Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Missouri Getaway - Day Three

We left Hermann, MO and drove backroads down to the Lake of the Ozarks and specifically to Camdenton, Missouri.  I had seen pictures of a castle ruins that are now in a state park.  The park is called Ha Ha Tonka State Park which means "laughing waters".  There are a lot of interesting and beautiful natural features in the park and many trails to hike.  There is a short half mile up-hill trail to the castle from the parking lot. The Castle was built in the early 1900's by a wealthy Kansas City businessman.  Unfortunately, he was killed the year after construction began in one of the first automobile accidents in Missouri.  His sons finished building it in 1922, however it wasn't as elaborate.  Eventually the property was leased for a hotel and in 1942 sparks from a chimney ignited the roof.  The fire gutted the castle and the carriage house.  In 1976 vandals burned the water tower.  The ruins are massive and give an idea of how lavish the house was originally.  It has a stunning view from the top of a bluff over the Lake of the Ozarks.  

remnants of the carriage house

The castle ruins

overlooking the lake from the bluff
A natural spring that pumps 48 million gallons of water daily into the lake.

The water tower was stabilized and a roof added back on after the vandalism in the 70's. The caretaker of the property lived in it with his family before the castle was burned. 

There are many wildflowers blooming in the park.
The park boasts one of Missouri's best oak woodlands with almost 3,000 acres preserved.
Next time we will go more prepared to hike.  
For more information on this beautiful state park go to 

Sunday, September 12, 2021

Missouri Getaway, Day Two

On our first full day we planned on hiking on the Katy Trail State Park.  It is the longest developed rail-trail in the country.  It was built on the former Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad line and is 240 miles long.  It runs between Clinton and Machens with 26 trailheads along the way.  Part of it has been designated as an official segment of the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail.  The trail runs closely along the Missouri River and there are many ranches and farms along the way.  We only went five miles (round trip).  But, are hoping to take bikes next time and go farther.  

The main reason I wanted to get on the trail was because of an important story in my family.  My Papaw, Marquis Frank Turner, was born in McBaine, MO and my family was from the area.  When he was a young adult, his father, Jesse Porter Turner, was killed in an accident on the MKT line when he jumped off a moving handcar to retrieve his sister's hat.  She never wore that hat again.  It was 1918 and he was 49 years old. It was a Sunday afternoon and they were visiting family, traveling from McBaine to Providence which is about an 8 mile trip.  I didn't get to that location this time, but I will in the future. 

The trail is fairly flat which makes it a great trail for bicycling.  We saw mostly cyclers and a couple of dog walkers.    

There are many trestle bridges from the train days.  There is one original tunnel in the Rocheport area, which I really want to photograph.  The trail where we were was surrounded by corn and soybean fields.  There are sections that go right along the Missouri River and the bluffs which are beautiful.  

This was a former mercantile that was built when the railroad went in. 
Notice the large, carved ear of corn on the right.  

Check out more information on the KATY Trail State Park at 


Saturday, September 11, 2021

Missouri Getaway - Day One

 This past week, we traveled to a couple of destinations in Missouri for a quick get away.  I had discovered some things that I wanted to see and they all happened to be not too far from each other.  We reserved a VRBO in Hermann, Missouri as our resting spot.  

 First of all, we drove to Fulton, Missouri on the way to Hermann.  In Fulton, is Westminster College.  Westminster is a beautiful little campus in the small town of Fulton that has beautiful architecture and some interesting history.  I specifically wanted to see America's National Churchill Museum that is on campus.  It is set in a chapel building that was moved from London and rebuilt onto the college campus.  The chapel is the Church of St. Mary the Virgin, Aldermanbury. Originally from the 1600's, it was bombed by Hitler during the blitz of World War II. The story of how it came to rest in Fulton, is worth the visit. The museum commemorates the life of Winston Churchill and they also have a small exhibit of his paintings.  Did you know that WC was an oil painter? He was invited to speak in the chapel and his "Iron Curtain" speech, "Sinews of Peace" was given there.  

Lake Scene at Norfolk
oil on canvas

A big piece of the Berlin Wall is also on display next to the Chapel.

Check out more about this museum at https://www.nationalchurchillmuseum.org

Monday, May 24, 2021

Plein Air Workshop

Who is this you ask?  It's me.  Still hanging around.  I'm usually on Instagram @imkarensb if you're curious.  I had a wonderful week attending a painting workshop and thought I'd share some photos here with you.  Let's see if I can remember how to post on here.  Things have changed a lot and I also don't remember how they work.  

The workshop was by Kim Casebeer in Manhattan, Kansas.  Kim is a well known oil painter and has multiple awards and professional associations.  Since the workshop was reasonably close to me, I decided to take the leap and join in.  

This area of Kansas is home to the Tallgrass prairie in the Flint Hills of northeastern Kansas.  We were able to enjoy beautiful vistas like this of the Konza Prairie which is owned by The Nature Conservancy. It is located within the largest remaining area of unplowed tall grass prairie in North America.    

We spent 3 days painting plein air (outside) in the wind, sun and rain showers.  For this rookie painter, that was a challenge.  

Kim demonstrates at our first location.  Her subject is a big, gorgeous tree that is sweeping over the trail.  This was one of the few days that the sun was out and the sky was beautiful.  

Packed up and ready to find my spot.
This is the spot I chose.  I loved how the trees arched over the creek.  Of course, I would choose a complicated scene.  Finished painting to be revealed at a later date.  

Scenes from the drive back to the hotel.
In the evening Ken and I went to the overlook and waited for the sun to set.  This photo was taken just an hour after the first one in this post.  I really will try to continue posting over the next week about this wonderful experience.  

Take care and try something new!



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