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Trip Report Kansas City MO for art lovers and history buffs

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We just returned from a four day visit to Kansas City. Used hotwire for Holiday Inn-Sports Complex at $65 a night (no noise, great king bed, plenty of hot water, excellent A/c, right off 70, and hotwire as well for Alamo Rental -- about $15 a day cheaper than if we had booked with Alamo. By luck we chose to fly on Monday and visit Truman Library that afternoon. As it turned out, really lucky since all our other stops were closed on Monday. Lesson learned -- check days opened before making plans. Anyway, Library was excellent multimedia and spending three hours we learned some new things and appreciated anew the "ordinary man in extraordinary times." But of course he was never really ordinary. Finally checked into hotel, got settled, and drove nine miles to Fiorella's Jack Stack's for barbecue (thank you, rkkwan). We were happy and full and had an early night.
Tuesday morning we drove to St. Joseph's about an hour away (thank you again rkkwan for breakfast at Cracker Barrel right off 29. We visited the Albrecht-Kemp Museum of Art, a small gem that kept us happy and a little amazed at its location for about 90 minutes, Then onto Pony Express Museum, probably badly funded and a little shabby, but gave us an appreciation for the riders and entrepreneurs that rivaled NASA.
Warm feeling about being an American.
Almost didn't stop at Patee House which would have been major mistake. Wonderful memorabilia for the late 19th century. We spent two hours there. (Remember, we're recommending to people who love historical trivia.) Then around the corner to house Jessse James was living in when killed. That took five minutes, but for $5 we checked it off our list.
We got back early and returned to Independence for a 5:30 p.m. first run movie in downtown Indepdence. For $5 each we entered an Edward Hopper picture. Sleepy, musty, slow, kind of time machine. Or Key Largo, or Petrified Forest. Anyway, watched Wolverine, which made husband happy, and we ate a block away at Cafe Verona. Inexpensive decent Italian food, wine, and service, and back to sleep by 10 pm.
Wednesday we had early start and went back to Independence (four mile drive) to buy tickets at 8:30 a.m. in downtown, drive five blocks, for 9 a.m. tour of Truman's house (really Bess's family.) House hadn't been touched since 1900 except for kitchen in mid-1950's. When Bess died in 1982, she willed house and 53000 items to US/National Park Service. We loved tour.
Then ten mile drive to Kansas City -- National World War I Museum, just spectacularly added to -- about three hours. Then to Nelson-Atkins, whch although smaller, certainly had a collection that echoed the best in NY, DC, or Philly. The new modern addition was beautifully done. Three hours.
Final night at the Pierpont Restaurant at Union Station. Not outrageous price by East Coast standards, and we enjoyed the atmosphere and food was good. My husband did say Ruth's Chris was better, but service was good and we both wanted to do local.
Next day, another stop at a different Cracker Barrel, another attack on heart vessels, and off to the airport.
We had a delightful, low-key trip. Never got to the Casinos, never shopped. The city was what we imagined it would be, but the attrractions were actually much more impressive than we expected. Hope this helps someone in planning a trip. Fodors has always been a great resource for us.

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