I’ve ridden to Weston, Missouri several times, and always enjoy the short, but scenic 30 minute ride up M-45 from Kansas City. Weston is a small, charming community nestled among the high bluffs of the Missouri River about half way between Kansas City and St. Joseph, Missouri. It’s also one of the oldest and most picturesque river towns in Missouri.
Weston has been around since 1837, which you can tell by all the antebellum homes scattered throughout town and along the bluffs that once overlooked the Missouri River. Yes, I said once overlooked, because after the flood of 1884, the river changed its course, leaving the once bustling river town high and dry.
Although Weston may no longer be home to a bustling riverfront community, it is home to a historic district that hosts an array of restaurants, pubs, and lots and lots of shopping. If you walk up and down Main Street, you will find everything from antiques and country crafts to European furniture and home décor items.
I’m not really big into shopping, antiques or crafts, so I normally head straight to one of my favorite all time Irish watering holes, O’Malley’s 1842 Pub. This place is so cool…and I mean that literally. O’Malley’s is located in the underground vaults of an 1840s brewery. This is a great place to kick back, grab a pint, and listen to some of the area's best live Irish music. What a way to spend a hot Saturday afternoon!
The Weston Brewing Company located on Welt Street, opened in 1997, and is located next to the original stone walls of the original Royal Brewery. Established in 1842 by German immigrant, John Georgian, it was touted as the “oldest brewery west of the Hudson River.” I’d have to get out a map to see where the Hudson River is, but that sounds like a pretty cool thing to tout about…as far as touting goes. And for you sports buffs, did you know that back in the early 1900s, the Royal Brewery sponsored the first Kansas City Royals baseball team? That’s right! In its heyday, the Weston Royal label was well known throughout the Midwest and even in Europe, producing over 20,000 barrels annually. They also introduced a Royal Pilsner labeled as “the beer that made Milwaukee jealous.” Pretty catchy for a bunch of old Midwest German beer makers don’t ya think?
When you’ve had enough beer and are ready for something a little harder, the McCormick Distilling Company Country Store may be right up your alley…or maybe just down the street. The McCormick Distillery tours were discontinued back in 1995 (boo…hiss), however, the McCormick Country Store was relocated to Main Street and sells a complete line of McCormick products (i.e. liquor), logo items and premium cigars (yeah). Plus, if you’re at least 21 years of age, you can belly up to the sample bar for only .25. Now that’s a bargain!
If there are any wine drinkers along for the ride, putt on down to Pirtle’s Weston Vinyards Winery, which is located in a former church. No, they don’t serve just holy wine. As a matter of fact, their specialty is Mead (i.e. honey wine, for you non-wine drinkers). You can take a bottle of your favorite wine out to their wine garden and sip away, while enjoying an assortment of sausages, cheeses, breads and fruit. This is a very nice place, run by very friendly people.
If you’re not into Irish music, beer or wine, shame on you! No, but seriously though…shame on you! Aside from all the great pubs, wineries, and old-fashioned liquor stores, there are a lot of other things to see and do in Weston. The New Deal Tobacco Warehouse located at Highway 45 and P, attracts countless tobacco connoisseurs, and the Weston Historical Museum has lots of artifacts depicting life in Platte County from the prehistoric days through World War II. Tours can be be arranged by reservation.
And don’t forget food! There are several great restaurants in Weston, including the American Bowman Restaurant, which offers a great home-cooked lunch or dinner, served in a pre-Civil War setting. The Avalon Café is housed inside an 1847 antebellum home and features Continental cuisine prepared by French-trained chefs and co-owners. The Vinyards serves local wines, and is located inside an 1845 antebellum structure. The Weston Café has a full-service menu with homemade desserts and their weekend buffet is to die for.
If you’d like to turn your day trip into a weekend getaway, there are some awesome places to stay. The Benner House Bed and Breakfast is a beautiful Victorian home that is locate on Main Street and overlooks downtown Weston. They have four guest rooms with two private baths. The wraparound front porch is very relaxing.
The Hatchery is an 1845 antebellum bed and breakfast with four guest rooms, including gas-burning fireplaces and private baths. Their large outside garden is a great place to read the morning paper while sipping a cup of coffee.
The Inn at Weston Landing is located at the end of Welt Street, and offers deluxe accommodations with the ambience of a mid-nineteenth-century Irish cottage. It has a high-pitched roof, low-set dormers, and gables, which reflect Celtic and rural British Isles influences. Add a full authentic Celtic breakfast, and you’re set for the weekend!
The Lemon Tree Bed and Breakfast is an antebellum-era cottage with three guest rooms with adjoining private baths. Breakfast is served in the adjacent three-story Victorian home, which is separated from the cottage by multilevel decks, a koi pond, a swimming pool, and a spa, which can be used by all guests. Fresh coffee and homemade muffins are brought to your room in the morning, followed by a delicious breakfast served in the dining room or poolside.
Well, if this doesn’t make you want to get the gang together and take a ride to Historic Weston, I don’t know what will. To be honest, one of the best ways to enjoy everything Weston has to offer is to get a small group together, ride up for the weekend, stay in one of the many bed and breakfasts or cottages, cruise around and check out Weston Bend State Park and all the scenic back roads during the day, then park the bikes and spend the evening walking around town visiting all the pubs, restaurants and shops!
By Mike Schweder