This week we traveled east on I-70 and exited north on Little Blue Parkway, east of the 291/I-470/I-70 intersection to access the Little Blue Trace Trail. The trail was closed at that point because of some construction; so we drove on Little Blue Parkway to Necessary Road, turned east and found a parking area for the trail just off the road next to the Little Blue River. There are several access points along the trail.
We headed north, knowing the trail to the south was closed. It’s a beautiful, crushed stone trail (easy on the feet and bicycle-friendly) which extends eleven miles from I-70 to a shelter on Blue Mills Road north of 24 Highway. The part we walked was almost entirely in the sun. Only a few shady spots gave us relief from the heat. This is a good trail for spring or fall–summer only if one wears a hat and lots of sunscreen. Nice vistas of the river make the walk pleasant, and from experience on the trail, I know there is more shade and also a Civil War monument along the trail farther north.
Following the advice of a friend, we ate at Café Verona on the Independence square after our hike. It’s lovely, romantic, friendly, and has yummy food. This is a date night kind of restaurant in a renovated building with lots of class. I had a very reasonably priced spinach and strawberry salad and shared the artichoke dip and pita. Actually, I don’t like strawberries, but the waitress was very willing to switch out another fruit or vegetable for me, and I was a contented muncher.
South of the square in Independence is the Historic Bingham-Waggoner Estate. A one hour tour provides an authentic view of affluent life in the 1800’s. George Caleb Bingham, famous 19th century American artist and Missouri politician, and the Waggoners, a flour milling family, lived on the estate. The final Waggoner resident died in 1976 and left the estate without an heir so that many of the original buildings and furnishings are intact and carefully maintained by the Independence Historical Society. It is worth a visit, especially for history buffs.