Eagle Hurst Ranch is a great vacation destination

The Huzzah River provides plenty of fun for guests at Eagle Hurst Ranch.

As the price of gas continues to rise, just in time for summer vacation, many families are rethinking their travel plans. And many others are grateful that they already have a destination picked out close to home that offers everything needed for a great family vacation.

It’s Eagle Hurst Ranch. Less than a two- hour drive from St. Louis, Eagle Hurst is a family-friendly resort nestled in a wooded campus in the Ozarks.

Family comes first at Eagle Hurst Ranch

LISA JOHNSTON | One of the many activities available at Eagle Hurst Ranch is horse riding.

 Take a family vacation where "family" is the focus — Eagle Hurst Ranch in Steelville.

Divine Mercy message underscored at shrine in Massachusetts

The main altar of the National Shrine of the Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, Mass., includes an image of the Divine Mercy above the tabernacle.

Visitors come by the thousands each year to Stockbridge, a picturesque town nestled in the Berkshire Mountains of Western Massachusetts. They come because of the faith of a Polish nun.

Stockbridge is the home of the Norman Rockwell Museum, but 40,000-50,000 faith-filled believers who visit annually have a different destination: Eden Hill and the National Shrine of the Divine Mercy.

Give Kansas City a whirl for a great vacation

This working paddle wheel is on display at the Arabia Steamboat Museum in the City Market in Kansas City. The museum is just one of many attractions for tourists in KCMO.

“I’m goin’ to Kansas City, Kansas City here I come …” the words Wilbert Harrison’s 1959 hit ring true to many Missourians. A pretty straight shot across the state from St. Louis, about 235 miles on Interstate 70, it’s an easy four-hour drive. In these days of high gas prices and tight money, it’s the perfect spot for an out-of-town vacation that won’t break the bank.

I speak from experience. I love Kansas City. Every time I’ve been there I’ve had a ball, and I always leave with a mental list of things to do on our next visit.

Follow these tips for a safe hike

Folks enjoying a vacation at Eagle Hurst Ranch can venture away from the resort for a day to enjoy hiking in nearby sections of the Ozark Trail and the Mark Twain National Forest.

But, as the Boy Scouts caution, be prepared. Even a hike of an hour or two requires a little preparation, even if nothing more than good, sturdy shoes and a bottle of water.

The helpful people at the Ozark Trail Association offer these helpful hints make your outdoor experience go smoothly.

Find Mass times anywhere with phone, Internet help

The couple admiring the statue of Andrew Jackson and the Cathedral-Basilica of St. Louis the King in New Orleans would not have problems finding its Mass times when planning a visit to the Big Easy., the cathedral’s website ( and phone number (504-861-9521) can all provide that information: Saturdays, 5 p.m., and Sundays, 9 and 11 a.m.

Going on vacation doesn’t mean skipping Mass. With few exceptions and with a little planning, you can find a Catholic church in or near almost any location.

The easiest way to do this is to use one — or both — of the most commonly used, easily available tools we have: the telephone and the computer.

Use the phone

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