Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Land of the free home of the Busch's

Wowee, I've missed you guys! It feels like forever since I've gotten to sit down and type out a full, long blogpost. Hope you're ready for it. :)

Our little family had an absolutely wonderful holiday weekend together, and the fact that it was extra long was the ice cream on top of a good ole slice of American apple pie. Eric took yesterday off (and skipped class last night!) so we were able to extend the festivities an extra day. But more on that in a minute.

We spent the 4th at our friends the Schumer's house. Here was our grill master, Dan:


Hehe.



Side story: Eric and I have always joked that we would be doomed if one of our kids was really into sports...and while Evelyn is only 2 years old I think I hear the doomsday clock a ticking. This girl talks about basketball all.the.time, and I don't even know how she knows what basketball is. So of course when she saw a group of friends shooting hoops, she had to join in. I must say, the girl has a nice chest pass. :)



Lots of old friends and new friends were there, and it was nice to see everyone! We were so thankful for our hosts' wonderful hospitality and yummy food. Dan's wife Kathy did an excellent job of making the house festive. They had all kinds of plans for the evening, but unfortunately our girls weren't having any of it. It's a lot to ask for two little ones to spend more than a couple of hours in a new place before they start destroying things getting a little antsy. :) There was no possible way we were going to contain them for any longer, so we said goodbye well before the fireworks began, and we opted to take a walk that evening instead.

Neither Eric nor myself are anything close to resembling pyromaniacs, so weren't too terribly heartbroken that our Fourth of July celebrations did not involve any explosives. And at the last minute we decided to spend our rare free Tuesday the next day at Grant's Farm. Evelyn had never heard us talk about Grant's Farm before, had no idea what it actually was or what one might do there, but all she said for the rest of the night after we mentioned it was "I wanna go to Grant's Farm!"

When Ev woke up the next morning the first words out of her mouth were: "Where's my paci?" followed quickly by, "Grants Farm!" We were happy to oblige her request, and we had a BLAST.

The first thing guests do upon arrival is board a tram which takes you to the main part of the farm. The girls loved riding the "choo choo train." :)


This is Grace's newest and best face:


Keep an eye out for it, because it's pretty hard to capture a photo when she's NOT making "the scrunch" anymore, haha.

Along the way there are lots of wild animals roaming about the property.





It's like the Midwest's version of an African safari. :D

For those who aren't from around our area Grant's Farm is owned by the Busch family (yes, the beer people) and is named for Ulysses S. Grant, our 18th president. August Busch I purchased Grant's home in 1907 and moved it about a mile from it's original location to where it is today. And looky there, it's the house in all it's glory!


When the Busch family first purchased the property that is now Grant's Farm, they used it primarily as their weekend getaway, because it was a 7 hour trip on horseback from the property to their brewery in downtown St. Louis. A few years later the family purchased their very first car, and the trip then took a little less than an hour! So they decided to make Grant's Farm their permanent family residence. <-- And wait til you hear what sort of VIP treatment Grace and I got IN that residence a little later. Eeee!!!

I believe at some point in the 1950's the family opened their property to the public. I just love history - especially local history!

When you go to Grant's Farm there is one activity you absolutely have to do, and that is to feed the goats. Every child HAS to feed the goats...I'm pretty sure there's a picture of me floating around on this blog somewhere feeding Grant's Farm goats twenty-something years ago. :) We got two bottles of milk for Evelyn to try her hand at goat feeding.

At first I think she was a little freaked out by the sheer number of "kids" all around her.



Notice the dirt down her side from the hungry little booger's hoofs, haha.

But then she spotted a few goats off on their own, and after that we were golden.






She loved it, and I loved watching her! I can't wait until next year when Gracie can join in on the fun. 

This is for all of you germaphobe mama's out there, haha:


There are plenty of little sinks for hand washing after the goats fill their bellies. ;)

We saw some pretty birds before stopping for lunch:



The Busch's are a German family, so the farm is appropriately themed with German architecture and cuisine. We enjoyed lunch at the "Baurenhof" which is german for "farmstead," and it was absolutely beautiful! (You know, for an outdoor food court.)




While we girls waited for the men to rustle us up some grub, Gracie supplied us with plenty of "the face." I adore it, mainly because it lends itself to so many appropriate captions:


"It's hot."


"Did somebody say sauerkraut?" 


"Okay, now seriously...."

And PTL for spray fan misters...they kept our kids entertained during the wait for our german fares. Evelyn thought it was HILARIOUS to get to squirt mommy with water, and even Grace thought the fan blades were the bees knees. 




And this is where the story gets TOTALLY RAD. The family and I were sitting down to our yummy lunch, and of course Grace was getting fussy, because she wanted to eat, too. Eric finished up, and I didn't know this, but he went to ask a worker if there was a good place for me to nurse my baby. Grant's Farm is a little like Disney World in that there are a lot of older and retired folks who work there. (Which pretty much means they're really friendly and will go out of their way to help you.)

So Eric comes strolling up to the table and tells me to follow him, there's a worker who is opening up a special room for me to nurse Gracie in. Awesome, I thought! Usually I'm stuck outside trying to find a discreet park bench to wrestle a baby under a blanket on. We walked over to the gentleman and he says, "I'm sorry, I was mistaken. " And my heart sank. "I didn't realize that room wasn't air conditioned. Follow me." Oh, okay...well, maybe this is still good.

We followed him through a door that said "Guest Relations" and into a gloriously air conditioned building right off of the food court area. We were taken to a little office where the man who was helping us said to another gentleman, "This woman needs to nurse her baby, I was going to open up John's office." The second man immediately jumped up and said, "No, there's a meeting going on in there." He grabbed a pair of keys and smiled. "I'll take her to the apartment." He asked to me to follow him and turned to Eric and said, "I'm sorry, but we can only let mother and baby in." We were both totally cool with that (and both a little bewildered), so I followed him down a hallway to the last room on the left.

He turned the key, opened up the room, rushed around turning on lamps for me, and said, "The door will lock behind you," with a sly sort of smile. When the door clicked closed I turned and realized I wasn't just in one room, but a series of connecting rooms. I was standing in a bar area with polished barstools carved out of tree trunks, bottle glass windows, and what looked like a leather sofa. Before I could sit down with Grace I had to do a little exploring. :) There was a small bathroom with a chandelier hanging from the ceiling, and a conference room with ornately decorated ceilings. A foyer with a grand staircase was in the middle of it all, and I knew these stairs led to an even larger area up above.

Meanwhile, Eric was waiting outside and having a conversation with the man who let me into this apartment. And that's when he learned that I was nursing Gracie in the private Busch family residence. The very place where the Busch family lived when they first moved onto this property, and where they stayed until they relocated to their current mansion. Eric was floored. "Is it still used?" he asked. To which the man replied, "Yes, it's still used." 

"Oh, for like private tours and things like that?" asked Eric.

"Oh, no. No. Private tours aren't allowed in there," said the man with a grin. "I bet your wife will have a story to tell after today!"

Oh, if he only knew. :)

So I'm back in the apartment deciding which place I'm going to sit and feed Gracie in, and I decided on the leather sofa I first saw when I walked in. I got all set up and was doing my thing, when my hand brushed the seat, and I realized that it wasn't leather at all. It was fuzzy. I did a double take and discovered that I was sitting on a deer hide sofa (um, cha-ching) and it freaked me out in a gross sort of way and in a mortified sort of way all at once. I'm pretty sure the Busch family wouldn't appreciate a hot sweaty stranger nursing a child on their deer hide furniture! I hopped off of that thing fast as lightning and made my way into the conference room where we found a nice comfy chair to finish our business.

My little Gracie girl was fed and had her tiny bottom changed in that room, while I sat in the air conditioning and watched tourists pass by the windows. The whole time I kept thinking, "Man, what if this was like, the Busch's very own apartment or something. Wouldn't that be so neat?" And I was kicking myself that our camera was hanging around Eric's neck...out in the hall...and I didn't so much as have my cell phone on me to snap a couple of pictures. Rats! Little did I know that Eric was having these exact same thoughts just down the hallway. 

I finished up, unlocked the door, and walked back into the hall of offices. Eric was waiting for me there. We thanked those who helped us and went back outside to find Evelyn and Eric's parents. Of course Eric couldn't wait to tell me where I had just been. "I knew it!" I said. AH! That is so awesome!!

So nursing mothers, let this be a lesson to you. When you're at Grant's Farm, don't hesitate to ask for a private place to nurse your baby. It might just pay off for you. :) Just remember to take your camera, haha. Since I couldn't take pictures of the inside, I decided to snap a couple of the outside so you could get an idea of where I was.


I was watching people walk by from the bottom window on the right. :)


Corner view. Looks bigger than an "apartment" to me. :)

I will never again be able to watch a Budweiser Clydesdale commercial without feeling a strange sort of connection with these people, haha.

We continued on our journey and saw a lot more animals and had a lot more fun, but I think I'll leave it there. All in all, we had a really great day! It was a great family weekend with at least one good once in a lifetime experience thrown in there. I don't think Grant's Farm has seen the last of us! And since it's voted the 7th best family attraction NATIONWIDE by the reputable Zagat survey, I'd say anyone and everyone should make at least one trip there!







Have a great day!

10 comments:

Adrian said...

Holy crap! I had no idea Grant's Farm is so awesome! WHY DID I NEVER GO WHEN I LIVED THERE??

When I visit, this is on my to-do list for sure. Great story!

The Pettijohns said...

That rocks! I would have loved that and Ill have to remember that if we go and I have to nurse Isaac.

Kim Luke said...

sounds like you had a great family day! love days like that!!! And that is by far the most interesting nursing story i've ever read! lol

love love the pic of Evie and the goats & Gracie's stinker face. omg, too cute!!!! I love that they have their very own personality and attitude so young!! :)

Cassie said...

i have been debating on taking stella there, but i think i know how we are going to spend her half birthday!! sounds like a fun weekend!!
and those pics of gracie, oh em gee i laughed out loud. i feel ya girl on the kraut, no thanks. lol. too cute!!

Adrien said...

It's fun, and I would recommend it on a fair weather day! It was about as warm as I could stand it when we went. :) I forgot to add that you pay $11 for parking, but there's no admission charge! They even have hospitality drinks for the 21 and over crowd. You're on the Busch property, how could they not offer that? Haha.

Heather Rahn said...

Wow dude!!! That's awesome! Did you get your free beer when you had lunch? My grandma goes with us just to get her free beer.

Adrien said...

Eric got his on our way out. :) I actually am not a fan myself. I know you probably think I'm nuts! Haha. I'm happy as a clam drinking good 'ole lemonade. :D And Happy Birthday, again!!

Ashley N. said...

I LOVE Grant's Farm....but we haven't been for several years. Now I just gotta find some little kids to go with....I think my boys are getting just s bit old(or so they think), and the fact that they are in Idaho makes a big difference too!

Jackie said...

How awesome it that!!!
All of your pictures are awesome...I can't wait till I get a good camera!!!

Emily said...

Wow!! And here I was thinking I was pretty cool getting to nurse in the First Aid Stations at the zoo and Grizzlies game and scoring free bottles of water afterward! I think I will make a trip to Grant's Farm next time I'm home! :)

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