Pulaski County Missouri is famous for its beautiful outdoors. While you may already love the area for the Gasconade and Big Piney Rivers, I fell in love with the little shops and antique stores while on a hosted trip in Mid-September. My friend Janna Seiz and I headed south and shopped and ate our way through Pulaski County!
Our first stop was Rockin Rooster Ridge in Richland.
This was a favorite of the trip right off the bat. Every Sunday you can find me glued to the show Flea Market Flip. Candy and Steve Rick have that same vibe going on in their cool store. “We primarily do chalk paint and refurbish furniture,” Candy told us when we checked out their cool store on McClurg Street. Janna who is quite talented and has done a bit of this at home was quite taken with Candy’s work.
“We like to make old furniture come to life. We take old and make it new!” Candy added. When she learned about my obsession with Flea Market Flip she added that one of their Dixie Bell paint retailers was recently featured on the show. In their shop at , Rockin Rooster Ridge, they have a Dixie Bell paint retailership.
The reason Candy likes the paint so well is she said, “It is consistent from jar to jar.”
Janna and I were in town on a hosted girls getaway weekend and one fun thing we learned about Rockin Rooster Ridge is that they offer chalk painting classes. Candy said if you are coming to town just let her know and she can schedule a class for you. Next time I come to Pulaski County, I will be doing just that!
While looking around the shop we saw several wonderful projects they were working on. “We do custom work too,” Steve added.
Besides just restoring and changing the looks of furniture, they also change it up like one project where they took an old telephone and turned it into a lamp. “We were just working on a camel back trunk,” Candy said.
Candy has also goes to clients homes and does work there as well. Not long ago she completed painting a client’s kitchen cabinets. Besides their own items, the Ricks also have a few vendors and plan to add more. They have a woman that makes some amazing repurposed jewelry.
Steve is an ex-military policeman and ran a dining facility in the military and Candy was an RN. In this second phase of their careers, they love doing this now and helping others create their dream décor.
Our next stop was The Brick Emporium in Richland.
They just opened on August 23rd and we were there on September 14th and the grand opening was to be held on the 15th! Owned by Mac & Beth and Seth Myers, the Schoffstall’s were at the Emporium on the day we visited.
They shared that this wonderful coffeehouse/antique store is like the emporium it is named after and they offer a variety of goods. In fact on their facebook page, they describe it exactly. “Restoring this historical building to its prime has been a goal for the Myers Family since this project began in January 2018. Many hours of hard work and unique craftsmanship has turned this building into a one of a kind family business that we hope our small town can enjoy for many years to come. The word “emporium” is an old timers definition of a large retail store that sells a wide variety of goods. The Brick Emporium will be just that. We will offer daily coffee, ice cream, old time candies and glass bottled soda. You can find all kinds of Amish bulk goods and spices, antiques, and handcrafted items. We will offer a wide selection of goat milk products and will have fresh and local meat from Evans Family Farms. The Brick Emporium will carry wines from several of the top wineries in the state of Missouri. You can stop in for a quick coffee or glass of wine and sit upstairs at our tables overlooking the traffic on South Pine Street. We are proud to announce our opening day on August 23, 2018 with a Grand Opening date later in September. We hope you will come take a look inside and help support this locally owned family business as we strive to bring life back into our downtown area.”
Tarese said that this beautiful building was once three buildings and they have opened it up into one. “One was a barbershop, one was an IH implement dealership, and the others went upstairs to another business.”
Downstairs, their lovely wooden floor is comprised of pallets that they took apart and lovingly restored. “Mac and Seth, Briana’s father and dad are plumbers and did a lot of the construction,” Tarese added.
Tarese met Briana while serving in the military. This family venture is surely a labor of love, and a place that Janna and I loved. Janna walked out with some bacon soda for her grandson and I was holding back with everything in me not to take home one of the lovely wooden bowls they had on display upstairs. What a great place to stop, rest and shop!
By this time, we were getting hungry and we back tracked to Saint Robert to Mama Mia Authentic Mediterranean Restaurant.
It didn’t take long after entering this cute restaurant that has been recently remodeled to order the seafood ravioli. Janna and I both ordered the same thing and after meeting Maria Makridis, daughter of the owner Eleni, we soon also had a beautiful Greek salad also on the way. “We have been here 15 years,” Maria said. “We take pride in what we do. We offer service and homemade quality food.”
Just a bite into the seafood ravioli and it was clear that their homemade rustic sauce was AMAZING! The Greek salad was family size and Janna and I were just able to make a dent in this wonderful salad that complimented the seafood ravioli perfectly. The homemade salad dressing will soon be offered for sale. “Our dressing is getting ready to be bottled,” Maria said, “and you will be able to buy it here at the shop, the same with the marinara.”
When I’m back this way, I will be adding it to my “must take home” list for sure!
When asked how long she has been cooking, Maria said, “I learned to cook with my parents. Mom learned to cook from her mom. I have been cooking since I was seven or eight and standing by the counter and they were old enough to pass it on to me. Mom loves to have me be here so she knows it is the same quality. We have a passion in what we do.”
Maria added, “We cook Greek and Italian, we are from Greece. Eighty percent of what we sell are gyros. All of our meats are imported from Europe and our olive oils, herbs and oregano. We are authentic and everything is homemade. We also serve family sizes.”
Janna noted when we arrived that there was a huge drive-through carry out business going on. Mama, Eleni came out to say hello and she also shared that they do carry out for any type of food. They have won an award from the military and proudly display this on their wall. The building is lovely and had been redone recently. You can’t go wrong with a meal at Mama Mia’s. The only problem you may have is having the energy to push away from the table and walk out the door!
After lunch at wonderful Mama Mia’s, we drove onto Waynesville one of the most scenic towns in Pulaski County. Last time I visited, Keith and I missed stopping at the Talbot House, but this time they were open so Janna and I made a mad dash and pulled over to check out this historic house and antique store.
The house and the owner are both quite interesting.
The house was built by Reverend Albert Washington Davis, a pastor of Waynesville Methodist Church in 1885 for $600. “There are 8 bedrooms and four bathrooms and there was no running water until the 1940’s,” owner Cecil Keith Osborne said.
Rev. Washington died in 1888, a short three-years after building the house. According to the local walking tour information, he died at the young age of 26, and his widow turned the house into a hotel that become known as the Pulaski County Hotel. Dr. Charles A. Talbot bought the house in March if 1920. Dr. Talbot had been practicing medicine in Pulaski County since 1910, and continued doing so for thirty-five years, until his death in 1945. “Dr. Talbot was an old time Doctor,” Cecil said showing us the room where he performed operations and delivered babies without the benefit of running water or electricity.
After Dr. Talbot died, like the widow before, his widow rented out rooms to boarders. Another woman bought the house in 1960 and put paneling in and with gray carpet. Cecil added this made it quite dark. The house then sat empty for five years. It took 400 gallons of paint to lighten things up.
Cecil calls his beautiful antique store, “The house of 100 clocks” for obvious reasons.
Besides being an antique store, the house is also the site of COPS Paranormal Investigations held the first Saturday night of each month. Cecil told us the story of one woman visitor. “A lady was standing there (in the doorway of his office area) and she turned pale.”
He said she left and Cecil asked her husband what was wrong. Her husband replied that she sees paranormal things. When asked what she saw, she said she saw, “A little lady with a limp. She came up behind me and didn’t want me in that room.”
Cecil said that fit the description of Doctor Talbot’s wife. Janna and I didn’t see any haunts, but we saw lots of neat antiques especially our favorite, a Barrel Piano, a Luis Casali brand from Barcelona Spain that Cecil demonstrated for us. This antique player piano was hand cranked and was made in a bicycle and phonograph shop. He had an array of interesting items, but perhaps the most interesting thing there was Cecil himself. A former veteran who served in the military for 23 years Cecil said, “I was in the Marine Crops, they made me what I am, the Air Force smoothed me out, then I got a dangerous job as a teacher.”
Leaving Waynesville, we meandered through the country on to Crocker, a cute little town where we saw the newly opened Triple Creek Antiques.
This cute little shop was a fun stop that has just recently opened. The building was a former Oliver Equipment Dealership.
I made Janna take my picture out front next to the old fashioned sleigh with the scarecrow in it that decorates Tamara Carr’s front yard. his is Tamara’s second shop. “I used to have a store in Waynesville in the Performing Arts Building, then I moved to St. Louis,” she shared.
Now she has reopened a shop and excited to be back in the antique business sharing her expertise in Pulaski County. This location has been on her radar for a while. “I came to an auction and drove past this. I kept saying this would make a neat antique store.”
Buying the house next door, the building in the prefect location and Tamara has made the shop into a very cool place indeed. The counter is made of the former workbench that was in the dealership. If you look closely you can make out the former sliding door on the far right wall in the front portion of the store where tractors and other machinery would enter.
In the next room, Tamara showed us the former parts bins that now are used for other things, but still have the same integrity as before. A friend has the old Oliver sign so she even knows where that portion of the store history is located.
We tried to head to Holt House Antiques while in Crocker, but sadly they were closed. We will have to try them next time around!
On to Dixon. We took in the exciting Cow Days Festival which you can read about in another Traveling Adventure! While there we tried our next dining stop, supper at the Homeplate Bar & Grill.
Heather and Steve Hodges of the Homeplate Bar and Grill have a dynamite place. We walked around Cow Days while we were there with Van Beydler who grew up in Dixon. Van had no idea we were going to have dinner there and as he gave us the low down on Cow Days, he pointed to the Homeplate Bar & Grill and said, “They have the best burger you’ll ever taste.”
So, it is easy to guess what to order after we sat down at in the crowded restaurant. Our server Joanne said we made a good choice and added, “We won the best burger in Pulaski County”
Along with the hamburger, Janna and I ordered and shared onion chips and some of the BEST fried portabella mushrooms EVER!
Behind us was a cool wooden table that is called the Grandma Mary Jones table. Laura Huffman from the Pulaski County CVB had said, “In my opinion, this heartwarming story, exemplifies “small town life” and she is right.
“Mary Jones was a lady, a pillar of the community. My husband Steve built the table and named it in her honor,” Heather said.
The Homeplate décor was that of a baseball Homeplate, but most of all, it was home for those from Dixon and Pulaski County and while Janna and I were there, they made us feel at home as well!
Our last shopping extravaganza of the day was late in the afternoon and we were thrilled to still find them open at Whatever Antiques and Collectibles in Dixon.
This cool antique store was right on the street in the heart of Cow Days! Harry and Wanda Gray stayed open during the show and late as well so festival goers could enjoy Cow Days and antiques as well! “We’ve been in business for six years,” Harry said.
When asked how they got into business, he had quite a story! “My older brother got sick and said, ‘I’ve got a lot of stuff, can you help me sell it?’ I said okay”
What Harry didn’t know was how much “a lot” was. It turned out to be two houses and a barn. “We had two or three yard sales, but we had to rent a building and we have been at it ever since!”
Wanda added, “Then we started buying estates.”
Pointing to the large store as we walked through, Wanda said, “This is just the finished product.” They then showed us a glimpse of the backroom where there was a LOT of extra space with MORE antiques!
There is a lot of wonderful things to see in Dixon and at the store, but best of all were the stories that the Gray’s told. Wanda showed us a sentimental pillow top that a woman had given her. With Fort Leonard Wood nearby she said that when soldiers used to graduate from Basic Training they were given these pillows. “A lady from Columbia sent us this.”
Wanda went on the stuff it and display it. With a nephew that went to Basic Training at Fort Leonard Wood, this hit my heartstrings as well.
With cleaning out estates, Harry said you just never know what you might run across! Wanda said Harry goes through every piece of paper and a while back he found an ad where they were selling war bonds for men from Dixon. “There were 32 reasons listed on why to buy war bonds,” Harry said.
This piece of Dixon history now is on the front of the store window.
There is something for everyone at Whatever Antiques and Collectibles. Janna caught a part of the story that I missed. She said she learned that Harry would ask Wanda a question and she would respond with “Whatever” it eventually got to be there catch phrase and that is how the store name came to be!
Not letting any grass grow beneath our feet we were very excited that Pulaski County had a cultural adventure for us at the Theater on the Square (TOTS) in Waynesville.
While our day had been busy and light hearted, the night was filled with fall darkness with Edgar Allen Poe’s dark “The Fall of the House of Usher”. This wonderful show was performed in the cool theater. We got there early and sat in the 2nd row. No room for popcorn since we had filled up earlier. The show was well done and the theater is part of the Pulaski Fine Arts Association (PFAA) which is a nonprofit organization that has been performing in the Waynesville/St Robert/Ft Leonard Wood community since1996.
We loved the story and the opportunity for a bit of culture for these two farm wives! We were impressed by the talent and I thought it was very cool that they were offering a workshop that was from production to performance for kids. What a great learning opportunity!
After the show, we then headed on to the amazing Boiling Spring Campground and the next morning went on our kayak float trip. But before we left Pulaski County, we had one more dining adventure at Sweetwater Barbeque in Saint Robert.
On our ride to the kayak float point, Larry Helms, owner of Boiling Spring Campground pointed out Sweetwater Barbeque to the other gentleman that was going on the float ride and told him what great food they had. Larry didn’t know we would be eating lunch there before departing Pulaski County. After hearing his ringing endorsement, we were more excited than ever to stop at this cool stone building and try what they advertise as “A Taste of the Ozarks”.
Janna ordered pulled pork, baked “hillbilly beans” and green beans, while I ordered chicken, baked “hillbilly beans” and sliced fried potatoes. And of course, we split a brownie. We both got barbeque sauce on the side. It was so good! Everything was melt in your mouth wonderful. It is fun ordering different items so we both could try each others. The brownie was very rich so splitting was perfect!
Breanna Saxton, daughter of co-owner Ukiko Williams was on hand when we were at the restaurant. Breana said said that they have been in business for 20 years and that about seven years ago they expanded. “Our family built this from the ground up. It was my grandma and Aunt’s idea to start it!”
Great food, great service, if this is “A Taste of Ozarks”, I recommend it!
That’s a wrap for a ton of things to do in wonderful Pulaski County Missouri. There is more to do than there is time, which means you have to go back again and again!