Thursday, June 23, 2022

Venturing For Vinegar

Over the weekend Hubby Tony and I checked our schedules and decided that today would be good for a road trip to pick up a new supply of balsamic vinegar. The store's website said that it opened at 11 am. Tony and I decided to get moving a little earlier and make a detour to visit the Mercantile Library, something Tony's had on his list of things to do for quite a while.

Established in 1845, the Mercantile Library is the oldest general library in continuous existence west of the Mississippi River. Over the years it's had multiple locations, but since 1998 has been housed at the University of Missouri-St. Louis (UMSL). 

The library has a large selection of book as well as non-literary items. Among other things, it houses the John W. Barriger III National Railroad Library and the Herman T. Pott National Inland Waterways Library. The things we saw ranged from old:

Check out the intricate pedestal underneath this bust of Robert Burns.

To new:
2014 plywood art from a boarded up Ferguson storefront  

This Mark Twain quote was new to me, but spot-on in the current political climate. In case you can't read it, it says:

"But in this country we have our great privileged which they don't have in other countries. When a thing gets to be absolutely unbearable the people can rise up and throw it off. That's the finest asset we've got-the ballot box."

I had a great time wandering through the library's displays. Pre-Covid they used to offer tours. Tony learned from the gentleman at the desk they may be returning later this summer. If they do, I suspect Tony and I will be there.

After we left the library we walked around the UMSL campus, which was greatly changed since Tony took the last of his classes there decades ago, and the nearby Bel-Nor neighborhood.Then we got in the car and headed toward our main assignment.

We arrived at the olive oil and vinegar store about 11:30. However, there was note on the door saying that due to unforeseen circumstances the store would not open until 1 pm. All of a sudden we needed to kill an hour and a half. We've been in Alton enough times to have seen everything in the downtown area, but there was one area attraction that we'd never been to. We got in the car and drove to the statue of Robert Wadlow, who at 8 feet 11 inches is the tallest person in recorded history.

For reference, we are 6 feet and 5 1/2 feet tall

We also found a place to get a cup of coffee and browsed through an antique mall. 

When we arrived back at the olive oil store shortly after 1 pm there was a large Open flag next to the door.  Ten minutes later we left with four 375ml bottles of balsamic vinegar--traditional aged, white pineapple. garlic cilantro, and mango, and a two ounce sample bottle of bell pepper. That should be enough to last us until at least next summer.


  1. That's a lot of vinegar! Cute photo you two!

    1. I use balsamic instead of salad dressing. The stuff we buy is thick enough to coat the leaves, and it's a good oil-free option.

  2. I thought I remembered the Mercantile Library from when I worked downtown. But after taking a google map tour, I'm not so sure.

  3. That was quite the wait, but it seems you enjoyed it and had an adventure!
    (ツ) from Cottage Country , ON, Canada!

    1. At first I was annoyed at the time delay, but everything worked out for the best.

  4. Well, you found interesting ways to wait for the store to open, your picture shows a good perspective of just how tall Robert Wadlow was!

  5. I want to try every one of those vinegars.

  6. Good to see you! I wonder if Robert enjoyed being his height.