Gotta get outside to get down!

Tuesday, June 5, 2007
The Mark Gordon Trio entertained at River Ridge Winery. (Fred Lynch)

After a long winter and an unusually chilly spring, what could be nicer than enjoying the beautiful summer weather with a bit of music in the background?

But where to go to experience this simple but exquisite pleasure is the real question. Well, you are in luck being a resident of this area, as there are many wonderful places in which to find a great combo of songs and the sun (or stars!).

Tunes at Twilight -- Featuring free concerts every Friday at the Cape Girardeau Common Pleas Courthouse gazebo, Tunes at Twilight is a great way to hear some great acoustic music in a gorgeous setting (with a pretty good view of the river) at possibly the best time of day, sundown. Although Session One (with music starting at 7 p.m.) has already begun, it runs through June 22 with Session Two (music starts at 6:30 p.m.) beginning Aug. 10. For the full schedule and list of bands, go to www.oldtowncape.org.

Wine Festivals -- Area wineries are great places to go if you like to relax outside in some of Southeast Missouri's and Southern Illinois' most beautiful areas and listen to a variety of live music (oh, and drink a little wine).

In Southeast Missouri your best bets are Tower Rock Winery in Altenburg, Hemman Winery in Brazeau, River Ridge Winery in Commerce, Durso Hills in Marquand and Cave Vineyard, Charleville Vineyards, Chaumette Vineyards and Winery, Crown Valley Winery and Ste. Genevieve Winery in Ste. Genevieve.

In Southern Illinois there are a number of great wineries as well, including Ravissant Winery in Belleville, Kite Hill Vineyards in Carbondale, Limestone Creek Winery in Jonesboro, Genkota Winery in Mt. Vernon and Inheritance Valley Vineyards, Owl Creek Vineyard and Winghill Vineyard in Cobden, or any of the many wineries on the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail.

These wineries all feature unique but fantastic music events, and more information can be found on their respective websites or by calling the location.

Bars and Restaurants -- Locally, places like the Bel Air are already well-known for their outdoor music prowess. However, this idea is catching on with the Cup 'n Cork and the Rose Bed Inn.

The Rose Bed Inn, a Cape Girardeau bed and breakfast, is a particularly interesting example, having just begun what they have labeled the "Sunday Summer Series." This "series" will feature not only music, but poetry readings, art and casual dining. And this is not your normal, everyday outdoor acoustic music we're talking about, either. As a matter of fact, some of the music already featured has been jazz and poetry readings to music. Visit www.rosebedinn.com for more details or call 332-7673.

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