Wednesday, March 16, 2011

We're Going to Kansas City...

September 2007 - State # 25 - Missouri

This was our third visit to Kansas City in Missouri; after all we did own a Hallmark store.  But this visit was purely tourism.  We began our visit with lunch at Jack Stack Barbecue in the Freighthouse. 

Located in The Crossroads Art District  Main Dining Room  Full Service Bar 

This was a lovely place with a great setting for barbecue.  All I can say is...apparently, we don't care for Kansas City style barbecue.  The restaurant was packed and platters of food were everywhere but we just didn't get it.  We would rather eat Georgia style barbecue any day.

After lunch we visited the Liberty Memorial Observation Tower and the National World War I Museum. 

I know what you're thinking...why is the World War I Museum in Missouri?  Two weeks after the Armistice, November 11, 1918, the citizens of Kansas City organized a fund raising drive in order to build a monument to the veterans of  "the war to end all wars."  They raised $2.5 million in 10 days!

The site for the Liberty Memorial was dedicated on November 1, 1921.  On this day, the supreme Allied commanders spoke to a crowd of more than 100,000 people.  It was the only time in history these leaders were together in one place.  In attendance were Lieutenant General Baron Jacques of Belgium; General Armando Diaz of Italy; Marshal Ferdinand Foch of France; General John J. Pershing of the United States; and Admiral David Beatty of Great Britain.

In 2004, Congress designated the Liberty Memorial as the nation's official World War I Museum

We have rarely seen a museum presented so well.  The exhibits walked you through a timeline of world events surrounding this war.  We were both moved by this extraordinary tribute to veterans of the First World War, including Marc deValette, Guy's French grandfather.

Now this might not exactly be your idea of an attraction for your vacation...but it should be!

And you can see the entire city of KC-MO and some of KC-K as well, from the Observation Deck on the tower.

(Kansas City straddles the border between Missouri and Kansas - State # 16 - this is what locals call their side of the city.)

And then we checked into our wonderful hotel.  Can a hotel feel grand and yet intimate at the same time? That's the allure of Hotel Phillips, a historic gem in the heart of Kansas City's business, entertainment and arts district.  And the lobby originally housed the haberdashery of our only President to come from a retail background...Harry S. Truman.  We heartily recommend this hotel when you visit KC-MO!

We also recommend the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art(Although we do think the new Bloch wing looks like a giant maintenance shed!)  Your visit will begin when you see this amazing lawn sculpture of giant shuttlecocks.  And inside, one of the most diverse collections of art we have ever experienced.  Currently the museum is exhibiting both Monet's "Water Lilies" and "The Original Rules of Basketball" in James Naismith's own handwriting.  (I said it was diverse!)  We also enjoyed a lovely lunch here at the Rozelle Court.

Speaking of diverse, we started our morning with a tour of the
Harley-Davidson Assembly Plant! 
(Cameras are prohibited inside this facility, so these photos are from their website.)
Your tour experience begins with an introductory video.  Then it's on to the factory floor where you'll witness a wide range of operations from welding, laser-cutting and frame-bending, to polishing and assembly. You'll see fenders and gas tanks being formed, newly painted frames hanging on the line, and sophisticated robotic welding technology.  You'll also see the Revolution® powertrain assembled from crankcase to cylinder heads.  And you will meet the very friendly and knowledgeable people working on these beautiful motorcycles.

We also visited Union Station and The Toy and Miniature Museum of KC.

**Okay trivia experts...why is Kansas City responsible for ALL F.B.I. agents being armed?**

At Union Station, we had dinner at PIERPONT'S (Guy calls this the best steak dinner he has ever had!) and it was a phenomenal dining experience.  A beautiful setting; named for the railroad baron, J.P. (John Pierpont) Morgan, this place serves great steaks along with innovative versions of traditional steakhouse sides.  (Our thanks to Darinka for the recommendation.)  The steaks were divine and each one came topped with Balsamic Orange Butter...really!  Be sure to have the Guinness Stout Onion Rings as one of your sides!  We may not care for Kansas City style barbecue but we LOVE Kansas City steaks from Pierpont's.

**So the answer to the trivia question is...**
Union Station made headlines on June 17, 1933, as four unarmed FBI agents were gunned down by gang members attempting to free captured fugitive Frank Nash.  Nash was also killed in the gun battle.  The “Kansas City Massacre” highlighted the lawlessness of Kansas City under the Pendergast Machine and resulted in the arming of all FBI agents.

On a lighter note, the Toy and Miniature Museum is fun for the kids and nostalgic for the adults.
The day we visited, the museum hosted actual craftsmen making marbles!

The current exhibit celebrates 50 years of America's favorite doll -

I would like to mention two other very good restaurants in Kansas City.  First, 12 Baltimore, inside our hotel.  And Winstead's at Country Club Plaza.  Both served very good meals at a reasonable price.

And now I would like to share a couple of "Travel Lessons" we have learned through the years.

First lesson - it's very unlikely that you will be able to re-create an experience from a previous trip.  So, do NOT try.

Case in point - on a previous trip to KC we dined at The American Restaurant in the Crown Center, and loved it.  This trip, not so much.  (Different chef)

Second lesson - a beautiful venue does not necessarily mean a great performance. 

For example, we saw "Moonlight & Magnolias" at The American Heartland Theatre.  Fabulous venue for live stage productions, but an awful play or bad acting...maybe a combination of both, made us wish for a play starring our neighbors, Claci & Jeff, in this stunning theatre.

Before I end this post, I would like to thank our extraordinary neighbors, Anita & Stephen, for allowing us to travel "Over There" without worry for the homefront.

And so ends our travels (or at least this post) to Missouri (3 times is definitely enough). 

Next it a song about my parents?

Louisiana Woman, Mississippi Man

Or State # 24 on our list?

Tune in next time and this Louisiana Woman will tell you!

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