Having grown up in the St. Louis Metro area all my life, I have experienced a lot. But nothing like this year, so far! It wasn't until 2014 I realized I have missed out on so much. What I mean is, places that I didn't realize that existed for several years. Some of them, such as the Magic House and Grant's Farm, I have not visited since I was a kid. And that was more than 20 years ago. I had never been to Meramec Caverns, though I am familiar with the road signs and markings. Most people I know have visited that place, as well as the Powell Symphony Hall and the Lemp Mansion. While I do have yet to go 'inside' those places and experience them, it is regretful that I haven't done so.

St. Louis, as most of you have known, is often looked up upon and frowned upon, depending on who you talk to or where you're getting your source. From one-time mayor candidate of Austin (Texas) to radio dj Howard Stern, you won't find much thinking highly of the place. Yeah, it was once a ritzy and glamorous city a century ago, as it saw several decades in decline starting in the 1950s. Still, several treasures have survived. Some of them are on life support, including parts of North City and East St. Louis. No one needs to be told that we are up there with Detroit as the 'country's most dangerous city' as we already know. We are still prospering and in the process of restoring the beauty and culture of St. Louis. I also believe St. Louis gets overlooked in some ways, most notably one of the founding places of rock and roll. After all, we were once the home of one of the first modern musicians, Scott Joplin. And let's not forget Chuck Berry and Nelly. We're not Hollywood, but some celebrities who were born in the St. Louis area are still proud to call it home: John Goodman, Jon Hamm and Jenna Fischer.

Did you know St. Louis...
1) had a statue of Martin Luther King Jr.?
2) had a Civil War and Holocaust museum?
3) is going to get the National Blues Museum?

So many things are to be uncovered in this journey. It required a lot of driving, walking and simply observing. And definitely a lot of researching and Google had to play a part in this project. I was in a dilemma whether to do a scrapbook (like the ladies) or a blog. I chose the latter, as this would give people a chance to look through my 'cake-hunting' while on the web. Simply put, this is a way for everyone to glance at it any time, any way they want, 24/7.

Of course, its usually a priority every year I go to Six Flags and Busch Stadium (or at least every other year) as to me, these are the places to go for a great summer time. In the winter time, there's usually a great concert at the Scottrade Center and/or The Pageant. There's the Soulard Mardi Gras festival in late Winter. All year round, I usually like to go to the Delmar Loop and Laclede's Landing as well as other trendy spots. And yes, cakes can be found at these places celebrating these St. Louis traditions.

You also can't leave out the Metro East area, or Illinois, whatever you prefer to call it. From Belleville to Grafton, to Cahokia to Collinsville, there's something historical and fun for everybody. We have one of the Top 10 Unusual Roadside Places, the World's Largest Catsup Bottle. In Grafton, there is what is usually called 'the greatest view of the Midwest' atop Aerie's Winery. In Alton, one of the things you're guaranteed to enjoy is learning about the world's tallest man in recorded history, Robert Wadlow. You can see the meeting of the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers near Hartford. The list goes on and on. I live in Glen Carbon, and while there are no cakes here (as of yet), the village/city does have a rich history with connections to St. Louis. It is my understanding that the Stl250 organization wanted to include all 8 neighboring counties in the St. Louis area, as there is something to experience in such counties like Macoupin and Clinton.

All in all, I think its the greatest way one can celebrate a city all-year round. Sure, there's the events. But the 'Cakeway to the West' is definitely one that people of all ages are sure to enjoy. It's a family thing, or one to enjoy with your friends or simply by yourself. I definitely think, since (in my humble opinion) very little was done in 2004 to celebrate the 'Louisiana Purchase' and 'World's Fair' anniversaries, this makes up for it big time. It gives everyone a chance to take a trip back in time as well as step in present time with the newest St. Louis has to offer. I also got to meet some great 'cake-hunters' as well as the artists behind the project.

For the record, 2014 will go down as one of the greatest years in history. It is also a milestone year not just for St. Louis, but for other things as well: the city of Belleville (the largest in Southern Illinois) is celebrating its bi-centennial; Ted Drewes is celebrating its 85th anniversary, and the Tivoli Movie Theatre is marking 90 years.

"St. Louis is the most down-to-earth city with hard-working individuals"-Billy Davis, Jr. of the 5th Dimension

"The city is dead and the Arch looks like a McDonald's commercial gone wrong"-Howard Stern on St. Louis

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