Two years ago when Hubby Tony and I were browsing in St. Charles we happened upon the studio of a leather artist. Tony purchased a brown belt, which he says has held up better than any other belt he's ever had.
Fast forward to last December, when Tony decided he needed a new black belt. I told him I would buy it for his Christmas present. We went back to the same place but the artist was no longer there. In a nearby studio we talked to an artist who remembered the leather worker's name, and the hunt was on.
Thanks to Google Tony found out that the artist had a studio in Illinois. Tony sent the gentleman an email and learned that he was in the middle of moving to yet another location (in Alton) and all of his supplies were boxed up. After a series of messages, they decided that a Saturday in January would be a good time to meet up. For Christmas Tony got a box that contained a package of socks and a card that said:
Today was our field trip. When I woke up it was gloomy and chilly, but by the time we left mid-morning the sun was shining brightly and it had warmed up enough that I only needed my lightweight winter coat. We packed some bags of vegetables for a snack and jumped in Tony's car. The trip to Alton takes about 45 minutes. After leaving the interstate you take a state highway north and cross both the Missouri and the Mississippi Rivers. Immediately after the second bridge is the historical downtown shopping district.
The studio was in an arts center on the immediate left, well marked, and easy to find. Tony ended up getting two belts--the black one he came for and a more casual brown that will go nicely with jeans. After putting his belts in the car we began to explore. We walked around, popping into gift shops, antique shops, a pottery shop, and a bookstore. When we got to an oil and vinegar store we went in and found balsamic vinegars that were even better than what we bought a couple of weeks ago. (Yes, we are becoming quite the vinegar snobs.)
We asked some people in the store if they had any lunch suggestions. Based on their recommendation we chose Mac's. Tony ordered a grilled tilapia platter and I had a Gyro burger, an hamburger patty with strips of gyro meat, feta cheese, tzatziki sauce, and a deep fried cucumber on top. On the way out we had to use the bathroom and found ourselves walking through the off-track betting parlor that was on the other side of the building.
After leaving the restaurant we spent some time walking along some residential streets, then started back towards the car. Before we got there, though, we detoured through a microbrewery and a butcher shop. Just to get ideas for our next adventure to the area.
Five years ago today: Words Of Wisdom