Harry Truman’s neighborhood-a great family getaway, Part 1

An antique shop on Independence Square invites browsers.

Independence, MO–the family stops here. And everyone in town is just “wild about Harry.” Guided by the spirit of Harry Truman, families can have a great getaway in this historic town.

“The buck stops here.” With eight shopping districts (including Independence Center, which has more than 120 stores), there are plenty of places to spend a few bucks in Independence. About 30 specialty shops line the historic streets of Independence Square, including Whispering Winds Trading Post, which provides over 1000 various Native American items.

Antiques abound on Independence Square, and you can spend many happy hours (as well as bucks!) combing through the one-of-a-kind goodies found at The Keeping Room (where I discovered a beloved childhood book for $1.95), KYS Knitcraft Yarn Shop (chock-full of silver reed knitting machines, skein yarns of all colors, pattern books, and needles), Mockingbird Home Furnishings (new and vintage furniture, lamps, art, and gifts), and Luticia Clementine’s (which features an adorable baby boutique). Browsers welcome!

Goodies of an edible sort can be found at Scandinavia Place, which specializes in food (including yummy gourmet chocolate) imported from Scandinavia.

An ethereal experience is in store for angel collectors at a very unique shop called The Angel Lady, 216 South Spring Street, just two blocks south of Independence Square. An inventory of more than 35,000 angels–wooden, ceramic, wire, and resin–fills every nook and cranny, floor to ceiling, of the five small rooms of this converted old house. As soon as you enter the shop, you’ll notice a graceful-looking angel made of old, stained glass watching over you. Other angels take the shapes of wind chimes, water fountains, teddy bears, and visor clips! Carolyn Pratt, Proprietress, advises, “Don’t buy an angel unless it winks at you as you walk by. Truly, you’ll think you died and went to heaven.

A banner heralds Independence Square.

The whole family will enjoy watching first-run movies at the renovated Pharaoh Theatre on Independence Square, and bowling at the Diamond Bowl (which features neon pins, and wall art of Day-Glo images of Presidents Clinton, Bush, Nixon, and Truman demonstrating their bowling techniques). There’s also a fully-stocked bar and lounge.

Clinton’s Soda Fountain, where young Harry got his first job, still serves up scrumptious ice cream sodas and hand-dipped shakes. Clinton’s also offers classic soda phosphates with flavored syrups. You might even want to order “Harry’s Favorite”–a butterscotch sundae with chocolate ice cream.

From Tuesday through Saturday, Primary Colors Gallery offers more than just a cool art gallery. They’ll provide the paint and brushes, if you bring the creativity in their Open Studio. Your inner artist will truly be inspired.

But what if all this great shopping and entertainment on Independence Square has made you feel a bit peckish? Not to worry! Harry Truman’s neighborhood is a foodie’s dream-come-true.

Coming Up:  Take a tour of the best eateries in Harry Truman’s neighborhood makes a great family getaway, Part Two, a trip to the Puppetry Arts Institute in Harry Truman’s neighborhood makes a great family getaway, Part 3, and find a great place to stay in Harry Truman’s neighborhood makes a great family getaway, Part 4.

You can also read another Striped Pot writer’s perspective on Independence by checking out Patsy Bell Hobson’s “A weekend in Independence, MO” .

Photos courtesy of Independence Department of Tourism.


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