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Things to do In LaPlata, MO, in February.

La Plata, Missouri, Rail Events on February 23, 2008

Report and Photographs by Carl Morrison.  Comments welcome at

Things To Do In LaPlata, MO, in Winter.

(Click any photo below to see a double-size image; Click BACK in your browser to return to this page.)

Start with breakfast or lunch at Grandma's, (inside below.)
On the town square, visit City Hall and ask about tours of historic buildings in town.

McLorn House

Doneghy House
Check out Tom Marshall's '41 Chevy Pickup at the Depot Inn & Suites.
Watch a John Deere In Action.  In February, it might be moving snow.

Study the Railroad memorabilia inside and outside the Depot Inn & Suites.
You might see an Amish buggy out on Hwy. 63.
Watch BNSF freights and Amtrak Passenger Trains from the Chris Guenzler Million Mile Overlook.

Buy your Train Party goods at the headquarters.

If you are in La Plata during a snow storm, you can see how they reomove snow from the highways.
A snow storm is a great time to stay at the Depot Inn & Suites.  Take a walk to the nearby Red Rooster Restaurant for dinner and when you walk back to the Inn, it's like coming back to your own warm home.

Before you arrive, ask at the Depot Inn & Suites if there is a public event you could attend at the Silver Rails Event Center.
Inside the Events Center, you can find steam train photographs for sale by Yours Truly,
You can warm up in the heated Railroad Overlook, just east of  Access the Overlook behind the Red Rooster Restaurant.
From inside the Overlook, you can watch passing BNSF freight trains of all kinds, and Amtran Southwest Chief headed east about 10 a.m. and heading west about 8 p.m. on the double track through town.

The Scanner inside the overlook has the mile post number posted for reference.
The lookout is actually on the old Wasbash Line overpass, and looking across the tracks, you see the abutment on the south side.

Those who visit the Overlook are actually encouraged to write their name and date on the wall.
Here's my inscription for posterity.
Do you know about geocashing? There's a treasure at the Lookout!

Geocaching is a treasure hunting game where you use a GPS to hide and seek containers with other participants in the activity.

Learn more at:

West of town, on Hwy. 156, is the Amish Store, where you can purchase the simpler things in life.  Outside you can talk with the Amish men whose wives are inside shopping.  Behind the store are some horses in a field.  Remember, no photographs of the Amish when you can recognize their faces in the photos.  Inside, I highly recommend the cashew crunch.  The most Amish will be at the store on Saturday, their shopping day.  The store is closed on Sunday, for obvious reasons.

If an Amish buggy is enclosed, a married couple or family will be driving, not a single man.
The frost on the barbed wire makes it appear softer than it's intended use.
Out on the hard road, the 'slow vehicle' sign on the back warns approaching cars.
Say 'Hello' to the Amish Store Calico cat for me.

After you visit the Amish Store, drive west on Hwy. 156 to Hilton Avenue, then turn left onto the gravel road, which in February may be snow covered.  Keep an eye on the right, for a "T" road called, Helium Stree.  At the corner, on the right, is what appears to be an outhouse.  There may be Amish  buggies parked there.  This is an Amish community telephone booth!   Turn right on Helium.

Pulling off on a side road, past Amish farms, watch for Amish buggies, and Amish saw mills. 

An open buggy, like the one to the right, will be driven by an unmarried male Amash.  The black buggy on white snow was a special sight.

Helium Road
After you cross the RR tracks on Helium road, you will see two abandoned buildings  on the right...good location for photos.

Right:  Next to the Ghost Town are two old 60ish Chevys, doesn't the white one look like a planter for this great tree?

Still standing after all these years.
A good place for lunch or dinner is Il Spazio's in Kirksville, 12 miles north of LaPlata.
Another thing you can do in winter in La Plata is ice fishing!
At Santa Fe Lake, any way you spell it.


The lake is next to the railroad  and the dock is a good place to take a picture of a passing BNSF train.  Maybe you'll catch an ice fisherman in the foreground.

While staying at the Depot Inn & Suites, or even if you are just in LaPlata, on their property is the "Exhibition of Amtrak History" museum housed in two former Amtrak Express cars.  Check at the desk for admission.

For a report of the Museum's Opening, go to:
Half  of one car's display in the Exhibition of Amtrak History.
Dedication day of the Museum.

The newest thing to do in La Plata, MO, as of this writing is to see the new Silver Rails Events Center.  Check at the Depot Inn & Suites to see if there is a public event going on so you can see inside.  I attended the Gala Opening and the following pictures are from the Ribbon Cutting earlier in the day and the Gala that night.

This arrangement was for a dinner/presentation/dance for 500+ people.

One of the things the town is proud of is their Amtrak Station, run by local volunteers.  At 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. you can watch the Amtrak Southwest Chief stop for passengers.  If you stay at the Depot Inn & Suites and arrive by train, they will be here to pick you up or deliver you to the train.
The eastbound Southwest Chief arrives about 10:am on its way to Chicago.
The westbound arrives about 8 pm, after dark in winter.

After the eastbound Southwest Chief departs the LaPlata Station, it passes the Chris Guenzler Overlook, under two highway bridges, then northeast toward Chicago.

See more things to do in the area while using the Depot Inn & Suites as your home base by going to my reports in  December at:

Also, ask at the Depot Inn & Suites about  day trips to:  Heartland, Marcelene, Hannibal, and other nearby sites.

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