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The village of Hermann has to be, hands down, the most charming village in Missouri. It’s like a piece of Germany’s Rhine Valley was cut out and placed into the middle of the Midwest. In fact, in 1837 Hermann was settled by 17 German immigrants who had bought their plots of land from the German Settlement Society of Philadelphia. They were promised flat land, what they saw when they stepped off the steamship from St. Louis was hills and rocks. They made the best of it by planting vineyards on the craggy cliffs and in the rocky soil. And, they were very successful. Ten years later these residents were hosting Hermann’s first Weinfest for ...

The village of Hermann has to be, hands down, the most charming village in Missouri. It’s like a piece of Germany’s Rhine Valley was cut out and placed into the middle of the Midwest. In fact, in 1837 Hermann was settled by 17 German immigrants who had bought their plots of land from the German Settlement Society of Philadelphia. They were promised flat land, what they saw when they stepped off the steamship from St. Louis was hills and rocks. They made the best of it by planting vineyards on the craggy cliffs and in the rocky soil. And, they were very successful. Ten years later these residents were hosting Hermann’s first Weinfest for visitors from St. Louis and Kansas City. Driving the Hermann Wine Trail along Route 100 you can visit dozens of the area’s premier wineries. Doing this will give you a great opportunity to see some of the beautiful countryside. Stone Hill Winery, established in 1847, is one of the oldest wineries in the United States and one of the largest producers; in 2008 it produced 260,000 gallons of wine. The winery has been owned and operated by the same family for the past forty-five years. Hermann’s downtown area is not to be missed; the entire area is a National Historic District with 150 buildings placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Needless to say, in the town’s pre-prohibition days (before it was against the law to sell liquor of any kind) from the 1920s to 1930s there was, in the German tradition, a tavern on every corner. Nowadays those tavern buildings have been turned into upscale shops and restaurants.

Frances Folsom
About the Expert

Frances Folsom is the author of CitySpot Palermo, a contributor to the Reiskits guides to Milan and Italy's Lakes Region, and Thomas Cook's Independent Traveller USA.

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: County seat of Gasconade County, Missouri, Hermann is located near the center of the Missouri Rhineland and south of the Missouri River.
  • Research: Wikitravel | Wikipedia
  • Weather: Daylight | Rainfall
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  • Best Time to Visit:

    With Hermann's wineries the optimal time of year to visit is September and October for the wine harvesting and Oktoberfest. Other good times for activities in the area are spring and late summer.