Road Trip to Merriam

Plan your next summer road trip to Merriam…next door neighbor to Kansas City!

Tired of being stuck at home? Did you have to postpone or cancel the only vacation you planned for 2020? While it’s still a good idea to practice healthy distancing habits, it’s never been a better time to explore somewhere new. Did you know that although millions of Americans have canceled or postponed travel plans, recent travel sentiment studies show that more and more people are already reconsidering their travel plans to include a summer road trip?

What are you waiting for? Grab your keys and gas up the car, bring your social-distance supplies and your appetite for travel, because we’ve got your next summer road trip all mapped out in Merriam, Kansas! Here’s a few items from our jam-packed itinerary:

  • Book your room — discounted rates available.
  • Hit the trails for a leisurely stroll along Merriam’s beautiful Turkey Creek Streamway Trail. This paved path is a great place to see wildlife, grab some steps and connect with nature.
  • Download Merriam’s Sunshine Scavenger Hunt here —snap a selfie when you find the sunshines and tag @ExploreMerriam on social media.
  • Feed the hungry road-trip warriors! Merriam’s got a plate for every palate from handmade tamales at Anita’s, to delicious wraps and burgers at Hurricane Allie’s, to an affordable sit-down dinner at Pegah’s Family Restaurant. Click here for our restaurant selections.
  • Stroll the aisles at IKEA to find home furnishings, décor and essentials, or discover inspiration on the upper level with rooms and rooms of ideas. Don’t forget to grab a tray of cinnamon buns on your way out!

Learn more information about Merriam’s road trip! Here, you can book a discounted hotel reservation, download the 2020 Visitors Guide, print our sample itinerary and map directions to Merriam!

Merriam is a road-trip ready destination just waiting to welcome you! Check out our summer road trip package—we’ve got it all mapped out for you!

Working From Home During COVID-19

The world has shifted. A health crisis is on our doorstep and unknown territory lies ahead. We’re told not to panic. Instead, it’s suggested we arm ourselves with factual, relevant information, shut down the news after a bit, and try to focus on things we can do to practice distancing, self-care and to enjoy productive, happy days.

If you’re one of the millions of workers finding yourself in a tizzy to create a make-shift office from your dining room table with files in a tote bag and a messy kitchen nearby, you are not alone. For those still blessed with sustained employment amid COVID, at-home or remote working might be new, but it doesn’t have to be magazine-style perfect. Let’s take a peek at how to create a successful remote working environment – whether your dining room table, a spare bedroom, unfinished basement, or patio corner. Check out these tips:

  • Designate a space. Claim it, set it up, and prepare your work space so you’re ready to go. Hang your nameplate if you need to, but let your at-home peeps know this is your kingdom. For greater comfort, put out some fresh flowers, light a candle, and throw on your favorite playlist or podcast. Make your area “you.”
  • Make sure you’re connected. You’ll need important tools to connect with your company’s network: Zoom or other conferencing platforms; calendars; data files; cloud storage; etc. – waiting until you need it could be disappointing if things don’t work or connect correctly.
  • Maintain a routine. Go ahead and “get ready for work.” If you hit the gym at 6 a.m., modify your workout at home or take it outside, but keep the same schedule. Changing from nighttime pajamas to daytime pajamas 20 minutes before it’s ‘go time’ might not yield the most effective workday.
  • Take breaks. Just because you’re working from home, doesn’t mean you don’t deserve lunch, a mid-day walk, or a break. Stepping away from your computer for a little fresh air is necessary and can help with perspective and focus.
  • Close the kitchen. This is my personal challenge. You don’t snack all day at work, you certainly don’t need to at home. Designate lunch and snack breaks and then step away from the refrigerator.
  • Connect with people. Cats are cute and dogs are loyal coworkers, but you need to connect with other humans – besides your family. Schedule a weekly virtual meeting or happy hour with your team. Conduct a department staff meeting so everyone can connect. Speaking of connections…peep the virtual beauties we created for you below – don’t let yourself be a potato!

With the increase in virtual meetings on Zoom, we created a host of backgrounds for those who love Merriam to download and use when conducting online meetings. We hope you enjoy these beautiful images of Merriam and we encourage you to invite others to come visit when the time is right.

For the complete collection of Merriam Zoom virtual backgrounds, click here.

Quick instructions for downloading and using images in Zoom (must be done on desktop, not mobile):

  1. Click link to Google Drive; select image you prefer and click the three stacked dots (right upper corner); choose download. Image should save to your downloads folder.
  2. Open Zoom on desktop and sign-in. Click on settings (gear beneath your profile pic).
  3. Select virtual background and then click the + sign next to choose virtual background to add images (select the folder where you saved images from Google). Select the image of your choice and click open. Once the image appears in the box, click the X in the upper right corner. The image you selected should now be your virtual background on Zoom.

    Tip: if there is text on your image, deselect “mirror my image” so the text does not appear in reverse.

Happy zooming–be safe out there!

Local Love

How to love your community while social distancing!

A couple of months ago, had anyone asked me if I believed we’d be smack in the middle of an unprecedented global pandemic, I would’ve told them we’d have a better chance of unicorns falling from the sky. Today, I am in disbelief of the massive, seemingly overnight change in our world. We are in an uncharted and uneasy time as coronavirus cases continue to rise. Shelter in place orders are now in effect across the world, millions of Americans are either out of work or working in an entirely new capacity, grocery store aisles are barren at times, and the toilet paper crisis continues. Coronavirus has become the center of all discussions, news reports and social media posts.

It’s true we must be steadfast and resolve to do our part to lessen the spread of this terrible virus. Staying at home, washing our hands, distancing at least six feet and disinfecting surfaces are all excellent daily practices. And, while the news can be stressful and scary, it’s also a time for us to take stock and reevaluate what’s important. Remembering what we love about our homes and our communities is what will keep us going. Yes, having the kids at home to learn virtually can be a challenge, but it doesn’t have to be perfect. Yes, there will be more laundry, a higher grocery bill, and, at times, people will get on each other’s nerves. It’s times like these that we just need to put ourselves in a time-out. Five minutes to breathe, meditate, eat a cream cheese danish–whatever will calm the nerves.

Business wise, travel and tourism has taken a hard hit. Experts predict our industry numbers could be six times worse than that of 9/11. Here at home, our own restaurants are trying to survive on curbside orders, and hotels are down to a skeleton crew, if open at all. We don’t know when things will rebound, or if all of our tourism partners will recover. It’s similar in many industries. We’ve shifted our messaging from bringing in group tours and family reunions, business meetings and sports tournaments, to daily dining-at-a-distance options for our residents to continue supporting our local merchants (and enjoy a break from kitchen duty). We don’t have all the answers and we don’t know when things will get better. We do, however, stand by ready to help our merchants by promoting their online offers, pushing out their messaging and lending an ear as needed. We’re in this together—we are a community.

To that end, we created a local love challenge. Similar to bingo, we think it will be a fun idea to try at home with your family while you shelter in place. See if you can cross off all 12 spots, and then, create a few of your own. The goal here is to be mindful of helping others–whether that is continuing to support local businesses or making a neighbor smile.

Down the road when the virus is wiped out and it’s safe to explore again, we hope you will be able to travel to help reignite the economy. If your budget doesn’t allow a destination far from home, we invite you to explore Merriam…outside of your own home! As always, the Visitors Bureau is a great resource in planning your itinerary in Merriam, Kansas! Until then, stay safe out there and show some love for your local community–at a distance!

Travel Green!

Top 10 tips to reduce your travel footprint.

Happy St. Patty’s day to everyone! March, 2020 has certainly brought about a lot of uncertainty in the world regarding our health, the economy, and the unknown steps ahead. While we switch to a keener awareness of social distancing, abundant hand-washing and a kinder approach to caring for ourselves and others, we’re also hopeful to see a shift towards recovery due to the swift decisions made by leaders at the local, regional and global level.

This month’s blog post was originally slated to discuss traveling green! We believe it’s still a pertinent topic and one that we can all implement while planning our travels ahead–travels we hope can be a reality sooner than later! Some items below are easy, no-brainers that we should already be applying to our everyday lives. Let’s take a look at how to travel green for your next excursion:

  • Bring your own water bottle and remove the plastic bottle surge to our oceans and landfills.
  • Consider a local staycation — learn about your own town, discover historic sites, visit local shops, walk or bike to attractions.
  • Turn off lights when you exit your hotel room; cancel housekeeping and reuse bedding during your stay; hang up towels and use more than once.
  • Bring your own totes—forego the plastic laundry bag at the hotel and store your items in a reusable tote bag instead.
  • Limit showers to five minutes–that’s plenty of time to get clean. Also, turn off the water while brushing your teeth.
  • Switch to chemical free travel products–many companies offer green-friendly options from shampoo to body wash and more. If you use the products provided at a hotel, take them with you as they are thrown away if opened, therefore wasting the remaining product.
  • Automate your thermostat while you travel. There’s no sense in keeping your home at 72 degrees when you’re gone for a week.
  • Road-trip ready: make sure your tires are properly inflated; avoid running the air-conditioning; keep filters clean of dust and debris; remove extra weight in the trunk (pack what you will use); turn on the cruise control.
  • Support local everything when you travel–the local coffee shop, the local boutiques, restaurants, clubs, etc.
  • Go off the beaten path–walk a trail, visit a park. Anything you can do to turn off the engine and reduce vehicle emissions.

And, last but not least. If travel continues to be restricted for the weeks or months ahead, go online to explore new destinations. Zoos, museums, historic sites and popular attractions are increasingly offering FREE online virtual tours. While it may not be or feel the same, you can still learn and explore right from the comfort of your social-distanced environment.

Happy travels everyone–whether in person or online!

Be Merriam’s Valentine!

Valentine’s Day is fast-approaching! Whether you’re a hopeless romantic and this is your favorite day of the year, or you’re more of a year-round love-bug, Merriam’s got the 411 on all things LOVE. Check out these made-in-Merriam treats for your sweet this Valentine’s Day!

candy heartRussell Stover Candies this sweet store offers a candy kitchen, baked goods, custom build-a-box chocolates, fudge, custard, ice-cream, coffee & espresso, Jelly Belly, exclusive Russell Stover boxes and a complete assortment of Russell Stover and Whitman products. Shop today at 10100 Shawnee Mission Parkway!
valomilkValomilk Candy Cup – made in Merriam since 1987, Valomilk is the “original flowing center candy cup”.  Sold online and in retail stores, this beloved candy is made with only the finest natural ingredients, and is still a treat more than 30 years later.
Krispy Kreme Doughnuts conversation heart doughnuts return to a Krispy Kreme near you. Stop by for your delicious dozen at the Shawnee Mission Parkway location, just east of I-35.
Strawberry Hill Povitica featured on QVC, this delicious swirled dessert bread comes in over a dozen flavors and is certain to make you a repeat customer. Send your Valentine their favorite flavor of Povitica or the new Cinnamon Cream Cheese Coffee Cake. Visit www.strawberryhill.com and use the 40% off discount code Z10W, or call 1-800-631-1002 to order via phone. This special may be used multiple times. Expires on March 2, 2020.
Traditional-MilkshakesGeorgetown Pharmacy Old Fashioned Soda ShopEnjoy an old-fashioned milkshake with your sweetie this Valentine’s Day! Located inside Georgetown Pharmacy on Merriam Drive, these sippers are handmade right at the counter, and are perfect for sharing.
Kansas City Box has created a special Valentine Box this year for a thoughtful and romantic gift! We like the Elbow Chocolates + Mug Duo–but hurry, delivery time is limited! Order now at kansascitybox.com/shop 

Happy Valentine’s Day and much love from the Merriam Visitors Bureau!
~ xoxo ~

Chiefs are Super Bowl Bound…time to LIV it up!

It’s been 50 years since Chiefs fans have felt this type of hype. The entire city is red, EVERYONE is excited about the big game, and the way this community is coming together is magical! From photo ops at Union Station to spirit week in the local schools and businesses, special Mahomes burgers across the local pub scene and so many more Chiefs celebratory events, Kansas City is on fire about Super Bowl LIV.

Football fans really know how to party when it comes to the Super Bowl. Whether you’re celebrating at home, hitting up a local bar, or you’re one of the lucky ones to head south to Miami, one thing is for sure– there’s no shortage of Super Bowl spirit across Kansas City.

Right here in Merriam, take a look at the Super Bowl LIV events and activities:

Eat, drink and be merry!

  • Did somebody say doughnuts? On Super Bowl Sunday, Merriam’s Krispy Kreme will sell limited quantities of a special KC Chiefs football doughnut. Grab a dozen before they sell out at 8805 Shawnee Mission Parkway.
  • Fight for your right to party at Bilski’s Super Bowl Party & Potluck on Sunday starting at 4:00 p.m.
  • Chiefs Super Bowl in the Allie is another happening game day spot on Merriam Drive! Come cheer the Chiefs on to victory–and sing Happy Birthday to Allie!

Help the fur babies!

  • Find a furever friend at Baron BMW & Mini’s Saturday adoption event in partnership with Midwest Animal Resq from 11-2:00 p.m. Get an oil change, adopt an animal and hang out with 101 the Fox!
  • Paws Up KC is in the spirit of helping the animals too and will be hosting a Operation TAILgate on Super Bowl Sunday ALL DAY LONG in the parking lot of Pegah’s (corner of Antioch & SMP).

Say cheese!

  • Snap a pic with Merriam’s resident bears, all dressed up in Chiefs gear for the big game! 6304 E. Frontage Road at Merriam Historic Plaza. #ExploreMerriam #GoChiefs

Gear Up!

  • Make a statement in new swag–Dick’s Sporting Goods in Merriam has all the AFC gear, jerseys, hats and more! 49ers fans–get yours elsewhere.
  • Merriam’s favorite box curator has some cute Chiefs socks to keep your footsies warm during the big game! Check ’em out at Kansas City Box.

At home hosting?

  • Jenn from Peas and Crayons posted this yummy jalapeno football cheese ball. I made it for the AFC Championship game, so in true superstitious behavior, it will be make a reappearance on Sunday.
  • If sweets are more your style, check out this Two Sisters pin Kansas City Game Day Treats.
  • No tailgate, watch party of any other day of the week makes sense without good ol’ KC barbecue! We really like Woodyard on Merriam Drive!

No matter where you watch, how you celebrate or what team you’re rooting for (but if you’re rooting for the 49ers, you are just wrong), Kansas City is our hometown and we are proud to call ourselves Chiefs Kingdom!

Plan for Vacation!

Did you end the year with leftover vacation days? Take time now to plan for 2020 and use the time you earn. National Plan for Vacation Day is Tuesday, January 28–make a plan to claim your days for the rest of the year at the start of the year! Take a peek below at the staggering statistics revealing the work martyr syndrome of the average American.

  • Last year, more than 768 MILLION vacation days went unused—many of which cannot be regained.
  • 55% of Americans left days on the table.
  • Additionally, these are days Americans have earned and when they are completely forfeited (236 million in 2018), they are losing a key benefit, amounting to $65.5 billion. In other words, Americans essentially donated an average of $571 in free work time to their employer.
  • Those who actually plan their vacation days in advance are far more likely to use all of their earned time off than non-planners.
  • Taking time off is associated with higher productivity, better performance, a more positive attitude toward work, increased happiness, improved mental and physical health, better relationships and social life.

On Tuesday, January 28, we encourage you to take some time with your family to plan out your 2020 vacation. Whether it’s an extended weekend or a week-long journey across the country, it’s YOUR earned time off and you should be the one in charge of it!

If Kansas City is on your radar of 2020 destinations to visit, we invite you to explore nearby Merriam! Just a few short miles from downtown KC, Merriam is ideal for a couple’s road trip , a girlfriends’ getaway or a family-friendly visit. Tree-lined streets, walking trails, flower baskets on lampposts, striking public art, unique dining options, attractions within minutes, and a variety of year-round events and activities deliver plenty of fun things to see and do for everyone.

Use those hard-earned vacation days in 2020! Learn more about visiting Merriam at www.exploremerriam.com or follow us socially @ExploreMerriam! Happy travels.

Fall for Merriam!

The leaves are changing, temps are dipping and it’s time to unpack the fall wardrobe in preparation for sweater weather. From Friday night lights to not-so-scary frights, Merriam’s got a great lineup of seasonal activities for the whole family! Check out our fall faves!

  • Take a reflective selfie at Planting the Seeds located at the Merriam Marketplace. Tag @ExploreMerriam so we can like it and love it!
  • Download the Otocast app (free on Google Play or the App Store) to learn about Merriam’s fascinating story. The Interactive Merriam History Tour features engaging content, then & now photos, dynamic narratives and a map to guide you from site to site. 
  • Go Chiefs! Sip some brewskis at Bilski’s, 5831 Merriam Drive. Watch the big game, order the daily special and enjoy Merriam’s friendly neighborhood bar and grill.
  • Make it a movie night at Merriam’s Cinemark—don’t forget the popcorn!
  • Park hop for the day! See how many parks you can visit on a weekend, or check out Merriam’s Waterfall Park to see Hmmm….our newest art exhibit on display.
  • Enjoy KC Destinations newest trips–KC Coffee, KC History and KC Quirky. Learn more at www.kctrips.org.
  • Dress in your spookiest gear and head over to Halloween Happenings on Saturday, October 26 from 2-3:30 pm.
  • Sample the delicious dessert bread at Strawberry Hill Bakery on the West Frontage Road. Try their newest creation, the Pumpkin Cream Cheese Coffee Cake!
  • Plan a family staycation at one of Merriam’s hotels—the Hampton Inn & Suites, Extended Stay America, Quality Inn and Drury Inn & Suites have great rates at www.exploremerriam.com/hoteldeals
  • Take a stroll along Merriam’s Turkey Creek Streamway Park. Play a game of “I Spy” along the way with the kiddos.
  • Stock up on Merriam swag! We’ve got new long-sleeve tees for $15—stop by City Hall during normal operating hours to purchase.
  • Stop by Merriam Historic Plaza to grab a visitors guide or postcard, snap a pic with the bears or grab a cup of coffee!
  • Geocache your way through Merriam—find hidden containers using clues and coordinates. Learn more at https://exploremerriam.com/825/Geocaching

See you in Merriam this fall! Follow us on Facebook @ExploreMerriam to stay up-to-date on Merriam happenings.