Looking for an extended arts getaway? Head to Paducah, Ky., just an hour and a half from Cape Girardeau, Mo. (From St. Louis, it’s about a three-hour drive.) Here are a few of our recommendations:
Visual art: Stroll historic downtown and LowerTown to see galleries and artists at work. Take a guided tour at Paducah School of Art & Design, see pieces by more than 100 local painters at PAPA Gallery and check out what’s new at this spring’s “Fantastic Fibers” show, April 1 to June 6 at the Yeiser Art Center.
Performing arts: This season at the Market House Theatre, don’t miss “The Kitchen Witches” (April 16-26) and “Mary Poppins” (June 4-21). And the nearby Carson Center hosts Garrison Keillor (April 2), ZZ Top (April 8), “Stomp” (April 14) and the Paducah Symphony Orchestra playing “Carmina Burana” (April 18).
Food and beer: What Pizza By the Pound lacks in looks, it more than makes up for in flavor. The funky dive bar’s traditional pies are thick and loaded with toppings — or you can select deep-dish for even more toppings. Honey is provided for dipping your crust. Once you’ve carbed up, check out Paducah’s first craft brewer, Dry Ground Brewing Co., which opened in February in a former Coca-Cola bottling plant. A second brewer, Paducah Beer Werks, opened last week.
Lodging: If you’ve never tried a bed-and-breakfast, may we suggest the 1857 B&B? Choose a single room, or splurge (it’s not much of a splurge, though) for the private third-floor loft, which includes a bedroom, living room, pool table, two bathrooms, laundry facilities and a full kitchen. No doilies here, and it’s conveniently located above another of its owners’ ventures, Tribeca Mexican Cuisine on Market House Square.
Quilts — of course: Put aside what you think you know about quilts, and make time for the National Quilt Museum, an incredible display of artistic talent that far surpasses the traditional patchwork creation on your bed. It’s worth a visit just to see Fraser Smith’s “Floating,” a stunning sculpture of a gently draped quilt, carved from wood. Learn more about the craft at American Quilter’s Society QuiltWeek, April 22-25 at the Paducah Convention & Expo Center.