How about a little recreation mixed with soothing scenery, and an abundance of history and towns that will make you feel right a home? Heading north, plan a stop in Louisiana to explore its downtown business district, probably the most intact Victorian streetscape in Missouri. Wildlife watchers know the Clarksville area for its large number of wintering bald eagles.
A bit farther up the Mississippi River is Hannibal, the town Mark Twain recalled in creating the adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn. Visit the downtown historic district for a look at Twain's boyhood home and museum, restored to its exact mid-1800s appearance. The adjacent museum is filled with his manuscripts and memorabilia, including one of Twain's famous white suits. Close by are other pieces of Twain history, including the Becky Thatcher House and Judge Clemens' law office. Explore underground beauty in the Mark Twain and Cameron caves. The Molly Brown Birthplace and Museum recently has been restored. Still more history, scenic vistas and other fun await along Missouri's portion of the Great River Road, which follows the Mississippi from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico.
Southwest of Hannibal, Mark Twain Lake has a well-earned reputation for outstanding fishing. Lake facilities include marinas, boat ramps, a swimming beach and lots of camping. Kids will want to stop at the Landing, a complete recreational resort. Farther north is Bethel, founded as a German communal colony in the 1840s. Visit unique historic homes and shop for antiques. Festivals highlighting crafts and folk life are held throughout the year.
Just south of the Iowa state line, the road passes near the Battle of Athens State Historic Site, where you can picnic and camp beside a Civil War battlefield. At St. Patrick, be sure to stop by the beautiful shrine in the United States town named for this saint.
The Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine, founded in 1892 by Dr. A.T. Still, was the world's first osteopathic college. Still's birthplace cabin and the Still National Osteopathic Museum are on campus. The great outdoors surround Kirksville, including two large state conservation areas (Big Creek and Sugar Creek), muskellunge fishing at Hazel Creek Lake and Thousand Hills State Park. Also nearby is Novinger, where residents commemorate their mining heritage at the Coal Miners Museum and Novinger Log Home.
Plenty of water fun awaits on the region's two big lakes south of Kirksville. Long Branch, near Macon, and Thomas Hill, near Moberly, lure vacationers intent on fishing, skiing and other water sports. Moberly also welcomes travelers and takes pride in sharing its 360-acre Rothwell Park, history and railroad museums and the heritage of Gen. Omar Bradley. The WWII leader was born in nearby Clark and grew up in the Moberly area.
Up the road are reminders of another two-world-renowned Missourians. Walt Disney was raised in Marceline and modeled Disneyland's Mainstreet U.S.A. after his hometown and Laclede is the boyhood home of General John J. Pershing.
Even after you see all this, you'll find there are still more—more friendly towns, more river hills, farmlands and forests, more history and more reasons to enjoy more than one trip to the Northeast Region. Mark Twain was correct in his quote, "The Mississippi River will always have its own way: no engineering skill can persuade it to do otherwise..." The mighty Mississippi has attracted settlers for thousands of years and helped to make Northeast Missouri what it is today, a diversified area rich in cultural history.
Community Health Centers located in this region include the Northeast Missouri Health Council in Kirksville, with satellite facilities in Edina, Memphis, Milan and Mercer, Missouri.
Critical Access Hospitals in this region include Pershing (General John J) Memorial Hospital, Pike County Memorial Hospital, Macon County Samaritan Memorial Hospital, Scotland County Memorial Hospital, Sullivan County Memorial Hospital and Putnam County Memorial Hospital.
For additional information regarding this region such as individual county HPSA status or loan repayment eligibility, please contact the Missouri Primary Care Association.
**Photos courtesy of Missouri Divison of Tourism**