Want to see something that was created 1,500 years ago, or listen to a centenarian who shares her passion for painting? What if you could grab a delicious locally sourced lunch from a pay-as-you-can café?

Missouri Life TV

Let’s go to Kirksville to see Native American artifacts created 1,500 years ago, meet a 100-year-old painter, and grab some lunch from a pay it forward or whatever you can cafe.

Experience all of these things – and more – by watching Season 5, Episode 1 of Missouri Life TV!

Viewers are transported to Kirksville, nestled in the heart of Northeast Missouri. The city has the perfect blend of history, art, nature, recreation and so much more.

See the petroglyphs

Missouri Life Adventurer Meredith Hoenes begins this episode with a visit to Thousand Hills State Park where Naturalist Emily Burke gives viewers a close-up look at 1,500-year-old stone carvings. These petroglyphs are turtles, birds, lizards, snakes and more, but the Thunderbird might be the real showstopper.

“Imagine you’re out on the plains, the grass is tall and waves gently in the breeze. In the distance there is a herd of bison. Then a noise from the distance and something comes over the horizon, its wings so massive that they blot out the sun…every time they beat there is an earth-shattering boom that rattles you. It could set the prairie grass on fire…”

When the ancient native people told their stories hundreds of years ago, they told the story of the Thunderbird, also known as a thunderstorm.

Beyond the walls of the interpretive shelter are 3,000 acres of wilderness: 17 miles of hiking trails; a marina with boats, kayaks and canoes; campgrounds and a picnic area; a swim beach; birdwatching, and plenty of peace and quiet.

The area is hilly, rocky, rugged and simply beautiful.

Nature & Recreation

Continuing the outdoor adventure, local anglers Randy and Jody give viewers a glimpse of the picturesque lake and tell of the fun they have catching largemouth bass, bluegill, catfish and more.

Arts & Education

Viewers travel down a few country roads to visit Clara Straight, a retired Cornell art professor and inspiring artist. She lives in the family home, where she was born 100 years ago and which is nestled deep among the same trees she’s painted forever.

Clara says painting is her connection to humanity, and Missouri is her inspiration.

“My form of painting is made to speak to people.”

One time she sketched Robert Frost when he was a visiting lecturer at Cornell. Afterward, he autographed her drawing.

She has no idea how many works of art she’s completed but has “hundreds and hundreds of paintings all over the world.”

Another person who connected with people all over the world was a doctor, Andrew Taylor Still, founder of osteopathic medicine.

The A.T. Still University is a private osteopathic medical school based in Kirksville and started by Andrew himself, who was steadfast in his belief in the need for a unique way of practicing medicine.

There is another private school in Kirksville with a 150-year history of making a big impact on its students and community. Truman State University has the feel of a small liberal arts college yet is a highly rigorous institution of higher learning.

Food and Wine

Travelers need to refuel, and Kirksville has plenty of places to do that. The TV episode takes you to the nonprofit pay-as-you-can Take Root Café, which serves up delicious locally sourced foods with a side of compassion. People can volunteer their time, donate above or below the suggested amount, or use a token to purchase a meal. There’s also a continuous effort to reach low-income members of the community.

A delightful meal can be followed up with award-winning wines and relaxation at West Winery at Jackson Stables. The restored barn offers guests the perfect place to sip and enjoy a beautiful space.


The last stop for viewers is The Round Barn, which secured a spot on the National Register of Historic Places in 2001. Owner Dan Vogt turned the former farm space for animals and hay into a one-of-a-kind music venue.

“When you stand inside and the music is playing, you feel like you’re on the inside of a speaker,” says Dan. “People who come out won’t be disappointed. The food’s great, the beer is good, and the blues are awesome.”

Kirksville’s rich history, culture and community come together to create a truly unique experience in Missouri.

Spark your spirit of discovery by watching this episode of Missouri Life TV to see why you should make Kirksville a must-see destination.