Leftridge: What to do in St. Joseph When the Chiefs’ Practice is Over

training-campIf watching dudes practice football plays is your thing, this is your time of year. And lucky for you (unless you’re our one, weird Malaysian reader), you’re probably within an hour’s drive or so of being able to watch real PROFESSIONALS practice football, which is infinitely cooler than watching a bunch of kids do it. (You know, unless it’s your kid or whatever, and even still…)

Kansas City Chiefs training camp kicked off about a week ago in St. Joseph, Missouri, a bustling town to the north. “St. Joe,” as it is affectionately known by its many residents, is much more accessible than say, River Falls, Wisconsin, where camp was held from 1991 until 2009. (It is, however, less accessible than Liberty, Missouri, where camp was held for 27 years.)

I probably won’t go to St. Joseph to watch the Chiefs practice because it’s just… it’s just not my thing, I guess. I’ve got yardwork to do and a job to work at and things of that nature. But if you want to go, that’s cool. Maybe you’re taking your son so he can see his heroes in the flesh. Maybe you’re having one last special moment with your ailing father. Or maybe you just like dudes practicing football. Whatever the reason, I’m glad for you that it’s a pretty short drive.

And the town itself is not without its charm. I grew up visiting St. Joe several times each summer. I’d made some friends in elementary school who came from St. Joe, who then subsequently moved back after a couple of years. So I’d go up and stay for three or five days in their haunted mansion and eat their mom’s amazing cooking and we’d play Super Nintendo and draw our own comic books. You know, things that most raging dorks tend to do.

Anyway, I guess what I’m saying is that I’m pretty much an expert on the town. So here are my recommendations for things you can do when you get tired of watching Aaron Murray stretch out his hamstrings.

riverwalk 6. St. Joseph Riverwalk

Oh wait, don’t do this because erosion has closed the St. Joseph Riverwalk, apparently. It’s probably pretty dangerous. Sorry.

 5. Downtown St. Joe

After undergoing a pretty big revitalization campaign a couple of decades ago to make it more of an “entertainment district,” downtown St. Joseph really came to life. (But okay, this was like, twenty years ago. So maybe it’s not all that hot anymore. I’m REALLY not selling St. Joe, am I? It’ll get better. I promise.)

 4. The Mexican Restaurant in the castle

Everyone loves that place. You know the one. The really popular Mexican place that’s in a castle? They opened an outpost carryout joint in downtown Kansas City a couple of years ago, but it didn’t really take off. Come on. You know what I’m talking about. (edit: Barbosa’s Castillo, I think. Oh, and I’ve never been there, so I can’t really vouch for it. AND it seems really polarizing, if you read online reviews. So just, you know, heads up.)

Patee-house1 3. Patee House Museum

Well, okay. I’ve never been to this one either, but it honestly sounds pretty boss. Apparently, the Patee House was the headquarters for the Pony Express, which is kinda cool, but the museum grounds also currently house the home where outlaw Jesse James was shot and killed, which is REALLY cool. According to the very specifically named website ponyexpressjessejames.com, “exhibits include artifacts from Jesse’s grave.” That’s creepy because WHAT IF THEY’RE HAUNTED BY AN OUTLAW GHOST? Because it’s like the saying goes, “anything is possible in St. Joseph, up-to and including seeing haunted shit from the graves of outlaws.”

krugpark 2. Krug Park

Hey, I’ve actually been here! What do you know about that? Krug Park is really neat, actually. There’s some weird-ass castle for no good reason, and the whole thing is a little creepy, but in a fun way. (And maybe I just find it “a little creepy” because when I went there as a younger kid, I was intimidated by a group of teenage punks who were probably like, standing around minding their own business or whatever. You may or may not feel intimidated by teenage punks. I guess it depends. Also: parks/forests are always a little inherently creepy to me, so perhaps I’m projecting my own irrational fears and insecurities.)

glore1. Glore Psychiatric Museum

This place is really something. Opened in 1967 and originally housed in a ward of the “State Lunatic Asylum No. 2” (which was built in 1874, renamed in 1899, and then repurposed as a prison in the 1990s), the Glore Psychiatric Museum is full of curiosities and oddities that, pieced together, tell a frightening tale of primitive mental health treatment in the United States. The whole place is an insane (sorry) mish-mash of wonderment, from surgical tools, sinister treatment apparatuses and gothic furnishings, to the more personal effects of former patients, including artwork, writings and a bevy of interesting “collections.” Don’t miss the display with the cigarette packs, the television stuffed with notes, or best of all, the glass case that contains “… an arrangement of more than 1,400 metal objects, including nails, screws, pins, bottle caps, bolts and buttons swallowed over the years by a woman who was discovered eating a tasty nail in 1929.” Glore Psychiatric Museum is really bad ass.

So have fun watching football practice. But make sure to do some of this other stuff, too. (Well, at least for sure the Glore Museum.)

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7 Responses to Leftridge: What to do in St. Joseph When the Chiefs’ Practice is Over

  1. gayle says:

    There used to be a nice restaurant right on the river called Sunset Grill. Good food, and you could sit outside and watch the river, and an occasional barge, go by. We’d go for special occasions, and spent many a happy hour there. I was sorry to see it close.

  2. Jack Springer says:

    Total waste of time to even try to read this article.

  3. miket. says:

    makes going up to the chiefs training camp sound like a miserable experience. oh and gee you also get to stand around out in really hot humid weather while watching aaron murray stretch his hamstrings!

    • Brandon Leftridge says:

      Hey, maybe it’s your thing, you know? And if so, like I said, it’s cool that you don’t have to drive several hours to WI, right?

      • miket. says:

        true enough.

        of course, in the really old days, you only needed to drive to the east side of swope park to see them practice. and cue kerouac…. 3, 2, 1…)

  4. Jim a.k.a. BWH says:

    I feel the same way, Lefty. Watching a practice isn’t for me, but knocking around St. Joe is a pretty fun day trip. Heading straight North up Hwy 169 is a beautiful drive from KC. Even better in the Fall. Much more scenic than just driving up I-29 and some spectacular homesteads along the way. Just poor dirt farmers, I suppose. Can’t go to St. Joe without a stop at the HiHo Bar and Grill. Old school with some killer bar food. There’s a Cajun joint called Boudreaux’s that is pretty fair, as well.

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