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BellaOnline's MidWest USA Editor

Cape Girardeau-Missouri's Dream Community!

Iíve got a soft spot in my heart for river towns. So when I tell you to visit Cape Girardeau, MO, know that I am biased. Thereís something about them. The old feel. The-more frequent than not-cobblestone streets. The propensity for good music and great festivals. Doesnít seem like they can be beat. And Cape Girardeau is no exception.

My first time to ďCapeĒ (as everyone in the area calls it) was a delight, not to mention every time since! The streets down by the water are lined with antique shops full of treasures and restaurants eager to feed the newly arrived!

My husband bought me my first pair of pearl earrings at Annie-Emís-a cute little shop full to the brim of antiques, clothes, and jewelry. But that was by no means our last stop. The entire main street is lined with door after door leading to all kinds of imaginable, and unimaginable, treats and trinkets.

The Arts Council Art Galleries are a welcome reprieve for the over-shopped. There are eleven of them in town! Several of which can be found right down near the water front. The artistís pieces found inside the galleries are changing every month so there is always a new exhibit to entice the eye and encourage the brain. And make sure to see the incredible murals all around town. The largest being the array of murals painted on the floodwall separating the downtown shops from the river.

For the guest who might be more interested in getting close to the land and experiencing the countryside of the area there are several great bike paths. Cape Girardeau even has an annual ride called the Tour de Cape!

If youíre interested in seeing the back country on foot there is the Trail of Tears State Park, not too far away, filled with trails on its 3,415 acres. Also available at the park is camping, picnicking, and fishing-a wonderful summer retreat!

And what better place to learn about the local wildlife residents than at the Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center? Curious visitors will find an inside wildlife viewing area, freshwater aquariums, and hands-on exhibits for all ages! Outside the center are more trails for guests to trek in hopes of garnishing a real wildlife encounter of their own!

Now if you are fortunate enough to get to stay into the evening, once (sometimes twice) a month there is contra dancing with live bands! A perfect example of some of that great music found in river towns. The dances are held at Christ Episcopal Church, 101 N. Fountain Street.(If you are interested in exact dates feel free to email me and I'll send you an e-brochure.) The dances go from 7:00 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. on Saturday evenings. And don't worry if you're not a pro (or even close). There are free beginnersí lessons from 6:45 p.m. to 7 p.m. Not to mention that throughout the dancing there are callers letting you know which steps to take! A fantastic activity for the entire family and a great way to end a day in Cape Girardeau.

With so much going on in this town I canít imagine that itís just me who finds it to be so visit-worthy! But, as LeVar Burton of Reading Rainbow used to say, 'you donít have to take my word for it!' This river town was designated as a Missouri Dream Community and it has well earned that reputation by affording all kinds of activities for residents and visitors alike!

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