Sunday, May 24, 2009

Cooper’s Landing

We went to Cooper’s Landing yesterday afternoon. What a great decision that was!

This is my first post about Cooper’s Landing; I am sure there will be more. It’s just upriver from Easley, which is south of Columbia on the river. If you drive to Easley and turn right (north or northwest), then Cooper’s Landing is your next stop. Unless the road’s washed out again, that is.

Fortunately, there’s more than one way to get to Cooper’s Landing, as it’s a popular fuel, groceries, and concessions stop for boaters on the Missouri as well as campground and eatery for bikers along the Katy Trail. So you can drive, boat, bike, or hike to Cooper’s.

And once you get there, you won’t want to leave. Here’s why.

1. The river. There are great views of the Missouri. Ahhh. Watchin’ the big muddy river slide by, with the sun highlighting every dimple and swirl on its surface. The trees. The primeval smell of the forest. The sound of the water lapping rhythmically against the docks. (Are we there yet?)

2. Excellent live music. There’s a small area for performers under a beautiful big sycamore tree, with chairs, benches, and picnic tables all around. Bluegrass, folk, country, acoustic, rock. Check out their calendar to see who’s playing. Yesterday afternoon, it was Pippa Letsky and a couple of her friends, playing that kind of bluegrass filled with such impossible woe that your own troubles seem light in comparison.

3. Libation. Note: they do not allow you to bring in your own beverages (see, selling beverages and food is how they get income) (and don’t worry, their prices are reasonable and they have a good selection). And bless their hearts, they have big recycling bins for all the bottles and cans. They care about the environment!

4. Food! They have a restaurant so they can serve regular kinda food, like burgers, breakfasts, and other home-cooking, but there’s also Thai food available! Chim’s Thai Kitchen is in a trailer on the premises; the food is served on paper plates and you eat it at a picnic table. So what an awesome idea, huh? We’re at Cooper’s Landing: “What are you in the mood for?”

Note: as with the beverages, they don’t want you bringing in your own food; don’t bring in a cooler at all. Again, they do offer something for everyone, and the prices are decent, so there’s no need to bring your own.

5. Family atmosphere. Seriously—even though a diverse and not squeaky-clean crowd passes through Cooper’s Landing, I’ve never seen people behaving in ways you wouldn’t let your children see. (Though I’ve never been there much after dark or on nights when rock bands play.)

6. It’s peaceful and casual. Everyone’s been pedaling all day, or boating out on the river, or trapped in some dreaded office, or something, and we’re all here to get away and relax. Camping and fishing clothes are fine. A Hawaiian shirt means “dressed up” here. Be comfortable. Wear sunscreen and Deet, perhaps, but never a tie.

As I said before, it’s easy to get to, whether you’re driving, biking, or boating. And now you can see, once you arrive, you won’t want to leave. The only solution, then, is to come here more often.

Again, check out their Web site for upcoming events and music. If you’re looking for a relaxing place to kick back, Cooper’s Landing is a great place to start.

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