Saturday, March 21, 2009

Older North

This weekend we are enjoying a milestone celebration in our house, so we were looking for some nice ways to commemorate the event. We visited a place we haven't been in over ten years, and are happy to report, the place is as authentic and enjoyable as ever. I'm referring to one of the oldest homes and entertainment venues in the region, the Bissell Mansion.

Built in 1823, the Bissell Mansion is one of the oldest homes in St. Louis. Much of the original building is intact, with the main interior bearing wall around two feet thick. The building's original owners have important history dating back to the founding of the United States, with General Bissell a veteran of the War of 1812. Back in the 1820s, St. Louis was barely a dot on a map, so it's fun to walk the grounds, see the view of the Mississippi, and think about what St. Louis was like, forty years before the Civil War.

The Bissell Mansion is a dinner theater, so a visit there is an interactive and entertaining evening. Staff serves the meals and acts in the show. The artists both perform and write the shows. The place has a lot of heart; the performers give their all; and the food is good too. Guests are given scripts and are invited to participate in the show. But no worries - you're given the option of a small or larger part when you make your reservation.

Attendance was good, with a large party upstairs, and our group downstairs. Nonetheless, in tight economic times like these, competiton for discretionary restaurant dollars is tough. For an authentic St. Louis night out, to experience a special occasion with family or friends, and to help preserve an important piece of St. Louis history and tradition, STL Rising recommends the Bissell Mansion dinner theater.

Shows change four times a year. This year we will make an effort to visit again for their fall or winter performances.

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