A Riverfront View: Thoughts from a Resident of Cape Girardeau - My Family Travels

I've had the luxury of traveling to many different places in my short time as a 17 year old and have seen many sites and inspiring people. I love exploring new places and experiencing different cultures. As a result, I've learned important lessons that have allowed me to see life in a different light. I hope to never stop traveling and witnessing the beauty of the world.

As of now, I find myself living in the quaint town of Cape Girardeau, Missouri, a wonderful place situated right on Mark Twain's muse, the Mighty Mississippi River. Settled back in 1793 as a French trading post, Cape Girardeau grew into the largest port town between Saint Louis and Memphis.

There are plenty of attractions in this town of 40,000. There's a mall, a plethora of Darden restaurants, and a Starbucks, but those get a bit generic after a while. For a different viewpoint, you could stop by the Cape River Heritage Museum (http://www.caperiverheritagemuseum.com), a local treasure with thousands of items representing the history and culture of southeastern Missouri. Take a step. Learn something new.

Downtown Cape is a perfect place for a day out on the town (http://www.oldtowncape.org). With red-bricked roads, the tight-knit area is filled with countless little shops and eateries. Enjoy a door-to-door experience or stop and grab a bite to eat all within a few steps from the Mississippi River.

If you're a golf enthusiast, you'll appreciate the Nicklaus designed Dalhousie Golf Club which recently hosted the 2013 Rolex Girls Junior Championship (http://www.dalhousiegolfclub.com). It's filled with deep, white bunkers and vast fairways groomed to perfection. In addition, the Cape area has several other courses that deserve some recognition: Cape Girardeau Country Club, Kimbeland, Bent Creek, and the Cape Municipal. You could conceivably spend a whole vacation playing golf, but you might miss out on many other gems.

Cape Girardeau is also a college town harboring Southeast Missouri State University (http://www.semo.edu). Redhawk pride runs throughout the city as red banners can be found everywhere. You could catch a baseball game in the late afternoon and cheer for the home team. It's a feeling hard to beat even if we lose. One of the most beautiful views in the whole town is the copper dome top of the Academic Hall gleaming proudly over the treetops.

Most importantly, venture down to the river. There's a flood wall that lines the downtown right by the Bill Emerson Memorial bridge (pictured top). It's covered with gorgeous murals telling tales of legends long ago and not so long ago. Vibrant colors accentuate the great explorations of Lewis and Clark and the sorrows of the Trail of Tears.

I love standing on the riverbank and watching the barges and river boats drift by while the sound of the train whistle blows resoundingly in the distance. It puts me in my place, realizing the river has been here countless years before me. I can't help but imagine that hundreds of years ago a kid very much like myself stood fishing and pondering about life.

If you're looking for a travel spot with numerous activities, gorgeous scenery, and the feel of a small town, it just might be the perfect place for you. In the words of novelist John Green to his brother, “You gotta live somewhere, Hank, but you also get to live somewhere.” Cape is my somewhere.

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