Early April Morning
It was early and it was chilly, when Don and I found our way to Bennett Spring State Park, last April.
The old C.C.C dining lodge from the 1930's, looked pretty cute on a cold blue morning.
We had driven only about 30 minutes from our overnight in Phillipsburg, MO. We'd found no breakfast options in that small town, but heard the park was worth a stop.
It was around 1900 that fishermen really began flocking to this area. 40,000 mountain trout were introduced to the spring-fed stream. I didn't see a trout or a fisherman, when we drove into the park.
One of the First
Around 1924, the state of Missouri bought the spring and surrounding land. It became one of the first state parks. In the 1930's the Civilian Conservation Corps began building cabins, roads, trails and this dining lodge.
I love imaging all the people who were involved in C.C.C. building projects, nearly a century ago. So many workers were a part of this stone and timber building. I wish I knew their stories.
Welcome to the Eighties
We stepped inside and found a little sitting area, just before the dining room entrance. Besides one rustic table set, the decorated space made me think it was the 1980's.
As we headed to the dining room doors, (where all who entered were blessed) I was reminded that it wasn't 1980 or 1830. Hand sanitizing stations have become such a part of our world. But the standing dispenser sure doesn't fit the lodge decor.
Yay for Coffee
There were only a few diners when we first arrived. They had something in common with the wait staff. They were dressed warmly.
For some reason it was freezing in the dining room. Everyone kept their coats on. But when our coffee arrived in a thermal carafe I knew I'd be warm and awake. My favorite way to have coffee served.
There were fireplaces at both ends of the room.
The stonework would have looked a lot more attractive, with a fire crackling inside.
As I studied my menu, more dining filled tables. It became clear why I hadn't seen any fishermen.
They seemed to be all coming in to eat, before they hit the banks. Which seems really odd, because the tiny bit of trout fishing I recall from 40 years ago... we were up fishing long before the sun.
As I looked around, I realized, maybe these folks were having "lunch" at 8:30. Maybe they had indeed been fishing at sunrise. I was enjoying the people watching. I spotted a pair of waders under one table. Don and I definitely were not dressed properly. Well, Don had a hat at least. But, he didn't have his license pinned to it.
My photo of Don's food, looks like it's sliding into his lap. I was snapping quick, before he dug into his eggs, taters and pancakes.
My Biscuit and Egg sandwich tasted heavenly. But my crumbly biscuit was impossible. I ended up eating with a fork.
We finished up and took a few minutes to look around. I wondered if this room had once been a porch.
I asked our waitress if it might have been a porch. "Oh it's always been a room." she answered. Probably always... since she has worked there for 2 years.
I've only caught about one trout in my life. It wasn't 15 pounds like this one, displayed on the wall.
The fish didn't make me hungry, but it made me curious. I wondered who caught this big old fish, who never even got eaten.
Good Bye Fish
We spent a little time in the park, before heading off on our road trip.
The sun was warming the air. A few trees were starting to show spring leaves.
And a few fisher people were hoping to get lucky.
The Dining Blog
This is a blog about Dining Adventures. Sometimes, I talk about food. Below, you can read how this started.
On July 4th 2011, I set a goal to try 50 culturally diverse restaurants in one year! (I knew that was possible, living in the Houston area) I spent the year pulling in friends and family to join me, on some unusual dining adventures. I met some curious people, tried some scary foods and explored places and cultures I never would have otherwise. Even though I met my goal, I learned too much to end my adventures in dining. I have continued blogging about memorable dining adventures of all kinds, near and far... and all the discoveries and funny things I've learned along the way!
Locations and types of dining adventures, are listed further down.