"Where the heck are we?"
This was my thought when my uncle was driving us Florida folks sightseeing one Friday.
To me, it looked like we were in the middle of nowhere.
All that could be seen for miles was farms, woods, and hills. But as we turned off a country highway, we came across a tiny community named Champion, Missouri and found Henson's General Store.
Travel Missouri: Henson's Old General Store
In your travels across the Ozarks, be sure to stop at Henson's. Located in Champion Missouri, near Ava, Henson's General Store is truly a step back in time.
"Where the heck are we?"
Driving Tour of Douglas County, Missouri
Off the beaten path for sure!
I'm the type of person that when I visit somewhere I don't want to see all the touristy stuff. I want to see real places, real people, real life.
Living in Florida has apparently jaded me to anything tourist related.
The one item on my things to see list during this trip was the Ava Drug Store in Ava, Missouri. It's an old fashioned soda fountain where everything's a dime.
My uncle had other ideas. After lunch, he decided to take us around to see the sights in Douglas County. For such a rural county, there is a lot to see. There was the Whispering Oaks Winery and Assumption Abbey Monastery. Not being Catholic, I found the monastery very interesting and peaceful.
At last, we pulled off onto a dirt road. We had arrived in Champion, Missouri.
Guidebooks to discovering the beauty of Missouri
What's in Champion?
A sign, a church, and a store
Home of Henson's General Store
Never heard of Champion? Neither had I, but it is well worth finding. Champion, Mo., consists of Henson's General Store and a church. Yep, that's it.
I thought things such as general stores had all vanished, but Henson's is still a vibrant part of the Champion community. It first opened in 1940 and it looks just like it did 70 years ago.
Stepping inside, it looked like a general store you would see in an old movie or TV show. It had floor to ceiling items of just about anything one would need.
Being about 20 miles from any major town, the owners keep the store stocked with everyday necessities, including stamps, groceries, feed, and even gas. I stocked up on Coke and ice cream.
For it being located in so remote a place, Henson's gets plenty of traffic. There was a steady stream of people coming in and out. Most were locals, but a few were visitors. By the register I noticed they had a visitor book. As I was signing in, I noticed that there had been visitors from as far away as Rio de Janeiro.
You Can't Run Out of Gas
Henson's is off the beaten path, but don't worry, they can fill you up
Just Where is Champion?
It's really on the map!
How to Find It
You know you want to see it for yourself!
Champion is located about 76 miles east of Branson and 78 miles southeast of Springfield, so it's not too far for a day trip if you're staying in either of those places.
Henson's doesn't have an address that I know of, but it can be found on County Road 243, just off of State Highway WW.
Even though parts of Missouri are quite rural, there are still many things to see and do there. Just grab a tour book, sit down, and plan your drive. It will be worth it, I promise! I want to hear about your travel finds, too!