On The Road With Doug: Visiting Hermann, Missouri
My wife and I decided to go on the road to Hermann, Mo. It is probably known as the wine capital of Missouri and has some of the best German food and heritage around. Rather than planning things out, we just went with the flow. Sometimes the best laid plans are the ones not planned at all.
Hermann is only about a two-hour drive from Sedalia going down Highway 50 to 19, so it's not too bad of a drive. We decided to stop at the Visitors Center to check out any deals that were around. One of the things that impressed me was that the people working there would call the Bed & Breakfasts and hotels to make sure there was room for visitors. Normally, I would see the people just be given a phone number at other visitor centers. Once we got a city map of Hermann, we decided to walk around and explore. We got there early in the afternoon and realized that a lot of things closed at 5 p.m., but we decided to make the most of the day.
We decided to see how Hermann began as a city. It was hoped that the city would be a new Philadelphia, but it was quickly realized that was not going to be the case. A tour of the Deutschheim State Historic Site showed us how the families lived as they set up the city. The tour only cost $4 and they have several tours each day at 9:30 a.m., 10 a.m. 12:30 p.m., and 2:30 p.m. You not only saw how the families lived, but also one of the early wineries at the Strehly House. It sounds like an awesome idea to build a winery next to one's home.
From there we decided to trek to New Haven to go see the Bommarito Estate Almond Tree Winery. Before we got there, something caught our eye in the Hermann Wurst Haus, which features home made sausages and deli items. They have samples throughout the store and all of them were absolutely delicious. We decided to purchase some of their sausages on special and look forward to making dinner with them sometime.
After that quick stop, it was time to get to the Bommarito Estate Almond Tree Winery. My grandmother's family is named Bommarito and we know that we are related somehow, so it's always good to drink from the family winery. Nick Bommarito and Cathleen Bommarito-Manley treat everyone like family when you come in and share some great stories. I am pleased to tell you that they are recovering from the drought from last year and it appears a lot of the wineries have been doing better. We sampled about 10 wines while we were there before choosing on the Norton Red, Vignoles and Port.
By this time it was about 5:00 and time for dinner. We took in the sites by the Missouri River and enjoyed the riverwalk area before going to Stone Hill Winery at the Vintage Restaurant for dinner. This place features German food, and it was the type of food I was looking forward to. This restaurant is built next to Stone Hill Winery in an old carriage house and horse barn. It has obviously been cleaned up and redone over the years. We got there early so there was no wait. I went with the pork schnitzel, while my wife went with the chicken special. My only regret was not ordering the pretzels for an appetizer, but we more than made up for it with black forest cake and German chocolate pie. The service was awesome as each time our water got empty, it was quickly filled.
We walked around Stone Hill Winery and I loved seeing the grapevines rolling down the hill. It reminded me of growing up in Germany and everywhere you went, there was a winery.
This was just some of the fun my wife and I had on the road. We have both decided that the next time we come, we plan to stay at a Bed and Breakfast and enjoy two days there. Another idea is to ride the Amtrak over and then take the Hermann Trolley around town to the various wineries. Regardless, Hermann is a great place to visit.