Beautiful scenery, colossal rocks, and fascinating history can be found in and around this tiny village.

Caledonia nestles in the scenic Bellevue Valley about eighty miles east of Rolla.

The village is steps away from some of the state’s most popular outdoor attractions, including beautiful hiking trails and state parks. It’s also full of references to its Scottish roots. Scotsman Alexander Craighead founded the town in 1819, naming it Caledonia, or “Scotland” in Latin.

There are twenty-five buildings on the National Register of Historic Places, including Craighead House, the town’s oldest house still standing, and the Tyro Masonic Lodge, which is the oldest continuously operating lodge in Missouri.

Local events hearken back to simpler times. Visit during the summer for Caledonia Front Porch Pickin’, an annual event where shops and restaurants host live musicians on their front porches.

LODGE at The Old Caledonia Bed & Breakfast and Natural Farm is just a short 80-minute drive south of St. Louis. Located in the historic Ruggles-Evans-Dent House, built in 1849, the inn sits on four wooded acres. There is a hot tub, sauna, and yoga studio, and each room has en suite baths. Enjoy a breakfast prepared with locally-sourced ingredients. You can add a three-course dinner (reserving at least 48 hours in advance). Spend time relaxing on the grounds or venture out to the antique stores, vintage retailers, craft stores, and wineries that are nearby.

a bed and breakfast located in Missouri near lake of the ozarks one of many vacation spots in missouri
One of the rooms available at The Old Caledonian Bed and Breakfast,

INDULDGE at the Old Village Mercantile located on the town’s main street. The mercantile is a candy store, ice cream parlor, coffee shop, and antique store, making it a one-stop-shop attraction. Visit old-fashioned soda counters at the back of the shop to order ice cream cones, smoothies, or coffee drinks. There’s also a small bakery with a wide assortment of pastries.

VISIT Elephant Rocks, a park that lives up to its gargantuan name. It’s home to giant boulders formed from 1.5 billion-year-old granite and perfect for hiking and climbing. The Braille Trail, a one-mile paved loop, is an easy walking trail that allows people to enjoy the park without strenuous climbing.

For beautiful scenery, stop by Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park, which stretches across more than eight thousand acres on the East Black River with a boardwalk for viewing the shut-ins.

History buffs will enjoy the Battle of Pilot Knob Historic Site, a short drive away. The outnumbered Union Army staged a successful defense of the fort there before retreating under the cover of darkness along Caledonia Road, or what is now Highway 21. The army ended up in the town of Caledonia.

Photos // The Old Caledonian Bed and Breakfast, Old Village Mercantile

Article originally published in the March/April 2020 issue of Missouri Life and has been updated.