Last week I had a chance to tool around town in a 2013 Chevy Malibu Eco. Hubby and I both liked this latest version of the Malibu – we actually had a early 90’s Malibu several years ago and the style has changed. Regardless of the style change, we found it still to be a comfortably sized car for a family and still something that looked a little on the sporty side too. Plus, it had lots of bells and whistles that I always love on cars. My regular car has some too but it is older and so it was fun to try out some newer technology in the 2013 Chevy Malibu Eco. If you follow me on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Foursquare you probably saw my updates throughout the week using #KeystoSTL and #ChevyMalibu
It was a bit gloomy at the beginning of last week. I ran around St. Louis doing my regular errands. In the picture on the right above you can see why this is one of my favorite spots. It is actually at my therapist’s office. There is a big lake with a fountain in the middle. Ducks and geese enjoy the water. On the opposite side of the lake is actually a nice apartment complex and lots of trees. You can see that right now the leaves are all in their fall colors and it is just a really nice and tranquil spot. We actually seem to have a lot of fountains all around the St. Louis metro area. I probably passed at least four fountains on that particular day!
One of the features of the Malibu that I enjoyed was the Bluetooth function. In my own car I do not have this, but in the Malibu you just pair up the car with your device and then I can easily listen to the music on my Samsung Galaxy SIII. I wish I could have used the touchscreen in the car to skip around songs. I also had problems with the onscreen display of the songs not updating – the songs would change but it would only show the first song that was played. This could have been a compatibility issue with my device or just something Chevy needs to work on. The Bluetooth also lets me be hands free with my phone! The calls would come over the speakers in the car and there are controls on the steering wheel for this. Very handy! It has speech recognition also so I just had to say “Call Hubby” and it dialed his number instantly.
At night I loved, loved, loved the in car lighting! Can you see the blue light in the picture on the right? It is very cool looking in the car and just the kind of thing that makes me happy – those little things. It may sound silly, but I love lights at night on things because it really makes me think of the holidays all year long which makes me smile.
Most of you know I live in the St. Louis area, but more specifically I live in St. Charles. This is a suburb just west of St. Louis on the banks of the Missouri River (St. Louis city is on the banks of the Mississippi River). St. Charles was founded in 1769 by French Canadian fur trader, Louis Blanchette, as Les Petites Cotes (The Little Hills). It served as Missouri’s First State Capitol and you can visit the actual room which government sessions were held in. They have really interesting tours you can take that show many other aspects of historical times in St. Charles. I highly recommend taking the tour at least once. Check the First Missouri State Capitol State Historic Site
website for tour schedules. Throughout the Historic Main Street District you will find several historical markers and statues too.
Along with the history of Main Street there is also a wonderful selection of small shops, restaurants, and wineries. These are nearly all in historic buildings and the store owners are generally happy to give you the history of their establishment. The street is cobblestone which adds charm, although it is a bit bumpy. One of our favorite restaurants is The Mother-In-Law House
which happens to be haunted. There are actually several haunted areas in town and you can take a St. Charles Ghost Tour
even. There is a large gazebo along the river side of the street (there are public restrooms underneath it FYI) that is a wonderful spot for photos – we see a lot of wedding pictures taken there. Main Street Marketplace
is probably the store I visit most often as they carry tons of spices and are super friendly.
As you go north on Main Street you get to the more modern area. This is where you will find more of the bars and restaurants that are open later in the evenings. We really like Llywelyn’s Pub
which has a main floor with a bar and plenty of seating plus an old bank vault that you can sit in to eat. There is a huge outside patio to enjoy on nice days, and there is a downstairs with another bar and lots of games. They have traditional pub fare on their menus. I suggest trying the Welsh Rarebit, Shepherd’s Pie, and Fish & Chips, but avoid the Celtic Onion Soup (trust me). During the summer months there are a lot of live music events on this end to enjoy. There is also a Farmer’s Market on the north end on Saturday mornings May through October.
Starting soon is the annual Christmas Traditions down on Main Street. This goes on from late November throughout the holiday season and is a wonderful experience. While many people do ship at the small stores for unique gifts, it is also just nice to be in the atmosphere that is created. They have all different Santa’s walking around (the kids can collect their trading cards), vendors selling roasted chestnuts on the street, parades, carolers, and so much more. I strongly suggest you go once during the day and then again once in the evening. It is a very different feel, both good, between the two.
Ameristar Casino is located right on the Missouri River in St. Charles also. Yes, you can gamble there, but they also have a spa in the hotel (I have not been there but I hear good things), and several restaurants and clubs with live performances. There is another fountain inside the main entrance of the casino too which is a really fun one!
We also happen to have a nice Bass Pro Shop store in St. Charles right off of Highway 70 and 5th Street. The giant home base of Bass Pro Shops is in Springfield, Missouri which is fabulous, but this is a nice smaller version of that store that keeps Hubby and the other guys in my family happy year round. Hubby had me back up to a bass boat with the Chevy Malibu for a little wishful thinking in the photo on the right. Note that you cannot actually tow with the Eco version of the Chevy Malibu, but he was just daydreaming.
Another day I met my cousin Jamie and her son Colby (who I call my nephew because it seems odd to call him my cousin) to hang out. We went to lunch and then we went to one of the coolest playgrounds I have ever been to! In Westhoff Park in O’Fallon, Missouri (just a little father west on Highway 70) there is Brendan’s Playground
. This is an all-inclusive playground that opened in October 2011. I was amazed! The ground is all this squishy mat stuff – soft if you fall, but not messy like mulch. There are multiple giant climbing areas of different sizes with a lot of different ways to climb, lower interactive areas, giant xylophones that really play, swings, slides, and really just all sorts of amazing things I haven’t seen before. There were kids of all ages playing and really having a good time while we were there. This may be a drive for you but I promise it is worth it. Take a picnic lunch to enjoy. Also, they are building a skate park in the Westhoff Park so your older kids will enjoy that – it looks very cool already!
Two other must visit places in St. Charles are the J. Scheidegger Center for the Arts on the Lindenwood Campus
and the Foundry Arts Centre
on Main Street. If you are a lover of the arts then both of these should be on your list of things to do.
Do not let the Blanchette Bridge construction keep you from visiting St. Charles! There are plenty of signs to guide you along any detours and really the traffic has not been bad. Just add maybe 10 more minutes onto your travel time and be prepared to go slower in the work zone. There are alternative routes into St. Charles that avoid the construction area altogether too. The MoDOT page can keep you up to date on the latest news and closings you need to know.
I traveled around town and never needed to fill up with gas during the week. The Chevy Malibu Eco is hybrid car that goes between gas and electricity. The fuel economy combined between city and highway is 29 MPG – nice! This is the first hybrid I have ever driven. Hubby thought I would not like it because it would not have the power my own car has, but he was wrong. Even though it is not as powerful, it still had plenty of go with 182 horsepower I thought. It was not sluggish taking off at all. One of my most favorite features was the reverse camera! All cars should have this! Whenever you put the car into reverse the camera popped up on the screen and you could see behind you really well. Such a huge safety feature I think. I was surprised that the Chevy Malibu did not have a navigation system included – this is kind of a must-have feature for me these days. The car did have XM Satellite Radio available – a nice feature but the on screen controls were not as user friendly as I would have liked. It showed an icon to Pandora also, but it was not working – I’m not sure if that is an add-on subscription or what, it would have been nice though as I love Pandora. The Chevy Malibu was equipped with OnStar but I did not use it, I couldn’t think of anything I would ask them LOL. The sticker price on the actual 2013 Chevy Malibu Eco I drove for the week was $28,605. Hubby and I both thought that was a decent price for this car and if we were in the market for a sedan like this in this price range it would be a top contender.
A huge thanks again to Chevy for loaning me the car and I hope you will come visit St. Charles, Missouri soon!
Disclosure: I was provided the Chevy Malibu Eco to use for the week. None of the other business mentioned provided me any incentives – they are just places/things I enjoy in my own city that I wanted to share. Opinions about the car are my own.
© 2012, Robyn Wright. All rights reserved.