Long Name–Short Bridge

Sandy Creek Covered Bridge State Historic Site.

Quick — say it three times without drawing a breath.

Located a short drive south of St. Louis, this one quarter of the remaining covered bridges in Missouri is only 76 feet long. Length, however, does not diminish importance. the bridge was an important link between Hillsboro and St. Louis.

Built in 1872 and restored in 1984, the final year it carried traffic, Sandy Creek Covered Bridge and the surrounding acerage makes an ideal spot for picnics and short hikes.

The sweet romance, Morning Tryst, follows Serena Carter as she photographs State Parks and Historic Sites in all portions of Missouri. Check the details here:


Fish, Fish, and More

Be sure to bring your fishing gear for a stay at Missouri’s Montauk State Park. Site of a trout fishery and the spring fed Current River.

With frequent released of young trout in the spring and summer, the fishing is excellent. Follow the rules, clean your catch, and enjoy fresh fish by the campfire.

During non-fishing hours, or after you’ve caught your limit, enjoy a visit to the mill or a hike in the woods.

Before the leaves were full, Serena in Morning Tryst photographed a spring sunrise from this vantage point. Plus another siting farther up the trail. Check out the sweet romance for details.


Honoring Mr. Clemens

He’s a Missouri favorite son. Born in 1835 in the settlement of Florida, MO (not too far from Paris), the two room frame house of his birth has been preserved and moved.

You need to look for his pen name when studying the map. If you look close, you will find Mark Twain Birthplace State Historic Site, Mark Twain State Park, and Mark Twain Lake.

The park, where the house was moved, was one of the first of Missouri’s State Park. The park began small, but additional land was obtained through the years.

A giant change occurred in 1983 when the Clarence Cannon Dam was completed and Mark Twain Lake formed.

When camping here, if the weather turns foul, just go up the road a bit and enjoy the modern visitor center — complete with the two room house.

For an armchair introduction to Missouri State Parks, check out the sweet romance, Morning Tryst.

Kindle link:


Capturing the Sunrise

It’s one of life’s dramatic moments. Repeated every day of the year. And always in the east. However, the angle will vary by your location and the time of the year.

I’m speaking of sunrise. This view, captured in a park along the Mississippi River at the south end of St. Louis was a memorable morning.

Arriving in the gray of pre-dawn, I listened to a bit of birdsong and exchanged startled glances with a deer. The record was made with an inexpensive digital camera. Many of my friends would use the one on their phone. A serious photographer would use a higher quality instrument.

Tomorrow’s the summer solstice. Celebrate! If you are not the sort of person to rise in time to see the sunrise, celebrate later. I suggest combining it with the first birthday (one year since publication) of the sweet romance, Morning Tryst, where Serena Carter will guide you through her sunrise photo process.

Link to Kindle edition:


Visiting the Elephants

Have you visited the Elephant Rocks?

No, I’m not speaking of a sculpture park filled with images of the beast. (But that sounds like a cool idea.)

I’m speaking of the red granite rocks – large as elephants – in Missouri.

This relatively small state park makes a pleasant day trip from St. Louis. A paved trail leads a visitor in a loop of just over a mile. Be sure to leave the trail and play among the giants within the loop. The view is fantastic, no matter the season.

The quarries in and near the park acreage supplied high quality granite for buildings and monuments. Be sure to look for the tool marks as well as the initials of many workers.

Want to travel by book? While Morning Tryst, a sweet romance, does not mention the Elephant Rocks, you can be sure our photographer heroine captured interesting features. Check out her story here:

Book birthday, one year since publication, is on June 20 — immediately prior to the summer solstice — the photographer’s favorite day to shoot a sunrise.


River trumps Creek

The river which touches one edge of the 6,400 arces of park was given naming rights over the eight miles of creek within the park. Hence you visit Cuivre River State Park, rather than Big Sugar Creek.

Bluff, forest, and creek, combine to make this park one of the popular places for group camping a pleasant drive north of the St. Louis metro area. The facilities also include a lake for fishing and swimming, sinkholes where rare species survive, a visitor center, and equestrian trails.

A great picnic companion. It is easy to imagine this area having been cleared by a controlled burn and now showing off prairie flowers and grasses as well as forest.

At sunrise, the world displays a moment of hope and promise. The observation of Serena Carter, photographer, in Morning Tryst, a sweet romance.

Kindle link:


Giants Grow Here

Big Oak Tree State Park. Even the name implies size. And yes, this park nestled in the far Southeast corner of Missouri does indeed contain some of the largest trees for their species in the state.

Check the height of the Mississippi River before visiting this quiet jewel. If the river is in flood: roads, park, and farmland in the area may be better suited to canoe than automobile.

At 1,000 acres, this park is one of the smaller Missouri. However, bird watchers will find a treat in the residents and seasonal visitors to this lowland area.

Follow the metal boardwalk to enjoy the sights, sounds, and smells of the lowland forest.

Close your eyes for a moment and imagine Serena Carter, the photographer in Morning Tryst, setting up to capture a few of the many birds who favor this habitat. Depending on the season, does she think of the quiet Zack during her workday?

Kindle link for the sweet romance:


A Tale of Three Brothers

Roll back your imagination to the early years of the 20th century in St. Louis, Missouri.

Edmund A. Babler is a young surgeon becoming known for service to the poor and advocate for outdoor recreation. His brothers, Henry and Jacob, entered the insurance and real estate businesses. All the brothers soon began to purchase land near Wild Horse Creek (in St. Louis County) with the aim of creating a park.

Dr. Babler’s sudden death propelled the remaining brothers to honor him when they donated land to the state of Missouri in 1934. More land donation followed until the current size is 2,500 acres.

Intended as a day park, the campground was added on adjoining land at a later date. Currently, the park, features ball fields, picnic areas, playground, and hiking trails. The swimming pool has fallen into disrepair and the trail ride concession has closed. However, the variety of vegetation remains and you may spot a variety of wildlife during your visit.

Not mentioned by name, this park made an excellent base of operations for the heroine in Morning Tryst while she photographed the several parks and historic sites in the St. Louis area. Join Serena and Zack in this sweet, contemporary romance set in California and Missouri.

Kindle edition:


Recommended by Wm. Clark

“A handsome Spot for a Town” thus did Wm. Clark, of the famed Lewis & Clark expedition, describe the point on the Missouri River where Arrow Rock was established a few years later.

Known by the Native Americans as a river crossing, Mr. Clark was correct. The town prospered during the first half of the 19th Century. Two events led to the decline from bustling river town to sleepy village. The first — the American Civil War. The town changed hands several times during this was and while no great battle was fought here, the area suffered. The second — the railroad bypassed the town when rails replaced river as the major shipper of goods.

Today, the town is known for the arts – an excellent seasonal theater – and a scenic camping, picnicking, and fishing site. So grab the cooler, camera, and imagination and set out for one of Missouri’s notable historical sites.

Looks as if the Civilian Conservation Corps ( CCC ) passed this way and built this picnic shelter with a view.

Does your state have a State Park and/or Historic Site department?

For a taste of Missouri’s, check out the sweet romance Morning Tryst. At sunrise, the world displays a moment of hope and promise.

Kindle edition here: