On St. Patrick’s Day my little walking group and I met in the parking lot by the tennis courts at Loose Park. (The three of us live in different parts of the city—west, south, and north—and therefore drive to meet at our starting point or sometimes meet at a parking spot on the way and ride together.) From Loose Park we walked through the Plaza and, since it was early for the parade and rather chilly, we stopped for tea, coffee, and outstanding scones, cranberry and chocolate chip to share) at the Classic Cup (not on the patio or out front—too cold that day.) Nicely tided over, we began our trek of the day. We walked to the Kansas City St. Patrick’s Day parade reviewing station on J.C. Nichols Pkwy and found a couple of floats and some marchers who had already finished the whole parade route. Then we ambled north, along the east side of Broadway, stopped whenever we saw an exciting float, marching band, horse and rider group, or dancers, and angled through the crowds to keep moving toward the end of the parade.
Well, if you’ve never seen it, let me tell you, that is a loooonnnngggg parade. We walked all the way to 31st and Broadway before we found the end of the procession and were able to cross the street and head back toward Loose Park. On the way, we passed through Westport where people were already out on the street kicking back in their green sweatshirts and beads. We stopped at the Westport Coffee House for a snack—flavored coffees for them and a yummy steamer for me. They have delicious-looking goodies and sandwiches there, too, but we were still satisfied from our scones. On through the neighborhoods and the Plaza (with a quick stop at Soft Surroundings) and back to Loose Park ended our day’s adventure.
The next week was cold and rainy. When we have the only date we can all agree upon and the weather turns bad, we walk inside. This time we walked at the Great Mall of the Great Plainsat I-35 and 151st Street in Olathe. We met at the movie theatre entrance before the stores opened. My group walks about three miles an hour (unless we’re at a St. Patrick’s Day parade or on at a place where sightseeing beckons.) We walked for two hours around the perimeter of the mall, and then we were hungry.
There is an excellent Mexican restaurant not far from the Great Mall; so we drove to Mi Ranchito at Harrison and Dennis and enjoyed their lunch special, taco salad and tortilla soup, for $6.99. What a great meal for a reasonable price. The salad is filled with all things Tex-Mex yummy (one of my favorite words, you’ll find out.) Both the soup and salad contain avocado—something for which one usually pays extra. There are more Mi Ranchitos in the area. Try one; you’ll like it.
English Landing Park in Parkville, MO found us battling the wind and pulling our stocking caps over our ears. It’s good for us; we rationalize—turns the cheeks pink and fills our lungs with lots of fresh air. The trail runs east along the Missouri River from the farmers’ market area at the south end of Main St. and then loops back. The trail is being extended to the west along the river, and we’re looking forward to walking that as soon as it’s done.
After that invigorating walk, we went to eat at the French Bee Bakery at the corner of 4th St. and Highway 9 in Parkville, where the soups and sandwiches are as good as the pastries. The tiny café holds only a few tables, but all of them were full that day.
One of our favorite places to walk is the Indian Creek Trail which runs along Indian Creek from Kansas City, through Leawood and Overland Park, and into Olathe. We’ve walked every bit of the trail in sections. One day this spring we met in front of Marco Polo’s Trattoria at 103rd and St. Line Road. One can walk east or west from there and see wildlife in the fields and in the creek and enjoy a different experience each season of the year. I’ll always remember the day we walked that trail to the east while huge fluffy snowflakes landed on our noses. Our friend Vicki could hardly feel her hands after that walk.
She survived and now remembers it fondly, especially since we ate at Marco Polo’s after the walk. What a great place to warm up surrounded by the tangy aroma of marinara sauce, pizza, and sausages cooking. Yummy.