore, and a new age shop called Laughing Moon Boutique.

Not to mention the many other cool stores to check out. If you’re tired of walking you can rent a bike at the Village Landing and get around that way!

Plymouth, MA / Fit for a Heroine

Create your own lobster crawl scavenger hunt.

The Lobster Crawl is a series of lobsters scattered throughout downtown. The 29 lobsters have been decorated by artists and sponsored by local businesses and organisations.

While you can get a map to help you find the locations of these lobsters, I think it’s more fun and delightful to happen upon them during your exploration of the area.

Allow yourself to get spooked on a Dead Of Night Ghost Tour.

Walk around downtown at night on a lantern ghost tour – if you dare! The charismatic guides will tell you stories that you won’t hear elsewhere.

You’ll learn about the spookier side of the area while walking past old houses and through Burial Hill. After the tour is over you have the option to enter two houses that have been haunted for ages.

Plymouth, MA / Fit for a HeroineMelanie is a librarian, book nerd and traveler. She blogs at Story Shaped Girl, and occasionally at Of Books And blog. She believes that earth is, ultimately, a pretty cool place to be, and people everywhere are full of stories. Hopefully someday you might hopefully see her name on a book in a library or bookstore, as novel writing is her main go-to.

Xandra recommends: Read Melanie’s Gift guide for the bookish!

Is your hometown the perfect fit for a heroine? I’m always looking for fabulous locals to contribute to this Fit for a Heroine travel guide series. If you’re interested in writing for Heroine Training, read the guidelines and get in touch.

This guide is filed under GRYFFINDOR for sending you on a DIY scavenger hunt and daring you to learn Plymouth’s haunted history.

Franklin, Tennessee / Fit for a Heroine

Things to do in Franklin, Tennessee / Travel Guide Fit for a Heroine
a heroine’s travel guide to Franklin, Tennessee / by Kathryn Marr

Nashville is a city of dreamers, a refuge for those wanting to break away from the norm and forge their own path. Tucked away just a few miles south of downtown Nashville is the idyllic, storybook town of Franklin. It’s a historic getaway, founded in 1799, and named after founding father, Benjamin Franklin. Whether you’re a connoisseur of local food, a history buff, a nature lover, or a small business supporter, you’ll love getting lost in the beauty of Franklin!

Things to do in Franklin, Tennessee / Travel Guide Fit for a Heroine

Grab a latte and bagel sandwich at Frothy Monkey

Frothy Monkey, a favorite among locals, is the perfect place to start your day! Try their iconic white monkey mocha – a blend of white chocolate, banana, espresso, and milk that you can’t find anywhere else. And if you’d like a little something to eat, the Plain Jane is to die for. Get it on a freshly made everything bagel, and add locally produced Benton’s bacon for a gourmet kick. Make sure to keep an eye out for celebrities! Country music stars like Keith Urban are known to stop in frequently.

Take a Tour of The Carter House & Carnton Plantation

Be transported back to the last great battle of the Civil War – the Battle of Franklin! In 1864, the Federal army defeated the Confederates in what was considered the bloodiest battle in the Civil War. The plantation was frequented since by the likes of Andrew Jackson, and others who forged the future of America.

On your tour, you’ll explore the grounds and outbuildings of the historic site. Or, you can purchase specialty tours to learn even more about the interior of the homes, or the battlefields.

Things to do in Franklin, Tennessee / Travel Guide Fit for a Heroine

Grab Big Shake’s Hot Chicken and Fish to go and picnic at Pinkerton Park

Nashville hot chicken is a must, and the local hole-in-the-wall, Big Shake’s, is the best place to find it! The 3 jumbo tenders plate with coleslaw and French fries will make for an excellent picnic to take out to Pinkerton Park. Sprawl out on the grass, or enjoy your food at one of the covered picnic tables. Then, burn off some calories by hiking across the Harpeth River, and up to Fort Granger, a historical Civil War site.

Go shopping in downtown Franklin.

Little downtown Franklin will remind you of Once Upon a Time’s Storybrooke! Spend some time wandering down the streets and popping into all of the businesses.  You’ll find charming local décor and clothing, gardening tools, and handcrafted stationary. Definitely a must see in the little town!

Things to do in Franklin, Tennessee / Travel Guide Fit for a Heroine

Get your hands dirty at Noble Springs Dairy.

Feel like an 1800’s farmer at this local goat and dairy farm. Learn about the farm animals, tour the facilities, and get a hands-on view of cheese making. Then, you’ll have the opportunity to sample and purchase their artisanal cheeses, soaps, fudge, and yogurt.

Get dinner at Cork & Cow.

Start with their delicious butternut squash fritters (served with Parmesan, and a Garlic-sage Yogurt!), then move onto any of their top-cut wood grilled steaks. The locally-brewed Yazoo Gerst Ale is a great compliment to the steak, and if you’re feeling fancy, their crème brulee is to die for!

Things to do in Franklin, Tennessee / Travel Guide Fit for a Heroine

End the night with a movie at the historic Franklin Theatre.

You’ll be charmed and romanced by this restored theater from 1937. With all the benefits of modern technology, and the unmistakable memories of 1930’s moviegoers, it’s the perfect way to end a day in Franklin. If you didn’t partake in dessert after dinner (or if you have a sweet tooth!) delight in the local chocolates from the Showtime chocolate bar, right in the theater.

So have fun traveling back in time to the Civil War, or pretending you’re lost in a fairytale while wandering the streets of downtown Franklin. I promise that you’ll find the perfect getaway from everyday life! Happy wandering!

Things to do in Franklin, Tennessee / Travel Guide Fit for a HeroineKathryn Marr is the co-founder and Chief Creative Officer of Blue Ivory Creative, a digital marketing company based out of Nashville, TN. A graphic and web designer, as well as social media manager, she brings a passion for entrepreneurship and creativity to the table. Kathryn loves helping people pursue their dreams and be successful doing what they love to do.

Is your hometown the perfect fit for a heroine? I’m always looking for fabulous locals to contribute to this Fit for a Heroine travel guide series. If you’re interested in writing for Heroine Training, read the guidelines and get in touch.