Tiny Towns, Big Fun

Photo by Frank Thompson
Photo by Frank Thompson

The tiny Missouri towns of Arrow Rock and Blackwater remain two of our favorite weekend destinations. Absorb the history and rural charm of the pioneer village of Arrow Rock, shop in its unique stores and stay for a performance at the Lyceum Theatre in the evening. Ten miles away, Blackwater, a railroad town on the Union Pacific Line, offers a great little hotel, The Iron Horse, complete with wine bar and restaurant, making a good base for your operations. Several antique and vintage shops round out the Blackwater experience.

The Arrow Rock Lyceum Theatre, the only professional theater between Kansas City and St. Louis, presents Neil Simon’s Rumors, Aug. 8-15 and Driving Miss Daisy, Aug. 22-30. For more info:

Missouri artist George Caleb Bingham got his start painting in Arrow Rock and used scenes in the town as backdrops in some of his most famous paintings. Incidentally, New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art in June mounted a major Bingham exhibition, Navigating the West: George Caleb Bingham and the River. It runs through Sept. 20.



Down Over Bed and Breakfast  A warm and welcoming inn with comfortable rooms and a full sit-down breakfast. Coffee and cookies are ready when you need them. It’s a tradition with many visitors. Kick back on the front porch. 602 Main St., Arrow Rock

Iron Horse Hotel — This restored hotel formerly used by railroad workers today is a well-appointed small inn with eight large rooms, each decorated to evoke a specific railroad or train. 103 Main St., Blackwater. 103 Main St., Blackwater


Catalpa — The fresh local food in this chef-driven restaurant is garnering a growing number of enthusiasts. The menu is seasonal and varies daily depending on what’s available from local farmers. Catalpa is available for private functions during off hours. Everything’s prepared on the basis of who’s expected for dinner, so reservations are strongly recommended. 503 High St., Arrow Rock, 660-837-3324

Chez Trappeur Wine Bar & Bistro A true “farm to market” establishment with a cellar containing 180 different wines. Summer menus will be presented for dinners Friday and Saturdays, lunch on Saturday, Sunday brunch and Wednesday evenings prior to Lyceum performances. The wine-tasting room is available by reservation. 406 Main Street, Arrow Rock, 660-837-3133 for reservations

The Iron Horse A small, but lovingly prepared menu of Midwest beef, pork and poultry served attentively by the staff, although the homemade pies might keep you coming back. The dining room takes you back in time but the wine list tells you it’s today. 103 Main St., Blackwater, 660-846-2011

Blackwater and Arrow Rock are easily accessed from Exit 89 on Interstate 70. Follow Route K to Blackwater. Continue on Rte. K to Hwy. 41 and follow the signs to Arrow Rock.