Best Stroll - 2004
Shaw Nature Reserve
Using a treadmill's fine. A track'll do, too. Hoofing it around your neighborhood, subdivision or local park is even better -- you get the pleasures of architecture and flora into the bargain. Walking is good any way you slice it, but how much better it is when freed of the mandates of the clock, the heart rate, the almighty baying regimen. Yes, the stroll's the thing, and this is a characterful old river city chock-full of fascinating neighborhoods to amble through. But we think the very Best Stroll is about 25 minutes outside of town, at the Shaw Nature Reserve in Gray Summit. This idyllic plot of land, operated by the Missouri Botanical Garden, constitutes an easy, nearby getaway. Even on a weekend afternoon, you can ramble along any of the reserve's fourteen miles of trails and rarely (if ever) come across another person. No car alarms, no emergency sirens unspooling like endless crimson ribbon -- just blessed silence, the sentinel of the trees and the tall prairie grasses and wildflowers. Away from the billboards and the sprawl, the Midwest is a beautiful place, friend. A stroll through Shaw Nature Reserve is proof enough of that. Take Interstate 44 to exit 253, then follow the signs.