Visages of Arborwalk, a master-planned community southwest of Lee's Summit, Mo., conjure up an idyllic picture of a quiet neighborhood for families, retirees and 20-somethings starting a life together. One half of the development specializes in apartments, and the other half contains large, multi-level duplexes along with single-family homes.
A 16-acre park separates the two sides. More than 440 families call Arborwalk home. Recreational opportunities allow elderly citizens to stay active, and miles of walking trails give children a chance to burn off some energy. The neighborhood lies close enough to a metro area that residents can access shopping and restaurants, yet the area remains a peaceful suburb of Kansas City.
Schools in Blackburn
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Restaurants & Nightlife
When residents of Blackburn
wish to go out for dinner, they typically travel 10 miles south
to downtown Concordia. This small town holds several locally owned restaurants, including Topsy's Restaurant. This quaint mom-and-pop diner serves traditional American breakfast, lunch, and supper, featuring dishes such as omelettes, blackberry pie, and homemade biscuits and gravy. Topsy's also serves one of the area's most refreshing milkshakes.
To meet their barbecue cravings, most Blackburn natives turn to Dempsey's BBQ, which serves Kansas City-style BBQ dishes such as pulled pork, ribs and brisket. Dempsey's BBQ has a reputation for serving massive portions, with the half rack of ribs easily feeding two or three adults.
Located somewhat closer to Blackburn, the Dancing Bear Cafe & Gifts sits in a farm house at the end of an extremely long driveway. The facility renovated a chicken coop into a luxury Americana-themed dining area and outfitted the interior with homey yet subtle decor. The Dancing Bear's food matches its decor in style and grace. This restaurant specializes in dishes such as chicken, pork tenderloin, and pork chops; all these meals come with soup, salad, and bread as appetizers. For Blackburn's citizens, this fine dining establishment serves as undoubtedly one of the best date night restaurants in the area.
A very small nightlife scene exists with Blackburn, largely centered around Debbie Lynn's Country Corner. This low-key dive bar features cheap drinks, a small food selection, and friendly service. While this bar never gets too crowded, Friday and Saturday nights see peak crowds and represent a breath of life in the nightlife scene in Blackburn and Concordia.
History & Culture
Historically, Native Americans lived in the area now known as Blackburn for most of recorded history. During the 1700's, American settlers moving westward began to colonize the area and established numerous farms. To this day, farming plays a huge role in Blackburn's economics, and the town was established primarily as a meeting place for farmers to sell their wares and purchase goods and services. As the trade in the town grew, new businesses opened their doors, leading to the development of the business district.
Because of the small number of residents in Blackburn and the large open spaces between properties, life in Blackburn remains quite private, meaning no significant art scenes or annually scheduled events exist. Unfortunately, Blackburn holds no museums detailing its history, though the nearby Concordia Area Museum likely holds information on the heritage of Blackburn.
Few would dispute driving as the easiest mode of transport in Blackburn. The community centers around Highway 20, though nearby I-70 also serves as an important expressway. Fortunately, public parking exists in most of Blackburn and typically costs nothing. Access to a private car is essential in Blackburn, as Uber does not cater to the area. A handful of private taxi companies pick up residents when called ahead of time. Additionally, a private shuttle service exists to ferry Blackburnians to and from Kansas City's city center and airport; unfortunately Blackburn does not currently offer public transportation.
The cost of living in Blackburn ranks substantially lower than that of Kansas City. For instance, a one-bedroom
apartment averages only $675 per month in rent, while beer at a local pub might be as inexpensive as $3 a pint. Blackburn enjoys extremely low gas prices; when compared to the national average, Blackburn gas costs roughly 15 percent less.
While Blackburn features virtually no high-end shops, several stores occupy the community's business district in the north side of town. Angela's Country Flowers sells bouquets and arrangements guaranteed to brighten up any home or event. Furthermore, Angela's staff dedicate themselves to providing only the highest quality service, which has helped the shop win its way into the hearts of Blackburn's residents.
When citizens of Blackburn require specific items, they typically travel 15 miles east to the town of Marshall. Marshall's well-developed central shopping district hosts locations for several multinational chains, as well as a handful of smaller businesses, such as the Marshall Theater. This small movie theater not only screens the latest movies, but also strives to add a personal touch to all its service.
The Square Corner fulfills Blackburn and Marshall's framing needs. While this charming shop focuses primarily on picture frames, it also sells a wide variety of women's fashion accessories, kitchen tools, and other home wares.
Blackburn citizens also must travel to Marshall to fill their pantries, as no grocery stores exist close to Blackburn. Marshall, meanwhile, holds a Walmart and a Casey's General Store. Conversely, some of Blackburn's residents travel an equal distance eastwards to Higginsville, which boasts a Walmart, a Piggly Wiggly, and a Casey's General Store. Though no farmers markets exist anywhere close to Blackburn, a high percentage of the neighborhood's residents farm for a living, and fresh produce can be bought directly from most of Blackburn's farms.
Blackburn does not contain any parks save for a small cemetery north of town. The closest park to Blackburn, the Blind Pony Lake Conservation Area, sits 11 miles southeast of the town. This large natural area centers around a pond and features a variety of outdoors activities, including hiking, and fishing. While the Missouri Department of Conservation makes boats available on a first-come basis, it does not permit private boats on the lake. The park also allows seasonal hunting of deer, dove and waterfowl, as well as runs tours of the on-site hatchery. This park does not specifically cater to children or dogs, though both may freely enter the park.