Rock musician John Mellencamp had a hit song called 'Small Town'.  Missouri has a lot of small towns.  The Census defines a small town as incorporated areas of less than 5000 residents.  I know when I drive from Sedalia to Jefferson City, I pass through Syracuse Missouri, and according to Google, the population in 2020 was only 155 people.  That's pretty small.

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Have any of you ever heard of Ste. Genevieve Missouri? I hadn't either.  It is about 3 1/2 hours from Sedalia, and about 1 hour from St Louis.  Smithsonian Magazine has named it one of the best 15 small towns in the nation.  Lets find out why.  You can also click HERE for the town's website.

Cultural History

Founded in 1735, Ste. Genevieve is the oldest permanent European settlement in the State of Missouri. It was founded originally by resident French Canadians and migrants coming across the Mississippi river from southern Illinois. The city had a unique legal system, religion, cultural norms, architecture and philosophy.

Ste Genevieve Facebook page
Ste Genevieve Facebook page
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Groundbreaking Discoveries

In late 2021, paleontologists confirmed the discovery of a new genus and species of duck-billed dinosaur. The remains took 4 years to uncover. You can check out an active paleontology lab at The Sainte Genevieve Museum Learning Center, which also showcases exhibits on the city’s Indigenous, German, French and mining history. According to its website, the museum is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday.

What To Do In Ste. Genevieve Missouri

In addition to its rich fossil discovery zone, there is an art museum that has workshops for teens, younger children and adults.  There is a trolly that will take you to a local winery.  Hawn State Park is there (5000 acres) where you can camp, hike, bird watch and have opportunities for geology study.  A 10 mile backpacking trail is available to you as well.

The Ste. Genevieve National Historical Park provides information about the region’s culture and history.  If you get hungry, there are plenty of places including breakfast favorites, American lunches, wineries and an ice cream shop.  Cafe Genevieve seems like the place to go for homemade fried chicken and mashed potatoes.

Cafe Genevieve Facebook page - Fried Chicken
Cafe Genevieve Facebook page - Fried Chicken
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Common Grounds coffee house will hook you up with great coffee and it is a place that promote inclusion and employees people with disabilities.  Check out the photo below.

Common Grounds Facebook Page - Ste Genevieve
Common Grounds Facebook Page - Ste Genevieve
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You can click HERE for the article about the town and learn a little more about it.  To be recognized in any capacity for a town this small is kind of cool.  Perhaps a visit there for a getaway will be worth while.

LOOK: Here are the best small towns to live in across America