I’ve been going to Weston, Missouri, since I was a little girl. Summers with my aunt are some of the best memories I have–shopping, Ocean’s of Fun, concerts in Bonner Springs, day trips to Lawrence to stroll through campus and get new KU gear, and introducing me to wonderful people along the way. It didn’t take long for me to adopt Weston as my second home.
In 2004, I moved to Iowa to start college and a whole new life took over. It was never my intention to abandon my second home. I just simply kept letting time pass me by with the unspoken promise to myself that I’d get back there soon. This Labor Day weekend was my first trip back in nearly ten years. I spent the week prior meticulously planning my road trip from here to there. When I started to plan my route, I knew that I wanted it to be a road trip; I didn’t want to take the interstate. I wanted to cruise the back roads; be able to pull over and take photos whenever something interesting caught my eye. What I didn’t realize was that I was picking the most remote back roads through Iowa and Missouri that I could possibly find. They were hilly, curvy, and, in some places, even lacked center lines. But they were all interesting. Fields of freshly baled hay, a trail of wildflowers, and a couple of eye-catching barns were just a few favorites.
In just a few short hours, I was driving into Historic Weston, Missouri. And, it looked almost exactly how I left it. For those of you not familiar, Weston is a town rich with history, calling itself the “Town that Time Forgot.” Established in 1837, Weston’s history depicts a time of the Louisiana purchase, Lewis & Clark, German & French settlers, and an ever growing tobacco crop. Between 1837 and 1860 it was know as the farthest “West Town” in the U.S. and was the last place wagon trains could restock before trekking across the Missouri River and a place for steamboats to unload supplies for Ft. Leavenworth and reload with tobacco products and other goods, such as lumber and whiskey. Weston has seen damning fires that nearly destroyed it’s business district, a cholera outbreak that killed hundreds, and a flood that nearly ended the town’s steamboat trade. This Civil-War era town is home to numerous Victorian and antebellum homes (some of which have been converted into charming bed and breakfast’s) and has over 100 buildings listed on the National Historic Register. The town also has ties to President Abraham Lincoln, with Pleasant Ridge Cemetery being the resting place of “Lincoln’s other Mary,” Mary Owen’s Vineyard.
With the exception of Monday’s, when most of the shops are closed, Weston is a tourist hotspot. With all of it’s unique shops and antique stores to browse, there is a little something for everyone to revel in. When I got to town I did some downtown browsing of my own. McCormick’s distillery, the Main Street Galleria, the Farmers House Market, and Buffalo Ranch Home Furnishings were just a few of the shops I poked around in.
Among the town’s other unique and iconic spots are the Weston Brewing Company, the Weston Burley House, O’Malley’s Pub, and the Bunkhouse.
I also stopped outside the old jail (also on the historic register) to capture this hilarious mural.
Although mother nature insisted on it being in the upper 90s while I was there, I did do a small amount of hiking at Weston Bend State Park. Expansive views of the Missouri River and a glimpse of Kansas are well worth the short walk to the scenic outlook.
My trip to Weston, however, would not have been complete without capturing some of the area’s towering tobacco barns and surrounding fields. (Note: I edited these two ways–basic, minimal touch-ups and the use of a “heartland” filter that I thought really brought an old-time feel to the photos, reminiscent of Weston’s historic side. I decided to include both below because I simply couldn’t help myself.)
A Friday night high school football game, watching my not-so-baby cousin march in her high school band and day spent in Lawrence, Kansas, walking like a Jayhawk rounded out this reminiscent trip. Unfotunately, the famous fieldhouse was under construction and closed to the public, so I’ll have to browse by the trophy cases and the original rules of basketball on another trip.
If you’ve never experience Weston, I urge you to do so. Weston is small town USA; neatly preserved for all to enjoy. It’s a town seeped in history with someone waiting to tell you a great story about the very spot you’re standing in. And it’ll forever be my second home.