Hubby Tony has been gone this weekend. He left after work on Thursday, and will return after lunch today.
While he's away I've been having fun. I treated myself to a couple of meals out, and at home I've snacked way more than usual. Friday night I joined some friends for a movie under the stars at the Art Museum. (After the movie was over traffic was gridlocked and it took a very long time to get home, but it was still a good time.) For variety, I attended Mass at the parish just to the west of ours.
The highlight of the weekend, though, was yesterday. You may remember that Tony and I are vinegar devotees. Our last bottle of good balsamic was down to dregs, so I decided a restocking trip to the Olive Oil Marketplace would be a fun way to spend part of a day. The store has two locations. Both are in Illinois-one in Alton at the northern end of the metropolitan area, and one in Belleville, almost directly across the Mississippi River from downtown St. Louis. Google told me from my house they were within a couple of miles of each other. I was leaning towards going to Belleville because I had never seen their downtown area, but yesterday when I ended up finding an work assignment to do in that area my decision became a no-brainer.
After breakfast I made a lunch for myself, said goodbye to the cats, and got in the car. My first stop was about 35 miles from my house via the Jefferson Barracks Bridge over the Mississippi River. After my work was finished it only took ten minutes to drive to the Belleville public square area and find a place to park.
In the store I sampled several different vinegars before settling on garlic balsamic, which will be great on salads. From the discount rack I also chose a small bottle of green apple balsamic. After I put the vinegar in the car I explored the rest of Main Street, which stretches four blocks east and four blocks west of the public square and fountain. There were antique stores, clothes boutiques, a large variety store, art studios, a movie theater, restaurants, a school, and places to buy snacks and coffee. Things were pretty quiet at 10:30 on a Saturday morning. In one of the stores I learned that there would be a big Downtown Sidewalk Sale next weekend, and the associate invited me to come back for that.
After I investigated the area I got in my car to head home, backtracking along the same route. Just before the interstate curved to the right to head back to Missouri I saw a sign that said if I stayed to the left it would take me to the Main Street area of Columbia, Illinois. The car stayed to the left. Why not?
Columbia's Main Street area was several miles off of the highway. Most of it was clumped together within five blocks. There were fewer open retail stores and more closed offices, but I still had a good time walking up and down the street. When I got back to my car I realized I was really tired. It was time to go home.
Five years ago today: Size Does Matter