We spent the last week of September and the first weeks of October in Kansas City, Missouri. This was a transition period, as Hector was winding down his work. At the same time we got to spend lots of time with a very special friend, Theresa. Hector dubbed it the “Theresa Fest”.
Theresa was a fabulous hostess and made sure that we didn’t miss some of the most special sights of this lovely city. Even though we haven’t lived in the same city with her for over 25 years, we found that we could pick up where we left off. It’s funny how that happens with some people.
Kansas City was kind of a surprise for us, bigger than we expected and very interesting. Of course, having a good friend to help you navigate an unfamiliar city always makes a big difference. The city has much to offer; many signature buildings, including buildings with intricate tile from Spain and the beautiful Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, large established trees, lots of historic and other sights to see. We went to a wonderful arts fair in the Plaza section of town and visited several art galleries during the first Friday event in October. We also visited Amigoni Urban Winery, a trendy winery located in a historic telegraph newspaper building.
Some top sights I recommend are (in no particular order)
The World War I Museum and Liberty Memorial – this is the only WWI museum in the country with a huge collection of artifacts from the war, timelines which detail the progress of the war as well as other significant happenings of the time, and a huge tower with a beautiful view of the city. It’s depressing, but very interesting.
The Harry S. Truman Library and Museum – this was the first presidential library as it was Truman’s idea to provide a space where information about each presidency and about the significant events of that era could be displayed. Great museum, lots happened during his administration!
The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art – a spectacular museum with ancient collections from the Near East, Egypt, Greece and Rome, China and Africa as well as contemporary art, and a sculpture garden. You should allow one full day to really enjoy it.
City Market – this is a HUGE farmers market near downtown. There is an outdoor component as well as some indoor businesses that open when the market is open – on weekends starting in the Spring and ending in the Fall. What we loved was the variety of foods; all kinds of produce, a diversity of bulk spices, meats, honey, jams and jellies, breads, AND many of the indoor markets specialized in authentic ethnic foods – there was an Italian one, a Middle Eastern one, a Caribbean one. We went there on two weekends and bought tons of food (including too many different types of jelly).
The Blue Room at the Jazz Museum – we had a fabulous evening listening to the Charles Williams Quartet and Lisa Henry. This is one of the top jazz music spots in town. Another great club is The Phoenix Jazz Club where we heard some great Blues music from Brother Bagman.
Another place not to miss in Kansas City is Oklahoma Joe’s BBQ restaurant. This was included in Anthony Bourdain’s list of top 13 restaurants to eat at before you die. It’s located in a working gas station, which also has a quickie mart. The atmosphere is fun and different, the ribs are incredible and they have the most fabulous French fries I’ve eaten in quite awhile.
We had a such great time with Theresa, hanging out at her house, seeing her two now (almost) grown sons again and meeting some of her interesting friends. It was hard to leave but we wanted to move on to a quieter place to end our “transition month” and celebrate Hector’s birthday and our anniversary. So on we went to see the autumn leaves in the Ozark mountains, with a stop in Springfield, MO to visit the area where Hector lived when his family first arrived from Cuba. Thank you Theresa for a memorable stay.