Thursday, October 4, 2012

Kansas Road Trip 2012: Liberty Memorial and the National World War I Museum

We love exploring the Crown Center area of Kansas City, and this fall we had a blast checking out the World War I Liberty Memorial.  The memorial is most recognizable by its 217 foot tower but there is a lot more to see and do on the grounds.  Liberty Memorial is home to the National World War I Museum, which was declared by Congress to be the official WWI museum in the United States.  While the original memorial and tower were dedicate in 1926 by U.S. President Calvin Coolidge, the museum  wasn't opened until 2006, the very same year Liberty Memorial was declared a national historic landmark.  Exhibits inside the museum include a tank and replica trenches so there is lots to see in the 32,000 square foot facility, and at only $14 for adults its a real bargain.

The National World War I Museum sits under the Liberty Memorial.  If you are in the Crown Center area or at Union Station in Kansas City, you'll see the Liberty Memorial tower sitting up on a hill and you'll just be able to make out tourist standing on the memorial plaza.  You'll need a good pair of binoculars to make out the people in the tower observation deck, but trust that those lucky people are enjoying an amazing view of Kansas City.  Liberty Memorial was designed in an Egyptian revival style and made from mostly limestone so it is truly incredible and on par with other national monuments you might see in Washington D.C.

When you go to Liberty Memorial, and this is another great stop if you have kids and are visiting Crown Center, enter on the memorial drive and park either on the drive or the nearby parking lot.  When we were at Liberty Memorial we noticed lots of people taking pictures.  Even two different professionals showed up with clients to do portraits on the memorial because of the great views of the Kansas City downtown skyline, so this is a perfect place to get some great pictures of your own.  Liberty Memorial is a really special place well worth a visit, and one of the best stops on the 2012 Kansas Road Trip for Josh and Joe Travels!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Kansas Road Trip 2012: Prospero's Books on 39th Street

After we ate dinner at Rosedale BBQ we decided to take the scenic route across town to Country Club Plaza and explore some surface streets rather than just cruise on the expressway.  As we traveled across 39th Street we came across Prospero's Books, and let's just say this is a book lovers dream!

Prospero's is right next to the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City located in a really neat neighborhood.   Prospero's is actually in an old historic hardware store, so when you go inside be sure to check out the building and not just the books.  Try to find the safe on the first floor before heading down a super cool curved staircase into the lower level where you'll get to see the second half of the thousands and thousands of books at Prospero's.  Joe absolutely loves old bookstores and browsing used books so this place was paradise.  And we did manage to find a few unique books to take back home.  We stopped on a Sunday night and they were still hopping with a poetry reading upstairs.  If you go, there is a row of restaurants nearby within walking distance so you can find something to eat if you lose track of time browsing the books.  If you enjoy journaling or making photo albums like Josh, look near the counter for a collection of locally handmade books and journals.

One of the things we love most about Kansas City are the distinctive neighborhoods and locally owned shops and restaurants, so if you love books be sure to check out Prospero's in Kansas City.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Kansas Road Trip 2012: Rosedale BBQ in Kansas City

Kansas City is famous for great BBQ and this year we really wanted to try some of the local favorites.  Early in our 2012 Kansas Road Trip we stopped at Bandanas BBQ in Kansas City which is a chain restaurant with really good food but doesn't quite have the local flavor we love.  For truly incredible BBQ you have to go someplace small and local, and Rosedale BBQ has some of the best food you'll find in Kansas City.

Rosedale BBQ has been in business since 1934 and serves ribs, burnt ends and sandwiches.  If you are really hungry you might be tempted to go straight for the "belt buster" three meat sandwich, but trust us when we say that you will leave this place full no matter what you order.  Joe got the long end ribs with fries and corn nuggets and Josh got a burnt end sandwich with beans, and we got more food than we could eat.  Standing in line in front of us was a couple who are Rosedale regulars.  When Joe heard them ordering ribs and asked if they prefer the long or short ribs, we found out they'd been eating a Rosedale pretty much their entire lives.  So on their recommendation Joe got the long ribs.  He got five meaty long ribs, smoked to perfection, piled high on a plate of fries stacked so high Joe had to asked if the corn nuggets were down there somewhere.  And they were, down there somewhere, beneath the slices of bread, gigantic ribs and the pile of fries.  Josh's burn end sandwich was an equally big portion, with tons of lean burnt end meat piled on a bun.  The side of baked beans was enough for two or three people to share and were mild and tasty.  You order at the end of the counter when you come in, fill your own sodas and sit where you can find an open table.  We paid right around twenty bucks for all our food including drinks and tax, and we got more authentic KC BBQ than we've ever had in our lives.  Rosedale comes highly recommended, especially if you love ribs, burnt ends and have a hearty appetite.  So the next time you find yourself in Kansas City wanting a good meal, get off the beaten path and eat like king, or at least eat as good as Josh and Joe Travels!