Located along Missouri’s Route 66, and known as “The Birthplace of the Mother Road,” Springfield is a diverse city with a friendly and welcoming atmosphere.
Throughout Springfield, I found myself surrounded by trendy boutiques, bustling restaurants, quality microbreweries and modern lodging options.
Tour Mother’s Brewing Company
When I arrived in Missouri, one of the first things I noticed was the residents’ love for locally brewed beer, and that made me excited to visit and explore Mother’s Brewing Company. The perfect way to become more familiar with Mother’s beers is to take the tour, where you learn about the brewing process for its 20 craft beers.
After the tour, I enjoyed some year-round and seasonal beers in Mother’s Tasting Room. On tap, everything from the light, crisp Towhead to the chocolaty-brown Three Blind Mice was available to sample, each with its own distinct flavor. The Tasting Room has been renovated to include recycled materials from the bread factory that previously occupied the building, giving it a vintage vibe. Judging by its popularity, it’s clear that Mother’s is a Springfield staple.
The Tasting Room at Mother’s Brewing Company in Springfield, Missouri
Overnight at Hotel Vandivort
I made plans to stay the night in the incredibly stylish Hotel Vandivort. Every laborious detail – from the wood-and-tile floor to the exposed brick and the glass panel in the elevators – adds another layer to its seemingly effortless decor. Renovated to reflect Springfield’s thriving artistic community, this building actually dates to 1906, when it was originally constructed as a Masonic Temple. Now, this vintage edifice brings a hip and upscale feel to downtown Springfield.
You don’t have to go far to try the enticing cuisine for which Springfield is known; The Order Restaurant is right in the lobby. If you order a specialty cocktail, watch the bartender’s theatrics. For my drink, she burned wood to give my glass a smoky flavor. From the menu, I loved the rich flavor and simple presentation of bacon, onion and goat cheese rangoons. I also had to taste delicious taters and gravy, a Missouri-influenced take on the Canadian poutine. For an extra local twist, this dish incorporates Mother’s Towhead gouda fondue.
Historic C-Street: A Trendy Spot in Old Springfield
Not far from the heart of downtown, Historic C-Street is a fantastic place for a change of pace. I explored some of its eclectic boutiques and visited some great restaurants, including the Pizza House and Cafe Cusco. With its flaky-crust pizza, the Pizza House has been a local favorite since 1958. Nearby, Cafe Cusco’s Peruvian-inspired dishes and authentic wood furnishings make it the perfect spot for an intimate dinner. If you need a pick-me-up, head to Big Momma’s, where coffee and food are served, and open-microphone nights and other events are offered.
Boutiques on Historic C Street in Springfield, Missouri
Askinosie Chocolate: Sweet and Ethical
Historic C-Street is also home to the internationally known Askinosie Chocolate, which sells direct-trade and ethical chocolate that empowers farmers and suppliers. Askinosie even prints farmers’ faces on each chocolate bar wrapper. On the tour, I was treated to organic chocolate from all around the world, including the Philippines and Honduras. With so many options, it was hard to decide what to take home from the huge range of chocolate bars, cocoa nibs and the Products of Change, from which 100 percent of profits go to schools in Tanzania and the Philippines.
An impressive cultural hub, Springfield is an ideal stop when driving Missouri’s Route 66. It’s a mixture of small-town hospitality and big-city life just waiting to be explored.
Chocolate bars at Askinosie Chocolate on Historic C Street in Springfield, Missouri