HELLO
Mom to Iris. Wife to Todd. Our little family lives at the foothills of the Ozark Mountains in Fayetteville, Arkansas. We love it here and I love sharing little bits of our life.

© 2014 sarahfortune.

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TRAVEL LOVE: Overland Park, KS

You know I love a good weekend road-trip, so when I got invited to check out Overland Park, Kansas I jumped at the chance. We make it up to Kansas City pretty often, but except for an occasional excursion to Deanna Rose, I’d never thought to explore Overland Park as my primary destination. Thanks to the kind folks at Visit Overland Park we got the lowdown on everywhere we needed to go. The only problem being that we couldn’t fit it all in one weekend! Typically Todd joins us on our trips, but he couldn’t make this one, so I thought it would be fun to bring my mom along. And I’m so glad I did – three generations of girls, on a family road-trip before the holidays to one of the best shopping destinations in this part of the country? Yes, please!

The first great thing about Overland Park is that it’s only a 3.5 hour drive from my front door. For the first time I did all the driving and it was easy-breezy – Didn’t even have to navigate through crazy Kansas City traffic! Checking Iris out of school just a tad early (she was super excited to hear her name called over the intercom), we arrived just before 5:00 on Friday evening. We got settled in our room at the Marriott Kansas Overland Park and, realizing we were all starving, made our way over to the Prairiefire area for dinner at Grimaldi’s Coal Brick-Oven Pizzaria. This cute little area looks brand new, but has such charm!

At the restaurant our server brought Iris a pan of pizza dough to play with while we waited for our food – absolutely genius. After eating the most delicious pizza, we wandered around and found a fun little toy shop called Fat Brain Toys. From there, we were picked up by the nicest driver, who surprised us with hot cocoa for our tour of Christmas lights around town. Back in our hotel room, we had another surprise waiting for us – s’mores cupcakes & popcorn courtesy of our new friends at the Marriott. All-in-all, the holiday lights and sweet treats were a perfect ending to our first night in Overland Park.

Officially in the holiday spirit, we woke up fairly early the next morning and went off in search of breakfast. Landing at McLain’s Market, a lovely coffee shop and food joint, we had breakfast bites, lattes, and chocolate milk to fuel our full day. But Iris could hardly wait for our next stop – the American Girl store, where her doll had a hair appointment scheduled. Oh, so fancy! They took such great care of her doll and Iris. It was so sweet to watch. We could have stayed there all day, drooling over all the accessories. Growing up I had the Samantha doll, so I felt myself revert back to my childhood – wanting it all (to share with Iris, of course). The American Girl store is located in the Oak Park Mall, so we took full advantage and did some shopping. It was near impossible to drag Iris away from the candy and Lego shops, but we finally managed.

So what’s my favorite thing to do on our trips? Eat and drink of course! Nearing lunch time, we made our way to Dave & Buster’s – a place I hadn’t been to in years. Basically like a grown-up Chuck E. Cheese, Iris had a blast and I had a DRINK. :) We hung out for a few hours, playing games, eating food, drinking drinks, and of course – Iris’ favorite part – picking out prizes. Needing a little rest from the fun, we headed back to our hotel before our last adventure of the day – the Luminary Walk at the Overland Park Arboretum and Botanical Gardens.

Once it got dark we made our way to the Luminary Walk. It was so magical with the Christmas lights woven throughout the gardens, pathways lined with candles, and little fairy houses hidden in the trees. There was hot cider for sale, fire pits for a quick warm-up, carolers, and even a gigantic gingerbread house. Wiped out from all the fun, Iris fell asleep on the way back to the hotel. After waking her up for a cozy dinner at our hotel, she got a second wind and had a little tea party with the goodies from The American Girl store.

Sunday morning came too soon, but we weren’t ready to hit the road just yet. Heading back to Prairiefire, we had brunch at Pinstripes, which features bowling, bocce ball, and of course food and drinks. This place wasn’t your standard bowling alley though. The atmosphere was elegant, but family-friendly and the buffet was top-notch. Iris not only got to see Santa, but she experienced her very first CHOCOLATE FOUNTAIN! I was most impressed with the Bloody Mary bar, but with the drive home I couldn’t quite partake. That said, if you live anywhere close (or if you go to Overland Park for a visit), I highly recommend Pinstripes’ Sunday brunch!

Back on the road, we made it home without so much as a pit-stop and even made it back in time for Iris to attend her friend’s birthday party. Living in Northwest Arkansas, I love that we live so close to so many awesome places – and now Overland Park is officially on my “weekend get-away” list!

Visit Overland Park sponsored this post.

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