Taking advantage of a freak warm spell, I answered the call of the road once more. This time the road would be taking me to Marshfield, MO where I would be visiting the Dickey House Bed and Breakfast.
Getting to Marshfield would prove to be. . .interesting. Having been burned by Mapquest one time too many, I had recently taken to using Google Maps. That app plotted a route that would take about 6 hours. I was delayed from leaving by about 20 minutes, but nothing to worry about.
I enjoyed a pleasant, sunny car ride with surprisingly little traffic for a Friday. About 3:45, I pulled over to a Hardee’s in Clinton, MO for a very late lunch or an early supper depending on one’s point of view. With my slight delay and a brief stop for gas and to stretch my legs, I estimated that I should arrive at the inn by about 5:30pm.
However, the reality proved to be quite different. The next road I was looking for was State Highway CC and I found it shortly after leaving town. I thought it had come up a little too early, but I took the road as I figured 10 miles out of my way was better than 70.
As you may have guessed, it was the wrong CC.
Five miles in I saw a sign saying that the road would end in water so I know I was on the wrong path. I turned around and drove back to my original road, probably losing another 20 minutes in the process. I got back on the right road and found the CC highway I needed about 70 miles later.
I still thought I would be fairly on target until I reached State Highway E. It was a pitch black road full of twists and turns that required constant adjustments of speed, eating up even more of my time. I finally rolled into Marshfield and had difficulty locating the street I needed as there weren’t street signs on every corner.
Fortunately, I stopped at a Conoco and found Dickey House was a mere few blocks away and arrived at roughly 6:35. Now at this point, you may be wondering why I was so focused on the time.
I had reached an agreement with the Springfield Little Theatre to review their production of West Side Story and that started at 7:30 and was about a half hour away from the inn. Needless to say, I was feeling a bit under the gun.
I grabbed my laptop and luggage and rang the doorbell. I was greeted by Michaelene Stevens, one of the owners of the inn. She offered to give me a tour of the inn, but I had to decline due to being rushed. Originally, I was to have stayed in the Fontaine Room, but Michaelene moved me to the Heritage Room which allowed me a connected bathroom.
I quickly put down my bag and laptop and knew I had to skip shaving and changing into my suit in order to reach the theatre. On my way downstairs, I met Michaelene’s husband, Larry, and their dog, Miss Taylor. Michaelene showed me how the door lock worked and I dashed off to my car and headed to Springfield.
The theatre is located in the downtown Springfield area which meant parking was not easily available. Precious time ticked away as I searched for a spot.
At long last I caught a break when I noticed a sign pointing to parking and I found a free parking garage several blocks away from the theatre. I parked my car and sprinted and I mean, SPRINTED, to the theatre. I grabbed my tickets and reached my seat with 7 minutes to spare.
The trials and efforts were worth it as I watched the greatest community theatre musical I have ever seen. You may read the review here.
After the show, I returned to the inn where I quietly began my explorations (I was the only guest) and took pictures.
Dickey House is a 108 year old Greek Revival mansion built for Sam Dickey around 1908. Dickey was a lawyer who did a lot of pro-bono work for Confederate soldiers whom he thought were getting a bad deal from the government. Having a massive interest in politics, Dickey hosted seven MO senators and governors during his lifetime. This would include the governor who brought the World’s Fair to St Louis. Dickey was also a friend of William Jennings Bryan of the famed Scopes Monkey Trial.
The home remained the family until the 1970s where it passed through several hands and then lay empty for several years.
In 1987 a couple from California bought the home and turned it into an inn before selling out to the Stevens in 1998. The Stevens restored the house and grounds to its original glory and then some to become the fine inn it is today.
The Heritage Room was quite comfortable with a canopied queen bed, electric fireplace, and reading porch. I was so exhausted after the day’s adventures I collapsed into bed and slept.
The next morning I banged out my play review, caught a shave and shower and headed down to breakfast.
I had a long conversation with Larry and Michaelene over orange juice, fruit, cookie, and a puff pastry filled with ham, veggies, and other goodies. I learned that Larry was a talented artist with a studio on the property. So if you’re an artist or enjoy paintings, this is the inn for you. And if you ask really nicely, Larry might show you his sanctum sanctorum (his studio).
After a long drive the previous day, I didn’t feel like running all over Springfield which I had visited on a previous excursion. I decided to simply take it easy. I took a long walk about noon. Finished a novel. Watched a little educational TV. I had forgotten the simple pleasure of really doing nothing.
About 5:40, I headed out for the evening. I started by attending services at Holy Trinity Parish which has to be the smallest church I have ever visited. From there, I drove back to the downtown Springfield area where I had dinner at Riad. This is a Mediterranean restaurant and I enjoyed a gyro with a small side of fries. As I dined I was surprised to notice that I saw far more cars than I had seen on Friday, but I was seeing fewer people and I wondered how that worked.
After my dinner I went around the corner to 1984 where, for $7.50, I could play all the vintage arcade games I wanted. I certainly got my money’s worth as it took me twice as much as the entry fee to defeat P.O.W. Prisoners of War. I also played Tron, Marble Madness, Shinobi, Burgertime, Q-Bert, Rampage, Sinistar, and Tapper. I did get a great deal of fun out of it, but had hoped for a more varied selection of games as most of these games are available in the vintage arcade in my hometown.
From there it was back to Dickey House and a good night’s sleep.
The next morning featured another great conversation with Larry and Michaelene about movies and travels while I enjoyed a fruit parfait and an oven baked German apple pancake along with my orange juice. Afterwards I got a quick peek at Larry’s studio before settling my tab and making the drive back home.
Larry and Michaelene have been some of my favorite innkeepers and they are great conversationalists and cooks. Come to Dickey House. You’ll stay in a beautiful home, visit with some lovely people, have some great food, and have the benefit of a major city nearby for activities.
Until the next time, happy travels.