A June 2003 trip
to Hermann by Coach Bear
Quote: My wife and I traveled to Hermann to enjoy the festivities that occur on a frequent basis in this beautiful city. We feel that others may wish to travel to this great wine-growing region.
My wife and I decided to see this city, of which we had read, and to enjoy the food and culture of the area. We decided to spend two or three days and nights visiting the local businesses and looking at the sights. When we arrived, we were able to visit seven different wineries, tour local museums, visit a wonderful German-style microbrewery, walk along the Misoouri River at the local park, and relax from all of the worries of life.
We were surprised to learn the details of the local history, and really enjoyed visiting the old German schoolhouse. Visits to the wineries were eye-opening, as many of the wineries had won numerous local and international awards. Taking in the friendliness of the local citizens and sitting in some of the restaurants gave us a sense of ease that lasted long after we left the area.
Also, take the time to visit several of the different wineries. We were really impressed by the beauty of the scenery and of the furnishings that the owners chose to place in their properties.
Walk aound the downtown area and fill yourself with the community's sense of cultural awareness. We found that many of the old traditions are still observed.
Hotel | "Birk's Gasthaus"
This house was built in 1886 by Michael Poeschel who also built Stone Hill Winery. It served as a family home until about 1986, when it was renovated for use as a bed and breakfast. The website for the house includes a description of the rooms and photos, so we were able to choose the room that we wanted for our trip.
One of the amenities that Anna and I found pleasant was the opportunity to use some nice bicycles that the guesthouse rent to its guests. Riding the bicycles around the town proved to be a relaxing way to view the city that was different from other places that we had visited.
Overall, the stay at Birks Gasthaus was a bit more pricey than we would usually like to pay, but it was worth the small extra cost in order to be pampered, have the use of the bicycles, the closeness to many of the city's historic areas, and the opportunity to find more information on the murder mysteries. We will undoubtedly return to participate in one of these fun-filled evenings. We believe that Birk's Gasthaus is a unique place in a beautiful and historic area, and have plans to return.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 12, 2003
Birk's Gasthaus Bed & Breakfast
700 Goethe Street
Hermann, Missouri 65041
Hermann Brewing Company is housed in the Henry Honeck Building built in 1884 and located in the heart of Hermann's Historic District. So, when we entered the building, we were impressed with the quaint style in which the dinning room and the bar were arranged. The brewing room (and the restrooms) was located downstairs, and could be viewed through a large-paned window. Joe usually has between two and five beers brewing at all times.
The brewery offers a rotating selection freshly-crafted beer on tap, usually having four of their own brews and one guest brew on-tap at all times. In addition to the beers, Joe and Christina offer an array of Fitz's draft and Stewart's bottled microbrewed sodas.
After a brief visit with our friends and a tour of the facilities, we sat down for our meal. The menu included a mixture of freshly=made sandwiches, soups, pastas, seafoods, pizzas, and salads. I was most impressed with the fresh-baked beer bread.Anna and I enjoyed it so much that we took four loaves home with us, in addition to what we ate with our meal.
I believe that a visitor to the restaurant should look at the building and its facilities, sit down and enjoy the hospitality, try one of the wonderful beers or sodas, and enjoy a light meal. It will be fun to return in October for the annual Oktoberfest in town.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on August 7, 2003
Hermann Brewing Company
120 East Fourth Street
Hermann, Missouri 65041
A guide ushered my wife and I along with other visitors through the ancient arched cellars. While doing this, we were given a history of the winery. Begun in 1847, Stone Hill grew to be the third largest winery in the world and second largest in the United States. However, in 1920, the Prohibition Act was legislated and the wine industry was ruined in Missouri. The wine cellars were used for growing mushrooms.
Jim and Betty Held bought the winery in 1969 and began the long process of restoring the winery, its buildings, and the wine cellars. Now, it is the most decorated winery in the state produces about 200,000 gallons of wine annually.
After the wine cellars and history lesson, we were led through the production facility and the wine-tasting room. Anna and I were able to sample several of the wonderful wines that are produced by this facility. Of special interest to me were the Norton and the Catawba wines. These are produced from theses special grapes that are grown mostly in the Midwestern United States.
After the wine tasting, the visitors were allowed to stroll through the grounds and to look at the scenery before leaving. Anna and I, however, chose to have a meal at the restored carriage house and horse barn, which houses the Vintage Restaurant, specializing in German cuisine, steaks and fresh seafood. As usual, I enjoy partaking in local or specialty food. I had a combination of the German specialties (which has garnered local and state awards).
The only difficulty with visiting the Stone Hill Winery is that a person does not want to leave when the tour and the meal are finished. I strongly recommend a visit for those who wish to relax and soak in atmosphere.
Stone Hill Winery
1110 Stone Hill Highway
Hermann, Missouri 65041
The German School was built in 1871, and the building served as Hermann's elementary school until 1955. The town clock (located on the steeple) has been operating since 1890. There were five rooms that my wife and I were able to see. These included:
The German Heritage Room, with winemaking exhibits and memorabilia, a pre-Civil War loom, newspapers and handmade printing blocks, and Hermann pottery from about 1860.
The River Room, which housed an outstanding collection of boat models, Missouri River history, a replica of the Pin Oak steamboat, historic steamboat pictures, and recorded memoirs of some of the residents of the area.
The Kinder Room, which is a German school classroom filled with dolls, toys and
furniture from the late 1800s, along with countless memories from children of years past.
The Needlework Corner included a display of what the proper lady did in her spare time. It had several examples of artwork made by local residents and some of the needles and tools that the ladies used.
The Els Room featured furniture handcarved by Louis Els, a famous local furniture maker.
As we passed through this small museum, we were able to imagine ourselves living in the time of the middle and late 1800's. Sometimes it is difficult for us to remember the simplicity (or should we say complexity) of life during that era. Wow! What beautiful artifacts! I really enjoyed this look into the past.
German School Museum
312 Schiller Street
My wife and I decided to visit this historic vineyards while we were in Hermann. The owners were happy to take us through the wine cellars and allow us to walk among the vineyards and see the grapes growing.
During our visit to Hermannhof, we were surprised to find that wine was not the only award-winning product that was made. In addition to fine wine, Hermannhof Winery also produces fine German sausages in their own smokehaus, using authentic German recipes, natural casings, and real hickory smoking and curing. we were able to watch the sausages being ground and made, and were able to sample some great-tasting bratwursts.
I am looking forward to returning during October, when Oktoberfest is celebrated evry weekend. The Hermannhof Winery offers live music, fresh grilled brats, potato pancakes, free sausage and wine sampling, and guided cellar tours during this celebration. The city has several celebrations and crafts festivals during this time, as well.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on August 12, 2003
330 East First Street
Hermann, Missouri 65041