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This post was sponsored by Springfield, Missouri Convention & Visitors Bureau. All opinions expressed here are my own.

One of the best gifts we can give ourselves is to travel. That’s why every year I make it a point to check out as many cities as possible, especially ones far and away from my beloved Phoenix! So imagine how excited I was to be one of five bloggers to visit the city of Springfield, Missouri for a weekend!

We had so many fantastic adventures, I’m going to pick out my faves and present them to you in three posts.

Our group included: Chelsea from Chelsea-Bird.com and her husband, Scott from CitizenHD; Stephanie from StephanieDrenka.com; Stefanie from MommyMusings.com; and Jasmine and her husband Marcus from JasmineCrockett.com.

I would have never thought to pick this destination on my own, so it’s truly a gift that I had this opportunity. Like that saying – “You don’t know what you don’t know.” I had no idea Springfield was such an enchanting and soulful city. It feels like a small town, but is actually pretty spread out.

I accepted the invite and began my research. I knew nothing about Springfield, MO and that’s what excited me.  I visited the website to learn that not only is it known as the heart of the Ozarks, but its geographical location is right in the center of our country! There is so much more history – from the birthplace of Route 66 to the town square being the site of the nation’s first wild west shoot out. From what I read, Missouri is often thought of as both a midwestern and a southern state. I think that’s what gives it so much personality, it’s a little of this and a little of that…

Our itinerary was packed with “wow” adventures, one right after another. Each evening we received a list of the next day’s events. Excitement overload in a great way! Below are some truly one-of-a kind, signature elements of the city.

Take a bathroom selfie at Hotel Vandivort

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Hotel Vandivort is a boutique hotel in downtown Springfield, breathing with slick style and urban charm. Built in 1906 as a masonic temple, it offers more than 40,000 square feet. In the 80s it turned into office spaces until Springfield natives John and Billy McQueary bought it and restored it to its original beauty. Every brick has a story, the history surrounds you.hotel-vandivort

When it comes to the lobby, elevators, restaurant and lounge area, you’ll go into an Instagram “Step aside people, I need to take some photos!” trance.

As cool as all these elements are, the #HotelVandivortBathroomSelfie craze is where it’s at. Here’s the deal: The bathrooms are located downstairs, and in each room sits a huge mirror that is framed in bars of the most magical, glowing lights you’ve ever experienced.

After scrolling through the Instagram feed and seeing photo after photo of selfie perfection, I decided to give it a go. This was at the end of the night, I’d already hoofed it all around the town square, had dinner, climbed up and down stairs, pedaled furiously on a bike trolley and this was my Hotel Vandivort bathroom selfie result…

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OMG! See what I mean? Professional headshot worthy, right? What I love most about this “must-do” is that you leave your mark once you upload your selfie and use the hashtag. Your glorious mug will be there among all the others!

Order a cocktail at the Golden Girl Rum Club

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Cocktails or not, a visit to The Golden Girl Rum Club needs to be on your list. It’s founded and owned by Emma Chapman of A Beautiful Mess, her husband, Trey Scott, and another business partner, Joshua Widner. The place is as sweet as a pineapple-garnished rum punch and radiates Havana-inspired vibes. Much like Hotel Vandivort, there are many photo opportunities within the walls, from the neon sign to the jungle-y wallpaper to the artfully arranged dishes. The retro tropical tunes will make you shimmy. But the real stars are the cocktails. They are concocted inside a variety of kitschy ceramic planters and vases.

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The drinks are loaded with personality. I suggest going with friends so each of you can experience the full round of creativity.

Eat dinner at the Thursday Night Pizza Club at Millsap Farms

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This was one of my favorite experiences. We stepped into our shuttle van the first night and drove across the city to Millsap Farms for this outdoor feast. But it’s more than food. Every Thursday night, community members from all over the city come together to make, bake and serve gourmet wood fired pizzas.

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It set the tone for the weekend because it embodied the spirit of Springfield: Community, quality, authenticity, organic fun for the senses! And good eats! They offered three pizza combos and each featured produce grown on the farm, plus other local ingredients.

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Once you fill your plate up with pizza slices, go and find a seat. Sit wherever and make new friends! The night we were there, a trio performed. It made time stop as we savored each bite under the criss-cross strands of twinkling lights.millsap-9

The farm is huge, there are many paths to explore, and like everywhere else in Springfield, many prime photo spots. Pretty wildflowers, cute animals, picturesque barns, chirping birds, majestic clouds, laughing children – it’s all there.

The lovely Stephanie Drenka took this shot of me in front of one of the greenhouses!

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The saddest part is when the night ended and all the pretty tablecloths were folded up and put away.

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The last crumbs of pizza.

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Oh my gosh, I almost forgot! GUESS WHO I MET?

Jeff, one of the Instagram husbands!

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I spotted some of the other cast members from this awesome viral video, but I was too shy to fangirl them, seeing it was the first night of our trip and all. I didn’t want to be the weird stalker lady of the group. Jeff was RIGHT THERE and I couldn’t resist saying hi. He was super nice!

The video was shot in Springfield, MO. I watched it after I came home and recognized a lot of the locations!

 

Pig out on Hurts Donuts

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Nestled within the notable buildings of downtown Springfield sits a sugary castle of confectionary heaven: Hurts Donuts. Open “25 hours a day, 8 days a week” – this is your one-stop shop for gooey, chewy, sticky, guilty pleasure delights. These donuts are as thrilling to admire as they are to scarf. Throughout the entire weekend, every time we passed by, the flippin’ line wrapped around the building. I calmed myself …*pause* … and on the last morning I awoke with the roosters and patiently walked a few blocks in hopes of choosing one special donut as a closing tribute to my Springfield experience.

One donut. That’s what my mind said. Repeatedly.

But when I opened my mouth, my voice said, “I’ll take a dozen, please!” I then proceeded to hold up the line for about five minutes while I strategized each flavor choice.

Arggghhh!!! I felt my Weight Watchers warrior angel smack me on the head with a carrot, but I didn’t care. I used both my hands to carry the box back to the hotel, ever so carefully, as if it were the queen’s crown on Coronation Day. I then lovingly rearranged my carry-on and set my new box of treasures safely inside and zipped up the case.

Fast forward to making it back to Phoenix. My husband tossed my luggage in the back seat. My excitement to see him and share all my adventures overshadowed my concern for the donuts. 115 degrees in Phoenix – we went to lunch, ran errands, then arrived home.

This is what the box looked like once I opened it.

Silent screams, I’m sure.

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It’s ok, we still ate them and they tasted delicious!

Drink a Lavender Iced Coffee at Elle’s Patisserie

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One morning, we visited Elle’s Patisserie for a lavender iced coffee. I didn’t know quite what to expect. I’m a coffee lover and have had all kinds of variations, but never lavender. It turned out to have just the right balance of lavender and coffee. It’s a tad sweet and quite soothing to sip. It goes perfect with a scone or cookie. I definately will be making these at home!

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Well, that’s all I have for you today! Stay tuned because there is more to come! Have any of you been to Springfield, MO? What are your favorite things to do?

To learn more about Springfield, make sure to follow #LoveSpringfield and visit http://lovespringfield.co/

Love & light,

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