Welcome back, my lovely book nerds and tack another quick stop (if only to enjoy some time with pictures) into your Global book nerd to-do list. For those following along as more than book nerds – ie. the current Kansas saga or my life and travels in general – this is a continuation of my odd-date involving Ryan driving me around Kansas City and following me around odd places, like this book wall.
The first thing you ought to know is that you need to research which branch you are visiting within Kansas City. This book wall is located at the central branch, but we accidentally hit another before we made it there, but the branches are relatively close by car so if you get a little turned around, it’s not too bad.
Also, while this wall is lovely (and I loved playing around with it), there have been changes since the pictures that pop up on Google were posted and, truthfully, the book-wall is not actually part of the library, but the parking lot located next to the library. The trees have grown a lot which means there is a lot of shade, but the view of this amazing wall is really obstructed, especially in whole. Still, I loved looking at these large spines and the staircases into the parking garage – usually overlooked – which are a pile of stone books (yes, I definitely took pictures on them – I am a nerd), even if it had nothing to do with physical books or reading.
This being said, I will never say no to popping into the actual library when you are here – every place like this deserves all the love they can get.
Again, this is a quick stop and a quick post, but if you are in the area, stop by and enjoy yourself!
So here we go through part one of day 2 (or the first full day) in the whirlwind trip through Kansas (even if we were really in Missouri). While Ryan was in charge of the big ticket item dates, I put my time and research into smaller places that I would want to visit on one of my normal travel expeditions. And this, of course, leads us to The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.
If you know my background – an MA in Cultural and Creative Industries (which is a fancy way of saying I studied things like museums, publishing, social heritage, media, and international business movement and technology across entertainment fields – basically a wide range of topics) – you know that I love museums. I have a brief insight into how individual galleries are curated and then how things move through the whole of the museums from this degree and, alongside my collected knowledge from my college art history class, this makes exploring so much more fun, especially when I have an audience who doesn’t mind hearing all about it.
With this background and my love of photography, this pick was absolutely fantastic.
First off, the museum itself is lovely – built with classical architecture and rooms upon rooms of art and a sculpture garden that is sparse enough to feel like a park while still calling itself part of an exhibit.
This is the part of the museum that we actually came out to see. I absolutely loved all the Shuttlecocks sculptures and understand how these became the statement piece and symbol of the whole museum. The sculptures are scattered throughout the garden in patches and across levels which is great for both pictures and picnics while surrounded by all kinds of art. Outside, the sculptures fall into the modern art classifications, but has a range that makes it interesting enough to keep running around – I loved the maze (but walk slow because I have seen many slam into the clear walls), the metallic tree, and (I must mention again) all of the different Shuttlecocks. Even if you aren’t looking for a museum day, this is a lovely areas just to come and have some lunch if you are in the area.
We didn’t spend much time inside, except for lunch, but we did run through the impressionist gallery, and, if this is any indication of the rest of the museum, every gallery would be worth stepping into if only for the unorthodox set up. Again, we were in the impressionist gallery, but throughout there were other types of art – furniture pieces and small scale sculptures which used an interesting juxtaposition. For me, if a gallery had a Degas ballerina sculpture (which this did), I am more than happy.
But onto lunch: as with all museums, food here isn’t cheap, however, unlike other places, the portions were rather generous. The staff was friendly and efficient and the room was lovely – hanging lights and natural daylight, with black iron tables surrounding a fountain. We had sandwiches and soup (I had half portions of both) and a blondie for dessert, plus infused water and every bit of it was fantastic. It is all freshly made in front of you so if you don’t want a specific spread or veg on your sandwich, they can make it without, without any extra work. Again, the portions were really generous and I was happily full on the half portions! Also, if you can agree on the type of sandwich, you can split the whole for cheaper than buying two halves.
I’ll end it here without going over and over my strange, nerdy discussions over curation and storytelling through the placement choices, but I will say, if you visit Kansas City, go see this museum. It’s beautiful, full of so much to see, has a full itinerary of events going on all the time, and, as someone who loves the arts, visit and make a small donation for the upkeep because your trip (minus parking, food, and special exhibits) doesn’t cost you anything!
So this is Kansas: day one – and really day one. I got off the plane, picked up my bags, found Ryan’s car, and we headed straight over to Starlight Theater – these plans definitely contributed to my airplane dress code.
This is an amazing arena style theater (similar to the Hollywood Bowl for Los Angeles readers) with all outdoor seating and large screens for anyone who struggles to see from further seats. The atmosphere with a lot of twinkle lights, seating areas, shops, a show happening while sunset and twilight settled around us, and lots of red brick, this was also a lovely spot to have our official first date.
I missed a local LA production to fly out to Kansas so Ryan got us tickets to see Jersey Boys here and the production was fantastic. I actually had never seen Jersey Boys before and, while I know the Four Seasons, I never realized how many of their songs I grew up listening to (at least covers if not the real deal).
In terms of cost, like more attractions, you will pay for everything, but, luckily, this theater offers a military discount. However, you are require to purchase the tickets with this discount on the day of, at the box office which means seat choices are more limited. Still, we ended up getting relatively good seats and the production was phenomenal as this seems to be one of the main theater stops for major tours.
The theater preforms in all weather conditions (yep, rain or shine), so you don’t have to be worried about shows being cancel on you, however, you may need to be prepared for said weather or purchase a poncho at concession stands. Speaking of concessions, there are many food options from bringing something from home, your normal concessions like hot dogs and popcorn, to fancier buffet style dining. We chose that latter and, as a non-member, it cost about $30 each but the food was so good and, since we got to eat all we wanted (including ice cream) it was well worth it.
You also have to pay for parking but you get to choices: Lot or Grass. We chose grass parking (since it was a little cheaper) which was an easy walk in and, as long as you don’t mind navigating normal grass hill issues (like inclines) this is an easy option. Just remember to bring your cash!
If you are a Kansas City local, the membership seems well worth the price for all the shows and perks you have access to. If we were in the area again, we would definitely check out the line up and return.
The theater is also just outside the Zoo so if you have more time, you can also decide to send the day out here, fist at the zoo followed by a show at The Starlight! Just remember your sweater because even in the sweltering summer, it does cool down considerably. Also if you get here early and like to take pictures, bring in your camera because it really is a beautiful area and well worth a night out if you are in Kansas City!
So, I’m back! And as such I have quite a lot to talk about as time (and posts) go on, but first things first, a little from Los Angeles.
Whether you are from the greater Los Angeles area or visiting, there is something about driving to The Los Angeles International Airport that causes a headache. If you are from out of town, the traffic – dealing with the LA driving style more than anything – and stress caused by traveling alone is enough to make people avoid this city. And as a local, driving around LAX with people who don’t understand LA driving and the fierce, crazy taxis, we generally avoid it as well.
This is why for years my parents have relied on the amazing service provided by LAX Flyaway. This bus service gives quick, reliable and cheap round-trip or single fare options for getting to LAX from a variety of locations – Van Nuys (our usual drop off location), Hollywood, Westwood, Union Station, or Long Beach. This not only makes traveling to and from LAX easier but makes flying into the city easier. While we may make the drive for long term travel or international destinations – for sentimental reasons – the fact that you can really only pick up and drop off at LAX means there really are no reasons to drive into the chaos especially for quicker trips, ie Kansas.
Of course, if you aren’t looking to go into the city and have other options – like Burbank, if you are more valley-bound – you can avoid the whole mess. However, I have to caution (as always) to research locations. My brother-in-law had an out-of-town guest who didn’t pay attention to this and, thinking the Long Beach airport was closer as well as cheaper, booked a flight there only to need a pickup an hour away with no traffic.
If you are from out of town, this is a great service that can get you to Union Station which can then get you all over the city and beyond.
I know this isn’t about Kansas – but trust me, you will hear plenty about that in the weeks to come – and a little disjointed, but I am still a bit travel-lagged and promise that this service is well worth talking about. But for now,
To start out, happy Fourth of July and a long weekend to (hopefully most) of you Americans; and to the rest of the world, happy fourth and another Tuesday finished.
Technically, I’m writing this post a week early so I’m off celebrating my own Fourth not spending the evening with all you lovely people, but I hope you will forgive me. Why? you may ask and the answer is simple: with everything else that is going on, I really don’t need to spend my time on my computer.
My real reasons for wanting my computer would be to offload pictures and write this blog, but as with most things in travel planning, there are always ways around lugging heavy computers and space consuming chords. Instead, I’m writing and scheduling this blog now and am making a camera plan.
I have multiple data cards and batteries which will allow me to check pictures and keep the ones I want. If you want to offload pictures with less space you can also buy an external hard-drive that off loads from memory cards or, if you have access to someone else’s computer, you can bring your normal offloading device and a flash drive to store the pictures on.
Again, I’m only going partially unplugged – I will still have my phone which, let’s face it, basically means I will have a computer in my pocket at all times. This also means, if you want to follow my week of travel before I get to blogging about it all, feel free to check my Instagram for more up-to-the-minute updates.
Continuing along the epic saga of summer travel, today I finally settled down to pack for the two trips I have covering just over a week. Both of these trips are very different and require very different perimeters when packing. Luckily, this allowed me to pack for both trips at once while also having what I need for both trips available.
First (as in tomorrow), I leave to caravan up to Fresno to help my sister pack her apartment up and move back to the valley. With an easy there and back, two day trip whose main features are driving, cleaning, and carrying heavy items, packing is pretty much throwing in some extra underclothes, a shirt, and PJs; it’s easy to reuse heavy duty jeans the whole trip. Add in toiletries and an ipod play list for the drive and you’ve got the whole trip more or less squared away.
This is almost the opposite of packing for Kansas.
While Kansas – as I have spent the last few weeks explaining – doesn’t have very much going on, my wardrobe for Kansas is extremely varied. There are two reasons for this kind of packing (one of which I have encountered before and the other I haven’t) : One – it’s a short trip. Six days if you count the evening I fly in; and Two – this whole trip is basically back to back dates that consist of everything from a fancy dinner and a show, to a stadium musical, to zip lining, to fourth of July fireworks.
The first means that I will over-pack. Even with all of my experience, I almost always pack more per day traveling short term than I do long term. Why is this? well, even with wearing pieces that can work well together without making it look like you haven;t changed clothes in 5 days, the shorter the trip the more the similarities bother – after all, as much as I like the ease of travel, I also like fashion.
The second means that I have to account for day activities and night activities that very well may require costume changes. Alongside leaving room for choice while on the road, this means packing even more. Then there are toiletries, makeup, hair stuff, shoes, and entertainment for the plane. And of course, my camera. All in all, that is a lot of stuff for less than a week out there.
But what am I packing? A few dresses fit for different kinds of activities – from a fancy dinner to running around town; some rugged jeans and a basic shirt for zip lining; and then some basic running around clothes like a skirt and jeans paired with a wide selection of top options.
So it will be a long week but I can’t wait to get underway. Until next time:
Yep, this is the next installment from the ongoing Kansas Saga which will, of course, be ongoing.
Now that plans are starting to fall into place, we have managed to nail down where we will be and some bigger stuff we are going to do. It’s been an interesting process, planning across the country, but for a mostly fly-over state, I am starting to get really excited (and not just about the company).
Last week I talked about how when you are out in the middle of nowhere (which, let’s be honest) happens a lot in the average persons mundane travel. I talked a little about traveling further out and finding the more exciting areas when you are looking for more adventure and, since we’ve started in on the game plan, that is what I am looking into now.
The plan is that I’ll write all about this trip while and after I’ve been on it, so I won’t go into too many features now.
We’ll be starting out in Kansas City, Missouri/Kansas for an evening, a night, and a day; before driving over to Wichita, Kansas for another evening show, night, and a day; Then it’s back to the Fort Riley area until I head back to Kansas City on the 5th for some last bits of exploring and flying home.
Well, that when all the personal stuff comes in. That’s right – planning!
So more or less, this is a city of historic and niche museums and then nature walks. Everywhere I looked, I found loads of museums catering to every type of interest I could possibly imagine. From toys and trains, to historic houses and recreations, to art and nature.
As a photographer, I am most looking forward to Wichita Gardens – the cities beautiful botanical gardens. The images I have seen are inspiring and spending the day exploring before heading out on the town – dinner and a show, another great feature of these larger areas.
Kansas City, Missouri/Kansas
I am probably spending nearly the same amount of time here as I am in Fort Riley – where I originally thought I was going to spend the whole trip. Between the time here as a couple and on my own, this city which spans two states has so much to offer I honestly don’t know where to begin.
There are tons of sites like this one which give amazing ideas on what to see and I love the commentary and categories. As a book nerd, a photographer, an explorer, and an art lover, there is so much to see and enjoy here.
I mean, come on: google their Union Station and Public Library and you will see what I mean!
10 days until I take off and so much more to do, so until next time: