My Saturdays are sacred. I worked retail for many years while in high school and college, which meant a Saturday morning shift was a certainty. Now that I can finally do whatever I want on Saturday morning, I do not take the opportunity for granted. As it turns out, most of my free Saturdays are spent going places that I could only find at home in Cape Girardeau. While there are plenty of national chains around town, most of my favorite hangouts are local businesses.
The first thing on my to-do list is finding a good radio option for driving around. My favorite choice is KRCU 90.0 FM, the area public radio station. KRCU is an NPR affiliate, so there’s tons of great national programming, but my favorite show is the locally hosted Left of the Dial, which is plays “underground” artists who don’t typically get a lot of play on commercial radio. I love discovering new bands this way, and I enjoy the thoughtful commentary host Jason Brown brings to every show.
After I’ve found some good tunes, my first stop is always Dynamite Coffee downtown. Owners Katie and Robbie not only staff the espresso bar, but they also roast their own beans, which certainly spoils all of us who drink their coffee. Nothing else can quite live up to Dynamite in terms of flavor and atmosphere. In addition to the standard menu, they have a rotating seasonal menu. I have a favorite for each season, of course, but the lavender latte wins the all-time favorite award. It’s become my favorite part of spring—I like it more than flowers and sunshine because, if I’m being honest, how can I notice the flowers and sunshine without having my coffee first? No matter the time of year, Katie always remembers my usual drink of choice, a personal touch that I enjoy as much as the coffee itself.
Once I have my Dynamite in hand, I like to take a walk by the Mississippi in Riverfront Park. The river conditions can vary a lot from week to week, so it’s cool to see if the water is high, low, choppy, or serene. Even though I’ve grown up on the Mississippi, it’s still a moving sight to take in. As a fan of literature, I often think about how Mark Twain looked out on the same waters and felt inspired to write so much of his fiction centering around river life. Another echo of history sits just beyond the river wall in Port Cape, where General Ulysses S. Grant stayed while stationed in Cape during the Civil War. While I think of Port Cape as a great place to grab an ice cream cone, it’s amazing to think about all the history that was made right where I stand enjoying a coffee.
After finishing my coffee (and convincing myself I don’t need another cup, at least not yet), I usually head into the local antique shops to see what’s new. I fancy myself a bit of a deal spotter, so the many thrifting opportunities downtown are a huge draw for me. Pastimes Antiques always pulls me in with their themed window displays. I often find St. Louis Cardinals memorabilia in the window, which I can’t keep away from. Many items in my house were once window items, including my incredibly cool 2006 World Series stein. If I’m in the mood to hunt for older treasures, Brick Street Gallery is my favorite place to flip through crates of vinyl records, and vintage clothing or housewares call to me frequently from inside Annie Laurie’s.
Treasure hunting in antique shops can make a person pretty hungry, so my next stop is usually one of the great local restaurants. There’s something available for every one of my food moods. Minglewood Brewery has some of the best pizza and beer in town. They rotate different beers seasonally, so there’s always something new to try out. Broussards has been a downtown staple for as long as I can remember, and they serve delicious cajun cuisine, plus plenty of non-spicy options if you’re a wuss like me. I always hit up Muy Bueno when I want to spend some quality time with carbs in the form of chips, salsa, and traditional Mexican rice—the only thing better than the rice is the friendly service. BGs Old Tyme Deli has the best potato skins in the heartland—you’ll probably want to try them multiple times for yourself, you know, just to be sure. Katy O’Ferrels is an Irish pub with a ton of character, a ton of bar options, and even better potato-based dishes. If I’m feeling Pan-Asian, Saffron Bistro boasts my favorite pad-thai and delicious jasmine tea. My Daddy’s Cheesecake is dessert central—not only do they have amazing made-in-house cheesecake, there are cupcakes, cookies, coffees, and more. If you aren’t the type to hit the town in the afternoon, all these restaurants are great dinner options as well!
After recharging with some lunch, I’m usually ready to hit the La Croix Trail, Capaha Park, or the County Park for a little sunshine. Some are so inclined to go for a run in these places (I am not one of them), but I enjoy taking in all the trees and nature. The ducks in Capaha and the geese in the County park are fun to watch, especially when they have duck-family squabbles and honk at each other. The LaCroix trail curves its way around most of town, so it’s a nice way to take a mini tour of Cape while also getting some exercise. A good percentage of the trail is covered with shade trees, so it’s perfect for getting outside during the hot summer months.
Once the morning is through, there are still a ton more events and activities that happen around town in the afternoon and evening. If you’re looking to create your own Uniquely Cape Saturday, check out all these ideas. We can’t wait to see you around town!