Located along the historic Santa Fe Trail traversed by pioneers throughout the 1800's, Baldwin City is a small town with big charm, full of activities as well as historical significance. In today's fast-paced world, many families seek small road trips or weekend getaways that offer something for the whole family, provide a unique experience, and don't break the bank. Baldwin City, Kansas offers just that. About 30 miles southwest of Kansas City and with a population of around 5,000, Baldwin City is sure to meet everyone's expectations.
For history buffs, Baldwin City offers many attractions. Rich in Civil War history, Baldwin is home of the Battle of Black Jack site, where the first skirmish of the Civil War transpired. This can be found just east of Baldwin on Historic Highway 56, the modern-day Santa Fe Trail. Across from the Battlegrounds lie preserved wagon ruts from pioneers traveling westward on the old trail. Baldwin is also home to Baker University, the oldest four-year university in Kansas; its campus includes four buildings recognized by the National Register of Historic Places. The Old Castle Museum and Kibbee Cabin depict life in Baldwin City circa 1850. Baker also maintains the Quayle Bible Collection, a collection of rare biblical documents, some dating back to 2000 BC; tours of this exhibit are administered by the university.
Any weekend in Baldwin City promises to be memorable, however, there are a few events that you don't want to miss. For three weekends in June at the Midland Railway Train Station, Thomas the Train comes to Baldwin City, and children can ride the beloved train and enjoy the carnival at the station. This event attracts families from states throughout the Midwest. Another great time to visit Baldwin is autumn, when its famous maple trees turn orange, yellow and red, creating a strikingly beautiful scene that inspired the Maple Leaf Festival. This event occurs on the third weekend of October and attracts over 25,000 people. The festival stretches along the timeless brick streets of downtown, and is filled with booths selling food, homemade crafts and furniture. A petting zoo and carnival provide activities for children. The main event is a parade of bands, clubs and squads from the surrounding area on Saturday morning. Maple Leaf is a one-of-a-kind experience, and should not be missed.
Baldwin City has a variety of restaurants, shops and recreation activities. The Lodge Hotel and Three Sisters Inn Bed and Breakfast are your best choices for friendly, peronal accommodations. Baldwin also offers restaurants of all kinds – from fast food favorites to authentic, locally owned restaurants. There is something for everyone, from Chinese to seafood to fine Italian. Also be sure to check out the local antique shop on High Street and The Pink Lady, Baldwin's fashion boutique. There is always something happening at Baldwin High School or Baker's campus, such as plays, musicals, charity events, concerts and sports camps for kids. Lawrence, Kansas is just a 15 minute drive to see legendary KU basketball games. Baldwin is also just a five minute drive from Douglas County Lake, famous for its fishing scene, and about twenty minutes from Clinton Lake, which has beaches, campsites and hiking all summer long.
Baldwin City, Kansas is a perfect example of small town living. With plenty of options for a weekend getaway, along with a quaint and friendly atmosphere, it's no wonder Baldwin has been popular with travelers since 1821. So come on out and see what all the talk is about!