Hamilton is a great day trip for the craft spirit!
I totally stole this picture from Wikipedia.
Hamilton is the birthplace of J.C.Penny. They have a museum on the north end of the main strip. Its a quaint brick building that looks much like a library from the outside.
While I love and admire J.C.Pennys (because they sell bigger sizes in dress clothes and were the only place I could shop for a long time), Hamilton is now synonymous with quilts.
Fabric! I tell ya, they have fabric!
I quilt with a group of fine women at my church Fairmount United Methodist.
You may have seen pictures of these ladies on my blog before. We quilt by hand and encourage each other to contiue quilting and to learn new techniques. Ruth is our resident applique expert. She taught me how to put together my first Sun Bonnet Sue. Viola started sewing when she was seven and does everything by hand. When the rest of the world has their machines out and are speeding through piecing, she methodically adds another octagon to her flower patch. Then we all sit down to top stitch, and she does three times as much as the rest of us. If it is done by hand, Viola’s our teacher. Mary is our master machine piecer. Over the years she has taught us wondrous techniques such as chaining and paper piecing. Two years ago, Mary started sharing videos with us that featured Jenny Doan, the founder of Missouri Star Quilt Company.
We were hooked, not only to the simple and easy instructions of the videos but also because these were not boring old quilts. Jenny uses bright colors and modern designs as well as the standards. When my sister and I started using pennants for scrapbooking and banners and everything else, Jenny already had a quilt design with strings of pennants. When my sister and I started looking for retreats and conventions, Jenny already had scheduled retreats/workshops where folks could go to Hamilton and quilt for a weekend.
So we went to Hamilton. First time we went was a year ago, and it was more of a shop hop type trip. Missouri Star Quilt company had just opened their seasonal fabric shop and we were hot on the trail of a religious advent panel. There was a holiday quilt store, we were going. We planned a route of three or four shops and started in Hamilton and visited quilt shops on our route back until we arrived home. (We never found the advent panel we wanted.)
This year we heard things were changing in Hamilton. Boy had it. Missouri Star Quilt Company has bought up most of the main strip. Instead of a good stop on a shop hop, Hamilton is now a quilter’s destination. There is the main shop, the civil war fabrics, the seasonal shop, the batiks, the licensed fabrics, and the solids. Each shop is brilliantly themed. It wasn’t until we walked out of seasonal and into batiks that Allison and I realized the music had changed to fit the style of fabrics. The window displays gave me great ideas. (I love a good display and particularly these sewing hoops.)
Plus my sister and I have been discussing getting a long arm sewing machine. Between the two of us we have over 10 quilt tops that need to be top stitched. It’s starting to get very expensive to finish these quilt tops and there are too many to accomplish by hand with our busy schedules. Missouri Star Quilt Company has a machine shop where they take orders and top stitch quilts with seven gorgeous Gammil machines.
We were allowed to walk in while they were working and ask tons of questions about machines and quilting. It would not shock me if some day Missouri Star Quilt Company opens up the front of one of their shops and has one of those ladies giving a regular presentation (like the blacksmith and glass blower in Silver Dollar City). It was fascinating. We appreciated their time and advice.
What’s a day trip without food? We by passed the main strip. There was a very nice sit down restaurant just as we entered the main strip, J.R. Burgers (which has an adorable facade and a giant outdoor eating area) and its neighbor Poppy’s Bakery, but we heard word there was a great BBQ joint passed all the action and on the very far north end. So we passed up the obvious options and started walking. And walking. And walking. When they said the far north end, they weren’t kidding. But by the time we reached the J.C.Penny Museum, our noses told us we were on the right path. Then the old advice from our mother kicked in. Momma always said if you are in a strange town around lunch time and want to know where to eat, look for the restaurant surrounded by work trucks because the working men know where to go for good quality and well priced food, and boy did Hank and Tank’s BBQ have a collection of work trucks around it. Don’t expect something fancy from these boys (other than the ability to take credit and debit 😉 ). You might be order number four if you get there early enough. They are serving meat sandwiches with beans and coleslaw. I can’t comment on the coleslaw because I don’t eat the stuff, but the beans were delicious and on the spicy side. The BBQ sauce was spicy and sweet. The brisket was good too. They are serving straight forward and honest food.
If you get a chance, visit Hamilton. We enjoyed it. The whole trip took us about 5 hours in town.