Touring the Missouri River Valley

Those of us who have the luxury of living in Missouri know how beautiful and picturesque the state is. When it comes to rivers, lakes and streams, Lake of the Ozarks, the Jacks Fork and the Mississippi River often come to mind. In fact, the Great River Road, which follows the Mississippi River, was recently nominated one of the most scenic fall drives by the Travel Channel. But, it was the Missouri River, which stretches across the state, nosing through some of the most fertile wine country Missouri has to offer, that Dan Burkhardt brings to life in his latest book, Missouri River Country. The book features stories from notable Missouri figures such as Gov. Nixon, Sens. McCaskill and Blunt, author William Least Heat-Moon, Missouri Botanical Garden President Peter Wyse Jackson, conservationist Dr. Peter Raven, civic leader Dr. William Danforth, environmentalist Adolphus Busch IV, chef Gerard Craft, preservationist Jim Dierberg and many more who know and love the subjects of this book. We connected with writer Dan Burkhardt, knowing that anyone who loves Missouri would want to know more about why he developed the book. This is what he had to say:

Missouri River Country book cover

“For many reasons, my wife Connie and I have always felt fortunate to be St. Louisans. One of those reasons is how close we are to the rolling countryside along the Missouri River, just west of the city.  We have owned farms in this area — in the Missouri River valley — for years, and have entertained visitors from many places.   Everyone leaves with a new respect and appreciation for the forested hills, wide fields and small towns along the river.

Our new book, Missouri River Country, is designed to give readers the feeling that we experience every time we drive west to our farm.  Whether our route is the “high road” south of the river through Labadie, Washington and New Haven…or Highway 94 north of the river, up and down through the bottomland fields to Hermann…it is always a remarkable trip.  Either route takes us from the congested malls and strip centers of the suburbs to small towns, vineyards, cattle pastures, and corn and soybean fields.

This last 100 miles of the storied Missouri River — before it collides with the Mississippi River at the Confluence — is the original route west.  The Missouri River is why our ancestors identified St. Louis as “the Gateway to the West.”  It is also the subject of our book.  Art, architecture, agriculture and history all combine to make this area a unique piece of Missouri and the Midwest.  We asked more than 60 friends, old and new, professional writers and amateurs, to tell stories about the subjects along this stretch of river they know and love.  Governors, Senators, farmers, photographers, artists and historians collaborated to provide a unique perspective of this remarkable, scenic and historic area.

Missourians have something to be proud of in this area and visitors have much to enjoy – it is uniquely rural in the backyard of the biggest city in Missouri.  Home to a historic wine producing district, the longest bicycle trail in the country, one of the most important waterfowl flyways in the world, and vast tracts of forest above wide river bottom fields, the area’s diversity is as interesting as its history.

Reading Missouri River Country is the second best thing to making a visit to Missouri River Country.  I hope you enjoy the read, and the ride, when you have the opportunity.”

Read an excerpt from the book.

Learn more about the author.

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