The first IHOP—the dream of founders Al and Jerry Lapin—opened in 1958 in Toluca Lake, California, and was originally dubbed the International House of Pancakes. Since then, rapid expansion has led to myriad milestones across the company's colorful history, from introducing its modern IHOP acronym in 1973 to its 1,000th restaurant opening in Layton, Utah, in 2001.
Today, the company stands strong with around 1,500 locations across North and Central America, each one an enthusiastic dispenser of pancakes, french toast, and tables constructed entirely out of bacon. Though IHOP is known as a bastion of breakfast, it also stays open during the day and into the evening, delivering lunch and dinner as well.
The city of Independence, situated 5 miles east of Kansas City, was the defined starting point of the Oregon Trail. The frontier city boomed as its businesses outfitted pioneers for their journey west in the mid-19th century. Independence Square, a half-mile from Woodstock Inn, was a meeting place for groups getting ready to head out on the trail as well as for streetwise software programmers hoping to adapt the experience into a computer game. Today, restored storefronts dot the square, including several top-notch restaurants and a soda fountain where Harry S Truman—a native of Independence—once worked.Artifacts and journals from settlers heading west are on display at the National Frontier Trails Museum. At some of the exhibits, visitors can listen to recordings of voice actors who bring the stories of the pioneers to life. The inn is also situated about six miles from the Kansas City Chiefs' Arrowhead Stadium, and for abundant shopping and dining, guests can take a short drive to downtown Kansas City.