Participants Offer Rave Reviews on Pallottine’s North County Staycation

STAYCATION visitors view the meeting of the two big Rivers at Columbia Bottoms.

Pallottine Renewal Center hosted its first Staycation and the attendees have given rave reviews about the experience. Pallottine, along with businesses and attractions in North County, presented a Staycation weekend July 21-23 that included guided tours of some local landmarks and food from some of the best restaurants in the area.

“The North County Staycation was a unique opportunity to enjoy the spiritual and peaceful Pallottine Renewal Center and to learn more about the history of North County,” said attendee Kristin Koppen, who also serves as Pallottine’s board chair. “Marillyn Webb, the executive director, and the team at the PRC provided a perfect weekend venue for exploring historical and special landmarks around the area.”

Despite being one of the warmest weekends of the year, Koppen and the others enjoyed touring their community. “My husband and I enjoyed everything about the weekend except the warm temperatures,” Koppen said. “The richness of history beginning with the Cold Water Cemetery and the amazing cannon reenactment kicked off a very special weekend of history and pride in the venues and sights of Florissant, Ferguson and North County. We were so impressed by everyone who helped put this together and the kindness and welcome that was provided at every stop by Rotarians, historians, the Chambers, St. Louis County Parks historian, Danny Gonzales and Peggy Kruse, the author of Old Jamestown.”

Rosemary Schlanger, who came from West County, said she could not stop talking about the weekend. Schlanger said she learned about the Staycation from her daughter-in-law, who had seen it promoted on Facebook.

“She was an employee of Pallottine a few years ago and when she saw the post about

the Staycation, she thought I might enjoy it,” Schlanger said. “I like to do bus tours around town. Marillyn Webb also has an abundance of energy and I liked that because I have that same kind of personality. She and the staff put a lot of effort and work into it and it was well-organized. They had frozen wash clothes because of the heat and lots of water. They really took care of us.”

Schlanger said she liked the fact that the entire weekend was planned with numerous activities. “It was jam-packed and well-programmed,” Schlanger said. “There was some down time but not a lot. I like it that way. It was a happy accident that we had a good group of people. I don’t know a lot about North County. But when I called to sign up, Marillyn told me she had lived in St. Louis County all of her life and she didn’t know anything about North County, either, until she started working at Pallottine.

John Twombly and his wife Anne attended to celebrate their sixth anniversary.

“Anne is not from St. Louis and I’m originally from Florissant so I thought it would be a good idea to show her the sites,” Twombly said. “We heard about the Staycation from Mary Kay Gladbach when she was giving us a tour of Taille de Noyer. Our favorite part was visiting the St. Ferdinand Shrine. Learning about the shrine from someone who went to school there and got married there was an authentic experience. Seeing where St. Rose Phillipe Duchesne taught and prayed was moving as well.”

The Twomblys liked the fact that they were transported on a tour bus. “It was nice not having to drive,” Twombly said. “We went everywhere in a shuttle bus. We’re recommending future Staycations to my wife’s local meetup group that tours historic sites throughout the year.”

The weekend included:

* An introduction and history of Pallottine presented by Sister Gail Borgmeyer, Provincial of the Pallottine Sisters. * A tour of Cold Water Cemetery, which is located on the Pallottine property.

* Tours of the Daniel Bissell House, Ft. Bellefontaine, Taille De Nover House, the St. Ferdinand Shrine, Sacred Heart Museum, Columbia Bottom Conservation Area and the Earth Dance Farm.

Participating North County restaurants included Ferguson Brewery, Cork Wine Bar, Vincenzo’s Italian Restaurant, Catering to You, Krause Katering and Kakes, Pirrone’s Pizzeria, Cannoli’s Restaurant and Hendel’s Restaurant.

A Saturday night concert at Pallottine featuring local band the MO Bottom Project, which performed songs written about the local landmarks. Guests also had time to relax on Pallottine’s 80 acres as well as access to its numerous reflecting spots and the indoor pool.

“It was a wonderful, educational and fun weekend with a great group of people,” said Webb, PRC’s executive director. “I truly appreciated all the kind words and notes left, which revitalized me. “


Photo Caption: STAYCATION visitors view the meeting of the two big Rivers at Columbia Bottoms.

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