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Art in the Park Delivers Fun for the Entire Family!

May 20, 2013

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The first weekend in June is home to one of Columbia’s favorite festival traditions…Art in the Park. This year marks the festival’s 55th year and on June 1st and 2nd there will be something for every member of the family to love!

Stephen's Lake Park, Home of Art in the Park.

Stephen’s Lake Park, Home of Art in the Park.

One of the best parts of Art in the Park is its location. Stephens Lake Park is one of Columbia’s most beautiful locations, with a rolling landscape, open spaces, a stunning lake and play areas. Nature combined with the incredible art makes Art in the Park sure to inspire.

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Stroll through the booths in the park to explore the art!

Sometimes people may think Art in the Park is all paintings…but it’s so much more than that! The festival attracts artists from across the country to sell their work in mediums ranging from jewelry and ceramics to weaving and, yes, paintings. You can pick up a new coffee mug for your office, a new painting for that empty wall in the living room or a gorgeous scarf that all your friends will want.

Let the kids get their hands messy!

Let the kids get their hands messy!

Of course, buying and shopping isn’t all you can do. Let the kids get in on the act to make some art! Face painting, tie-dyed a t-shirts and more all await the little ones.

This June, take the first weekend and round up the whole family (and some sunscreen) for Art in the Park. It’s two days of art and play you’ll come to Columbia for every year.

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Finally Farmers Market Season!

May 2, 2013

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‘Tis the season…for the farmers market!

The local enthusiasm for fresh, sustainable produce, meats, baked goods and more means the Columbia is home to three farmers markets! On your next visit to Columbia you can take home something fresh and delicious almost any day of the week.

Boone County Farmers Market

1005 W. Worley Street (The corner of Worley Street and West Blvd)

Saturdays 8 am – 12 pm (April  thru October)

Home to around 20 vendors on any given Saturday morning, the Boone County Farmers Market has an array of produce and goods available. From spring to fall, you can pick up the ingredients for an incredible meal and also buy plants to help you grow your own garden!

Columbia Farmers Market

Main Market Location: The ARC (1701 W. Ash Street)

Monday Market (4:00-6:00 at the ARC), Wednesday Market (4:00-6:00 at the ARC), Thursday Market (3:00-6:00 at Forum Christian Church), Friday Market (3:00-6:00 at Brookside Square), Saturday Market (8:00-Noon at the ARC)

ColumbiaFarmersMarketphoto_by Sam Mead

Columbia’s largest farmers market brings in droves of people throughout the week to their various locations. Their largest market is on Saturday morning, when over 75 vendors fill the lots. The Saturday market often features live music performances, hot breakfast burritos made by local culinary students and other special events in addition to the products available to buy. Try honey ice cream from Walk About Acres, buy fresh cheese from Goatsbeard Farms or pick up something freshly baked from Uprise Bakery. From the salad to the steak to dessert, you can create an entire meal from what’s available at the Columbia Farmers Market.

North Village Farmers and Artisans Market

Wabash Parking Lot in the North Village

Sundays from 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.

The North Village Farmers and Artisans Market is Columbia’s newest market, celebrating not only local produce but local art. Artisans from the North Village sell their art alongside local farmers and you may even see one of Columbia’s delicious food trucks serving up breakfast during the market. You can also watch cooking demos and there’s a kids booth for the little ones.

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Uniquely Columbia: The Bur Oak

May 1, 2013

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Bigtree6

Down a quiet road just a few miles south of Columbia is a local treasure. At over 350 years old, the largest bur oak tree in Missouri is a beautiful spot that you shouldn’t miss on your next visit.

The tree stands 90 feet tall and has a stately spot in the middle of a field between the tiny spots of McBaine and Huntsdale. One of the most popular places for photos in the area, ‘The Big Tree’ even has its own Facebook page. Beautiful in the spring and sometimes haunting in the winter, the tree is a majestic sight.

To reach the tree, head south on Providence Road and just keep driving. And driving. As the houses become farther and farther apart, you’ll know you’ve almost reached your destination. You can also reach the tree easily from the Katy Trail trailhead at McBaine, where Columbia’s MKT Trail joins with the Katy. Rain or shine, the tree is a uniquely Columbia gem.

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Columbia is Poised for Patio Season!

April 11, 2013

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With the trees turning green and flowers starting to bloom, it’s a great time to visit Columbia and experience its outdoor dining options. Last year, we told you about our perfect patios, but we have a few more suggestions for your next trip. Relax with some of Columbia’s most delicious food and enjoy the gorgeous spring weather!

In the District, there’s never a shortage of places to stop and have an incredible meal.

For al fresco dining, check out Teller’s. It only has a few tables out on the sidewalk and they go fast, but it’s a prime location for both food and people watching.

Teller’s in downtown Columbia decked out with Homecoming decorations.

Also in the District, Shiloh Bar and Grill is the perfect spot to sip a drink on their expansive patio, enjoy local music and have a great meal. The large shaded area is perfect for those hot days and the restaurant itself is a restored train station.

Food, fun and festivities.

Heading to the south part of town, a variety of outdoor options await you.

Las Margaritas is a family-friendly and festive place serving up fantastic Mexican cuisine. The restaurant opened this fall, so this spring marks the first time patrons will be able to enjoy their beautiful lakeside patio. Take happy hour outside and take in the view at Las Margaritas.

Fresh and fantastic at Las Margaritas.

If something from across the pond is more your speed, head over to 44 Stone Pub, where a seat on the patio and an extensive beer selection make for a wonderful experience. Dive into welsh rarebit, signature burgers and fish & chips. Be sure to get a side of colcannon. This mix of smashed potatoes, cabbage, bacon, butter and chives is absolute perfection.

44 Stone in south Columbia. Image from the Columbia Business Times.

Now that we’ve introduced you to a few more great Columbia patios, it’s time to come check them out! Did we miss any of your favorites?

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Get Outside! Our Splendid State Parks.

March 29, 2013

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Earlier this week, we gave you some great ideas for hitting the road (ok, trails) on your next visit to Columbia. Our city is known for its fantastic parks and trails system, but there are also plenty of nearby Missouri State Parks, many with exciting and unexpected adventures waiting to be had!

Check out these activities…all an hour or way less from Columbia!

-Rev your engine and explore the 10-acre motocross track at Finger Lakes State Park.

-Explore the shady serenity of the Jewell Cemetery State Historic Site.

-Step back in time and check out the beauty and architecture of the village of Arrow Rock.

-Take a hike and learn about one of Missouri’s first industries at the Boone’s Lick State Historic Site.

-Chill out in caves, hike wood-planked trails and enjoy the scenic environment of Rock Bridge Memorial State Park.

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Get Outside! Our Tremendous Trails

March 27, 2013

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One of Missouri’s most popular features is the Katy Trail, a statewide trail that connects west to east, with a short spur called the MKT that lands you right in downtown Columbia. Once you’re here, there are so many other trails to explore it’s tough to know where to start! Here are a few options sure to be a hit.

Bear Creek Trail

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With multiple access points, Bear Creek Trail winds nearly five miles through northern Columbia and connects two of the city’s most popular parks, Cosmo and Albert-Oakland. The trail is crushed limestone and runs through wooded areas, wetlands, open spaces and residential neighborhoods. The trail also follows the general direction of its namesake water system, Bear Creek.

Rhett’s Run

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Have mountain biking on your mind? Head to Rhett’s Run. This 2.4 mile dirt run is a challenging one and was designed by  Brian Stickel and John Bailey of Mountain Designs, key course designers for the 1996 Olympic mountain bike courses. The trail originates in Cosmo Park and runs through 75 acres of beautiful wooded area.

County House Trail

CHTCollageCounty House Trail is a two-mile long trail in the southwest area of the city that extends from Stadium Blvd. at College Park Drive to the MKT Trail at Twin Lakes Recreation Area. It is an 8-foot-wide concrete trail with a gravel side path between Stadium and the Twin Lakes Recreation Area entrance. Once inside Twin Lakes Recreation Area, the trail routes through the parking lot and around the lake where it connects to the the MKT Trail on the southeast corner of the park.

These are just three options of dozens here in Columbia. Check out the list of community and neighborhood trails here and pick one to explore every time you visit Columbia!

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Columbia Snapshot

February 15, 2013

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MS-SmoothieMenu

In our new Columbia Snapshot posts, we feature photos from around Columbia captured by our staff or by our readers to share little corners of our city that you might not always see.

This week’s photo is of one of the colorful and vibrant menu boards at Main Squeeze Natural Foods Cafe in downtown Columbia. One of Columbia’s few completely vegetarian restaurant options, Main Squeeze is a haven for diners who like fresh, locally sourced, healthy and delicious meal options.

One of our favorite boards is home to the array of smoothie choices at Main Squeeze! Each creatively named smoothie is full of freshly blended fruit, juices and any other add-ins you request. Our personal favorite is the Berry Berry Good, but you really can’t go wrong with any of the selections. Make sure to pair your smoothie with one of their organic hot dishes, melt-in-your-mouth sandwiches or outstanding handmade desserts. No matter what you pick, your stomach will thank you!

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Columbia Side Trip: Clark and Amish Country

December 7, 2012

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We just posted about Christmas shopping here yesterday, but when it comes to the holiday season you can never get enough good gift ideas. Here at the Convention and Visitors Bureau, we’re partial to candy. Amish candy to be very precise. Where do these divine confections come from? That would be a little town north of Columbia about 30 minutes called Clark.

The Amish settlement near Clark is the third largest settlement in Missouri. Just head north on Highway 63 and turn onto Highway P to start exploring. You’ll see Amish farmers working their fields with horses and plows. Quilts, molasses, produce, bakery goods and other items are available at various farms.  Gather up decadent peanut clusters, rich fudge, crisp peanut brittle and freshly baked cinnamon rolls. Then be the most popular elf ever as you joyfully pass out treats.

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Shop ‘Til You Drop: A Gift for Everyone in Columbia!

December 6, 2012

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For those of you who have a long shopping list this holiday season, look no further! Columbia is home to endless options for everyone on your list! We’ve collected a few ideas for how you can spread joy throughout the season and thought it was only appropriate to share in Christmas carol form. And now, our 12 Columbia Gifts

Twelve Bottles for Drinking

Stop by Top Ten Wines in The District and get their expert help in selecting a case of wine! Whether you gift the whole case or use each bottle as a hostess gift at all the holiday parties you’ll attend, the staff at Top Ten Wines will assist you in assembling a delicious variety of wines from around the world.

Eleven Tickets for Concerts

The Blue Note is truly a Columbia landmark. Past performers have ranged from Johnny Cash to the Dave Matthews Band to Snoop Dogg and there’s always a great lineup on their calendar. With shows featuring They Might Be Giants, Calexico, Keller Williams and more coming up the the next few months, treat your friends with tickets for a night at The Blue Note.

Ten Classes of Yoga

Help someone in your life find their center with an Anytime Pass to Alley Cat Yoga. The pass has no expiration and gets them into 10 classes, making it a thoughtful and very flexible gift. Who knows, maybe they’ll even invite you to join them.

Nine Stocking Stuffers

Have lots of stockings to stuff? Head to The District and stop by The Mustard Seed. Featuring jewelry, accessories and other handmade treasures from around the world, you’ll look like the best santa ever.

Eight Bites of Chocolate

A Columbia favorite for over 30 years, the Candy Factory is now making artisan chocolates for their Prestige Collection. Pick up an 8-piece box for your favorite chocoholic and watch them marvel at the beauty (and taste!) of these treats.

Seven Super Shirts

Have lots of cousins you need to buy presents for? Are all those cousins Mizzou fans? Pick them up some black and gold gear at the Mizzou BookstoreTiger Spirit, Jock’s Nitch or Rally House. You can stock up and take care of those cousins in one easy stop.

Six Warm Cookies

Perfect for the neighbor, coworker, friend or any other loved one, Hot Box Cookies will deliver fresh  delicious cookies right to their door. From traditional chocolate chip to snickerdoodles, the recipient of these treats will be sure to think warm thoughts of you as they devour these cookies. Don’t forget to order cold milk to go with them!

Fiiiiiiiive Perfume Oils

Need something for those favorite girls in your life? Head over to Makes Scents and have them whip up a custom blend perfume oil for each one! Their experts have plenty of experience in combining scents ranging from cupcake to fig to peppermint to create a scent that truly reminds you of your girlfriends. And trust us, every time they use it, they’ll think of you.

Four Classy Cookbooks

For the cooks and kitchen lovers on your list, head to Tallulah’s. This beautiful kitchen and home store has an array of cookbooks for cocktails, cakes and anything in between. You can also pick up mixing bowls, utensils and other goodies to help make their newly found recipes come to life.

Three Music Events

A trio of tickets to the University Concert Series will be just as exciting in a stocking as it will be wrapped up under the tree. Give someone a ticket to three different events or send their whole family for a night out. Coming up in February, audiences can be delighted by DRUMline Live, Garth Fagan Dance Company, Shrek the Musical, Boyz II Men, Hair and more!

Two Pairs of Earrings

Stop into Poppy to check out handmade jewelry from nationally acclaimed artists and pick up a stunning pair of earrings for your mom…and one for yourself.

And a Tent for the Entire Family

Enjoy dreams of warmer weather and promises of outdoor adventure with a tent the entire family can enjoy on your next camping journey. Pick up the perfect pop up at the Alpine Shop and grab lots of other outdoor gear while you’re there!

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We hope you’re ready to get out there and shop now, but we’ll have little gift guides leading all the way up through the holiday season. Keep checking back to discover new Columbia treasures!

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Uniquely Columbia – Visit the Magic Tree!

December 4, 2012

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Photo from the Columbia Daily Tribune

Photo from the Columbia Daily Tribune

One of Columbia’s most popular holiday traditions in recent years has been bundling up, piling the family in the car, and heading out to visit the Magic Tree. This gorgeous display has been delighting residents and visitors since 1995 and has become a part of Columbia’s holiday experience.

Will Treelighter works on the Magic Tree

Will Treelighter works on the Magic Tree

Each year, Will Treelighter (as he’s known) spends over 40 hours wrapping tens of thousands of lights around every branch of the Magic Tree. While the original Magic Tree was located in Will’s front yard, the amount of traffic to the tree necessitated a move to the Village of Cherry Hill in 2010. That first year at Cherry Hill, the Magic Tree was lit up with approximately 37,500 lights!

The Magic Tree’s location change also has allowed for increased interaction with the tree. Visitors can now get out and explore the tree from every angle, take photos, and enjoy special events around the tree, including choral performances. The Village of Cherry Hill is a wonderful setting to take in the tree, sip some hot chocolate in the gazebo and watch children of all ages be mesmerized by the Magic Tree.

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