Hi there! I’m Jen, a St. Louis lifestyle blogger. I love sharing places my family goes in addition to delicious bites and all things Midwest fun! I’m always on the lookout for adventure. You can follow along at @andhattiemakesthree.

There is just something special about Missouri. Every point on the map in this great state is so unique and different. When I start getting antsy to travel, it doesn’t take very long to find a new adventure for a weekend getaway. With a short three-hour drive from St. Louis, our weekend trip to Independence, Missouri, was equally fun and educational. Finding a balance can be hard sometimes, but we knew exactly where to start. We are always looking for ways to bring history into our experiences, and visiting Independence was a great place to start learning all about our only Missouri-born president.

Exterior of the Stoney Creek Hotel and Conference Center in Independence, MO
Stoney Creek Hotel and Conference Center

Comfortable stay

We arrived at the Stoney Creek Hotel and Conference Center on a Friday evening for our little getaway. I felt like we stepped into a lumberjack’s dream home, complete with a stuffed bison in the entryway! Complete with all of the amenities we could want, including a breakfast buffet and pool, we knew that we would have a cozy place for downtime between our Independence adventures. The rooms offered a cabin-like feel, and I knew that we were in for a restful weekend. If you’re the outdoorsy type, this hotel is for you. After our first night of rest, it was time to explore!

A latte from Joy Coffee in Independence, MO
Joy Coffee


If you have kids, then you know that pre-adventure caffeine is a must in the morning. We found ourselves at Joy Coffee for delicious lattes, strong cold brew, and decadent pastries. The scones and ham quiche were quickly gobbled up by our very hungry six-year-old, Hattie. The space is warm and inviting—the perfect way to start the day. As much as I wanted to stay and read a book, we had sights to see!

Hattie Cowan sits below a "Where there is love there is joy!" mural in Independence, MO
Joy Coffee
Influencer Jen Cowan and her family walk through Waterfall Park in Independence, MO
Waterfall Park

The great outdoors

Our first outdoor adventure was Waterfall Park, where we soaked up the sights and sounds of the waterfall and lush nature. I loved that we could take the walking trail from the back of our hotel right around to the waterfall. Just about a mile walk in the crisp morning air was a great warm-up for our next activity.

Influencer Jen Cowan and her daughter, Hattie, walk outside of the Harry S. Truman home in Independence, MO
Harry S. Truman Home

Rich with history from the life of our 33rd president, Harry S. Truman, the 2.7-mile Truman Walking Trail provides an unparalleled opportunity to learn more about his life and legacy. One of our favorite spots on the walk was the Harry S. Truman Home, a gorgeous white Victorian featuring intricate stained glass, which Truman and his wife, Bess, called home. Across the street is the Noland Home, where Truman’s cousins lived. Hattie commented that it would be really neat to have your cousins live across the street to play all the time!

Influencer Jen Cowan holds a slice of cake at V's Italiano Ristorante in Independence, MO
V's Italiano Ristorante

Sweet treats

With 43 stops along the trail, we sure worked up an appetite! After a delicious Italian lunch at V’s Italiano Ristorante, we saved room for a sweet treat at Cherries Ice Cream Bar. Of course, we had to indulge with the namesake—cherry ice cream—and it did not disappoint. Jeff and I opted for the handcrafted milkshakes, while Hattie had a double-scoop sundae topped with cherry gummies. We always love finding those hidden gems when we travel, and Cherries was certainly one of them.

While we were on the Historic Independence Square, we stopped at Scandinavia Place for some quick shopping and treasure hunting. You never know what you’re going to find there as a souvenir—did someone say chocolate?

Influencer Jen Cowan and her family look up at the Harry S. Truman statue on the Historic Independence Square in Independence, MO
Historic Independence Square

Leisurely stroll

Our weekend trip came to an end, but before we left, we had to say goodbye to the Square one last time. But before that, we stopped at The Big Biscuit to fill our bellies for the ride home. The name lived up to the hype—these are some big biscuits! I recommend trying one of their many omelets if you’re looking to fuel up for a fun-filled day.

After a quick walk along the Little Blue Trace Walking & Biking Trail, we rounded out our weekend with one last leisurely walk on the Square to take in the history, including the 1859 Jail, Marshal’s Home & Museum and Historic Truman Courthouse. And, of course, we snapped a few photos in front of the adorable ice cream mural outside of Clinton’s Soda Fountain—formerly Clinton’s Drug Store, where Truman held his first job—and with the statue of Truman.

"You can't buy me love but you can buy me ice cream" mural outside Clinton's Soda Fountain in Independence, MO
Clinton's Soda Fountain

Even after a big breakfast, our sugar cravings meant a stop at Jack’s Donuts for a few fried treats for the road. The fritter and twist donuts were a car-ride hit! We also drove past the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum before we headed home.

We had such a wonderful trip enjoying family time, the great outdoors, and, of course, all of that fascinating Missouri history!

Our county has a mask ordinance, so don’t forget to bring a face covering when you visit our historic sites! Click here for more visitor information.