That’s terrific. Just as long as you don’t intend to actually drive all the way down on Mo. 79.
The annual tour includes more than 40 artist and artisan galleries, studios and specialty shops along the 50 Miles of Art corridor connecting the three cities, “each (of which) … has its own special personality, talented artists and artisans, and tour offerings,” Brenda Beck Fisher of the Hannibal Arts Council wrote in a release. There will be special events, demonstrations and gallery receptions.
Overall, it’s a great event spotlighting the rich but sometimes overlooked artistic character of these three river towns. Tiny Clarksville, in particular, has become known as an art community in recent years, and its unique shopping is a significant draw for the town.
Unfortunately, the continued closure of Mo. 79 in northern Pike County throws a wrench into the idea of a scenic drive down the length of the riverside highway. It’s been closed just south of the Ashburn turn-off since November 2009 and will remain closed until this fall as the Missouri Department of Transportation works to repair unstable, crumbling pavement in the area. That means you can’t get from Hannibal to Louisiana on Mo. 79, although it’s still open (and still the preferred route) from Louisiana to Clarksville.
To get from Hannibal to Louisiana, take U.S. 61 from Hannibal to Bowling Green, then U.S. 54 to Louisiana. A more scenic route would be to hop across the Mississippi River on Interstate 72 and pick up Ill. 96 at Hull, Ill., taking that road to U.S. 54 and, from there, to Louisiana. Doesn’t add on too many more miles either way, but not quite the cruise down Mo. 79 that event organizers may have envisioned.
This is not meant in any way to detract from the event itself or discourage people from attending it. It’s simply worth mentioning that Mo. 79 isn’t actually the best route for this art crawl that, um, is based on the Mo. 79 art corridor.
Hopefully the highway at least opens back up in time for the leaves to change this fall, making Mo. 79 a particularly scenic drive. That would be an excellent opportunity to traverse the 50 Miles of Art.