Our Actually Kind of Cool New Hometown

When we first told our friends and family from Southern California and Phoenix that we were moving to Kansas City, we always got one of three responses…

  1. *silence*…”so, what’s there to do there?” or
  2. *silence*…”so, what’s there to eat there?” or
  3. “Good luck with that winter snow!”

We were actually thinking the same thing, so when we got here and realized KC is actually kind of cool, we started to fall in love with our new hometown… (plus it also helps that our mortgage for our 3 bed, 3 bath home is less than HALF of what rent was for my 2 bed, 2 bath apartment in Glendora – yup, just had to rub that in dear Cali friends 😉 ).

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It also helped that the winter was pretty mild this year (thanks to all your good wishes response #3 folks!).  When the snow melted a bit, we headed into the downtown area to explore the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.  After having lived in LA for 7 years, my standard for museums has loosely formed around the LACMA, The Getty, and The Huntington Library.  However, I was rather soundly impressed with the neoclassical architecture and their large sculpture park, as well as their extensive European, Asian, and American art collections.  I was so impressed I only thought to capture the one picture to the left :).

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For the husband’s birthday weekend, he really wanted to check out the National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial which is the nation’s only public museum dedicated to WWI.  Through the awesome Museums on Us program at Bank of America, we got in for free that weekend!

The museum was designed in 2006 around the original Liberty Memorial Tower, which was dedicated in 1921.  The first thing visitors see is a glass bridge above a field of 9,000 poppies, each one representing 1,000 soldiers who died in combat.  When I asked why poppies, the guides explained that in “no man’s land,” the deadly wreckage between the trench lines of the Allies and the Central Powers, poppies were the only living thing that continued to bloom.  What a symbol of hope in the midst of such tragedy.

Overall, the museum was a very sobering experience as we walked through all of the interactive displays and witnessed how an entire world became gripped with war.  With so many authentic articles from “The Great War” (e.g. weapons, tanks, airplanes, clothing, etc.) it became hard not to imagine the lives of the people who actually handled the guns and wore the uniforms.  It’s a heavy experience, but if you’re ever in the KC area, this is one of the hidden gems you really have to see for yourself.

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On a lighter note, we’ve done some adventuring nearby our kind of cool, new hometown, too!  The nearest “getaway” spot is the city of Branson, which boasts an eclectic mix of live shows, cave exploring, water sports, and tons of mom-and-pop shops and eateries.  On our first weekend trip there, we stayed at a beautiful bed and breakfast and enjoyed a quiet weekend at the lake.  This was the sweet view from our bedroom window…

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This girl also gets super hungry so we frequented lots of little eating joints along the way.  One of the best in Branson was Billy Gail’s Cafe.  If you love a good breakfast and/or classic diner food done right, this is your place.  Yup, we’re talking perfectly fluffy pancakes as big as a tire hubcap.

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Just this last weekend we were back in Branson, this time with our small group from church.  On the way there we swung by Lambert’s Cafe where they are famous for their hot, delicious homemade rolls that are tossed to you from the middle of the restaurant.  Luckily I married a man with more hand-eye coordination than me.

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So there you have it!  A little snapshot of our new adventures in our actually kind of cool, new hometown.  We have yet to do some of the “major” KC things like go to a Royals baseball game (they got to the World Series last season so the Royals loyalty is still going strong here) and check out the hipster coffee scene (I know, you’re thinking, “There’s a hipster coffee scene in KC?”), but that will just have to wait for another day!

Where are you adventuring today?

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