(surprisingly artsy) Springfield MO

Trip Start Mar 30, 2009
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed
Quality Inn

Flag of United States  , Missouri
Saturday, April 4, 2009

So the first hotel I tried was overrun with loud, rude kids running up and down the halls, slamming doors, yelling -- while the "adults" stood and yakked in those same halls! I know, because I opened the door to see what in the heck was going on at 8:30pm. And at 9:00pm. Wow, my evil eye must be out of practice, because there was no change at 9:30pm. I got dressed again, put my computer and bags back together, got a refund and left at 10pm.

The next hotel lobby was full of clone kids. The couple in line in front of me said they'd called down twice, and the front desk had gotten three more calls in the few minutes they stood there. Must be a rude-kid convention. On to the next joint.

Luckily, the third hotel was kid-free. Relief!  You know, my own parents actually cared whether we respected other people and would NEVER have let us inflict such behavior on others. NEVER! They would have considered it a horrible reflection on their parenting skills, and rightly so. Hello, there are other people in the hotel, and we can't tune out your kids! Besides, they looked about 10-12 years old, plenty old enough to have a little self-control. Shame, shame on those parents, and they deserve all the grief those kids are going to cause them when they're teenagers. Okay, rant over.

After a (thankfully) quiet night's sleep, I was headed downtown when - what's that? - an art store! (Marijka's law of travel:  never bypass an art store, fabric shop, or ice cream parlor. More to be added later.)  I'd sketched a scene that struck me while driving through Illinois, but lacked any purple pencils for the red bud trees, so what an opportunity! (Even the buds are purple, so why 'red' bud? I'll bet Ollie knows the answer to that one.) I restrained myself and only bought a tiny bag of stuff, but saw several new supplies I made note of for later on. I ended up having such a nice chat about sewing, (lack of) storage, and supplies with Pat and crew. This store has a wonderful selection and locations all over the place. http://www.nationalartshop.com/

I spent several hours walking through downtown Springfield, which is a cross between an art-town and a college-town. So there are lots of great galleries, bars and restaurants, services like accountants and attorneys (why isn't it "attornies"?), and even everything-for-$1 vintage and used CD stores. There's also a nice free parking garage. (Which was extra handy since I still haven't tried to parallel park the big FJ. ha) There's even a public library branch on the square that looks like an ultra-modern bookstore, complete with huge plate-glass windows and walls of magazines. http://viewmorepics.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewPicture&friendID=350583647&albumId=466055 
I missed their First Friday Art Walk last night but, truthfully, was glad to hang out in the hotel... once I got a good one. http://ffaw.wordpress.com/

Global Fayre was one of my favorite stops, full of beautiful free-trade goods; David, the owner, is originally from England, and was a joy to talk with. It was so interesting to learn more about free trade, like how shops share information about where the goods come from, rather than trying to keep their sources secret. There seems to be a different feeling about a shop like this, which is focused on doing good for people while simultaneously making a living themselves.  http://www.globalfayre.com 

I also had a nice chat with Terry at Springfield Hot Glass Shop, but I missed seeing him blow glass as the fire hadn't gotten hot enough yet. They also give classes but, considering the damage I do to myself with an iron or oven, blowing hot glass is probably just asking too much!  http://www.springfieldhotglass.com/  It was hard to resist his work (especially the gorgeous light fixtures), but I just didn't want to deal with carrying or shipping it home.

If you're ever in this area, I highly recommend Maria's Mexican Restaurant. http://mariasdowntown.com/map.php The carnitas were crisp, and the pork filling and sauce were excellent. Hey, and the iced tea was freshly brewed!

I visited several terrific galleries, everything from multi-media to pottery to painting, but was disappointed to find that many are closed on Saturdays - exactly when tourists are likely to be downtown. I think this calls for one of my infamous opinionated e-mails....  :-)  Regardless, while I only planned for this to be a stopover on the way to Oklahoma, but I've ended up enjoying - and being greatly impressed by - such a thriving art community.

Once our own art center is fully functional, wouldn't it would be wonderful if artists took over all those empty storefronts in downtown Mount Sterling?  http://www.itsalldowntown.com/  And what if we had special incentives for those artists, a la Paducah?  http://www.paducaharts.com/ We sure could learn a lot from these towns!

On to Oklahoma! (In a surrey with the fringe on top...) 
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marijka on

Hey there, Dean!
Well, I'm avoiding Bass Pro like the plague -- my FJ is full up to the windows! :-) It's so full I'm afraid to check mileage, but I gotta say it's driving like a DREAM. As usual, I meet someone new almost every time I stop - it's just too snazzy to ignore. :-) In fact, I met a guy originally from California when I was fueling up in Mt. Sterling the day I left, so I expect a thank-you accessory if he buys an FJ for his wife. Wait... I own all the accessories already! haha You take care, and thanks so much for your notes on my blog -- it's really nice to know you're out there!

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