Sometime last fall, Lil did a free St Louis Public Library virtual camp where they mentioned that the library has telescopes to borrow. We immediately got on the list, along with apparently everyone else in camp that week, and for the next 6 months Lil asked when it would be our turn for the telescope. Finally, in May, our turn came up, and we had two weeks with this awesome telescope!
Well, there is really nowhere around a house in the city where you can use a telescope. Certainly not at our house. We searched around for different options with lower light pollution that might be feasible for a 6 year old who needs to be in bed before it truly gets dark in the summer, and there were not a lot of options. (Though if you have older kids or have a telescope in the fall/winter, check out St Charles Astronomy Viewing Area!) Ultimately, we decided to take the telescope on a little road trip on Memorial Day Weekend.
First stop, Pere Marquette Lodge! We have stopped here to visit, and to eat in their restaurant, and always wanted to spend the night. The Lodge is so beautiful, and is full of history. It was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps during the Great Depression. Limestone from the Grafton Quarry was used for the main lodge building, including the 700 ton stone fireplace and the outlying cabins, and the CCC did all of the metal work in the building, including chandeliers, door handles, window locks, etc. The furniture was built by Illinois prison inmates. They also have a giant chess set in the lobby, an indoor pool, and a small winery!
We stayed in one of the little cottages outside the main lodge. It had a queen bed, bunk beds, a couch, television, and private bath. These little cottages are SO SOLID, it was the quietest night's sleep I have ever had in my life. We really loved it and would like to spend more than 1 night here in the future. We had dinner at the restaurant, where we had the famous family style fried chicken dinner, and then I did a little crocheting and Francis & Lil played some checkers. I took a walk around the property, scouting for a good telescope spot. After sundown, we drove down to one of the picnic pavilions near the river, hoping to avoid most light pollution. Lilly was out of the car for about 30 seconds, complained about the bugs, and locked herself back in the car. And that was the end of our telescope adventure. Maybe'll try again in the winter, or just rely on the St Louis Science Center Planetarium Live Sky Tonight to tell us what we could be seeing.
(The photos with fall color are from last year, as I did not take many exterior photos during our staycation.)