Meandering through Missouri, Day 1: A Night at Whiskey Mansion

Whiskey Mansion

Whiskey Mansion

Believe it or not, dear readers, we have reached the 2nd anniversary of Chris’ Corner.  So, in celebration, I am bringing you along as I explore not one, but two, bed and breakfasts.

Ultimately, my road would be taking me to Springfield, MO, but I decided to have a brief stopover in St Joseph, MO where I would visit Whiskey Mansion.

Unlike most of the towns I have visited to experience bed and breakfasts, St Joseph is actually a big town with a population of nearly 80,000 people.  It self-describes as a sleepy river town, but don’t let that moniker fool you.  It is actually quite a bustling town with a lot of things to see and do and was once a very wealthy town due to its reputation as a wholesale distribution center.

My journey took me to the historic district of St Joseph.  This area is a fixer-upper’s dream.  There are quite a few mansions and old homes in the area, some in pristine condition and some which could use some fixing up.  The area is known for two hills:  Mansion Hill and Cathedral Hill.  Yes, the names are self-explanatory.  Mansion Hill is famous for mansions and Cathedral Hill is notable for its numerous churches.

I pulled up to Whiskey Mansion and immediately began searching for a way in.  The front door is actually tucked away on the patio, if you choose to visit.  I saw no sign of a doorbell, so I tested the handle on the door and found it unlocked.  I entered the inn where I slowly walked through the living room, soaking up the scenery of the mansion.  I heard the clank of dishes somewhere in the back of the house and called out, “Hello.”

A few moments later I met Mark who was taking care of Whiskey Mansion for the owner that weekend.  He gave me a brief tour of the home and led me to the Tower Room which would serve as my abode for the night.

Tower Room

Tower Room

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The Tower Room is a bit of a misnomer as it is actually on the second floor of the house.  It is a very quaint and cozy room, dominated by a queen bed and a sitting area by two bay windows.  After settling in, I began my explorations of the house.

The interesting thing about Whiskey Mansion is that it feels like a very old house as opposed to an inn.  As Mark said, it is not a museum, so people are welcome to go wherever they like in the house.  This gives it a very quaint, lived in quality.

Mark showed me a pictorial history of Whiskey Mansion and the house had been gutted by arson in the mid 1990s.  The fire destroyed the third floor of the house and smoke damaged the rest.   It was at this point that the current owner bought the place and he slowly restored the mansion to its current state.

A picture of Whiskey Mansion after the fire that destroyed it in the mid 1990s.

A picture of Whiskey Mansion after the fire that destroyed it in the mid 1990s.

Under Mark’s suggestion, I visited Boudreaux’s Louisiana Seafood for dinner.  I definitely recommend this eatery, if you find yourself in St Joseph.

The restaurant is in the bottom floor of a warehouse on Robidoux Row and this was some of the best Cajun cuisine I had ever tasted.  I began with a cup of shrimp gumbo which I thought was a bit overpriced at $5.99, but it tasted so good, I felt it was worth the cost.  The spicy brown broth was absolutely delicious and the shrimp were anything but small as each was nearly the length of my pinkie finger.  Throw a little rice into the soup and you have a tasty dish.

For the main entrée, I had a chicken Po’Boy half sandwich with a side of Cajun mashed potatoes.  The sandwich was perfect.  Everything from the crunch of the lightly toasted baguette, to the slightly blackened chicken, to the tasty cheese, and tantalizing special sauce was a delight to my tongue.  And the potatoes were the best I have ever eaten.  Zesty and fluffy.  If you eat anything at this restaurant, try this.

With my stomach full, I returned to the inn to do a little work before crawling under the thick blankets and resting my head on the feather pillows for a good night’s sleep.

Upon awaking the next morning, I was ready for a good meal.  It was a beautiful day so I decided to enjoy breakfast out on the patio. Let me assure you that the breakfast at Whiskey Mansion is not one to be missed.  The food was worth the stay by itself.

Mark started me off with a small dish of mixed fruit (grapes, strawberries, and banana) served with a goblet of water and a glass of orange juice.  That was followed with two slices of fresh baked cranberry bread.  It was amazing!  I haven’t had fresh baked bread since I was a kid and a lot of fond memories were awakened with the smell of warm bread wafting in the air.  The bread was lightly drizzled with honey, butter, and I thought I detected a whiff of cinnamon.  Mark told me that the owner bakes three different kinds of bread, so it would be worth coming back just to sample the other varieties.

Some mixed fruit, water, and OJ to start the day.

Some mixed fruit, water, and OJ to start the day.

Mmmmm!!!  Fresh baked cranberry bread with honey.

Mmmmm!!! Fresh baked cranberry bread with honey.

Cheese quiche

Cheese quiche

The main course was a sensational cheese quiche.  I slowly indulged my taste buds as I read through The League of Frightened Men by Rex Stout, a tale of the great armchair detective, Nero Wolfe (who also happens to be a gourmet and gourmand).

After breakfast, Mark gave me a tour of the unoccupied guest rooms and I returned to my room to finish my article and continue to Springfield.

Whiskey Mansion is worthy of a visit if you find yourself in St Joseph, MO.  You’ll find clean and comfortable rooms in a house filled with character and you will enjoy one of the finest breakfasts you can imagine.

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