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I just realized something this week. I’ve created a new travel tradition, staying in a different town or city every December. The last three years I’ve stayed in three different cities…Springfield, MO, Edinburgh, Scotland and now, Hermann, MO, enjoying the seasonal decor and holiday spirit in each destination.
Although I’ve visited the first two locations before, the third destination carried the thrill of being new to me.
Come explore charming Hermann MO with me and see why you will want to add this small town to your travel list.
Charming Hermann MO
Hermann is a small town tucked into the Missouri River Valley, in the heart of wine country. Known for its vineyards, wineries and breweries, this German town with red brick buildings and a variety of shops, restaurants and bars offers visitors plenty to do and see.
Hermann was founded in 1837 by Germans from Philadelphia, with the goal of creating the “heart of German America”. Here the founders hoped to continue traditional German culture and establish a self supporting community built upon farming, commerce and industry. The town is named after Hermann der Cherusker, a Germanic leader who defeated the Romans in the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest in 9 AD.
The early settlers discovered that the area supported the growing of grapes and vineyards and wineries clustered around the town, as a result. The Prohibition shut down Hermann’s thriving wineries, however they revived in the 1960s.
Today Hermann has seven wineries in the area that produce one-third of Missouri’s wine. Designated in 1983, it is one of the first federally recognized American Viticultural Areas.
Explore Charming Hermann MO
You can spend a weekend in Hermann….or a week…and find plenty to explore in the area. I recently spent a couple of days there and look forward to a return visit.
Wineries and Breweries
The vineyards and wineries contribute to the town’s tourism, due to winery and brewery tours and tastings. Wineries to visit include Stone Hill Winery, the largest in Missouri, Hermannof Winery located on First Street in town and Adam Puchta Winery, the oldest continuously family owned winery in the US. It’s been owned and operated by the same family since 1855,
Local wines and brews are offered at Hermann restaurants, so it is easy to sample a variety.
And you can participate in the Hermann Wine Trail, riding trolleys to each of the wineries for wine tastings.
Restaurants and Cafes
For a small town, population 2185 in 2020, Hermann offers a wide variety of choices for meals. From cozy breakfast spots, like Ainsley’s Place to pubs such as the Corner Tavern to large restaurants like Tin Mill Restaurant you can find great food and drinks here.
Hermann is a very walkable town, with the historic district a five block by four block area. Greg and I parked our car at Vinchester Inn on Third Street and walked to nearby cafes and shops.
We enjoyed our first meal in town at 4th Street Pizza. Happily, they offer vegan options, from salads to pizza to pasta.
Walk the Town
My favorite activity in any town is to explore on foot. Hermann’s architecture and historic sites are so beautiful and interesting. On the historical tour that we took, we learned that the houses and buildings are made from brick because red clay is plentiful in the area. All the Colonial and Federal Style red brick buildings add continuity and great charm to the town.
From our comfortable inn (watch for an upcoming post on Vinchester Inn) we branched out, walking up and down the streets. For December, the weather was perfect. I enjoyed taking a LOT of photos and I loved the Christmas decor and lights throughout town.
Hermann boasts a variety of shops as well. We popped into several while we explored. My favorites on this trip: Blondie’s Toy Shop, Buy the Book Etc, Missouri’s Trading Post, Old Vine Kitchen Emporium, The Olive Branch and Ralph and Millies.
Museum and Historic Tours
I always seek out a historic tour when I visit a destination for the first time. Hermann offers the Deutschheim State Historic Site Tour. One gets a glimpse of German life in the town in the mid 19th century and learns about the founding of Hermann with an extremely knowledgeable guide.
We started in the Julius Hundhausen 1890 house and then toured Pommer House, with its attached violin and piano shop, both built in 1840. And finished the two hour tour with the 1840s Strehly House with its attached winery and basement printing press. Hermann’s first German newspaper was published weekly here. Tours are offered daily from April – October and Thursday through Sunday, November – March.
Museums include the City of Hermann Caboose Museum, the Hermann Fire Company Museum and Historic Hermann Museum and German School. Most of the wineries and breweries offer tours of their facilities as well. And Hermann Farm’s mission is to educate the public on the significance of Missouri’s winemaking heritage.
Nestled along the Missouri River, Hermann relied on that wide, flowing river to survive during its early settlement years. Today the riverfront offers a place to picnic or play or sit in benches and watch the river roll by. There are public restrooms here and a covered pavilion with picnic tables.
A Christmas Vintage
Last year, actors and camera crews and directors descended on Hermann, to film a movie. The quaint town provided the perfect backdrop for the story that involves two competing winery families.
A Christmas Vintage released a couple of weeks ago, on Prime. I watched the movie before visiting Hermann and had fun walking around locating where scenes were shot. We enjoyed talking to the inhabitants of Hermann about the movie too. Many locals served as extras in the film and actual shops and restaurants were used.
The community theater is showing the movie this weekend. I would love to see it on a big screen.
If you can’t make it to Hermann now…watch A Christmas Vintage to see just how cute the town is.
Throughout the year, Hermann offers festivals that are fun for the locals and bring in visitors.
Wurstfest brings together professional meat processors from all over Missouri. Activities include amateur sausage making competitions, kraut making classes, German music and dancing and the famous wiener dog races.
For the Hermann Antique Show, antique dealers around the world gather to bring the best in country antiques.
Maifest is an old fashioned celebration of spring and Hermann’s German Heritage. Enjoy parades, music, singing, dancing and good food. Children play games and participate in Maypole dances while visitors explore beer gardens and the outdoor market.
The Hermann Garden Tour features private gardens. And the Hermann Plein Air Festival takes place this month as well.
Freedomfest celebrates the 4th with food booths, games, parades and music at the riverfront.
Experience the Missouri Bourbon Festival hosted by Copper Mule Distillery and the Hermann Blue Oval Rally to show off Model A Fords to Mustangs.
Hogshead Smokefest, an annual charity event, features an amateur BBQ competition.
Every weekend in October Hermann hosts Oktoberfest with German Heritage, good food and good beer, wine and music. The Arts & Crafts Festival takes place mid October as well. And at the end of the month is the Witches & Wine Festival.
November – December
And for the six weeks leading into Christmas, Hermann celebrates the season with German holiday traditions. a parade, Christmas markets, Carriage Rides and many other holiday events.
Have you heard of Hermann MO?
I think you will agree, Hermann MO is a fun town to explore. The peak season is March through the end of October with special holiday events in December. January and February is considered the off season, allowing the town to rest and prepare for a busy time ahead.
With all of the festivals, there’s something for everyone here. And in between those festivals, the town itself offers a beautiful setting for a weekend getaway.
Check out the Visit Hermann website and then let me know what you’d enjoy most in this charming little German town.
Enjoy Edinburgh in Winter and Springfield MO
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