The azaleas are close to their peak at Pinecrest Azalea Garden near Oak Ridge. The spacious garden is a great place to get some fresh air while still maintaining social distancing. The proprietors have even provided picnic tables with paper towels and cleaning bottles.
Driving directions: [Google map to 799 Torre Lane, Oak Ridge]
From Cape Girardeau or Jackson, take Highway 72 west. Just before reaching Millersville, turn right on Route B. Drive 5 miles and turn left on County Road 472. Continue on this blacktop road for one-mile and turn left on Torre Lane (the turn is just past a small hill and is easy to miss; look for the Pinecrest signs). Follow Torre Lane, a one-lane gravel drive, to the entrance to the garden. Watch out for oncoming traffic which always appears at the most inconvient spot. Cross the low-water bridge and follow the signs to make a counter-clockwise loop around the garden.
Alternate route: Drive on I-55 north (this may be difficult because of the ramp closures at Center Junction). Take the Oak Ridge exit (#111) and then turn left on Route E. Drive west through Oak Ridge. At the T-junction with Route B, make a sharp left turn. Then turn right on County Road 472. After one-half mile, turn left on Torre Lane and continue to the garden entrance.
Check the garden's Facebook page for any updates or announcements.