WESTON, Mo. (KMTV) — The aroma reminds you of an Italian restaurant. The national flag may make you think you’re in Rome, but you won’t need your passport to stop in at La Bella Cucina Italian Market on Main Street in Weston, Missouri. The one-year-old shop selling Italian goods ranging from pasta and marinara sauce to imported pottery, oil and vinegar, is one of more than two dozen shops and boutiques calling downtown Weston home.
The Italian market, one of 15 new stores to open in the town of 1,700 during the pandemic, offers a fun environment to check out, whether you’re just browsing or looking for unique Italian gifts for the holiday. And Gordon and Holly Grohmann have a family secret.
“We’re not Italian,” Gordon jokingly whispered.
The Grohmanns, who hail from nearby Kansas City and live in an apartment above the store, decided to invest their savings in the Italian market after Holly lost her job as a result of the pandemic. Based on the number of customers in the store, they made a wise decision to open their shop in Weston.
Weston – about 2.5 hours south of Omaha on Interstate 29 – offers 20 blocks of shopping and food year-round, but the holiday season seems to bring out something a little extra special along Main Street. From Christmas shopping to holiday decorations, even weekend visits from Father Christmas himself, Weston is a great town to visit for holiday shopping or just to feel the season’s spirit. With a backdrop of western architecture dating to the mid-1800s, downtown resembles a Hallmark movie set.
With so many unique shops and boutiques, Weston makes for a fun day trip or weekend getaway. We’ve visited the town about a half dozen times and it always offers something new to check out. From Christmas markets to home décor, the town beckons for a visit. Here’s a look at some of the fun places to check out.
Weekend visitors in November and December (until Dec. 24) may see Father Christmas roaming Main Street in search of good kids of all ages. The Victorian-era Santa will check his list for naughty and nice kids, as well as listen to what you would like for Christmas.
Buffalo Ranch Christmas Store
It’s easy to get into the holiday spirit as soon as you walk into Buffalo Ranch Christmas Store, with ornaments, lights, decorations and Santa Claus throughout the store. With beautifully-arranged displays, you may want to have store employees come to your home and decorate (or, it may just be us, as we could definitely use the help). It was challenging to leave the store without buying all the elves, penguins and gnomes in holiday attire.
Main Street Galleria and The Upstairs Tearoom
An old-fashioned soda fountain starring Blue Bell ice cream is the main attraction at Main Street Galleria and The Upstairs Tearoom, which also features retro candy, fudge and baked goods. You’ll definitely satisfy your sweet tooth with its trademark lavender lemonade, ice cream soda, malt or classic phosphate. Stop in for a sweet break or to pick up treats for home. Main Street also includes a tearoom for a special outing resembling English tea time.
Ten Thousand Villages
Relocating to Weston from the Kansas City area was an easy choice for the owner of Ten Thousand Villages. When space opened in town about a year ago, Ten Thousand Villages quickly made the move. Offering Fair Trade products, the store features an eclectic collection of items, ranging from cute socks, mugs, toys and clothes. With maker-to-market products, sales help build economies around the world, helping to break the cycle of poverty. While at the store, take a step out back and take in a magnificent view of Weston’s City Park.
Renditions Polish Pottery Shop
With more than 70,000 dishes imported from Poland, Renditions Polish Pottery Shop features three rooms of beautiful European-style stoneware. With traditional and folk-art designs, the store offers plates and cups, as well as ceramic butter keepers and gravy boats in the shapes of animals, such as cattle and pigs. You’ll even find old-fashioned cookie jars. The store also offers European holiday ornaments featuring angels and animals.
Weston Bend Candle Shop
The aroma of the holidays is in full force at Weston Bend Candle Shop. With the fragrance of pumpkin spice or perhaps French vanilla enticing shoppers, the candle store is an excellent spot for holiday shopping. With a variety of candles, from jars and pillars to votives, Weston Bend has you covered.
Missouri Bluffs Boutique
With a collection of women’s clothing, Missouri Bluffs Boutiques features seasonal selections, such as sweaters, scarves and jackets. For a unique twist on Midwest life, how about a swanky hat for holiday events?
White Pumpkin on Main
The home décor and accessories shop on Main Street is the perfect spot to pick up a few gifts for the holidays. From cute signs, such as “Dear Santa, I didn’t know I couldn’t do that,” to a framed map of Nebraska with cities and towns listed in the background, the store features fun gifts. Don’t fret, though, White Pumpkin on Main also offers a lot of holiday decorations to help make your home the envy of family this season.
The Celtic Ranch
A taste of Ireland in the Midwest is the best way to describe The Celtic Ranch. Featuring a collection of men’s and women’s clothing, the store could easily be found in Dublin’s Temple Bar District. Guinness fans will love the selection of gift ideas, including coasters, sweatshirts and boxer shorts. The Celtic Ranch includes a whiskey tasting room in the back of the main floor. You can enjoy a favorite shot or order a flight of whiskey, offering a variety of drinks.
Northland Artists’ Gallery
Featuring the works of area artists, Northland Artists’ Gallery is a superb stop for art lovers. Between oil and pastel paintings, as well as unique sculptures, the gallery offers a relaxing look at beautiful art.
Spending a day shopping in Weston can work up an appetite. Fortunately, the town is home to outstanding eateries. Tin Kitchen offers barbecue, smash burgers and a variety of salads, while Avalon Café is a nice sit-down eatery featuring crab cakes, steak burgers, flatbread pizza and entrees such as lamb chops, wild boar and pork tenderloin. The 640 Pizza and Pints offers pizza and sandwiches. America Bowman Restaurant at the Weston Brewing Company features classic steaks and sandwiches, as well as bangers and mash. For a truly upscale dining experience, reserve a table at The Vineyards Restaurant. Located in the Antebellum House, the restaurant is open Friday and Saturday evenings, featuring duck, lamb, pork and beef tenderloin.
Beer and wine
A visit to Weston isn’t complete without a visit to Pirtle Winery, which has called a former church home for more than 40 years. Raising their own grapes in a nearby vineyard, Pirtle wines are popular with locals and visitors, alike. Weston Brewing Company is an excellent stop for a cold beer. While at America Bowman Restaurant, head downstairs and through the stone cave to O’Malley’s 1842 Pub for a drink and enjoy live music. Growing grapes in their vineyard, Riverwood Winery offers a unique setting for wine tastings after repurposing a vintage country schoolhouse. With white and red wines, Riverwood also offers flatbread pizza to enjoy during a tasting.
Where to stay
When it opened in 1845, the St. George Hotel in downtown Weston hosted steamboat captains, wealthy travelers and businesspeople. Today, the 26-room boutique hotel features a comfortable stay in a classic river town. There are plenty of bed and breakfast inns, which offer intimate lodging options, and come with outstanding breakfasts.
Whether you visit Weston on a day trip or make it a weekend trip, there’s plenty to do and see in the river town.
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