What to know
Information: Contact the Friends of Rocheport Museum, 1-573-698-3701.
Fact: In 1849, 57 steamboats made a total of 500 landings here, to bring in manufactured goods and ship out agricultural products, including locally raised tobacco.
Getting there: Take Interstate Hwy. 70 west from Columbia, Mo., and turn north on Rt. BB just before the Missouri River bridge. It's about a 15-minute trip from Columbia.
Where to eat
The Word of Mouth Cafe, 21 Central St., specializes in desserts. Two small places, good for lunches, are the Trailside Cafe and Wholly Rollers Cafe (it's in a former church), both near the old MK&T Depot. On the other side of town, by the train tunnel, there's the Moniteau (pronounced "MAN-uh-taw") Creek Inn, which has everything from an outdoor barbeque to RV parking.
Where to sleep
With a community this small, we can list all options, starting with the newest "old" house in town: The Yates House Bed and Breakfast, 305 2nd St., a 1991 red-brick reproduction of an 1850s roadside inn. (Rates: $95 to $105, single or double occupancy; 1-573-698-2129. Open all year; no children, no pets).
The Schoolhouse Bed and Breakfast Inn is -- what else? -- a converted 1914 red-brick school that is the first major building you'll see as you pull into town. It's at Third and Clark Sts.; 1-573-698-2022. (Rates: $85-$150; open all year.)
Rocheport's tourist season is April through October, but some shops stay open through the winter. Hours and opening days vary. Antique shops include: White Horse Antiques, which moves this month to an 1840s frame house at 61 N. Clark St.; Highgate Gallery, antiques and photography, on Rt. BB next to the community hall; Griffith's Antiques, 101 E. 4th St.; Granny's Antiques, on Central St.; Widow Lister Antiques, 405 2nd St.; Richard Saunders Antiques, at Columbia and 2nd Sts.; J.B. Clay's Carriage House on Lewis St., and Alexander's Cottage, 310 N. Central, which also carries hand-made children's clothing and toy bears.
Other shops include Village Pewter, in a log building at 210 N. Central; Mud Hut Ceramics, on Central; the Friends of Rocheport's Country Store, also on Central; Flavors of the Heartland/ Rocheport Gallery, which artwork and gourmet foods, 204 2nd St.
The Friends of Rocheport Museum on Moniteau St. is open from 1 to 4 p.m., weekends only, from April through October.
Les Bourgeois Vineyards, atop the Missouri River bluffs near the I-70 exit. Its tasting room is open noon to sunset daily, except in the winter. A restaurant overlooking the river will open in September. 1-573-698-3401.
It runs from Sedalia to St. Louis, 200 miles across central Missouri. Camping is allowed, but only at designated campsites.
The Missouri Dept. of Natural Resources has a (daytime) hot-line number with trail and other outdoor information, 1-800-334-6946. (Some portions may still be under construction this summer; check with the DNR.)
For portable advice, get the current edition of the Katy Trail Guidebook, by Brett Dufur (Pebble Publishing, P.O. Box 431, Columbia, Mo. 65201). About $13, it's for sale at many shops in town.
If you're bikeless and still want to try the Katy Trail, rent (or buy) wheels at the Trailside Cafe, 1st and Pike Sts., open weekends from 7:30 a.m. to dusk, weekdays 9 a.m. to dusk, 1-573-698-2702, or at Rocheport Cyclist, 1st and Ward Sts., next door to Wholly Rollers Cafe, 1-573-698-2043; open Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m. till dark. Both places also do repairs.
Rocheport has its own little suburb, known as Missouri River City, that's grown up around the I-70 exit. That's where the winery is, along with half a dozen shops (mostly antiques), a convenience store and the River City Theater, a community summer playhouse.
Nearby is the Roby River Run Bed and Breakfast, a 140-year-old Federal-style frame home at 201 N. Roby Farm Rd. ($90 double, $80 single, with accommodations for guest horses in the barn); 1-573-698-2173.