My parents live about an hour from where I go to school at Truman State. They’re located in a small farming community and have become good friends with several of the local farmers including the family who runs Uptown Farms. For the very first year, this October Uptown Farms opened a pumpkin patch and corn maze.
For weeks now, my parents had been bragging about how cute the pumpkin patch was and I was ecstatic to go and see it for myself. Thankfully, the farm is less than a mile away from my parents home, so it was easy to stop in and check it out when I came home over midterm break.
Beyond the store, pumpkin patch, and corn maze the farm boasts a unique array of events for the whole family! They have a smaller straw bale maze for the kiddos, and a sensory barn filled with corn. They’ve set out various toys inside the corn so the young visitors can have a great time. They also have a tic-tac-toe board and checkers table that can be played with pumpkins! It’s seriously too cute! Visitors can also bring their own snacks to the farm and enjoy it on their provided picnic tables to make a day of visiting.
The Country store doesn’t charge admission, so come visit free of charge! Admission into the corn maze is $7 for adults. Hurry to visit! The all of the events are only open until October 31st!
The Country Store
Our first stop at the farm was to peek into the little store that they have. Inside, the sold all types of pumpkins and other fall goodies. And I mean ALL types of pumpkins. They had orange ones, blue ones, and my personal favorite, the peanut pumpkin. I’ve never even considered that many varying types of pumpkins existing, let alone being sold in one spot! My mom made some baskets and put them in the store for sale, along with other vendors and farm decor. Outside the store, they have a bunch of mums for sale. It’s just so reminiscent of fall–– cozy, and cute!
I love animals, and if you’re reading this you probably already know that. Visitors are able to look at two ultra cute calves (Blaze and Spot) and two ewes (Fuzzy and Wooly). All four of the animals looked so happy and healthy romping around in the stalls and having a blast.
The Corn Maze
Uptown Farms has a tractor and trailer that will transport you from the store to the entrance of the corn maze, which is super handy. When I visited, it was such a nice day so we just decided to walk, however. The maze itself isn’t all that far from the store and is a nice walk if you’re up to it. The maze itself was super big, and there was a lot of corn. I hadn’t ever been to a corn maze so I was surprised to see that there was still corn on the stalks. I don’t know why, and it seems kind of silly now but I was surprised! The maze itself wasn’t overly complicated and was a nice little walk through the corn. We didn’t get lost or anything so that’s a major bonus!
The Pumpkin Patch
Next to the corn maze is a gigantic pumpkin patch filled with a ton of pumpkins! There are pumpkins of all shapes and sizes! Just go out and pick your favorite. I wanted to take home this big orange one, but it was a little too heavy for me to lift!
Does anyone else go to a college in a tiny town that’s hours and hours away from another major city? Over the past three years, I’ve definitely come to love Kirksville’s charm, but it is still nice to get out of town sometimes––especially right before the midterm season.
My friends and I were originally supposed to go and visit a pumpkin patch and corn maze in Laclede, but the weather had other plans for us. The forecast for last Saturday was overcast and drizzly, making for a not fun time to be carving pumpkins and traipsing through a corn maze. So, we made a last minute decision to drive to Columbia, Missouri for a day of fun.
Since I attended Mizzou for a year, my friends considered me an expert in our adventure to Columbia. So, our first stop was Main Squeeze, a vegetarian-friendly restaurant downtown. While I was a student at Mizzou I lived a few blocks away, and would routinely get blueberry smoothies and muffins on my way to class. This time, however, I ordered breakfast tacos and a vegan chocolate chip cookie. I think that the tofu in the tacos were spiced with turmeric and red pepper. They were perfectly spicy and tasty. The cookie was a bit undercooked but still great!
Our next stop was, of course, Lakota Coffee. Lakota is decorated in a style that reminds me of, what I imagine, a cafe tucked away in the Colorado mountains looks like. It’s rustic, and charming in a mountain home sort of way. The tables and chairs are made of wood, with the bark still attached. It’s so charming, and as a bonus they serve the best coffee in town. Per usual, I got a chai and some chocolate covered coffee beans for a treat later in the day.
Right across the street is a store called Makes Scents. Here, you can create your own scented lotion using their scent oils. You can mix and match your favorite scents to create something totally cutsom and one of a kind. I have some great grapefruit lotion, that smells really great. They also sell a bunch of candles and other goodies to make your life as relaxing as possible.
Our final stop was DrinKraft for kombucha. Located in Columbia’s Arts District, DrinKraft makes their own in-house kombucha in a variety of ever-changing flavors. They also sell fine teas and coffee, as well as mixed drinks. The bartender lets you try as many flavors as you want before deciding which one you actually want to drink. The kombucha comes in small and large glasses, and quart sized jars to take home and savor. I got their blueberry sage to take home with me!
Attached to DrinKraft is a local grocery store, Root Cellar. They focus on selling sustainable groceries to Columbia. They had a ton of fresh fruit and vegetables––without wrapping!! Go zero waste! All of their produce comes from local farmers, too, which is pretty incredible.
The past month of my life has been incredibly busy! I’m in my last year of undergrad, beginning writing my thesis, and starting graduate school application preparation. It’s hard to believe that it’s already October and that the fall semester is almost halfway over. So it truly has been a wild time, hence the lacking posts on the color gold.
Anyway, now that it’s fall and I have been in school for a bit I’ve been doing a lot of reflection on my summer, and I just wanted to update everyone. I was lucky enough to spend three weeks traveling the UK, and studied abroad in London for four weeks and I’m feeling pretty nostalgic, so let’s recap on some of the many ways that my summer abroad changed my life.
The London Mastaba
One sunny and hot June day my friend and I were walking through the Hyde Park looking for the Princess Diana Memorial Fountain. Instead of finding the fountain we stumbled upon Christo’s newest realized barrel installation, The London Mastaba. We rented a paddle boat and paddled around the Serpentine––getting incredibly close to the Mastaba. Although the Mastaba is just made up of thousands and thousands of oil drums stacked on top of one another it is one of the most visually striking works of art I have seen. The Mastaba is so incredibly huge and dominates the skyline of the park. It’s something truly stunning and I’m incredibly lucky that I was able to see a realized Christo and Jeanne Claude.
It resonated with me so much that I decided to write my undergraduate thesis as a retrospective of Christo and Jeanne Claude’s barrel art. Physically seeing the Mastaba was honestly one of the most moving works of art that I’ve ever seen, and I’m so grateful to Kingston University for offering me a place in their summer school program so that I could be fully immersed in cultural London.
As an art history major, the importance of Greek and Roman art is noted at every turn. I took Greek and Roman Art History last semester, prior to visiting Bath, and I have been really inspired by Greek and Roman pottery styles lately. So inspired that when my friend showed me their Greek-inspired ceramic mug for sale, I snatched it right up. It’s so wonderful that artists can not only recognize important historic art movements but also incorporate them into their contemporary art.
Late last spring semester I got a concussion while rollerblading. While I was recovering I was supposed to limit my screentime, so I queued up a bunch of YouTube videos and listened to them after my final exams were complete. One of the videos I listened to lead me down a rabbit hole of discovering the zero waste movement. While I still have so much to learn about the movement, I’ve been making process towards reducing my waste and becoming more eco-friendly.
Have you ever heard of Kirksville, Missouri? Unless you’re a student (or potential student!) at Truman State or A.T. Still University, you probably haven’t. Kirksville is a small university town in northeastern Missouri. Located only three hours from Kansas City, St. Louis, and Des Moines, and six hours from Chicago, Kirksville is a popular collegiate destination for potential students in the Midwest.
While many students look to Truman due to its prestige—we’re the only highly selective liberal arts university in the state, and the consistently ranked in the top ten public colleges by Washington Monthly. Beyond the prestige, potential (and current) college students should take into consideration the wealth of activities to do in Kirksville when deciding where to go to college.
Whether you’ll be in Kirksville just for a weekend college tour, or a full four years for an undergraduate degree this post will help you identify the major things to do in town. Here’s a quick guide to all of the fun activities that you can do in Kirksville, whether you’re a student or just passing through.
Why Visit Kirksville
Kirksville is home to three universities, a vibrant arts community, and is well known in the region for its outstanding outdoor recreation spaces. Many visitors from out of town arrive in Kirksville while attending college tours with their family. While others often travel to Kirksville from more local destinations for shopping, and cultural festivities.
Getting to Kirksville
Like I mentioned, Kirksville is a three-hour drive from several major Midwestern cities. Situated on Highway 63, Kirksville is accessible by car whether you’re coming from southern Missouri, or if you’re coming from Iowa in the north.
Kirksville also has its own airport that is only a few miles out of the city limits. The airport has daily flights arriving and departing from St. Louis.
The nearest Amtrak station is in La Plata, which has daily trains from Kansas City and Chicago. There are a variety of taxi services that will take you to and from the train station and Kirksville.
As a college student who has lived in Kirksville for three years now, the most common complaint that I hear from students is that there’s nothing to do in Kirksville. However, that simply isn’t true! Check out these activities to do this weekend, or on your visit to town.
Thousand Hills—Thousand Hills State Park is the largest state park in Kirksville. Located north of downtown, Thousand Hills is the primary recreation area for the city. There are three hiking trails, ranging from half-hour long hikes to full-day adventures. Paddleboats, canoes, and motorboats are available for rent for use on the lake. During the warmer months, it is common for university students to take to the lake in between classes and study sessions.
Tour the Campus—Truman State’s campus is truly stunning. In the spring and summer months, the campus is covered in gorgeous gardens and plants. A must stop location is at the Sunken Gardens. Located behind the Kirk Memorial building, the Sunken Gardens is an oasis for students who need a study break. The tall shrubs block out the hustle and bustle of everyday campus life, and the benches add a nice element for relaxation.
Attend a talk at Truman—Truman professors are obviously experts in their fields, and often give talks about their upcoming research. Check out Truman’s activities calendar to see if any of the talks interest you! If you’re a potential student at Truman, consider attending a talk lead by a professor in your major. It’ll give you a feel for the style of the major, and also allow you to see if you’d be a good fit personality wise with others in the same field of study.
Visit the medicinal garden—AT. Still University is world renowned for its scholarship in osteopathic medicine, and they have a garden and museum with a collection of books, photographs, and papers, which document osteopathic traditions globally.
Winery at Jackson Stables—Nestled between Thousand Hills State Park and Big Creek Conservation Area, the Winery at Jackson Stables is the go-to place to enjoy a fine selection of wines and dinner. The Winery is home to an event space that can be used for weddings and community events like fundraisers and art and wine nights.
Big Creek Conservation Area—With over 1,000 acres, Big Creek Conservation Area is a great location for hiking, camping, fishing, and hunting.
Lost Branch Blueberry Farm—About 10 minutes outside of downtown Kirksville, off of Highway 6, is the largest blueberry farm in Northeastern Missouri. The farm is family owned and operated, which means that visitors are able to pick their own blueberries––great for a family or friend outing! They provide buckets and bags for you, so just show up and get ready to pick some berries! The farm is only open during the summer months so make sure that they’re open before you head out!
Red Barn Arts Festival—Red Barn Arts Festival is one of the leading attractions that Kirksville offers. The Festival is a community-wide event with over one hundred vendors, who sell food, art, and other merchandise. Since 1974, Red Barn has been a major community event for the city. Individuals travel from all over the Midwest to buy and sell art, visit, and participate in the activities put on by Red Barn.
Community Roots Festival—Sponsored by local restaurant Take Root Café, the Community Roots Festival stresses the importance of local food production and sustainability to the Kirksville community. This festival is divided into two parts. Farmers and exhibitors come to the town square to sell locally made produce, food, and beverages.
Homecoming—Truman State’s Homecoming week is a large week-long event that culminates on a Saturday with a parade, tailgate, and football game. Students and alumni take to the streets to support their college, and then tailgate in the parking lots.
Farmers Market—When driving to Kirksville tourists will immediately notice all of the farmland in Northeastern Missouri. During the spring and summer months (May through October), farmers bring their produce to the town square to sell. The prices are ultra cheap, and make eating healthy in Kirksville a possibility for us all.
Diner 54—Located in the south end of town, Diner 54 is Kirksville’s favorite diner. Diner 54 has a huge menu, so everyone is sure to find something that they’ll love.
Bonzai—While landlocked Missouri may not be your first thought for really good sushi, Bonzai’s sushi is a Kirksville cult classic. Bonzai is bustling in the evenings with college students catching up over great food. My favorite roll is the avocado cucumber!
La Pachanga—Everyone in Kirksville has a favorite sushi restaurant, and mine is La Pachanga. The service is always good, the prices are great for being in a college town, and they offer dollar margaritas every day! What more could you want?
Maxwell’s—If you’re looking for more of an upscale dining experience in Kirksville, Maxwell’s is the place for you. The establishment is known around town for its burgers and sandwiches, as well as their discounted margaritas on Thursdays!
Take Root Café—The popularity of health food restaurants is on the rise, and several years ago Take Root Café opened in Kirksville to fill this niche. Take Root Café offers a seasonally changing menu, with items that are sourced from local farmers. This is a great stop for vegans, vegetarians, and those with food allergies as Take Root can easily alter the menu for you!
While Kirksville has plenty of things to do itself, it never hurts to explore something else on your way in or out of town. Depending on where you’re going to or coming from, you should consider stopping at one of these locations on your way in or out of town.
Walt Disney Museum—Located about forty minutes away from Kirksville is Marceline, Missouri, which is known for its intense football rivalry with the neighboring town of Brookfield and being Walt Disney’s hometown.
Pershing Boyhood Home—Located in Laclede, right off of Highway 36 (a great stop for those on their way to Kansas City) is General Pershing’s Boyhood Home. Visitors can tour his home and his primary school at this site.
Visiting Amish communities—Right outside of Kirksville in the surrounding communities is a lively Amish community. The Amish have multiple storefront locations where you can buy freshly picked produce, canned foods, and other Amish treats like candies and specialty baked goods. My favorite store is.
American Gothic House—If you’re coming from the north, be sure to stop at the American Gothic House in Eldon, Iowa. It’s not as accessible from major highways as the other sites on this list, but it is worth seeing—especially if you are an art fiend.
Long Branch State Park—If you didn’t get enough outdoor recreation time in Kirksville, be sure to stop by Long Branch State Park on your way out of town in Macon. The lake has a beach, opportunities for camping, boating, and fishing.
Sitting on my nine hour flight from London back to the states, my brain is riled with so, so, so many emotions. So much has changed since my first week at my study abroad program. I just completed my study abroad program at Kingston University in London, and I’m heading home to go back to college in the states in a few weeks. Study abroad changed my perspective, and opened my eyes to new experiences, food, and, of course, friends. These experiences are something that I wouldn’t give up or change for anything, which is why returning home is such a bittersweet moment for me.
I’m incredibly thankful that I got to have this experience. I am so fortunate to have been able to experience a new culture for seven whole weeks. Seven weeks filled with touring some of the greatest museums, and galleries in the entire world. Seven weeks of exploring the history of the UK. Seven weeks of discovering an entirely new culture. It only took seven weeks for me to find my second home in London.
I got to watch the English soccer team come this close to winning the World Cup. I was swept away by the passionate fans shouting in the street after the English team scored a winning goal. I got to see the influence of the ancient Romans on present day society in Bath. I saw a one of a kind exhibit on Frida Kahlo at the Victoria and Albert Museum. I drank an incredible amount of tea at countless cafes. I met some incredible people through living at the dorms. I sat on too many trains terminating at Waterloo. I walked so many miles (approximately three hundred and twenty miles in total). I saw a live performance of a Shakespearean play at the Globe.
I’m amazed that I got to do all of these incredible, once in a lifetime things. I can’t believe that I navigated my own way through a foreign country, and that I very rarely got lost or had a problem that I couldn’t solve by myself. I feel so proud of myself for taking care of myself for the entirety of the time I was abroad. Sure, I take care of myself at college but doing it in an unfamiliar country is a totally different ballgame. Shopping at a grocery store for the first time was an unfamiliar experience. So was doing laundry, and getting to class. But I did it! I made it through, and I feel like that’s something to be proud of. It is truly incredible how you learn what you’re capable of doing while studying in a foreign country.
Now, on my way back, realizing my time in study abroad is over I feel incredibly sad. I’m upset that I’m leaving a country that has truly been nothing but wonderful to me this past summer. Everyone that I met in London was open to sharing their stories with me, and giving me their favorite tips on things to do and see. I’m going to miss menial things: rushing down the stairs at a Tube station to catch a train, walking around the block from the dorms to a great Indian restaurant, and walking along the Thames to class. I’m also going to miss living in one of the largest cities in the world. I’ll always remember walking around Soho at night once all of the shows were over. The streets were filled with so many people, from all walks of life. The hazy night sky seemed alive with the glowing show signs. Everyone seemed throughly overjoyed to be alive and living in London at that exact moment, and I just know that I’m never going to be able to forget the way I felt right then.
But most of all, I’m going to miss the friends that I’ve made. Being the introverted person I am, I never anticipated making friends in the short time that we would be abroad together. However, making friends was easier than anticipated. Groups of us all wanted to do the same things (see the tourist sites and buy groceries at first). So it was easy to find someone to do something with––no matter what it was.
Somehow, we all just got along. We swapped stories from home, made instant inside jokes, and that was that. Instant friends. Some of us were so eerily similar to one another, while others we were so vastly different in numerous ways. I feel like we all truly poured our hearts into one another so quickly, which is why leaving them was so hard.
Have you studied abroad? What do you miss the most from your time abroad?
London has an incredible amount of things to do within the city, but sometimes you just want to get out of the city and explore something new and at a slower pace. While London can keep you occupied for days, if you’re staying in the city for more than a few days a day trip from London may be just the getaway that you’re looking for. Here’s a list of my favorite day trips from London.
Bath is named for the ancient Roman baths that are located within the city. At less than one hundred miles away from central London, Bath makes a great day trip for those interested in the ancient Romans and literature. Around 60 AD, the city was named Aqua Sulis (the waters of Sulis) after the bathhouses that were constructed in the city. However, the hot springs were known before this time. As the Romans retreated, the city became less and less known for its hot springs. As more time passed Bath became a religious center as the Bath Abbey was constructed in the seventh century. Then, ten centuries later, the baths were again popularized due to their apparent healing qualities. During the seventeenth century Bath flourished as a spa town and consequently many new buildings in the Georgian style were constructed. As the popularity of Bath continued to rise in the eighteenth century, fashion became an important component of everyday society.
What to do
Obviously one of the main attractions in Bath are the Roman Baths. After purchasing your ticket (£17.50 for adults, but they offer student and children discounts) you’ll have free rein of what you want to see at the Baths. Included in your ticket price is an audio guide, so take your time and see all that the museum has to offer. The major highlights of the Roman Baths are the East and West Baths. The East Baths are where the women would have bathed, and the West Baths are where the men would have finished their bathing experience in icy cold water. Visitors will also be able to visit the terrace, which over looks the Great Bath and has many statues of Roman Emperors.
Literature fans will be happy to know that Jane Austen lived in Bath for a period of time. There’s an entire museum, the Jane Austen Centre, that celebrates Bath’s most famous resident. Visits at the Centre begin by a welcoming talk given by members of staff, and then you’ll be free to explore the museum at your own leisure.
How to get there
Getting to Bath for a day trip from London could not be easier. Simply hop on a train from Paddington Station in central London, and an hour and a half later you’ll be in Bath!
The most obvious thing to do on a day trip from London in Oxford is to tour the colleges! One of the most iconic colleges that you should visit is Christ Church College. This college is the home of the grand staircase, and the inspiration of the dining hall in the Harry Potter films. Christ Church is also known for educating thirteen Prime Ministers of the UK, so it’s absolutely worth a visit! While inside Christ Church make sure you pop into the Christ Church Cathedral, which is included in your admittance fee. Because of Christ Church’s fame, it’s wildly popular with tourists. This can make some tourists uncomfortable, and they may wish to tour another college. Other colleges of interest include New College, Merton College, and Trinity College.
While touring the interiors of the colleges takes a considerable amount of time, some visitors may be more interested in a waking tour that showcases multiple colleges may be right for you. Walking tours are extremely popular in Oxford as they are a great way to see a lot of the city in a short amount of time. Some tours are free while others are paid, but regardless of the cost tourists should book their tickets well in advance to ensure they get a spot on the tour. I do recommend doing a bit of research on choosing what tour company you wish to use depending on what you’re most interested in. Footprints Tours offers a free walking tour given by actual Oxford students. Their tour includes visiting six colleges, and an in depth history of the town. Although the tour is free, remember it is polite to tip your tour guide! Another option for a waking tour in Oxford is Oxford Walking Tours. These tours are paid, but the company offers a wide variety of tours to choose from. They offer basic walking tours, literary, student life, and even ghost tours! Plus their ticket prices include admittance into the Divinity School—what a steal.
Not interested in spending your day trip from London only touring colleges? No problem! Oxford has so much more to offer, including a rich shopping scene. Be sure to visit the Covered Market in central Oxford. The market is sure to have something for everyone from food to flowers and souvenirs. If you have a sweet tooth be sure to hit up Ben’s Cookies for a real treat. Plus, if you order four cookies they’ll give you a special reusable tin to take home with you! Beyond the Covered Market, there are many High Street shops in Oxford, and smaller local boutiques as well. There really is something for everyone—and their budget.
How to get there
From central London, there are many ways to get to Oxford. The easiest is by taking a train from Paddington Station. Direct trains from Paddington leave every half hour or so, but there are trains with changes that leave more frequently in between. Another option is taking the Oxford Tube, a bus from central London to Oxford. Use Tube stops Shepard’s Bush, Notting Hill Gate, Marble Arch, or Victoria to access the Oxford Tube bus. Busses leave every twenty minutes or so.
Stonehenge is one of several prehistoric monuments found in the U.K., and is an official English Heritage Site as well as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Stonehenge is part of a larger Neolithic and Bronze Age complex, which is one of the richest areas of archeological goods from these periods in England. It’s thought that the site was built in several stages. The first henges were constructed by Neolithic peoples around 5,000 years ago. And the stones that are found today are said to be constructed around 2,500 BCE. Then, during the Bronze Age, nearby burial mounds were erected. It’s unknown what the purpose of the henges and mounds were. Perhaps the stones were used for rituals due to the stones alignment with the summer and winter solstices. This alignment could also suggest that it was a place used for astronomical research. There are so many differing hypotheses about how the stones were erected and what they were used for so I recommend that you do a bit of Googling beforehand to find out your favorite!
What to do
First and foremost, see the stones! There what you came to see after all! There are two ways to get to the stones, either by walking or taking a shuttle bus. The shuttles stop at the Visitors Center very frequently, and take only ten minutes to get to the monument itself. Walking from the Visitors Center will take you approximately thirty or so minutes. On your walk you’ll be immersed into the Neolithic landscape, and there will be signage pointing out important pieces of the landscape.
Once you’ve arrived at the stones you’ll be able to fully walk around them—so long as you stay on the grassy path. It’s marked by ropes, so don’t worry about missing it. If your visit is in peak summer season be prepared for the monument to be packed with tourists taking photos! Make sure that you peruse the surrounding landscape, and don’t only focus on the stones! The surrounding pastures have important details as to how the stones were brought to this location. Tip: if you want the best photos walk along to the back side (closest to the highway) as you’ll be able to see the circular arrangement of the stones and there will be less tourists.
The Visitors Center includes a cafe (that is somewhat pricey!) to buy snacks at. Try one of their rock cakes if you can! Rock cakes are a baked good somewhere between a cookie and a scone, and taste so good. There is also an exhibition center and Neolithic houses to explore at the Visitors Center, so be sure to visit before or after visiting the stones.
If you’re an English Heritage or National Trust Member your visit to Stonehenge will be free, but it’s still recommended that you book your tickets before arrival. For everyone else, tickets will set you back £17.50. Be sure to book early as your desired time slot could fill up!
How to get there
Stonehenge is great for a day trip from London as it is fairly accessible from the city. There two main options to get to Stonehenge from London. The first is by taking a train from Waterloo to Salisbury Station, where you’ll pick up a bus that will take you directly to Stonehenge via The Stonehenge Tour. Busses depart Salisbury Station every half hour, and take about a half hour to get to Stonehenge. Bus tickets start at £15 for the bus ride to the monument. The company offers bundled packages that include admission into Stonehenge and/or the Salisbury Cathedral for those interested.
Another option is to hire a tour company that will take you directly to Stonehenge from central London. There are numerous tour companies that will meet you at a specified location in London and take you out to Stonehenge for the day. Pick the option that best suits your preferred time table!
Have you ever been to any of these destinations? Tell me about it in the comments!
Writing about all things travel, vegan, and sustainable living. You’ll find me drinking chai tea lattes, and admiring succulents from afar. Outside of The Color Gold, I’m a college student studying art history at a small liberal arts college in the Midwest.