Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Cakeway to the West Top Tips

St. Louis Public Library cake
Having photographed over 100 of the Cakeway to the West cakes (you can see all of my cakes on Pinterest) placed in honor of the 250th anniversary of the founding of St. Louis, I have some tips to share that might make your cake hunt a little easier.
  • First and foremost, check the stl250.org website frequently. Not only are new cakes still being added (to date, 234 cakes have been installed), some cakes have been relocated. The list is available in an Exel file or PDF format, as well as my favorite - a locator map. There is also a phone app that you can download for free.
  • Nearly all of the cakes on the list have active links, so be sure to check those out to learn more about the areas where the cakes are located.
  • Pay attention to the "Location on Site" column shown on the list. It is very helpful to know exactly where you can find the cake. Also, some of the cakes are indoors or behind gates, so you need to be aware of the operating hours of the facility housing the cake. It is very frustrating to arrive on site only to find that the business is closed on Saturdays or holidays.
  • While the "Location on Site" listing is pretty accurate, it is not always 100% correct. For example, the cake at the Museum of Transportation is actually located by the upper parking lot, not the lower lot. If you don't find the cake, go inside the building on site (if there is one) and ask. Businesses nearby may know the location as well.
  • Plan your trips around the activities of the area, if possible. As an example, going to see the cakes around Clayton was a breeze on a Sunday, whereas heading there during the week would have been a lot trickier with all of the businesses and government offices open. I had no problem finding parking on a Sunday.
  • Make sure to enjoy all sides of the cake, not just the front. Many of them are rich in detail, so take time to study the whole cake.
  • Finally, here is an organization tip that has worked well for me. I use the locator map on the stl250.org website and zoom in on the area I plan on photographing. Then I do a screen capture of the map, opening it in a photo editing program to crop it to size. I save the map as a JPG, print it out, and number the locator dots I want to go see. I create a Word document with corresponding numbers, listing the name of each cake along with its address and location on the site. I take the map and the Word document with me when I go out to shoot, making the most of each trip.
STL250 Map

STL250 Addresses

Have fun with this - it truly is a once in a lifetime experience, and an opportunity to get to learn more about the St. Louis area. What tips do you have to share?


Unknown said...

Great tips and information! This would certainly help anyone who wants to view the cakes. You've taken the frustration out of it all! Cheers to you and thank you for sharing with everyone!

Kim Wolterman said...

Thanks, Jodee! Why let frustration take the fun out of the adventure, right?

The Jason Voigt said...

One thing I'd like to add is: utilize some of the transportation, meaning the Metrolink. This would save headaches with driving. I live in Glen Carbon and I've been parking my car at Lumiere and/or the Casino Queen, where parking is free. Even though a ticket is $4.50 all the way around, this would help avoid those annoying meters.

Not many people realize several of the cakes are located just off the train. Sure, there is a little walking involved as I have done it in parts around Delmar and Midtown. Yesterday I took it all the way to the airport and UMSL.

Kim Wolterman said...

That is a great tip, Jason. In some areas parking can be a real hassle. And walking gives you an opportunity to see the area in a way that being in a car doesn't allow. Thanks for the comment!

Mrs. Wryly said...

That one in front of the main library is very cool! I am living vicariously through your cakes!

Gayle said...

There is a wonderful woman named Cathy that owns a golf cart and does tours of downtown, Forest Park, Soulard etc. She is $30 an hour per person, but you don't have to drive or park. We got 20 or so cakes with her in one hour. She will customize a trip for you. Her website is stlcarttours.com.