Our plan to visit the southeast corner of the Kansas City metro opened up the window for a few unique stops. The two main areas we would be in were Lee’s Summit and Lone Jack, Missouri. When I plan an outing, I always look for something to use as an overflow attraction. This is meant to fill time that may open up in our schedule. While discussing the region with a reader, the Cockrell Mercantile came up. Since it sits in between the two cities, it seemed like a perfect fit to our itinerary. A little shopping would make a perfect break from our historical stops.
A Century of Where?
To hear someone mention Cockrell will usually evoke sideways looks. “Where?” is one of the most common replies. This sleepy little town has never been large, and has a total population around 25. From its beginnings as a farming community, the town was added to maps when it was awarded a post office in 1886. The post office was ran out of the general store, much like other small towns. Over time it moved to a new store, which put the old one out of business, Finally, in 1902 the post office closed for good. These days the town of Cockrell is still a quiet spot, but the mercantile helps draw visitors from many miles around.
Series of Shops
The Cockrell Mercantile is made up of five buildings. Each one has its own unique flavor. We traveled east on Highway 50 out of Lee’s Summit, and made the right hand turn when we came to their sign. If you aren’t using a maps app on your phone or car, you will have to keep a close eye out for it. The sign is a little small. Once we made the turn, it’s only about a half mile to the shops. After parking in their on-site lot, we were ready to start exploring. Our first stop was The Morton House, which is a baker’s dreamland.
The Morton House
When we stepped through the doorway, we were met with the delicious aroma of a bakeshop. Not the ones where the only thing inside is precooked goods. This was the kind where the scents are from the various materials used to create marvelous treats. Now I don’t bake as often as I used to, but I still get a little giddy seeing all of the gadgets that can be used to create works of culinary art. It is hard to pass up some of these pieces even when I know they would only get used once a year. Of course, there were plenty of other items that would have a more frequent requirement. We wandered through aisles of toppings and molds. This place is certainly a baker’s delight.
The next building to visit was the Fiesta Cottage. This is actually the one that had captured my attention when I was doing the research for our day trip. There is something special about the bright colors of this truly American dinnerware. I have always enjoyed seeing the repetition of patterns or colors in the various displays over the years. Here at Cockrell, they offer a ton of options and even some pieces new to us. They tout that they offer the largest selection of Fiestaware in the Midwest, and it would be hard to argue. This is a place that has to be seen to be believed. Held in a renovated house, it seemed that every turn led to another room filled with brightly colored dishes. We should have brought a bigger vehicle.
The cottages are laid out in a circle, and we continued our trek around. The next stop was the Cockrell Cottage, which is home to a variety of items. Home decor is first and foremost here, and there are some interesting pieces. A smaller selection of apparel is available, and even some delightfully scented candles in a wide range of colors. This is the shop for those looking for unique wedding or baby gifts. They also have some of those Vera Bradley handbags that have become so popular over the last few years. Crystal spent quite some time in this shop, but I guess I can see why, since she loves boutique style shopping.
The granddaddy of the shops has to be the Cockrell Mercantile. We entered and were immediately met with the smell of fresh coffee. What a joy on a chilly day. One of the staff greeted us and asked if we would like a cup. She returned with actual teacups filled with a delightful brew. We sipped our beverages as we wandered the aisles in this general store style shop. The old wooden floorboards creaked as we made our way from room to room. This place was filled with all of the gadgets needed to make a house a home. Inside we found cookware from famous makers, as well as a selection of dinnerware. Aisles filled with gourmet goods tempted us at every turn. We even found a specific pancake mix that we absolutely love. (We had to pick up a big container for visits by the grandkids.) This is another building that just never seemed to end. We wandered for quite a while, before finally making our way to the counter to pay for our purchases. Here we met the owner and exchanged pleasantries.
Our visit to the Cockrell Mercantile was like a step back in time. Here we were able to just enjoy our time meandering the shops. It felt like a visit to an old general store, except that it was filled with modern day conveniences. It is certainly an interesting collection of shops, and we are so glad that we were clued in on it by one of our faithful readers. This is exactly the type of interaction we hoped for when we began our travel blog. We can all help each other uncover the hidden gems that lie just around the bend. Thanks for your input and we hope you share your knowledge with others.