Muhammad Ali/Gordon Parks @ Nelson-Atkins Museum, West Terrace Park, Hyde Park/Billies Groceries, 59 degrees – pandemic day trip to Kansas City


When we learned it would be 54 degrees in Kansas City, we were there. Turns out it was 59 degrees and so nice to have a change of scenery after a strange shut-in Christmas for two, pandemic-style. Hoping there will be more weekend days like this within a 3 to 4 hour drive of DSM during the next few months when otherwise, we are likely not going anywhere.

Nelson-Atkins Museum, 59 degrees, dec 26!

We had a scenic picnic at a pretty park high atop a bluff with a panoramic view of the city and Missouri/Kansas river confluence just east of the Quality Hill neighborhood , complete with WPA stonework and old concrete picnic tables and statues of Lewis & Clark and James Pendergast (we think father of big KC boss Tom).

The Nelson Atkins has an interesting photo exhibit of Muhammad Ali in London during a big fight in the 1960s, with photos by famous Kansan Gordon Parks. We got a timed ticket (free) to the museum online and found it comfortably (under) populated, everyone socially distanced and wearing masks. We spent much of our time outside, walking along a curving path along the top of the (not so) new wing, dotted with sculpture and little kids having a great time rolling down the grassy berms lining the grand lawn leading up to the imposing original museum with its grand columns. Cool new site specific squiggly stone wall by Andy Goldsworthy.

We discovered a new (to us) neighborhood with elegant homes —Hyde Park, just east of the Gates BBQ on Main. Janseen Place reminded me of Boston Blvd. in downtown Detroit. A short stretch of elegant old stone homes with an imposing entryway of columns. We also stumbled upon a beautifully restored tan brick building with spectacular terracotta reliefs and chic businesses including Billies Groceries (more a restaurant), a spa and boutique. Our car is full of carryout food from classic KC plates – ribs from Gates and chicken from Stroud’s.

Park 18th and Pennsylvania

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