LINN CREEK, MISSOURI (CAMDEN COUNTY)
Nestled in the valley and former early 1900s metropolis, Linn Creek is home of Big Surf Waterpark, a large, family-friendly outdoor waterpark with rides for all ages and food concessions and the Camden County Museum. Take a moment to step back in time at the Camden County Museum to learn the area’s history and enjoy the displays and relics.
CAMDENTON, MISSOURI (CAMDEN COUNTY)
Camdenton is an abundant community on the west side of the popular Lake of the Ozarks and the county seat. Entering Camdenton you’ll see businesses, restaurants, and motels lining the highway. Al Griffin Photography and Our Eyes Upon Missouri are local businesses with a creative flare. Al Griffin Photography photographs real estate, portraits, restaurant food, and nature both on and off the water. People can visit Griffin’s blog to view stunning photos & learn more about events and sites along Highway 54. A short detour north on Hwy 5 will take you to the Camdenton city park equip with a fabulous multi-pool aquatic center, playground, and sport courts. A detour south on Hwy 5 brings you to Orion Center, a science and creation expo center. On Hwy 54, you can follow this scenic road from Camdenton, traveling near Ha Ha Tonka State Park, the castle built in the early 1900s by Robert Snyder. While crossing the bridge over Niangua Arm of the Lake of the Ozark behold the beautiful condominiums and houses that wrap around the lake. Old Kinderhook is a golf resort that has premiere accommodations and elegant dining, and if you want a unique dining experience take a break at Casa de Loco Winery boasting pizza from a fire brick oven or a beautiful location for a wedding. Traveling west you’ll run into a rural stretch through the town of Macks Creek.
MACKS CREEK, MISSOURI (CAMDEN COUNTY)
Old Town Café serves traditional American meals within a stones-throw from the highway and located across from the Bank of Macks Creek.
PRESTON, MISSOURI (HICKORY COUNTY)
Preston is at the junction of Highways 54 & 65. There is a convenient roadside park at Hwy 54 & 73 for anyone wanting to stop for a stretch or picnic.
HERMITAGE, MISSOURI (HICKORY COUNTY)
Entering the City of Hermitage is home to Pomme de Terre Lake. A short detour at Hermitage on Route 254, follow the signs to the Pomme de Terre dam completed in 1961 and maintained by the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers. There are abundant activities around the river and lake—hiking, camping, fishing, swimming beaches, or explore the State Parks. City of Hermitage has several unique places wrapped around the square, like Lightfoot General Hardware, get a trim at the Hermitage Barber Shop, visit the newly expanded Beyond Bargains Flea Market with nearly 100 booths. The Bank of Urbana has many full-service convenient locations in Macks Creek, Hermitage and Urbana. Hermitage is the county seat and home to a historical courthouse, jail, and an old-fashion town square. They just don’t make them like they used to.
WHEATLAND, MISSOURI (HICKORY COUNTY)
Next is the City of Wheatland, home to Lucas Oil Speedway—diamond of dirt tracks with Lake Lucas, the world’s largest lake exclusively created for boat racing. John F. Murphy Conservation Area, is a quiet stop for nature lovers, the caves are closed but primitive camping is allowed. The Wheatland Motel is right along Route 54. It’s locally owned and offers clean, modern rooms. Just a block off the highway in Wheatland (behind Darby Motors) is Settler’s Village and city park. Get out and stretch your legs at the park enjoying the rustic buildings and equipment of yesteryear. Gynemia’s Flower Garden carries everything from flower arrangements to gifts.
WEAUBLEAU, MISSOURI (HICKORY COUNTY)
After viewing the Wheatland farming prairie you’ll drive into the City of Weaubleau. Grab some delicious food at Our Kitchen Table, newly remodeled modern-amenity eight cabins at Weaubleau Motel (est. 1940), and Candlelight Creations & Dick’s Wildroot Horseradish shop line the Weaubleau roadside. Dick’s Wildroot Horseradish is a local recipe created by Dick Thompson – try it in original, apricot, & cranberry along with spices and dip mixes! Three historic buildings on the south side of the town burnt in January 2013. Many years ago, Weaubleau had a bustling rail service that transported many agriculture products into the area see the history page for more. The Weaubleau train depot has been demolished along with tracks. On April 28, 2013 Friends of Weaubleau Park completed a major playground project, revealing a new farm play set.
COLLINS, MISSOURI (ST. CLAIR COUNTY)
At the Highways 54 & 13 junction sits Collins, home of the famous Smith’s Restaurant & Berry Farm (more locations in Bolivar & Clinton). Smith’s is known for their giant pork tenderloin and homemade pies! Toys in the Attic, Too is a shop and museum specializing in Steiff Bears, dolls, antique toys and autos. Half way between Collins and El Dorado Springs is Arrowhead Point RV Park and Campground (east of Hwy K), stay at this peaceful full service campground equipped with a new cabin.
EL DORADO SPRINGS, MISSOURI (CEDAR COUNTY)
Ever “wonder” where the “City of Gold” is? Take a day-trip to “The Springs” … El Dorado Springs Missouri. Where the Ozark Foothills meet the Plains Prairie is the largest community in Cedar County, hosting around 3,600 “down-home-friendly” folks. Before El Dorado Springs was an established community Osage Indians brought their sick and wounded to the healing waters on which the town was founded. Early settlers became familiar with the spring and its healing properties and soon a town bloomed and blossomed into one of the most prolific tourist destinations in the Midwest. To protect the valued “aquatic gold” the land around the main spring was designated as the city’s park. The 10 acre Spring Park features a large 2-story Community Building where banquets and events may be held. The park also features shelter houses for picnicking, barbeque pits, additional picnic tables, tennis courts, and playground equipment. The Picnic features carnival rides, contests, exhibits, amusements and that eternally-appetizing “Fair-Food”… The Picnic has come a long way from the original “baskets and blankets” in the park! Across Spring Street from Spring Park is the new Civic Center which houses City Hall offices as well as a gymnasium, indoor track, fitness center, racquetball/handball court, and a game room with pool table, ping pong, air hockey, and more. Whether you’re into hunting, fishing, birding, hiking, camping, water sports or nature watching you’ll discover it in West Central Missouri. Some of that diversity includes the 4,040 acre Wah’ Kon-Tah (Great Spirit) Prairie which is the largest protected prairie complex in the Osage Plains. The prairie is home to native grasslands, wildflowers and many rare plants and animals. This includes efforts to restore Prairie Chickens to their native drumming, dancing and mating grounds. There are hills and hollers and wetlands and woods to explore around El Dorado Springs. With over 8,600 acres at Schell Osage Conservation Area and the 13,929 acre August A. Busch/Four Rivers Wetlands, and many other wildlife areas, there’s no shortage of nature. Stockton, Truman and Pomme de Terre lakes are in close proximity as well as the Osage and Sac Rivers, and many other places to wet your line. When you’re finished admiring the natural beauty of the rolling prairie take a short drive into town to enjoy local-flavored lunch at Scooter’s Café or Simone’s Drive-In. After lunch make your way downtown to the Wayside Inn Museum on Spring Street which houses a colorful and informative history of the El Dorado Springs area. Whether you visit the bustling businesses, like Heritage State Bank, along Highway 54 or meander downtown to see the quaint revitalization of Main Street with new brick & granite sidewalks and accouterments along the historic park’s Rock Wall, you’re bound to find something to interest you in the City of Gold!
NEVADA, MISSOURI (VERNON COUNTY)
Lastly the largest town on this segment of highway and last city before reaching Kansas. Spend a moment taking in the exhibits in the renown Bushwhacker Museum and Old Jail on west Walnut St. There are so many cozy lodging choices, American’s Best Value Inn & Suites, Country Inn & Suites, locally owned The Gathering Place Bed & Breakfast, Nevada Inn, or Super 8. Feeling hungry? Try the smoky Buzz’s BBQ, the American menu at Cherry’s Sport Grill, the exquisite fine dining at Gobbler’s Roost, the lighter fare at Jenny’s California Cafe or old-fashioned American diner style menu White Grill. Nevada has plenty of unique and small shops like Wagon Wheel Flea Market on Centennial Boulevard. We open our town for you to explore.
*Excerpt written by Jackson Tough, Executive Director Chamber of Commerce —Interested in joining the organization? Or to catch up on our progress read Meeting Notes Feb 2014