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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A Little Cake Poem – Edward Jones South Campus #20

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Cake #20! At Edward Jones South Campus

Cake #20! At Edward Jones South Campus

Here’s a little poem about cake number 20.

I hope that you think it’s good and maybe even a little funny.

Mercutio, WD and I were just riding along,

And what did we see as we jammed to our favorite song? (#Nelly)

A pretty blue cake decked out in clouds and hot air balloons galore!

Who knew cakes could have such elegant beauty in store?

So in true cake hunting fashion,

This Cake Monster pulled a U-Turn and nearly escaped crashin’.

And in a cake hunting rule that’s become truer than true,

We discovered that making your own parking spot is something you just have to do.

 

Cake #20! At Edward Jones South Campus

Cake #20! At Edward Jones South Campus

So with camera in hand and an eye out for ticket writers,

We blocked the sun from our eyes and enjoyed the sight (…ers).

Once we had had our fill of all sides of the cake,

We ran to the car so our getaway we could make.

“To the next cake,” you could hear us all shout,

But as far as cake adventures go, this one was fun, without a doubt.

 

The (Cake) Monster Inside Me – St. Joseph’s Academy #19

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Musical NoteFrom Earth to sky, let our song resound, in praise of St. Joseph’s Academy. Where our hopes are nurtured and dreams come true and friendships are fostered in loyalty. The memories of the hours we’ve shared we’ll always cherish with fidelity. The carefree hours and youth’s bright laugh Salute St. Joseph’s Academy! 

Talk about a trip down memory lane! Once the gates of nostalgia were open, I knew they couldn’t be closed until I had made a trip to see the cake at my old stomping ground: St. Joseph’s Academy.

Cake #19! At St. Joseph's Academy
Cake #19! At St. Joseph’s Academy

Interestingly enough, 2014 marks 10 years since I walked the halls of St. Joe’s as a young freshman (where does the time go? *sniff*).

Besides being one of my favorite high schools in the area (I might be a little biased), St. Joseph’s Academy is the second ever all girls Catholic high school in the St. Louis area.

St. Joe’s was chosen to be a part of the Cakeway to the West by public vote, but what I liked about this cake is the artist’s (a SJA alum!) use of the flags of other area high schools and the ever popular St. Louis question, “Where did you go to high school?” printed along the top of the cake.

wpid-20140315_163940.jpgSo as Mercutio, WD and I walked around the cake admiring all of the different schools represented and the bright colorful tiers, I told them all about my time at St. Joseph’s Academy. I told them about how I got so used to wearing a uniform everyday during high school that college was a complete culture shock for me when I realized I had to actually decide what to wear each day (and there were boys in my classes! What?). I also told them about my sweet red Saturn (RIP) that was a ticking time bomb and whose passenger side window would only roll down half way and then make an annoying buzzing sound which I would use at my discretion whenever I felt my current passenger was getting unruly (or they were unaware of the window situation ;) ).

I told them lots of tales of my adventures in high school, however, the most meaningful part of this cake adventure, for this cake monster, was coming home later that evening and looking through some old photographs and finding these gems:

That's me! Second from the left!

That’s me! Second from the left!

See! See! I was always a monster :)

See! See! I was always a monster :)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These pictures were taken at the end of Mission Week – a week during which the ladies of St. Joe’s help raise money for the missions in Peru. At the end of the week, it’s a tradition for the senior women to dress up in homemade capes and celebrate together as a class. As you can see, my friends pictured above have nice, normal ideas for their capes: Batman, Spiderman, etc. However, being the monster that I am, my cape is adorned with nothing other than a beast. That was all I wanted on my cape – a beast.

Looking back now, this seems to have laid the groundwork for the cake monster that lurks inside me today. Plus cake / cape – they almost rhyme, right? ;)

Musical NoteWith sturdy hearts we hold aloft the colors we’ll always defend. So raise the banner of green and white and let our voices blend. Salute! St. Joseph’s Academy!

Cake Monster Gets Nostalgic – The Lodge at Des Peres #18

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The Lodge at Des Peres

The Lodge at Des Peres                                         Photo Credit: www.thelodgedesperes.com

Four score and many cakes ago, Mercutio Krispytreats, Waltrice Disneta and I were still cake adventuring around West County on a brisk afternoon in March. As we made our way up Manchester Road, the next cake calling our name was at The Lodge at Des Peres.

Cake #18!

Cake #18!

Unfortunately, as my face in the picture to the left accurately shows, unlike Manchester City Hall, I was unable to do much delving into the (I’m sure) rich history of The Lodge at Des Peres – that and I was getting my first taste of the infamous retina-burning that is cake hunting for people who forget their sunglasses :(.  

So instead of presenting you with the history of the location, I now present you with my own personal history with the location – bring on the nostalgia!

Ten years ago in 2004, a much younger Cake Monster was entering the doors of The Lodge at Des Peres as a proud high school senior.

That night The Lodge at Des Peres was to be the location of Senior Lock-In, a time when all the seniors got together one last time to celebrate their youth and accomplishments (aka graduating high school in one piece). So along with the other senior women in my class, we entered the doors of The Lodge at Des Peres at sun down and did not emerge until sun up.

A young Cake Monster dancing to her own drummer at The Lodge in Des Peres circa 2004

A young Cake Monster dancing to her own drummer at The Lodge in Des Peres circa 2004

It was a night to remember, full of laughs, hypnotism, a money pit (you know, that thing where you step into an inflatable booth full of dollars that are being blown around the booth by an air blower, and you try to grab as many of them as you can and stuff them through a little hole in the booth? Yes? No?), caricature drawings, and general fun had by all.

The Lodge itself still stands as I remembered looking at it as I pulled away in my sweet green Saturn, bleary eyed after a night of camaraderie that I still think on fondly. *I need a moment!*

And so with hardcore nostalgia still welling up in my throat after finding the cake at The Lodge at Des Peres, it was only right that the next stop on our cake-venture be my alma mater.

 

Cake #18!

Cake #18! …with some sort of spooky alien-looking shadow cast on the cake….

Cake #18!

                  Cake #18!

Cake Monster Gives a History Lesson – Manchester City Hall #17

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Ah, Manchester, Missouri. My old stomping ground. A place where you can find random plastic deer standing guard in front of gas stations and real, live deer just waiting for nightfall and the opportunity to play a fun game of “Deer in the Headlights” with you and your car. *memories*

Cake Monster, WD and Mercutio with cake #17

Cake Monster, WD and Mercutio with cake #17

I’d passed by Manchester City Hall more times than I could count over the years on my way to high school (there’s a cake there too!) and West County Mall (no cake love for the mall :/ ). But in all that time, I never really gave it more than a passing glance as I was headed onto other adventures. And even on the day when Mercutio Krispytreats, Waltrice Disneta and I visited the cake, we merely pulled into the parking lot, snapped a couple of photos and drove to our next location.

So in the spirit of STL250 and to quench my perpetual thirst for knowledge, I decided to do some research into the history of the building and educate myself (and my fellow cake hunters) on what I learned is a fantastic building with a really rich history.

According to manchestermo.gov, the Lyceum building in Manchester Missouri (aka Manchester City Hall) was built in 1894. The website goes on to say, “This region, at the crossroads of Manchester Road and Highway 141 became a natural trading area used by Native Americans as they portaged between the Meramec and Missouri Rivers and is near the site of the first trading post west of the Mississippi.” What? I had no idea that this building had such an important place in Manchester’s history!

Manchester City Hall. Photo credit: 63011.com Who knew zip codes had their own websites?!

Manchester City Hall. Photo credit: 63011.com Who knew zip codes had their own websites?!

Also, “The first floor of the Lyceum, a Classical Victorian building, was originally a tin shop that became a hardware store, evolving later to a general store that sold a complete line of fine merchandise, groceries, shoes, dry goods, hardware, ice cream, and gasoline.  It quite possibly was a post office as well in its early years.” This part brought to mind a beloved song from the classic childhood television series, Blue’s Clues: “Here’s the mail / It never fails / It makes me wanna wag my tail / When it comes, I wanna wail, ‘MAIL!'”  …I need to download that one on iTunes :)

The website also states, “The second floor was a meeting hall or auditorium that became a ‘moving picture theatre’ for the early ‘talkies’ screened here and at one time was used as a roller rink. Other uses were for square dances, masquerade balls, school graduations, church services, amateur theatricals, and political meetings.  At one time, local politicians delivered their oratory and views, to the crowd listening on the street below, from its second floor exterior balcony, which still remains.” 

Cake #17! At Manchester City Hall

Cake #17! At Manchester City Hall

I have to say that cake hunting has taken me to some pretty interesting places (…just wait, things only get crazier…), both ones I’ve visited before and places I never even knew existed. But the best part about the adventure really has been learning about each location and where it fits in the puzzle of St. Louis’ history.

All right, enough warm fuzzies! Happy Cake Hunting!

The Dumpster Incident – Barrett’s Elementary School (#16)

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Cake #16! At Barrett's Elementary School

Cake #16! At Barrett’s Elementary School

Let’s set the scene:

Who: Myself (Cake Monster), Mercutio Krispytreats, and Waltrice Disneta (WD)

Where: Barrett’s Elementary School, Cake #16

When: March 15, 2014

What: After the safari that was Lone Elk Park, Mercutio, WD and I needed a little break from the wilder side of cake hunting.

The next location on my list was Barrett’s Elementary School. The school was chosen as a cake location based on public vote.

wpid-20140315_155219.jpgAnd the cake itself definitely gets my vote for one of the most eye catching, particularly the top tier. The top layer of “icing” on the cake is made of cut glass inlaid on white paint that really catches the sun and shines prisms of light on the bottom tier of the cake and on any vertically impaired cake hunters (like myself) who prefer to crouch next to the cakes to obtain the perfect picture.

However what makes this location most memorable is what happened as my fellow cake hunters and I were getting ready to leave the school. To get you in on the action of what happened, I’ll attempt to recreate some of the conversation from that afternoon:

Dumpster

Artist’s rendering of the dumpster in question

Cake Monster: What’s so funny?

Mercutio Krispytreats: You see that picture over there?

[Cake Monster looks out the passenger side window and sees a framed portrait propped up against the dumpster]

CM: Yes [with great concern]

MK: We’re gonna steal it!

[Cake Monster immediately locks all car doors]

Mercutio and WD’s plan was to steal (borrow temporarily?) the portrait and then play a classic prank from our youth – “Ding Dong Ditch” – on one of our friends by ringing her doorbell, leaving the portrait against her door and then running away as quickly as possible. All of which I was in for, except the running part – any friend of this Cake Monster knows I do not run for anything…except maybe cake….

Once Mercutio explained his plan to me, and we all had a great laugh, I was almost inclined to allow it. It might be funny, I reasoned, to drive around with a random portrait in the car, posing next to it in cake pictures, ultimately leaving it at our friend’s door as we snuck around the corner full of anticipatory giggles.

But no. I had to be reasonable. For one, who knew where the portrait came from? For all we knew, the owner could be just inside the building on official business, and he needed a place to rest his portrait while he was gone. Or, worse, what if the portrait was cursed?! And the rest of our day of cake hunting was overhung with the looming spector of the portrait’s previous owner?? I couldn’t take that chance.

So, much to the sadness of everyone involved, the car doors remained locked, and we moved on to the next cake location.

But never fear! Despite the seemingly sad ending to the story, there is one incredible upside – before we left the elementary school, we snapped this glorious picture which not only sums up our friendship, but our feelings about cake hunting as well:

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Priceless

Are We Hunting Bison or Are the Bison Hunting Us? Lone Elk Park (#15)

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Ah, the majestic bison. So strong, so in tune with nature and so close to my car!

Is going on an exotic safari one of the items on your bucket list? Do you dream of taking a leisurely drive through a natural landscape and happening upon wild animals in their natural habitat? Do you have little to no concern as to what might happen if one of these wild animals rushes at your car?

If you answered “Yes!” to one or more of these questions, then Lone Elk Park is for you!

Located in close proximity to the World Bird Sanctuary, Lone Elk Park is the premier place for safari-like drives through untouched grassy fields brimming with livestock! Just be on your guard though, the Park is not responsible for any damage to your vehicle due to, say, a wild bison running full speed at your car for fun :)

wpid-wp-1402970874358.jpegI had personally never traveled through Lone Elk Park before Mercutio, WD and I began our adventure there. And as the driver for this suburban safari, I was doubly nervous about what surprises this adventure might bring – a wild tiger using my car as a scratching post for starters (…it could happen?…). But as a cake monster, I must always have my wits about me, so I drove into the park ready for anything.

The park itself is acre after acre of untouched greenery where wild bison, elk and other such animals live in relative seclusion…but for the constant parade of cars driving the approved route from sun up to sun down each day…

Driving through Lone Elk Park is the closest I’ve ever gotten to going on a safari, and as Mercutio has more experience with the park than I do, he was my guide through the terrain.

Cake #15! At Lone Elk Park

Cake #15! At Lone Elk Park

Our first stop, however, was what we really came to the park for: Cake #15. It was located near a rest area with a mural explaining how the park got it’s name. If memory serves (and it may not), the park was so named because when it was originally discovered, the gentlemen who tried to tame the wild landscape decided to eradicate the area of elk. However even though they assumed they succeeded, one day after the elk “removal” one lone elk was rumored to have been found still roaming the park grounds. How that lone elk created a family and populated the park is forever a mystery!!! … or easily found on the internet, if you want a more historical account…

After numerous cake pictures were secured, Mercutio led us around a bend to the designed ‘Bison Sighting Area,” and we began the adventure.

A few seconds into the safari, a line of cars stared to form, and I, being still naïve to the situation, grew annoyed at having to wait in line for an unknown reason, but WD and Mercutio only exchanged knowing glances and smiled.

As we inched along, Mercutio instructed me to pull over to the shallow shoulder of the road as soon as a space opened up. I did as instructed and was more than surprised to find:

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a field full of bison!! We were able to get up close and personal (see picture) with a herd of bison, just minding their own business (and not rushing the car). It was an incredibly beautiful experience.

The rest of the winding road through the park could barely compare to this early encounter, although from time to time a rogue deer or other such creature would be spotted out of the corner of someone’s eye.

With the fifteenth cake in the books and a camera full of wildlife, we continued on to our next, albeit more domesticated, location.