A Uniquely Cape Saturday Morning

While there are plenty of national chains around town, most of my favorite hangouts are local businesses.

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!

A Picker’s Paradise

Unique goods that add character and charm to lives are fun to find here.

More and more people are taking up the hobby of “picking”—looking for unique goods that add character and charm to our lives. Antique shops and thrift shops are generally the best places to search for these finds because we pickers love looking for vintage pieces that have a story to tell. If you enjoy searching for one of a kind goods then you’re going to love the picking options in Cape Girardeau!

Downtown Cape Girardeau alone has over 10 antique shops and even more shops that sell antiques as part of their business. Some even refer to it as an antique district due to the large number of shops within walking distance of each other.

Annie Laurie’s tops the list for many area pickers, and has been named the #1 Antique Shop in Cape Girardeau for 11 consecutive years. You’ll find great prices, funky pieces and an eclectic/free-spirit vibe throughout this popular shop on Broadway. I’ve picked up furniture, vinyl records, new and vintage clothes, vintage fabric bolts and plenty of interesting home accessories within the walls of Annie Laurie’s.

Another popular antique shop, Spanish Street Mercantile, is what I like to refer to as the perfect place for “man-tiquing.” Don’t get me wrong, I’ve found plenty of things that I love there too (including several milk glass vases for my wedding), but this place is a man’s dream—you’ll find antique tools and industrial pieces for days! It’s also a great place to find architectural salvage. When you stop in, make sure to pop into their ice cream shop that’s connected. They make their ice cream onsite using an antique ice cream maker!

If you’re looking for variety, Pastimes Antiques and Brick Street Gallery are great places to check out. Both are filled with booths that are all stocked by different individuals renting the spaces. Somewhere in Time Antiques is my favorite place to go for vintage jewelry, although Pastimes has a nice selection of estate and costume jewelry as well. Back Porch Antiques and Riverfront Antique Mall have the best selection of vintage glassware. Riverfront Antique Mall is one of my husband’s favorite places to browse; he recently found an old wooden icebox there that he plans to use in his future speakeasy-themed bar. If you’re looking for whimsy, Judith’s Antiques is the place to go. Judith has the most creative window displays and has antiques upon antiques in her large space.

There are so many places to go and “pick” here, so I’ve provided a list of downtown and local shops worth checking out below.

List of Antique Shops Downtown

Other Places that Sell Vintage Finds Downtown

  • Soulful Home
  • Mother Earth
  • Annie Em’s at Home

More Antique Shops

  • Garden Gate on Independence in Cape Girardeau
  • Unique Treasures on Rte K right outside of Cape Girardeau
  • Benton Antique Mall off I-55 exit for Benton, MO (about a 15-20 minute drive from Cape)
  • St. Mary’s Antique Mall in St. Mary’s, MO (about a 40 minute drive from Cape)
  • 531 Washhouse and Country Charm Emporium in Uniontown, MO (take 61 for a scenic 30 minute drive from Cape)

Local Thrifting

You can also find great items at local thrift shops. I personally love going to the Teen Challenge Thrift Shop in Cape to look for thrifted furniture, and Goodwill and the Safe House for Women Thrift Store are great places to look in Cape as well. It’s worth mentioning that the Goodwill in Sikeston, which is only a 30 minute drive south, is widely known as one of the best places to thrift for clothes as well.

Makers of Cape and The DIY Culture Here

Making something with our own two hands is a source of pride for the people of Cape Girardeau.

Making something is a badge of honor in Cape Girardeau. There’s something about being able to say “Oh, I made that!” that people in this area love and respect. Laboring over a craft with our own two hands and showing that we can make things we need and want will always be a source of pride for the people here. Allow us to introduce you to a few of these local makers below.

The Clothing Maker: Stacy Dohogne Lane

Stacy is a sewist. She’s been sewing since she was 5 or 6 and says that her mom and both grandmas all sewed and were huge influences on her getting into the craft. She inherited her Meemaw’s sewing machine and started sewing on her own in 2009 for her wedding (looking for a way to make her bridesmaids unique gifts). She’s sewn all kinds of things and just recently got into the trade of sewing apparel, with which she is totally “smitten.”

“The ability to take a piece of fabric and create something wearable is so empowering,” she explains. A couple of pieces that she’s most proud of include a half circle skirt (she drafted the pattern on her own and used vintage fabric from a local estate sale), a raglan sweatshirt from Sew U Home Stretch (she stuck with the pattern but did modifications to make it work for her), a Gryffindor Quidditch robe for her son’s Halloween costume and a jacket she made for her son out of a pillowcase and vintage fabric. From these projects, she learned and perfected skills like hand lapping a zipper, creating a gold bias binding hem and making her first ever buttonholes.

If you’re itching to give sewing a try, Stacy suggests starting simple and allowing yourself to make mistakes. “There’s not a lot you can’t fix with a seam ripper. Every mistake you make you’ll learn from!”

The Furniture Maker: Pat Watson

Meet Pat Watson, the talented furniture maker. Pat started his craft almost 10 years ago while looking for a way to furnish he and his wife’s new home. He built a beautiful coffee table and two side tables out of pine and mahogany that he found in a dumpster. It wasn’t easy. He spent days removing the previous finish on the wood (borrowing a sander and then taking the wood out to his father-in-law’s barn to make the needed cuts with a mitre saw). He spent $12 on the project for hardware, stain and polyurethane. With that he was able to furnish his living room with what I would now call heirloom pieces that are still in his living room today.

Pat enjoys making furniture “because it can be very creative and personal.” There’s always multiple ways to build a piece, and Pat likes the creative and practical challenges that comes with the craft.

“I still love the tables I made nine years ago because they are a constant reminder that no matter where you are in life, you started with something and sometimes the first step is always the hardest and the most frustrating.”

Pat has made many pieces since those initial tables. He’s built furniture for friends, family members and admiring friends of friends who have seen his great craftsmanship first hand. He’s made tables, shelves, consoles, bar stools and much more. One of his more interesting projects was for a light beam at Dynamite Coffee. Owner, Robbie Britt, had a vision and Pat had a lot of fun bringing it to fruition.

Pat has some cool advice for those interested in trying this craft themselves. “I was a huge fan of Legos growing up. When designing something before building it-visualize it as nothing more than a series of Lego pieces you must build in order to construct your piece.”

A Couple of Makers: Chris & Jen Behnken

Husband and wife Chris and Jen Behnken are both big DIYers. Chris, a computer programmer by day, loves working on cars. He can help fix just about anything that’s wrong with a car, and loves tinkering, building and mastering his 1995 Dodge Stealth RT Turbo. He also enjoys woodworking and perfecting his latest home brew. Jen, a conservationist by day, makes her own applesauce, cans tomatoes and salsa and landscapes their yard.

I asked Chris how he got into working on cars and found out it was a story of sheer will!

“When I was 15 and getting ready to get my learner’s permit, I needed a car and had been working on my dad’s farm since I was 13. My grandfather, who had passed away when I was 10, had an old 1974 GMC truck that was sitting around, and my brother, Joel, helped me get it working and safe to drive after sitting for 15 years without moving. I spent about 6-9 months working on it, and had it ready when I turned 16 to be my first car. Learned a lot about cars from Joel and owe a lot of my hands-on attitude and skills to him.”

The Seasoned Maker: Carrie Woelk

We’re not just calling her the Seasoned Maker because of her ancho chili spice mix that she throws together for her favorite roasted veggies, but Carrie earns this title because she’s been a DIYer for a while now. She makes her own vanilla extract, kombucha, scented moisturizers with essential oils and the most versatile of all – baby wipes! She says they’re nice to have around for all kinds of things, baby messes aside. Carrie also helps keep her family and friends warm with her crocheting talent, making scarves, hats and blankets.

When asked why she likes to make so many things, Carrie explained that it’s a great creative outlet and she loves seeing a finished product after creating it. She also added that the woman in Proverbs 31 made things with her hands and that that scripture from the Bible is a big inspiration to her.

The Literal Food Maker: Katie Young

Katie, a digital marketer by day, is a big gardener, and, in the summertime, she grows a variety of vegetables and herbs. She germinates her own seeds during the winter, so when spring rolls around, she has her own starter plants to put in the ground. She likes to container garden the most but has also grown things in straight soil, too. She freezes a lot of the veggies that she grows, so she can enjoy them throughout winter.