"Coming Home" to Springfield, Missouri
On the 20th night of our 22-day road trip, Don and I found ourselves in Springfield. I didn't grow up in this Missouri town, but I've been coming home to visit grandparents and cousins since I was a little girl. This was bound to be a memorable overnight.
This house on Walnut Street was sadly torn down years ago. My grandmother (far right on lawn) was born there. This was the home of her maternal grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. JB Jewell.
Next Best Thing
When we found the Walnut Street Inn on the internet, it looked like a wonderful way to add to our list of unusual accommodations.
We would be staying in a beautiful home, just down the street from where my great-great grandparents once lived. And then we discovered there was a Jewell connection! The "Great Great's" son, Harry Jewell had lived in this very house from 1917 to 1945.
It was a chilly, damp October afternoon when we checked in. The home was quiet, but numerous guests were expected and staff was rushing about.
I was sad not to meet the owner, Gary, since we had exchanged some enthused emails earlier. I knew he would have been delighted that we shared a special interest in this home.
Stopping on the Stairs
The guest rooms on this floor, opened up to a sunny room with fireplace and game table. It was the second floor that my great-great Uncle Harry re-designed after his wife died in the 1940's. He created his own living space and kitchen so his granddaughter and her family could live below.
Up Some More
Uncle Harry wouldn't have spent much time in this part of the house since it had been maid's quarters.
But I loved our cozy room with slanted ceiling. Don could have rolled his eyes at my pick of rooms, The Wilder Room. The room definitely had a feminine touch, in honor of author Laura Ingalls Wilder, who lived her later years in Missouri. Maybe the fact he actually liked the Little House books as a kid, helped him approve!
Cozy and Quiet
For being tucked beneath the roof, our room actually felt spacious. An open hallway (with fridge and drinks) made our room feel larger.
There was still lots of floor space, even though we had a claw footed tub (with snazzy lace curtain) and a sink in the room.
Love the Sink!
Our Own Treetop Porch
If only the weather hadn't been so drizzly-cold! We had our own little back door and balcony, with a spiral staircase taking us to the backyard. This also gave our attic room a more open feel.
The back reveals a few more changes since the home was built 119 years ago. Uncle Harry made some revisions when he added his own upstairs entrance and more recent owners added the deck and ramp. I imagine in warm weather, the umbrellas are open and the tables get plenty of use.
Porch and Lemonade!
I have always had a thing for front porches and I haven't had one since I was a child. Knowing I would be allowed a little porch time when we booked our stay, I made sure I had some lemonade available.
I would have been in heaven, rain or shine just rocking on that swing. But I had a double piece of heaven as I swayed and sipped and imagined Harry's daughter Margauritte sitting on that porch. I have fond memories of my Aunt Margueritte and her lavender Cadillac! She would have so loved the pastels on that porch!
In the morning, smells of sausage and eggs wafted all the way up to the third floor. At 8:00 we followed our noses downstairs.
Breakfast was served in this room, as well as the dining room. Both tables were filling up, so Don and I made a quick assessment and decided which guests looked the most interesting. We grabbed the last 2 spots at the table with a cute assortment of painted chairs.
Good Food & Good Talk
John, the clarinet player from Manhatten, was doing a gig with the local symphony. A young woman from St. Genevieve, Missouri talked with us about her sweet little town on the Mississippi... where we had stayed 2 weeks earlier.
Even without all the family nostalgia, this would have been a wonderful stay. I will most remember the dreamlike feeling of being on that porch and imagining Walnut Street 100 years ago. Maybe the hazy skies made it easier to ignore the modern cars and buildings and to just focus on the details surrounding me. The wrap around porch and leaded windows, the side carriage entrance, the 20 cast iron, Corinthian columns painted in pastels!
Lots to think about!
My New Year's Resolution for 2014 was to start documenting some of the memorable overnights I've had in some very odd and curious motels and hotels. Like the adventures in my Dining Blog, I have learned to enjoy the surprises that happen when you step out of the comfort zone, far away from the well-known chains.
I began with a few entries recalling my very first home away from home memories from my youth. Then, I started sharing about some of the quirky and unforgettable motels, hotels and inns that my husband and I have discovered in recent years.
The best part about this challenge was making some lists with Don and getting on the road in search of new overnight adventures. I gave myself a 2-year goal to write up 90 stories and the goal was met. Now we just keep on adding!