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The Ritchey Mansion in Newtonia, Missouri, is a treasure! This Civil War-era home is a great artifact in the area. And its paranormal happenings make it all the better. One of our favorite things to do when traveling is to take a ghost tour. You’ll get a dose of history with some spooky on the side. It’s also a great thing to do in the evenings when most historic sites have long been closed for the day. We’ve also discovered the joy of seeking out ghost tours in our area.  We’ve been following Paranormal Science Lab and Dark Ozarks, and they coordinate tours and paranormal investigations of local (to us) historic sites. The proceeds of these tours go to the maintenance and restoration of these sites, so it’s a no-brainer for us. We get to contribute to preserving history while visiting a cool site, known for paranormal activity, as an…

One spring day, my friend and I decided to make a day trip to Kansas City. Our two goals–The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and some delicious Kansas City barbecue. We set out in the morning from Joplin, Missouri, and we arrived in KC right in time for lunch. I’d never tried Gates Bar-B-Q, and my friend was game. It was on. Gates has several locations in the Kansas City metro area. I’d never seen the 18th and Vine Jazz District, so we punched the location nearest to that area into Google Maps. We walked around the historic area, vowing to return when we could really explore and visit the jazz museum.  In the meantime, the murals were lovely. Street art is such a cool addition to any city. After walking around the area, we were ready to eat. After a short drive, we arrived at the Brooklyn Avenue location. History…

When you think about Kansas City, “steamboat” is probably not the first word to pop into your mind. But if you’re visiting Kansas City, the Arabia Steamboat Museum may just turn out to be one of your favorite experiences. The museum is located on the Missouri side of Kansas City at the City Market, a great place to visit on its own. If you go on a Saturday, the area will have booths set up in addition to the normal shopping and food choices. You can shop for crafts, flowers, produce, and food. There are plenty of things to sample here! It’s like a farmer’s market on steroids. And if you’re staying near the free KC Streetcar, hop on the streetcar at one of the stops and ride it to the end of the line. This is exactly what we did during our visit; it was a nice ride through…

If you’re heading to Kansas City and hoping to sample some delicious KC barbecue, you should definitely give Arthur Bryant’s a try. You won’t be sorry. Arthur Bryant’s Barbecue is one of those legendary places to sample Kansas City’s most famous food. It’s not fancy, but don’t let that detour you. Arthur Bryant’s is one of the most well-known names in KC barbecue for a reason–the barbecue is to die for. Arthur Bryant’s: The History It seems Arthur Bryant’s gets its start with a man named Henry Perry, a man often referred to as Kansas City’s “father of Kansas City-style barbecue.”  In the early 1900s, Perry sold smoked meats to people who worked in the Garment District. Later, he moved to 18th and Vine, an area of Kansas City known as the historic Jazz District. This section of KC was sometimes described as a city within a city because the…

If you’re looking for something fun to do in January in Missouri, why not take a trip to see the bald eagles in Stella, Missouri? Since we live about 40 miles away, we’ve been a few times. Pre-Covid, Stella hosted an Eagle Days event around the third weekend in January each year. I couldn’t find any information for this year, but like our visit last year, you can drive to Stella to see the eagles without the hosted event by the Chert Glades Missouri Master Naturalists, the Missouri of Department of Conservation and the City of Stella. The eagles show up whether there is a festival or not. Remembering Our Visit to Stella’s Eagle Days Veteran’s Memorial Park Again, last year they didn’t have the festival, and I haven’t seen any information for this year. Still, I hope the festival returns one day in the future. In Veteran’s Memorial Park,…

At Halloween, some families go trick-or-treating. Some have parties or scary movie marathons. This year, our family decided to do a ghost tour in a nearby city–Springfield, Missouri. And where do you go for a ghost tour in Springfield? Why, the Pythian Castle, of course! This wasn’t our family’s first ghost tour. The ghost tour at the Pythian Castle made number 7 for us. What can I say? We like our history tours with a dash of the supernatural. To read about other ghost tours we’ve taken, click the links below. Lincoln’s Ghost Walk Ghosts and Gravestones: Savanah–The Andrew Low House Ghosts and Gravestones: San Diego–The Whaley House The Crescent Hotel Gettysburg (post has a section on the Jennie Wade House) What is the Pythian Castle? A Brief History The Pythian Castle has a surprising history. In 1913, the fraternal order, The Knights of Pythias, built the castle as a…

Few places scream “summertime” like a drive-in movie, and luckily, 66 Drive-In is one of the few still in operation. Located outside of Carthage, Missouri, along historic Route 66, this drive-in promises family fun under the stars. 66 Drive-In 66 Drive-In: 17231 Old 66 Boulevard, Carthage, Missouri Since we live in nearby Joplin, we arrive from the west. It’s important to arrive early to be sure you can get in, especially when the movie offerings are popular. If you wait too long, you will find yourself in a line of traffic waiting your turn to pull into 66 Drive-In. The drive-in is only open three days–Friday, Saturday, and Sunday–during the summer. Currently, the prices are $8.00 for adults and $4.00 for kids. Compared to indoor movie prices, that’s a bargain! And you get to see two films if you wish. One thing to note–you must pay cash to get in,…

Since we live just a few miles away, we like to make an evening of checking out the Christmas decorations in Carthage, Missouri, every year. In the area’s rich past, American Indians and French settlers called this place home. After the Louisiana Purchase, Carthage became a city and the county seat of Jasper County. This historic city is perhaps most famous, however, for the Civil War; the Battle of Carthage was fought here, and some of the homes in the city date back to the 1870s when the residents rebuilt after the war. These Victorian-style houses are beautiful any time of year, but they are exceptionally magic at Christmastime. If you are into Route 66 and its history, you’ll also find remnants of the highway’s past. In the mid-1970s, Vietnamese-American Catholics established their American monastery in Carthage; it’s now known as the Congregation of the Mother of the Redeemer. Every…

If you’re planning a trip to Southwest Missouri, be sure to include a visit to Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield. This Civil War battlefield is located near Springfield and just about a half-hour from Branson. It’s a great experience for history lovers and those who love the great outdoors; it’s a great addition to your trip to the Ozarks. We’ve been a couple of times now, both in the summer, though not this summer. My summer advice is to always go early, if you can, to beat the heat. Begin Your Adventure at the Wilson’s Creek Visitor Center Like most places that are part of the National Park Service, the visitor center is a great place to learn a little background and orient yourself to the park. I love the park vehicles parked out front. You can also pay your visitor fees and purchase any souvenirs. My family always gets a…

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