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Wine country

Posted Wednesday, July 6, 2011, at 6:44 PM

Jay and Vickie Hansmann have recently purchased the Durso Winery in the hills of Madison County. They had a grand opening of their new Bistro in Marquand on Saturday, July 1 and 2, 2011. Durso wines have done very well since the Norton wine won a gold medal in 2004.
On the road to wine country

Several years ago, I inadvertently discovered the little town of Marquand, Mo. in Madison County. I was recently reminded of this little town by an email from the town's dynamic mayor, Denny Ward, a man who has almost single-handedly begun a restoration of the tired old town. He sent me a story for the NSC, inviting all of us Stoddard Countians to the grand opening of the Durso Winery, now under new management.

Marquand, a town of about 145, was well on its way to oblivion, when a tornado added insult to injury and swept through the village in 2005, wreaking havoc. The storm took the top off the historic old Homan Hall, a brick building with double-thick walls.

Today, Homan Hall has been restored, largely due to the efforts of the mayor and Patricia Gilmore, a local engineer. The ground floor now holds antique shops, while the top floor has been converted into a dinner theater. I think the theater area can seat about 80-100 at the round dinner tables they set up for the occasion. I'll find out more on Friday, July 22, because I'm going to get tickets for the mystery theater that's coming then.

My friend and I spent the afternoon in Marquand last Saturday, first eating lunch at the Durso Bistro and Winery, recently relocated into the replica of the Buckhorn School, and then touring the town. I had the best house salad I've ever eaten and a delicious chicken kabob. My friend had the bistro burger. As we ate, musician Rocky Tucker played oldies on the keyboard. Our hostess told us that the cook, Rebecca Pointer, was once the head chief for the Washington State Senate. Will wonders never cease??

Just as surprisingly, Marquand has an art gallery which displays the work of local artists! This month's exhibit is devoted to Patton, Mo. artist Kathy Breitenstein, who specializes in watercolors. Beautiful!! Her studio, called "The Long Way 'Round," is located at her home at Evensong Farm.

Another tourist attraction, which is usually open for tours during the August Pioneer Days' celebration, is the old hotel, where railroad men stayed for a nickel a night. Mayor Denny Ward bought and restored the hotel, and--believe it or not--he lives there, among all the quaint furnishings. He dresses in period costume and conducts the tours himself!

I've been trying to decide which of the many photos to post, since I can only post one--and that simply does not do the town justice! Maybe I'll take several days and post one a day. If Ken Steinhoff (capecentralhigh.com) or James Baughn (Pavement Ends) sees this blog, they're going to berate me for not learning how to use the format that allows more photos! Hey, listen, guys, I'm doing the best I can with the wits I have left!

Showing comments in chronological order
[Show most recent comments first]

Marquand seems to be a nice town to take up residence. I hear there are several homes that can be purchased and restored. Thanks for sharing your day, this seems to be a nice place to visit.

-- Posted by Dexterite1 on Wed, Jul 6, 2011, at 8:40 PM

Thanks for posting this. Sounds like a good place to visit.

-- Posted by swift on Sat, Jul 9, 2011, at 11:38 AM

After reviewing over 100 Norton wines in ten states, our visit to Durso Winery was one of our fondest memories a couple years back. Though we are from the Deep South, we will make a pilgrimage someday back to Marquand, Mo and this winery that provided some delightful wines other than Norton.

-- Posted by TNWT on Tue, Jul 12, 2011, at 7:14 PM

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Madeline DeJournett
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Madeline (Giles) DeJournett is the Advance writer for the North Stoddard Countian. A retired high school English/history teacher, she spent 32 years teaching in 5 schools in Missouri and Alaska. These days, she lives quietly with a menagerie of wild and domestic animals on 52 secluded acres in the remote Tillman hills south of Advance. She graduated from Dexter High School in 1960 and Southeast Missouri State in 1964. She can be contacted at advancensc@sbcglobal.net.
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