Give Me Liberty or Give Me Rest: Liberty, MO & Terrace Avenue Inn

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Terrace Avenue Inn

Give me the open roadway and a set of songs and I’m a happy man.

An author named Mick Foley said something similar in one of his memoirs and it suits my feelings when it comes to travel.  This weekend I traveled to Liberty, MO to stay at the Terrace Avenue Inn AKA Anna Marie’s Teas and Inn, owned and operated by Brenda Hedrick.  I had been invited to return to the K.C. area by the Barn Players of Mission, KS who wanted me to review their amazing production of Kiss of the Spider Woman.

To make the drive a little lighter, I spent the first night at my older brother’s house in Maryville, MO before driving the last 90 minutes to Liberty.  It was a great day for travel as I listened to the Iowa Hawkeyes battle North Dakota State on the radio before I lost the signal and moved over to my tunes.

I arrived in Liberty at nearly 1pm.  This suburb of Kansas City is actually quite a bit bigger than one would expect.  I was met by a myriad of businesses and restaurants upon my arrival.  A restaurant called the Corner Café caught my eye and I decided to pull over for a bit of lunch.

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Corner Cafe

I wish I had a bit more time to linger over lunch, but I had arranged a 2pm check-in time and was slightly pressed.  Still, if you like good, old-fashioned home cooking, then Corner Café is definitely worth a visit.  I dined on a Corner Melt (patty melt with bacon) with a side of fries while reading Ellery Queen’s The Egyptian Cross Mystery.  I will say that while the food is quite tasty, it is all a la carte, so the bill may come to a bit more than you’d expect for food of this type.

From there, I headed to the Terrace Avenue Inn located in one of Liberty’s historic districts.  I was met on the porch by Brenda’s husband, Al.  He led me to the Terrace Suite which was truly a cozy room with a soft king bed, private balcony, and a Jacuzzi.  Al left me to my own devices after a brief orientation of the inn and I brought in my gear and began exploring the house.

The Dutch colonial bungalow was built in 1923 and is remarkably well maintained.  The home boasts 3 rooms (Cottage Nook, Liberty Suite, and Terrace Suite).  The bottom floor consists of the inn’s tea shop along with a small dining room and well apportioned kitchen which guests can use for light cooking.  Being quite a small home, my explorations went quickly.

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The Tea Shop

After giving the house a onceover, I began to walk around the historic district and downtown area of Liberty.  Liberty actually boasts quite a few things to do from wineries to walking tours.  I didn’t do a very thorough exploration, but I did visit the Fairview Cemetery and meandered through the business district before I returned to the inn where I promptly dozed off on my plushy king bed (a result of a burst of insomnia at 4:30am).

I awoke at 5:30pm and had just enough time to make myself presentable for the play.  I had a wonderful shower than drove to Mission, KS to watch the Barn Players work their magic.

From there it was back to the inn to write the review while Quantum Leap played in the background and a sound night of sleep.

I felt truly well rested when I awoke on Sunday morning.  And I was ready for breakfast since I hadn’t eaten since lunch the day before.  Al had a nice repast waiting for me.

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Market spice tea, Devonshire cream, fruit, scones, and a ham and egg dish.

Oh!  You want to know what it was.  Well, he had a pot of Market Spice Tea ready for me.  Now I’m not the biggest tea drinker in the world, but this was truly excellent tea.  A spoonful of granulated honey added just the needed sweetening to it.  There was also a ham and egg dish, fresh fruit, and 2 scones with chunks of chocolate.  A little Devonshire cream on top made for a tasty breakfast dessert.

And from there it was time to write the last few words of this review before returning to Omaha.  But Liberty is a nice little town and the Terrace Avenue Inn will certainly provide a comfortable room, a filling meal, and a lot of tea.

A Touch of Home: Aunt Martha’s House Bed and Breakfast

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My discovery of a bed and breakfast in the nearby town of Fairfax, MO meant the road was calling me once again.  So it was on a sunny and cold Saturday that I found myself traveling a very empty interstate to Aunt Martha’s House Bed and Breakfast.

As you’ve realized from reading these travelogues, most B & Bs are in small towns, but Fairfax is a MIGHTY small town.  The total population is only 638.  Blink and you just might miss the drive through the business district.  The town does have a school (Pre-K-12) that only has 120 students.

About a half mile away from the main drag is Aunt Martha’s house, a nice, homey refurbished farmhouse.  As I approached the guest entrance, I was greeted by a lovable dog named Sam, whose owner was a long term guest.  Yes, Aunt Martha’s house is pet friendly.  I rang the doorbell and was greeted by Aunt Martha.  She had me fill out a registration form and then led me to my home for the night:  the Tuscany Room.

The Tuscany Room

The Tuscany Room

More of Tuscany Room

More of Tuscany Room

Aunt Martha’s House is a three bedroom bed and breakfast, but my room was quite spacious and immaculate with a comfortable reading area in the corner, walls painted a soft, dark blue, and a very cozy bed in the center.  After settling in, I returned to the kitchen where Aunt Martha gave me the nickel tour and a little bit of her history.

Aunt Martha moved to Fairfax from Pennsylvania five years ago.  When she bought the house she had it completely renovated from top to bottom.  The only rooms untouched were the living and dining rooms.  She is also the only bed and breakfast in all of Atchison County.  This, in my opinion, gives the inn a decided business advantage as it is the only inn in the region that can provide a touch of home.

From Aunt Martha’s stories, the inn has had a variety of interesting and colorful characters throughout the years.  People have come from all over the country to visit this inn.  As I learned from my sister in law, Liz, this area is a popular area for hunting and many hunters have visited the inn.  Two of the more interesting characters Aunt Martha told me about were a couple from Great Britain who are literally walking across the United States.  They average about 12 miles a day and they anticipate their journey will take 8 months.

Aunt Martha, herself, is a very kind and generous person.  She loves to cook and takes requests for breakfast, though the inn’s specialties are Crème Brule French Toast and sausage gravy over biscuits.  But she has prepared lunch for guests just because and has had people in the town in for breakfast out of the kindness of her heart.

At 4:30, I headed to the nearby town of Rockport, MO to meet my brother, Brian, and his family (Liz and my niece, Jaci, and my nephew, Ethan) for supper at the Black Iron Grill.

Black Iron Grill

Black Iron Grill

The restaurant emphasizes its initials, B.I.G., for very good reason because they certainly do not skimp on the portion sizes.  The appetizers could be a meal in and of themselves.  My niece and nephew have hollow legs as both put away very impressive meals.  Jaci had nearly a pound of wings and Ethan polished off a steak burger that weighed ¾ of a pound.  Brian and I enjoyed a Black Iron Strip with sides of fries and green beans for him and fries and steamed broccoli for me.  Liz enjoyed what appeared to be an angel pasta dish.  Brian also ordered an order of frog legs which I had never tasted before.  It was a very unique dish and tasted more like fish.

The service could have been a bit better.  While the server was quite attentive, the cooks failed to provide the French fries which my niece wanted and the chicken for my sister in law’s pasta dish.  However, they did make it up by offering us two free desserts.  Brian and Liz ordered slices of cheesecake and triple chocolate cake.  Shockingly, both were actually normal sized portions.  The adults all had a bite or two of the chocolate cake, but the kids joyfully enjoyed the remainder of the desserts.

Once the meal ended I said goodbye to my family as they returned home to Maryville and I returned to Aunt Martha’s to begin writing this article and looking forward to a hot bath and my latest Professor Layton game.

The bath was a welcome treat on this cold night as it was a contour tub, so it is built just for laying down and relaxing.  I soaked the last bit of heat out of the water before draining it and climbing into bed for the night.

The mattress was a unique blend of firm and cozy which permitted me to sleep all the way through the night.  When I awoke the next morning, I headed downstairs to an excellent breakfast of Crème Brule French Toast, bacon, and an artichoke and egg omelet casserole.

In closing, I must say that if you find yourselves in Atchinson County and you’re close to Fairfax and want a touch of home.  Aunt Martha’s Bed and Breakfast will be the place for you.