Hello Fellow Travelers:
Welcome to our world of business information, museums, adventure, birding, botanical gardens, good eating and fine wines. This newsletter provides you with “The Welge Report for Kansas City .
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Recognition: We extend special thanks to the people who manage and/or own the institutions, museums and restaurants featured in our guides. In some instances we have relied on their descriptions and photos.
Birding Opps: Info for our birding friends. In and near Kansas City you can see Cardinals, Blue Jays, House Finches, Wood Warblers and pileated Wood Peckers.
Burroughs (burroughs.org/birding.html) is the local chapter of the National Audubon Society. This site shows what and where.
KC birding walks (http://kcbirdingwalks.com/htdocs/birding1.html) is another great resource for what, where and when.
KC Nature (kcnature.org/) provides another opinion with both overlap and variation.
Grape Experience – Missouri has several grape varieties that are able to survive and flourish in their rock and roll climate.
The official state grape has two names “Norton and Cynthiana” and can be called by either. It produces a full bodied dry red wine. Most of the white wines are semi-dry and Germanic in style.
Shopping: Our favorite shopping in Kansas City is the Country Club Plaza – 4706 Broadway St #260, 816-561-3456
Here you will find lots of boutiques, more of Kansas City’s famous fountains and entertainment on the weekends.
Transportation: (You need a car for this trip)
Amtrak (www.amtrak.com) – Your connection to more than 500 stations in 46 states. For online information and train schedules visit www.amtrak.com or call 1-800-USA-RAIL (1-800-872-7245)
Day One: Check out The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art – W: 10-4, Th, F: 10-9, Sa: 10-5, Su: 12-5, 4525 Oak St, 816-751-1278
The Nelson-Atkins currently maintains collections of more than 33,500 works of art, and it is recognized internationally as one of the finest general art museums in the United States.
On the museum’s lawn the Kansas City Sculpture Park contains a large collection of bronzes by Henry Moore plus works by Alexander Calder, Rodin, George Segal and Mark di Suvero.
The oversized badminton shuttlecocks by Claes Oldenburg and Coosie van Bruggen are very popular.
It’s important to visit the National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial, Tu-Su: 10-5, 100 W. 26th Street, 816-888-8100
November 11, 1918
GUNS ARE SILENCED
An Armistice is declared to end the fighting in World War I.
“The National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial inspires thought, dialogue, and learning to make the experiences of the World War I era meaningful and relevant for present and future generations.”
Lunch today means BBQ and that’s at Fiorella’s Jack Stack Barbecue – L & D: Daily, 101 W 22nd, 816-472-7427
Here they call them “Beginnings”, we call them good – ONION RINGS are sweet colossal onions and FRIED MUSHROOMS are fresh and served with horseradish sauce.
If you’re looking for a sandwich try the POOR RUSS, that’s chopped burnt ends served on a sesame seed bun.
If you can handle a plate go for the DUROC CHOP LUNCH – one premium bone-in pork chop marinated in a herb brine and grilled over hickory with fries, of course.
Enjoy it with a pale ale of your choice.
The Arabia Steamboat Museum is one-of-a-kind museum – M-Sa: 10-5:30, Su: 12-5, 400 Grand Blvd, 816-471-1856
The Steamboat Arabia was one of many causalities of the perilous Missouri River. The Mighty Missouri, as it is often called, is the longest river in the United States, and has claimed nearly 400 other steamboats over its 2,500 mile course.
In September 1856 the Arabia was carrying over 200 tons of cargo intended for general stores and homes in 16 mid-western frontier towns when still fully loaded it hit a tree snag, and sank just 6 miles west of Kansas City.
5 men and their families recovered the Arabia, and in 1991 the Arabia’s cargo was transformed into the Arabia Steamboat Museum.
From fine China to carpentry tools to children’s toys to the world’s oldest pickles—the Arabia’s artifacts captivate visitors of all ages.
It’s time for some spiritual rejuvenation at the The Kauffman Memorial Garden – Daily: 8 to Dusk, 4800 Rockhill Road, 816-932-1200
The Kauffman Memorial Garden is a serene and tranquil garden enclosed by beautiful limestone walls. Its brick paths lead to many places to sit and relax.
The garden showcases five designs beginning with a beautiful entrance allee of Peking Tree Lilacs shading billowing blue Endless Summer Hydrangeas and other seasonal flowers.
Dinner is at Bluestem - D: Tu-Sa, 900 Westport Rd, 816-561-1101
Bluestem offers several prix fixe menus. Starters are pea soup with creme fraiche or ricotta tortellini with braised rabbit.
Mains include sauteed bay scallops and little neck clams or grilled lamb with onions, quinoa and asparagus.
Your wine is the ’12 d’Arenberg Riesling and dessert is their chocolate date pudding with coconut coffee ice cream.
Day Two: Breakfast is at Happy Gillis Café and Hangout – B & L: Tu-Su, 549 Gillis St, 816-471-3663
Here’s your fuel for a busy day: grilled ham and cheddar with apple rosemary jelly, mustard and sunny side up egg, the biscuits and gravy or for the virtuous: the house-made granola with fruit and yogurt.
It’s well worth the 35 minute drive to visit the Harry S. Truman Library – M-Sa: 9-5, Su: 12-5, 500 W. U.S. Highway 24, Independence, 816-268-8200
President Truman worked five or six days a week in an office here where he wrote articles, letters and his book Mr. Citizen, and he was often answering the phone and visitors’ questions.
A restoration of Truman’s working office was completed in 2009 that features an enclosed limestone pavilion for better access and viewing, however, the office appears today as when the President died on December 26, 1972.
Two floors of exhibits show his life and presidency through photographs, documents, artifacts, memorabilia, film clips and a film about Truman’s life.
On a personal note, President Truman was the first President that I saw in person when he stopped in Litchfield, IL on his famous 1948 train campaign across the heartland of America.
Lunch is reserved for Pierpont’s at Union Station – L: M-F, D: Nightly, 30 West Pershing Road #900, 816-221-5111
There are two reasons why we chose Pirepont’s for lunch. The first is that it’s an excellent restaurant, and the second is dining here gives you the opportunity to see Union Station and visit some of their other attractions. Pierpont’s is a steak house and in Kansas City that’s a big deal.
At most steak houses you start with seafood, so try the jumbo lump crab cake. Then you have the salad. Here it’s either the classic Caesar or the Wedge.
On the lunch menu they have bacon wrapped petite tenderloin with roasted garlic potatoes and asparagus and a Kansas City strip with parmesan fries.
Your wine is the ’12 Amigoni Petit Verdot and if you’re still hungry go for the vanilla bean crème brulee.
Next let’s visit the home of Thomas Hart Benton Home and Studio State Historic Site – April-Oct: M-Sa: 10-4, Su: 12-5, Nov-Mar: M,Th-Sa: 10-4, Su: 11-4, 3616 Belleview, 816-931-5722
Thomas Hart Benton was one of President Truman’s close friends. Here his life is present in both his home and his paintings.
A trip to the home and studio of the renowned painter, sculptor, lecturer and writer offers a glimpse into how the talented Benton lived and worked.
Benton converted half of the carriage house into his art studio, which remains as he left it.
You can still see coffee cans full of paint brushes, numerous paints, and a stretched canvas waiting to be transformed into another of his masterpieces. Thomas Hart Benton died in his studio in 1975.
Let’s take a magical journey to our childhood by visiting The Toy & Miniature Museum of Kansas City – W-Sa: 10-4, Su: 1-4, 5235 Oak St, 816-235-8000
Here you will find the largest collection of its kind in the world of fine-scale contemporary art miniatures that are working reproductions of actual pieces crafted by highly skilled artisans.
Their collection of toys spans from the Victorian era onward showing timeless favorites such as dolls, dollhouses and trains.
The Museum is also home to the Marble Games and Gallery Room, filled with the colors, shapes and sounds of approximately one million marbles!
Dinner is at Stroud’s Restaurant & Bar – L: F-Su, D: Nightly, 5410 NE Oak Ridge Rd, 816-454-9600
Of course you go to Stroud’s for the fried chicken, livers, gizzards or mix up.
But if fried chicken isn’t your favorite, try their chicken fried steak with gravy, their pan-fried pork chops, the pan-fried catfish or the combination.
And yes, they have hickory smoked BBQ pork rib slabs.
Dessert is included. It’s the homemade cinnamon rolls. They have a full bar and a large beer selection. Wine choices are limited.
Day Three: Our cousin suggests breakfast at Genessee Royal Bistro – B,L: M-Sa, 1531 Genessee St, 816-474-7070
A sensible choice is the nut and seed granola with berries, yogurt and clover honey.
But what about those waffles with blackberries, honeyed almonds and maple syrup or the biscuit with fried chicken, gravy and a sunny-side egg? Don’t miss the coffee!
The Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art is our favorite stop in Kansas City – Tu-Sa: 10-4, F,Sa: till 9, Su: 11-5, 4420 Warwick Blvd, 816-753-5784
At the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, you will find works by modern and contemporary artists from around the world.
Since the Kemper Museum’s opening in 1994, its permanent collection has more than tripled. Works in the collection range from those created after the 1913 Armory Show, an important benchmark in modern art, to the present.
Visitors to the Kemper Museum discover works in all media by renowned modern and contemporary artists as well as works by emerging artists.
The Museum rotates its collection on a regular basis, allowing visitors to study and discover new works throughout the year.
Next let’s visit the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum – Tu-Sa: 9-6, Su: 12-6, 1616 E 18th St, 816-221-1920
The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum uses 10,000 square feet of space to exhibit features multi-media computer stations, several film exhibits, hundreds of photographs, a field of 12 bronze sculptures and a growing collection of baseball artifacts.
African-Americans began to play baseball in the late 1800s on military teams, college teams, and company teams and eventually found their way to professional teams.
The last Negro Leagues teams folded in the early 1960s, but their legacy lives on through the surviving players and the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum.
In the same building is the American Jazz Museum – Tu-Sa: 9-6, Su: 12-6, 1616 E. 18th St, 816-474-8463
Acclaimed as an “interactive paradise” by the NY Times, the American Jazz Museum – exhibits bring to life the great American art form of jazz.
Listening stations, touch screen interactives, and custom mixing boards complement displays of artifacts, graphics, and commissioned artwork in a sculpturally dynamic space that makes this sophisticated musical style accessible and engaging for visitors of different ages and musical backgrounds.
Throughout the exhibits, collections of photos, sheet music, and posters from the heyday of jazz create context for historic artifacts such as Charlie Parker’s Grafton saxophone, one of Louis Armstrong’s trumpets, and a sequined gown worn by Ella Fitzgerald.
Keeping jazz alive is the Blue Room, a new nightclub built within the museum and named after a once famous nightclub across the street.
Featuring photos and memorabilia from Kansas City’s finest bands and a video jukebox for viewing classic jazz performances, the Blue Room pays homage to its jazz heritage by offering live music five nights a week.
Today’s main meal is at Le Fou Frog – D: Tu-Su, 400 E 5th St, 816-474-6060
You could start with the French onion soup with port wine topped with gruyere and parmesan or maybe the goat cheese salad with a fig compote and a citrus vinaigrette.
Then it’s on to the crispy sautéed pork belly served over white beans.
Enjoy a glass or two of Kir Kir Royale with either.
Your next choice is between the seared John Dory that is topped with lobster meat and napped with a veal stock or the famous Kansas City strip steak seared in a cognac-green peppercorn sauce served with a green salad and frites.
A Cotes du Rhone Rouge was be a good match. For dessert go with the creme brulee.
Until next time, best wishes and safe travels,
Dick & Dee Welge
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