This is a quaint town that is also the University of Kansas campus. It is rated as in top 10 for best towns in the country to live. The environment is very unusual with moderately tame university students mixed with middle level urbanites. Downtown there is about three blocks of shops and restaurants to take in. Many buildings are old time back from the early 1920-50 time frame, and not updated, or upgraded. There is a lot to see right in the mid town area, especially for the old historic homes in near west side of downtown.
To the west , there is the university campus that is spread out and has many limestone buildings from when it was started back in 1866 on 40 acres donated. It now has 26,000 students, most on this campus in Lawrence. It has one of the more reknowned Natural History Museums in the region, Spence Art Museum, and Wilcox Museum of Greek/Roman statuary and artifacts. The campus has a real comfortable feel, and getting around is pretty easy.
It is midway in mid state Missouri. During a large part of the year, it becomes a mecca for vacationers from St. Louis, and some KC, and some Chicago. Now, after continued building of commercial development, the main thoroughfare is jammed for a lot of the year. The old quaint feel of country serenity gave way to retail selling. I worked on projects down here as a banker, and there have been good times, and not so good, when real estate does not sell as well. Everything then slows down economically.
The Toad Cove property is a hang out for the "in crowd" and Gen X/Millenium types. An older crowd tries hard to relate, but the money does not get them to that status. Economically this type of property at the lake can come and go-so maybe you want to get there before that occurs.
This was once a main distribution point for Santa Fe RR and they helped build the town. Today, with decline of rail traffic, it is just a country town for rural to come to town once in a while. Not much here any longer, but the marble shop and caboose tour information center. One standout in town is a subdivision called Lake of the Forest. It used to be a way stop for the railroad and put up tourists for the night before going east/west in 1920-40's They had a hotel and eating quarters. Later in 1940-60's people built around the lake and there are 50-70 homes that come from that era and like going back in time
Conception Abbey is a place I find myself returning to every couple of months. It is a Benedictine Abbey located about 75 miles north of Kansas City, set on gently rolling hills and open fields. The grounds always seem quiet and peaceful, and I always feel the presence of God in this sacred place.
The monks at the Abbey still worship with musical offices throughout the day, and it is well worth your time to plan a visit to hear Vespers at sundown.
The Abbey also runs a printing shop that makes holiday cards that you can find at many Christian bookstores. And they have rooms to rent for a very quiet "get away from it all" weekend.
This is a large, but quite lake close to KC. It has been a tradition for people to buy small weekend homes there and fishing is the primary reason to visit, besides the peaceful and quite surroundings. Not much is in the area, and you may want to bring your own "viddles" food because convenience store items get old soon. Beer and chewing tobacco.
KC is 136 miles to the north
This city is growing leaps and bounds, and now is about 120,000 people. Suburban sprawl has created a demand for more commercial and middle sector residential. What used to be a sleepy medium sized town, is not big time. It was founded in 1857, and then was merely open farmland. The old structures are now few, but they do have an old time stage house, called Mahaffie House. It depicts the times in late 1800's, and puts on many events during the year, and Civil War reenactments. Olathe died down into a little community until US 35 came through, and that stimulated new growth since around 1970's
This once was the capitol of Kansas when it was a territorial State. Things and politics changed that. James Lane, a Senator of suspicious repute started Lane University in the town. When it was to be the State capitol, the population burst to 5,000. Due to political maneuvering by Lane, the capitol changed to Topeka over the fight of free vs slave state status. That crashed the future of Lecompton. Now having 600 residents, it languished for years, and has no commerce, but does have the museums. Lane Museum and Constitution Hall are nice visits to take. They have a lot of artifacts from the mid 1800's to early 1900's.
The town got its main start back in 1838 from Colonel Park buying land going up the river bank. It thrived as a shipping port off the Missouri River for years, sending farm products to other areas, and picking up goods for farmers. Park also started a newspaper, and hotel. In 1875, He and Dr. Park began Park University, and it now has 2,000+ students. The architecture style is a gem in the hidden scene off the road. Mackey Hall was build in 1893, and the rest of the campus grew with help of students.
This is becoming a bit of a bedroom community for Kansas City workers downtown. It is 25 miles north of the city, but holds a quiet and serene setting for growing up a family. The main attraction is the old Elms Resort hotel. It started back in 1888. Now they celebrate 120 years July 2009 for first opening. It is a natural mineral springs, and has attracted thousands to take in the cure. The structure was on 50 acres, now just about 2. The hotel burned down in 1898, and 1910; so they built the next out of limestone. It has been shut down a couple of times since, and still struggles. The insides and the old ambiance is the main site here, as well as taking in your own private bath area, in addition to public pool areas you can swim. It has 152 rooms, and is somewhat "condominiumized"
A Vintage well preserved village that was an active water port in early to mid 1800's. Riverboat traffic helped this little town thrive, and today it is an historic site. Buildings are from that era and maintained in good condition. Only 300-400 people live in the area, but it is a peaceful and serene setting to take in and enjoy for a long weekend. They have some B&B's and a couple places to eat, as well as old time shops for souvenirs. There is a small museum, and basically even though small overall, worth a trip and stay here.
The downtown has a nice preserved historic district. It is show in the attached. The city is the first in Kansas founded in 1854. It was used as a fort outpost for years, and the fort is still active today. The fort was erected in 1827, and they used to provide goods and drop off point for settlers going west. It also was a staging fort for fighting the Plains Indians for 30 years. A large cemetery was established in 1862 by Lincoln, as a memorial to the Civil War. The fort is on 5,634 acres.
This is a nice small town on the banks of the Missouri River. The town main street is only a couple of blocks, but the structures are from early 1900's, and quaint. It was founded in 1851 by a Shawnee Indian and named the town after the daughter. With the purchase of 774 acres by German immigrants in 1857, the town grew and the river was its commerce as well as farming. They now number 7,000 people today, and little changes.
This is a real treat to go back in time. The college anchors the old time town. There are about 1,000 students, and the university is steeped in history, along with the town. Founded in 1858 by Methodist ministers. The town was founded in 1870, and expanded with many Victorian style homes in early 1900's; with a current population of 3,400. They have 60 on the historic register. Every fall in the 3rd week of October they have a Maple Festival, which brings 30,000 from around the area to partake in festivities.
There is a lot of history steeped in this town, but that is in the past. It was an outpost for fur trading back in early 1800's and the town incorporated in 1843. It was also a stop by point for settlers moving westward,and was the beginning of Pony Express out of here. There is a section of town that has preserved old buildings form early 1900's that is nice. There are about 3-4 you can go through for tours. The rest of the town has been on decline for decades, and turnaround is unlikely without an industry to support. A casino on the river has given some revival of tourists.
It is 35 miles north of the city and very good clean water. Boating and swimming are secondary only behind fishing. NO major power boats are allowed, so the wave turf is not bad. There is a small area of sand beach and picnic tables for eating.
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