Cake Huntin’ at the Drive-In – Chuck-A-Burger Drive-In #27

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Cake #27! At Chuck-A-Burger Drive-In

Cake #27! At Chuck-A-Burger Drive-In

Next on my list of after-work cake-ventures was Chuck-A-Burger Drive-In on St. Charles Rock Road.

I had never heard of this St. Louis establishment prior to my cake hunting adventure, so I was a little worried about finding it in an area I was unfamiliar with. But I could tell we were getting close when my trusty, furry side-kick Miles James ran to the closest car window and started frantically sniffing the air.

Chuck-A-Burger Drive-In officially opened in 1957 adding several different locations over the years each in keeping with the nostalgic ’50s diner theme. However, the only location that is still open is the one graced with the presence of one of the 250(ish) cakes.

Photo credit: stl250.org

Photo credit: stl250.org

And according to their website, Chuck-A-Burger still has Cruise Nights featuring only special interest and pre-1973 vehicles to keep the restaurant’s theme going.

Unfortunately Miles and I did not get to witness any of that excitement at the time of our visit.

But, although burgers are not exactly in line with my vegetarian diet, I know Miles was definitely hoping that by some cake miracle, he would get to experience someone chucking a burger his way  :)

Cake #27! At Chuck-A-Burger Drive-In

Cake #27! At Chuck-A-Burger Drive-In

Cake Monster Site Seein’ on Such a Winter’s Day – Historic Hanley House #26

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Cake #26! At the Historic Hanley House

Cake #26! At the Historic Hanley House

Once I caught the cake hunting bug, there was no stopping me! So just two short days after Mercutio, WD and I had our cake-venture, I decided it was time for Miles James and I to take our dynamic duo on the road once again.

This was the first of several trips that Miles and I would take after my work day had ended. And let me tell you, those days of waiting on the edge of my seat knowing that I had a little furry friend at home just waiting to go on a cake adventure with me made the minutes just fly by.

Since I was just getting down the rhythm of my cake hunting, I decided to plan this trip around 3 cakes that were close to each other and not far from my home, so it would be an easy after work trip.

Which brings us to the first cake location of the evening: the Historic Hanley House.

The Hanley House is located in Clayton and is on the National Register of Historical Places (*woah*). It’s also the oldest structure in Clayton which I think Mr. James did a good job of illustrating by his rather stately pose next to the cake in the picture above.

The house itself was built in 1855 by Martin Frank Hanley. He purchased all 100.6 acres of the land the house sits on for $750 – not a bad deal.

Unfortunately on this day, Miles and I were not able to get too close to the house itself, but we did get to walk around the garden / open area by the cake and enjoy a few minutes of crisp mid-March air before we were off to the next cake location.

Cake #26! At the Historic Hanley House

Cake #26! At the Historic Hanley House

P.S. This cake’s location is one of my most favorites because I absolutely love that the magical cake location-choosers put the cake on top of the *HUGE* tree stump. It just seems like a perfect place to present a cake (yay alliteration!).

A Diamond in the Rough – Creve Coeur Lake #25

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Cake #25! At Creve Coeur Lake

Cake #25! At Creve Coeur Lake

Mercutio Krispytreats, WD and I’s epic cake hunting adventure was coming to an end, and for an adventure of this magnitude, there was no better place to end the trip than Creve Coeur Lake.

wpid-wp-1413235829295.jpegI don’t think I’ll ever forget the absolute joy I felt the first time that Mercutio introduced me to the glorious beauty that is Creve Coeur Lake. I had only recently moved into my new apartment down the street from the lake, and I was getting adjusted to living on my own. Mercutio knew that I needed a little pick-me-up, so he brought Miles and I to the lake for some relaxation, and we’ve been hooked ever since!

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Photo Credit: Mercutio Krispytreats

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Photo Credit: Mercutio Krispytreats

One of the main reasons I love Creve Coeur Lake so much is because it’s a like a little getaway right down the street from home. At 320 acres (what!), it’s the largest natural lake in Missouri. And while I have not personally seen all 320 acres of the lake (yet), the parts that I have seen are pretty spectacular.

The trail that we usually walk around the lake takes about an hour and a half to complete (or longer, if you’re like Miles and I and stop to smell every tree…Miles does this…not me…) and goes from sandy shores along the water to tree lined trails winding through the woods.

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Photo Credit: Mercutio Krispytreats

While the water at the lake may not be ideal for drinking, it was the first lake that Miles ever swam in. And one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen Miles do is swim out in the lake to fetch a stick, take a wave too hard, go under for a second, then pop right back up like nothing happened and keep swimming. He’s such a survivor! :)

There are few things, however, that can compete with the cuteness of a tired pup when he’s had enough walking for the dawpid-wp-1413235881345.jpegy and decides to let you know by just plopping down right where he is on the trail and not moving.

My most favorite part of walking around the lake, though, is knowing you have almost reached the end of your trip when you start to hear the sound of the lake’s very own waterfall.

Inwpid-wp-1413244238921.jpeg the few years that I’ve lived in Maryland Heights, I’ve probably visited the lake a couple dozen times and each time I walk around the lake, I always come away feeling calmer and more at peace.

And although I’ve seen a lot of interesting cakes on my adventures, and learned a lot of things that I didn’t know before, I’ll always have a soft spot in my heart for the cake at Creve Coeur Lake and all the amazing adventures I’ve had there.

P.S. Aren’t Mercutio’s photos amazing??

Cake #25! At Creve Coeur Lake

Cake #25! At Creve Coeur Lake

It’s Fun to See a C-A-K-E – The YMCA of Greater St. Louis #24

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Just a…

Hop

Hop…

Skip

Skip…

And a jump

And a jump…

…down the street from this Cake Monster’s home is where we find Cake #24 at the YMCA of Greater St. Louis. While there are many YMCAs across St. Louis, this one was chosen by public vote to be a part of the Cakeway to the West, in part, because it’s also celebrating it’s 160th birthday – yay history!! :)

Cake #24! At the YMCA of Greater St. Louis

Cake #24! At the YMCA of Greater St. Louis

Even though I pass this YMCA at least once a day almost everyday on the way home from work, I have never been inside to poke around. So I was pretty excited to take a look at all it had to offer when Mercutio, WD and I’s adventure took us to this location.

The first thing we saw as we entered the building was a huge place for kids to play complete with foam pits, basketball hoops and some strange, fun-looking spidery type thing that seemed totally legit…mostly….

And as we walked further in to spy the cake, we were also hit with the smell of chlorine and the sight of a pool right behind the cake – standard fare for maximum YMCA awesomeness.

As for the cake itself, I think it does a great job of illustrating all the different facets of just what a YMCA provides. The most obvious fun-tivities (oh yeah, word invention!) are sports, but the Y also offers adult classes not only for fitness but for education as well such as tutoring in math and science and literacy programs.

It’s pretty amazing to have all of this just down the street, and when this Cake Monster is done exercising her cake hunting muscles, she might just have to start exercising her real muscles…but we’ll see :)

Cake #24! At the YMCA of Greater St. Louis

Cake #24! At the YMCA of Greater St. Louis

Cake Monster Finds Another Museum to Explore – The Holocaust Museum #23

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Cake #23! At the Holocaust Museum

Cake #23! At the Holocaust Museum

At this point in the trip, the wild, exciting journey of Mercutio, WD and I’s cake adventure was coming full circle as we began to explore the cakes that happened to be close to home (or at least to my home :) ).

The next cake we saw on our adventure that day was at the Holocaust Museum, located in Creve Coeur, just down the street from my humble abode.

According to hmlc.org, “The Holocaust Museum and Learning Center houses a 5,000 square foot core exhibition that provides a chronological history of the Holocaust with personal accounts of Holocaust survivors who emigrated to St. Louis. Photographs, artifacts, text panels, and audio-visual displays guide visitors through pre-war Jewish life in Europe, the rise of Nazism and events during the Holocaust between 1933-1945, and post-war events including the Nuremberg Trials and Jewish life after the Holocaust.” The Museum also holds special exhibitions and different events which, like the museum itself (and lots of things in St. Louis!), are free to the public.

Cake #23! At the Holocaust Museum

Cake #23! At the Holocaust Museum

Until the Cakeway to the West brought us to the cake, this Cake Monster was unaware of such an educational museum not far from home.

Unfortunately on the afternoon of this cake hunt, the museum doors were not open, but I made another mental note (ok, an actual note this time – I have a lot to remember!) to stop by at a later date and take in all the museum has to offer.

And despite the ever menacing, retina-burning sunrays that were obstructing our vision, the cake itself was very beautiful to look at and extremely well done with swirling blues and whites, and the especially poignant quote on the front from the Talmud, “He who saves a single life saves the entire world.”

Cake Monster Gives a Lesson in Architecture – Frank Lloyd Wright House #22

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Just a short car ride from the AKC Museum of the Dog is the Frank Lloyd Wright House, the next stop on our adventure that afternoon.

Cake #22! At the Frank Lloyd Wright House

Cake #22! At the Frank Lloyd Wright House

While this Cake Monster knows many things – mostly cake related – one of the things I admittedly do not know very much about is architecture. So after Mercutio, WD and I pulled up to this cake and admired the geometric designs on the sides and top (and the delicious(?) looking orange “icing”), I made a mental note to research just what this house looked like, since the cake was at the bottom of the hill leading up to the house, and why it was such an important stop on the Cakeway to the West (…how I wish I could take credit for that awesome name!!).

wpid-20140315_171502.jpgThe Frank Lloyd Wright House located in Kirkwood, MO is also called the Kraus House after the couple (Russell and Ruth…aww!) that lived in the house for about 40 years.

The house was one of a series of about sixty houses created by Frank Lloyd Wright called Usonian Homes. These types of houses are single story houses most of the time without a garage that were usually created in an L-shape which would fit around a garden or other such area. According to Wikipedia.com (ugh! the English major in me is cringing for citing Wikipedia, but…), “A strong visual connection between the interior and exterior spaces is an important characteristic of all Usonian homes” (…ok, that wasn’t that bad).

Below are some images of what the house in St. Louis looks like.

Picture source:  tripadvisor.com

Picture source: tripadvisor.com

Picture source: stlouistours.net

Picture source: stlouistours.net

In the photo on the right, you can really see the unique shape of the house as well as the solar panels on the roof which were also a part of a lot of the Usonian homes.

The word Usonian itself was Wright’s way of referencing this type of American home design because, according to Wright, there was no previous conventional American style which gave him the freedom to create something new and spectacular.

Again, according to Wikipedia.com (*cringe*), “Wright believed in designing structures that were in harmony with humanity and its environment, a philosophy he called organic architecture.” I think the house here St. Louis is a great example of this philosophy.

One last thing for today’s lesson – check out the crazy, awesome floor plan for the house in St. Louis.

Picture source: ebsworthpark.org

Picture source: ebsworthpark.org

I think that, after seeing that floor plan, and learning about this house, this Cake Monster just added one more thing on her to do list (after seeing all the cakes, of course!).

 

Bet Your City Doesn’t Have a Dog Museum… -The American Kennel Club Museum of the Dog Cake #21

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Even as an avid cake hunter, and tried and true Cake Monster, there are still more than a few cakes that I’ve traveled to that have made me question the cake-placement-decision-makers’ decision to put a cake in that particular location (*cough* ANYWHERE in Illinois *cough*). On the flip side, though, there have been more than a few cakes that I’ve come across that made me think, “Yes! This place deserves recognition for it’s unique/interesting/magical/historical/ contribution to St. Louis.” And happily, the American Kennel Club’s Museum of the Dog – the next stop on Mercutio, WD and I’s journey – is just one of those locations.

Cake #21! At the AKC Museum of the Dog

Cake #21! At the AKC Museum of the Dog

Located in Queeny Park, the AKC Museum of the Dog is the only museum in the whole, entire, big world dedicated to all things dog. It’s home to numerous statues (small ones, so they’re ok), paintings and other works of art from around the world all paying homage to man’s best friend. Now, if that doesn’t scream, “Unique!” to you, I don’t know what does. :) wpid-20140315_170100.jpg

While this outing was Mercutio and WD’s first trip to the museum, I got a little misty eyed thinking back to the first time I explored the museum with my furry companion, Mr. Miles James.

It was a sunny afternoon when Miles and I made our way to the museum to be joined by what I now know as a grumble aka a group of pugs (thank you Mercutio for introducing me to that lovely word!).

The AKC Museum of the Dog was hosting a citywide event for pug owners to bring their pups to the museum and introduce them to other pug friends. Needless to say Miles was in puppy heaven. It was two hours of running, jumping, sniffing and snorting with new pug friends.

One exhausted Miles James

One exhausted Miles James

So much fawn fur!

So much fawn fur!

And by the time the event was over, Miles had made lots of new pug friends, and I had found out that St. Louis is full of pug lovers!

So with these memories in mind and the amazingly decorated 21st cake admired and photographed, Mercutio, WD and I made our way to the next cake on our journey.

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