Kansas Travel Blog
September 2007

Chronicling changes to KansasTravel.org and Keith's exploration & photographing Kansas restaurants, attractions, museums, festivals and art. Contact him.
Art Prints

Kansas Meteorite Museum and Nature Center
Saturday - July 25, 2009: L & M joined me for lunch at Cordoba's Family Restaurant in Baldwin City, Kansas. Most of the items offered are sandwiches, typically costing less than $7 including French fries.

About a third of the menu was Mexican dishes, but the only one sampled was chips and queso. The queso was pretty bland to my taste.

The favorite item tried was a hamburger, though it wouldn't bring me in to a restaurant in a town with more locally owned choices. The Cordoba Special grilled chicken breast topped with ham and cheese looked & sounded interesting, but didn't have much taste.


Cordoba's Family Restaurant - Baldwin City, Kansas Cordoba's Family Restaurant
Friday - July 24, 2009: L and  had supper at Ari's Greek Restaurant In Olathe, Kansas. Ari's is one of several restaurants that have improved significantly in the years it has been open. We enjoyed pricey ($22.95) but good Friday evening Seafood buffet. I particularly enjoyed the BBQ lamb ribs, though they were fatty.


Tuesday - July 21, 2009: This was the final day of my trip. It took 13 hours to return to Kansas,  from leaving Mackinaw City, driving to Green Bay and flying through Chicago to O'Hare.

As I was starting to drive out of Mackinaw, a boat in the Straits of Mackinac caught my eye. It was the Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw, coming back from shepherding the sailboats in the Chicago to Mackinac Race. I drove down to the shore and took a few photos of the new Mackinaw, with the old Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw (which is now a museum ship) in the foreground.

As I started onto the 5 mile long Mackinac Bridge, I saw the unusual sight of a Mennonite couple stating to walk across the bridge. It is closed to pedestrians everyday but Labor Day. I am sure someone had an interesting conversation with them.

I arrived in Green Bay with a bit of a time cushion before my flight. It was a good chance to try Chili John's, which was established in 1913. The chili had good flavor, but was pretty expensive. A large bowl without beans or noodles, costs over $12.

For anyone wondering about my use of the spellings Mackinaw and Mackinac, they are both pronounced so they rhyme with "gnaw." The Bridge, Straits, lighthouse and Island are spelled with the "c." The mainland city, Coast Guard Cutter, fish, coat and small boat are spelled with the "w." The fort at south foot of the Bridge is spelled Michilimackinac, though the old documents show it being spelled more than 50 different ways.



Old and new Mackinaw Coast Guard Cutters Old & new Mackinaws 

Chili John's - Green Bay, Wisconsin Chili John's

Monday - July 20, 2009: We got a lot done today. The only touristy things were meals and the Jack Pine Lumberjack Show. 

Dad and I had lunch at the Carnation Restaurant in Cheboygan, Michigan which has been in the Pappas family since 1926. I had a chef's salad which didn't much impress me, but Dad enjoyed his eggs, sausage, toast and hash browns. The Carnation Restaurant serves breakfast anytime.

I was on my own for supper, and had broiled whitefish one last time, at Cunningham's Restaurant in Mackinaw City. The oldest restaurant in Mackinaw, I first dined there with my Grandmother, 45 years ago.

The chicken soup could have used a few less noodles and a little more chicken, but the flavor was excellent. The serving of broiled whitefish and French fries was huge. The fish was good, but the fries were pretty ordinary. The meringue  on Cunningham's pies may be piled up to about 6 inches and looks quite impressive, but I think the pies have better flavor at Darrow's Restaurant a few blocks away.

I attended the Jack Pine Lumberjack Show in the evening. It opened last summer, and I hadn't heard of anyone that had seen it. I was pleasantly surprised to see that host of the show was someone who I went to high school with, Denny Beach. About 45 people were at the show which lasted a bit over an hour. It is simple family entertainment, at its best for 12 year olds or those who still feel 12 years old at heart. The audience was divided into two halves, to cheer for their contestant and boo the other.



Carnation Restaurant - Cheboygan, Michigan Carnation Restaurant

Jack Pine Lumberjack Show - Mackinaw City, Michigan Jack Pine Lumberjack Show

Sunday - July 19, 2009: Today was spent on family business, but there were opportunities to see and do a couple of Mackinaw City, Michigan attractions.

In the morning I walked to the Church of Straits. The Church of the Straits is federated Presbyterian PCUSA and United Methodist. I was baptized in the Ames Memorial Methodist Church that became the CotS and grew up in this congregation. The guest pastor do an excellent job.

A Church of the Straits tradition which dates back to the 1970s is to have visitors come up and form a volunteer choir during the service. Most of the regular members of the choir are working in tourist related businesses on Sunday morning. I joined about 17 others in singing a traditional hymn.

Following the service, I walked along the shore to the foot of the Mackinac Bridge where I took a few photos of the 1892 Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse. I also stopped by the nearby gift shop which is operated by the Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association.

Dad and I ate out twice today. Lunch was at the Driftwood Restaurant in St Ignace Michigan. I was disappointed to learn that the menu they use at lunch time is much changed from the dinner menu on their website. The low carb items I was planning to eat were not available, but the waitress worked with me and I had a good baked whitefish.

Supper was at Audie's Restaurant in Mackinaw City. I prefer the menu in Audie's Chippewa Room, but didn't feel like being that fancy tonight and we dined in the main family dining room. I had whitefish for the 3rd time during the visit - Almondine (broiled and topped with slivered almonds).

I finished the day with the sunset Vesper cruise. Straits Area Resort Ministry has operated the Vesper Cruise in the summers since 1969. As a teen I did the several times a year, each of the first few years. The cruise includes quite  bit of a cappella singing, detailed views of the Mackinac Bridge, and a brief sermon. It concludes with a spectacular sunset.

Although all of the promotional info for the Vesper Cruise says there are two cruises each Sunday evening, be advised that accept for Labor Day Eve, there is only one cruise each Sunday this summer at 8PM. Be sure to arrive at least 30 minutes early, to make sure it isn't full.


The Church of the Straits - Mackinaw City, Michigan The Church of the Straits

Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse - Mackinaw City, Michigan Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse

Mackinac Bridge - Mackinaw City, Michigan Mackinac Bridge

St. Helena Island sunset St. Helena Island

Saturday - July 18, 2009: Making an unplanned last minute trip to Mackinaw City, Michigan. This morning I changed planes at O'Hare and flew to Green Bay Wisconsin, where I rented a car for the 5 hour drive to Mackinaw.

Lunch was at the 1942, Mickey-Lu Bar-B-Q in Marinette, Wisconsin. They do not serve BBQ, that refers to the charcoal grill. I loved the atmosphere, but wasn't impressed by the hamburger or bratwurst. In all fairness, since I can't have the carbs, I didn't have the hand dipped malts that Mickey-Lu is known for.

Supper was with my father at Darrow's Family Restaurant in Mackinaw City. They are weaker on the atmosphere, but have great food, particularly fish, salads, soups and pies. I had cajun whitefish and a good sour coleslaw.



Mickey-Lu Bar-B-Q - Marinette, Wisconsin Mickey-Lu Bar-B-Q

Friday - July 17, 2009: L joined me for lunch at Gringo's Restaurant in Olathe, Kansas. It isn't very authentic Mexican food, but I enjoy their Wednesday & Friday Mexican buffet.

In the evening, we went to Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri, where we caught the last part of the Kansas City Royals Hall of Fame game and first part of their 7-8 loss to Tampa Bay. Our seats were behind home plate, but only 8 rows from the top. It is hard for me to get into the games when I am not closer to the action.


Sunday - July 12, 2009: I had planned to visit some Leavenworth area locations Sunday morning, but rainy weather kept me home in the morning. L and I used a Christmas gift card for lunch at McCormick & Schmick's Seafood Restaurant on the County Club Plaza in Kansas City, Missouri. It was a pleasure eating somewhere I could stay within my carbohydrate guidelines, but have food I really enjoyed. I had a pan fried oyster appetizer and salmon penne with wild mushrooms, Hazelnuts and sherry cream. 


Saturday - July 11, 2009: Saturday morning, L and I were off early so she could attend a meeting with the Kansas East Conference of the United Methodist Church in Topeka, Kansas. Unfortunately it had been canceled, and since L was filling in for someone else and isn't on the regular email list for this committee, we didn't know.

We would have done a better job of salvaging the trip, but I had accidentally left my camera at home. So we headed back, with only a couple of stops in Lawrence - the farmer's market and lunch at Free State Brewing Company.

Free State is one of my favorite Lawrence restaurants and a recent winner of the 8 Wonders of Kansas Cuisine. It is still good, but not nearly as much fun since I have had to restrict my carbohydrates.

Supper that evening was at a Infused, a recently opened bar & grill in western Shawnee, Kansas near Johnson Drive and K-7. Infused has lots of interesting infused liquors. It is more bar and less grill. The food was OK, but I probably won't return.

At midnight, I did the Lenexa Midnight Bicycle Ride, which had to move this year from the streets of Lenexa to Shawnee Mission Park. Despite moving to the location with the highest concentration of deer in Kansas (400/square mile - not a typo), I didn't see any deer.

I only intended to do the hilly route once, but, there were many spots with light trucks and generators along the route and I didn't realize I had passed the finish of the circular route, until I was a half mile past the end. They wouldn't let me turn back, so I did it twice, along with perhaps a fifth of the other riders. Only 10 miles total ride, but did I mention it was hilly?



Infused - Shawnee, Kansas Infused

Friday - July 10, 2009: L and I drove to Lawrence on Friday evening for the banquet and presentation of the Sturgeon and Campbell Awards for the best science fiction short story and novel of 2008. They are presented at the University of Kansas as part of the Campbell Conference each year. This year's banquet was held on campus at Mrs. E's Kitchen.

James Alan Gardner's "The Ray Gun: A Love Story" won the Sturgeon award. The Campbell award was a tie between Cory Doctorow's Little Brother and Ian MacLeod'sSong of Time. All three authors were present to accept their awards.

Following the acceptable meal (L loved the desserts), there was a reception in a nearby dormitory. Though we didn't return, the Campbell Conference activities continued through the weekend and included a mass autographing session at Oread Bookstore on Saturday afternoon.. 

My Photos of the Campbell Conference Awards Banquet are posted at another of my sites, the MidAmerican Fan Photo Archive.


Campbell Conference - Lawrence, Kanass Campbell Conference
Tuesday - July 7, 2009: Visited Tannah's new restaurant in Overland Park, Kansas. The menu is changed from the old Olathe location. I enjoyed the flavor of the Spicy Hoisin Wrap (wok seared with mushrooms, carrots and green peppers in a golden wheat tortilla wrap), but with that description, I didn't expect it to be filled with rice. So much for avoiding carbs:-(

Added a new page devoted to the Wildlife Education Center, Aquariums & Fish Hatchery in Pratt, Kansas.


Tannah's restaurant - Overland Park, Kansas. Tannah's
Monday - July 6, 2009: Visited Deanna Rose Children's Farmstead in Overland Park, Kansas. for the first time in 3 years. The place is hopping on a week day morning. The gardens and other features look more finished than when I last visited. A nice prairie dog town has been added and a large food concession in a 5,000 square foot dairy barn.

It doesn't look like the new Deanna Rose entrance will be ready in time for the scheduled August 28, 2009 opening.

I had lunch at Wai Wai, the Overland Park fast food style operation by the Thai Place chain. The Thai spicy stir fried chicken had good flavor, but was not "hot" as ordered. I made up for that with a few ladles of the Thai chili's [sic} in fish sauce, which heated it up nicely, but added a lot of sodium.


Deanna Rose Children's Farmstead - Overland Park, Kansas Deanna Rose Children's Farmstead

Wai Wai restaurant - Overland Park, Kansas Wai Wai

Saturday - July 4, 2009: Started Independence Day with a pancake and sausage breakfast with hundreds of people at Lenexa United Methodist Church, a 45+ year July 4th tradition. Then walked a half block watch the Community Days Parade - a nice medium sized event. The units in the parade were stopped twice by trains passing through town. The Lenexa UMC lawn chair drill team was a hit!

Finished the Lenexa 4th of July with lunch at the annual VFW BBQ dinner. Smoked chicken, ribs, corn on the cob and other sides.

In the evening, I joined about 25 friends in Leawood, Kansas for a cook out followed by watching the Leawood fireworks display from the deck. One of the families brought sparklers and other mild fireworks and I enjoyed setting them off with the kids.

Added a new page with photos and a review of the Kansas Meteorite Museum and Nature Center near Haviland, Kansas.



Don Stimpson and Brenham meteorite Recent discovery at the Kansas Meteorite Museum

Thursday - July 2, 2009: Returned to Jumpin' Catfish in Olathe, Kansas for lunch. I was planning on trying the smoked catfish, but when I saw the sign on the door saying they had 5 live lobsters available for $9.99 for a complete meal, I was hooked.

It felt decadent, having lobster for lunch.

In the evening, we saw Legally Blonde The Musical at Starlight Theatre in Kansas City, Missouri. It was a lovely evening and the show was fun, but it didn't end until after 11PM.


Wednesday - July 1, 2009: Added a review of Bomber Burger in Wichita Kansas.


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