Saturday, October 27, 2012

Kansas City MO...a beautiful city and home to Hallmark Cards

KC is a beautiful city in of itself.  Downtown skyscrapers mix with beautiful old buildings like their 1914 Union Station.  Courthouse and City Hall with statues playing homage to Abraham Lincoln, mansions dating back to the 1800's and Jazz.  I just love all the history and the architecture that shows it.  Driving around a city is one of my favorite things to do.

 KC is the home of the greats like Charlie Parker and Count Basie with music styles of the blues, New Orleans Jazz, ragtime, big band, swing, stride and Bounty Music.  18th & Vine was the center of all this, and still is.  Besides keeping Jazz "live" with nightly performances, they have the American Jazz Museum that by day it shares the wealth of history and by night it's the "Blue Room" where they play live Jazz along with storytelling and poetry.  We struck out in trying to get into any of these while we were there, unfortunately, as they weren't open on the nights we were there.  All we managed to do is drive the neighborhood and dream.  We will just have to come back again, and time it better!

Downtown KC also has revitalized their Historic City Market to include various shops and restaurants, that includes the wonderful Winslow's BBQ.  We were told that Winslow's was the best BBQ in all of KC - so, of course we had to check it out!  Well, they weren't lying, it was GREAT!  My personal preference still puts the Memphis TN BBQ as number one, but boy, this was a close second.  Yum!  We also have discovered another treat out here, and that's Frozen Custard.  This stuff makes Ice Cream seem armature.  It's so much more creamy, smoother and satisfying.  California, your really missing out on this wonderful dessert!  (please don't tell Jenny Craig my new addition)

A big surprise was finding out that KC is the home of Hallmark Cards!  What a delightful experience visiting their Visitor Center.  There was so much to see and listen to, I came back the next day too!  Granted, partly because Jack was enjoying the WWI National Museum, and that's not my cup of tea.  I LOVED this place!  Of course I have been a fan of Hallmark Cards for many years, and who doesn't just love Maxine?  It was evident throughout the exhibits what a great company this is.  It's a family owned company that was started by 18 year old Joyce C. Hall, who, with his box of postcards, started the business back in 1910.  He later brought his brothers into the business to help him keep up with the success.  It's stayed in the family all these years.  It was first called "Hall Brothers Cards" before they decided to change it to Hallmark.  He cared for his employees from the vary beginning by offering things like car pooling and day care, long before it was ever popular to do so.  How cool was that?  His employees cared for him back, by sharing their creative skills in an annual Christmas Tree (each year a different theme) and a special painting created just for him.

They also showcase some of the original artwork done by Saul Steinberg, Grandma Moses, Norman Rockwell and Sir Winston Churchill.  They played all their commercials on TV; as I sat and watched I teared up just like I do when they come on now!  Of course they showed samples of their cards as well as their awards that their TV show The Hallmark Hall Of Fame received.  I could go on and on, like I did those two afternoons, but I will spare you, and just offer some of the many pictures I took!
A sweet place.

If you wish to view the rest of the photos from this trip, you can at my Flickr account at:

 ...kicking back in KC, Marie

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