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& photographing Kansas restaurants, attractions, museums, festivals
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|Saturday - July
31, 2010: Today we visited a couple of Johnson County restaurants for
the first time this year. The first one was Grandstand Burger in north
Overland Park, a location that many people assume is in another city.
This tiny burger joint
has indoor seating for only 3 people, but the outdoor seating has new umbrellas
over the tables (not shown in the photo at right) and the seats were shaded
and comfortable. The hand formed burgers were the best I have had in weeks
and the onion rings were great.
Supper was only a few
miles away at Old Shawnee Pizza in Shawnee, Kansas. Their thin crust pizzas
are still above average, if not outstanding. The chicken wings were a little
better than on my previous visit, but still about what I could easily
|Friday - July 30,
2010: Several friends joined me this evening in trying Shawnee, Kansas'
newest BBQ restaurant - The Pick Smoke n' Grill. The Pick opened just a
few weeks ago and was recommended to my by someone who recently moved into
The Pick use about
a third of the space formerly occupied by Infused Restaurant & Bar,
which closed last year. The dining room has high ceilings and terrible
acoustics. The noise coming by children at some other tables carried tot
he point where it was difficult to order or have a conversation . Our server
admitted that sometimes the noise is even worse.
The meats at The Pick
were the strong point. None of the side dishes really appealed to me, although
a couple of the people that I was with enjoyed the beans. The french fries
are ordinary, not fresh made.
Two of us ordered the
special - a full slab of pork ribs with two sides for $16.99. The sides
that came with the ribs would have small regardless, but were very small
when shared by two people. A smoked hamburger and beef brisket were both
OK. The ribs were sweet (much like Applebee's). Hot chicken wings had good
flavor, but were not very meaty.
The Pick is one of
the few KC BBQ restaurants that does not offer sausage.
The Pick Smoke n' Grill
|Thursday - July
29, 2010: Tonight's supper was at Overland Park's newest Chinese Restaurant
- Joy Wok. The new, giant buffet is probably the most attractive Chinese
restaurant in the metropolitan area. This space was previously occupied
by Amor de Brazil Fiery Steakhouse, but they opened it out, added a huge
water feature and really turned this building into an attractive restaurant.
The food was impressive,
not just for the well made traditional dishes but for other surprises like
roast beef and Kansas City Steak Pie. I enjoyed a couple of vegetable dishes
that I have never had before. There was also a surprisingly nice selection
of sushi and an area where food is prepared hibachi style, to order.
Monday through Thursday
evening, the buffet is $9.95. A bargain!
|Monday - July 26,
2010: Lunch was at Austin's
Bar & Grill in Olathe. I used to be a regular at Austin's, but
visiting restaurants for this web site has been keeping me away. Monday
is half price burger day and we both went for burgers. I had the Burger
of Burgers with grilled onions & mushrooms. Monterey Jack & American
cheeses and topped with bacon, while Linda had a bacon cheese burger.
It used to be that Austin's steaks and burgers came well
done regardless of how they were ordered, but my burger today came medium
rare as I ordered it. A nice improvement.
Supper was my first visit to Gaslight Grill in Leawood,
Kansas, right in front of the Church of the Resurrection mega church. I
didn't intend to go to Gaslight Grill tonight, but I discovered that two
nearby restaurants: Blue Fin & Tannah's Asian Fusion have both closed.
I first discovered Gaslight Grill from seeing their ads
on this web site. The online menu looked rather pricey and something left
me prepared to to like the restaurant.
I arrived early in the evening when the restaurant was
almost empty. The space is huge and the music was too loud for a restaurant,
rather than a bar. But I suspect that it becomes less noticeable when the
restaurant is filled with customers.
The service was impeccable.
Even though I had just had a gorgonzola ribeye steak on
Saturday, the Maytag blue cheese crusted ribeye sounded the most attractive
to me. A 14 ounce steak with bacon & chive mashed potato and green
beans was $28. Wow! The steak was perfectly cooked and the blue cheese
sauce was incredible.
I need to go to Gaslight Grill again soon.
Austin's Bar & Grill
|Sunday - July 25,
2010: Following a night in Abilene, Kansas, I began the day with a
revisit of Brown Park Waterfall
on on Turkey Creek a couple of miles south of town. My first visit to this
falls was in the winter and I wanted to get some photos while things are
Before leaving town,
I also photographed the gardens at the Seelye
Then west to Junction
City where I drove south of town to Geary State Fishing Lake. Scott Bean
had recommended that I check out the waterfall here and he was sure right!
After parking near the dam, I walked its length looking for the outlet.
As I reached the far side, I could hear water falling back in the trees
to the right.
At the far end of the
dam, there was a trail leading off to the right. It wasn't easy walking,
there was a steep slope, mud, and trees to work through, but I soon found
myself at the top of a spectacular 35' falls. Wow!
It was a lot more work
getting down to the creek below the falls, but it was worth the effort.
My pictures don't do this beautiful waterfall justice.
I drove back up to
Junction City and then to the adjacent community of Grandview Plaza to
Stacy's Restaurant. The oldest part of Stacy's Restaurant started as a
Valentine Diner. I attempted to eat at Stacy's in May of 2009, but when
I entered the dining room, it was filled with cigarette smoke.
I searched for a table
or booth away from the smoke, but the three vacant tables were each next
to people that had lit cigarettes. I knew I wouldn't enjoy the meal if
I stayed and quietly left. Even that brief time in the restaurant left
my clothes smelling smoky for hours
But Kansas went non-smoking
on July 1 so it seemed like a good time to return.
This building is neat
and the people are friendly, but the food was pretty boring. The homemade
vegetable beef soup ($2.99) was the best part of the meal. But I didn't
finish my chicken fried steak ($8.99) with country gravy and salad. The
steak was preprocessed and mostly breading and the gravy had no flavor.
They do serve breakfast
until the early afternoon closing - perhaps that is the strong part of
I passed through Manhattan to Tuttle Creek dam on the Big Blue River. There
was a lot of water being released from the dam and the flow through the
gated chute spillway was quite impressive with water whirling and around
and up many feet into the air.
After taking some photos
at the dam, I drove down river to the waterfall at Rocky Ford State Fishing
area. which I had been told about by Lawrence Seib from the University
of Kansas. Although the river is much wider at this point, there was still
a tremendous flow of water over the low falls.
I don't think this
is one of the more attractive Kansas waterfalls, but it is still impressive
and I enjoyed watching the people using various fishing techniques.
ON the way back to
Manhattan, I stopped for a burger and onion rings at the Vista Drive In.
It is one of two locations for the family run burger place that have been
in business since 1964.
I love the classic
look of the building and its sign, and appreciated the clean well maintained
interior, but I can't see this being voted Manhattan's best hamburger.
The fries were OK for frozen, but there was nothing special about them,
the quarter pound Vistaburger, or the onion rings.
The rest of the trip
was uneventful, but this evening I had supper at Johnny's Hickory House
Bar-B-Q in Mission, Kansas. It was recently featured on Diners, Drive-Ins
& Dives, and I wanted to try the chicken which is briefly deep
fried after smoking.
But as we approached
the door, there was a sign saying they were out of chicken. While we were
being seated, the owner said they had sold 800 servings of chicken since
Friday. They were also out of onion rings and ran out of ribs just after
we got our order in.
Service was also an
issue, though the owner was hurrying around trying to make sure things
didn't get out of hand. We had to wait a long time for our food and were
pressed to hurry eating when it came. One of us had ordered burnt ends,
but was brought pulled pork instead, but we didn't think we could take
the time for them to correct the order.
Brown Park Waterfall
Geary Lake Falls
Rocky Ford Waterfall
Vista Drive In
|Saturday - July
24, 2010: I was up early and on the road for my first overnight Kansas
exploring in 3 months. Heading straight west, my first stops were in Salina,
where the fields were being fired around the Yesteryear Museum, just north
of I-70. I thought that this kind of burning was only done in the spring.
My lunch was at a new
restaurant to me - Hickory Hut Serious Barbecue in Salina. It started business
as a drive through only restaurant, next door, 30 years ago. It appears
that the majority of their business is still done at the drive through
Wanting to try as many
dishes as possible, I ordered the sampler platter ($19.99) which included
2 ribs, a sausage, chopped pork, BBQ brisket, fries, baked beans, potato
salad and cole slaw. No I didn't eat all of that, though I did eat most
of the meat.
The potato salad and
(frozen) fries were OK, but the sweet cole slaw was better. The beans were
sweet and loaded with sausage & a little bacon. They were definitely
my favorite side dish.
The meats were all
above average, but none really stood out. There was a choice of regular
or hot sausage. I went with the hot and it may have been my favorite meat.
There were two sauces
in squeeze bottles. One was labeled "barbeque sauce" and the other was
labeled "hot." A third sauce was in a dispenser labeled "intense BBQ sauce"
but it was intermediate between the other two. The sauces were all sweet,
tomato based sauces and I didn't notice a big difference between the three.
Hot sauce was also available.
Moving on to Lincoln,
Kansas, the first stop was at the Lincoln Art Center. The modest sized
art center is mostly about temporary exhibits, with few permanent displays,
but it does have a very nice gift shop with arts and crafts from various
artists. Admission to the Lincoln Art Center is free.
The current temporary
displays are the works of three Baldwin City artists: Stephan Anderson-Story
(photographs), Joseph Anderson-Story (whimsical pottery and glass), and
Tracy Townsley (pottery).
Hurrying on up Lincoln
Avenue, I arrived at the Kyne House Museum. I needed to be there before
it closed for the day at 1PM. The curator, Andy Anderson, was kind enough
to show me through the museum and stayed past 1PM so I could take my time
and see everything.
The large collection
is much like that at county historical museums across Kansas. The exhibit
likely to be of the most interest to visitors from outside Lincoln County
is probably the F. A. Cooper room with paintings and examples of Cooper's
"It Happened in Kansas" newspaper articles and cartoons which were once
syndicated in 50 newspapers.
But my personal favorite
item was a large desk which had come from the old First National Bank.
The back of the desk is a 5' x 8' display of painted advertisements for
businesses in the community, reminiscent of the stage curtains that were
once found in many Kansas schools. This is the first desk like this that
I have seen.
Then back and across
the street to the new Michael Steven Gallery. I toured Michael's studio
when I was in Lincoln this winter and his new gallery was the principle
reason for this visit. Michael creates wonderful art and furniture from
My last stop in Lincoln
was a revisit of the Saline River Waterfall which I discovered last winter.
It was great getting some photos while things are green.
Leaving Lincoln, I
decided to check on a couple of waterfalls which Andy Anderson had told
me about. The first is near the unincorporated community of Shady Bend,
about 2 miles west of Beverly, Kansas. I found the small cluster of buildings
that is all that remains of Shady Bend, but had no luck finding the waterfall.
I had better luck with
the waterfall that was 30 miles north on the Solomon River in downtown
Beloit. There is a small park next to the falls and I had to dodge groups
of frisbee golfers who were having a tournament. There was so much water
coming over the dam that the falls was the beautiful I bet it is nicer
when there is less flow. There is even a pedestrian bridge that crosses
the Solomon River a little above the falls.
Driving back east and
west, I passed through Salina and drove a few miles farther south to Assaria,
home of one of my favorite Kansas Restaurants
- the Renaissance Cafe. Located in
an old school building, the Renaissance Cafe has typical fare ar weekday
lunch, but three evenings a week, a different chef comes in and the restaurant
serves fine Italian food.
I decided to retry
the steak Venato which I enjoyed so much on my first visit to the cafe
three years ago. The 10 ounce ribeye is dredged in seasoned bread crumbs,
grilled, and smothered in a savory sauce of brown mustard, shallots, mushrooms,
cognac & cream. They have changed the plating since my other visits,
and I didn't care as much for the presentation, but the steak was still
wonderful. $21 with potato, vegetable, and the choice of soup or
I highly recommend
the gorgonzola romaine salad - romaine hearts topped with spicy pecans,
dries cranberries and a rich homemade gorgonzola cheese dressing. A few
other restaurants try something similar, but I have never had one that
I like as well.
My final stop before
calling it a night was the Cozy Inn in Salina.
The only dish the 88 year old restaurant prepares is burgers with grilled
onions and it is an icon, one of the 8 Wonders of Kansas Cuisine. For me,
the Cozy Inn has always been more about the atmosphere and the tradition,
then about the burgers, but this is the first time that I didn't really
enjoy the burgers.
The burgers are tiny
(16 to the pound), but this time they seemed even tinier. There was hardly
anything between the slices of bun - a sliver of meat one pickle, the tiniest
dab of grilled onions and a couple of drops of ketchup and mustard. I'm
not going to condemn Cozy Inn based on one poor experience, but I will
be little more cautious about recommending it.
Hickory Hut BBQ
Lincoln Art Center
Kyne House Museum
Michael Steven Gallery
Saline River Waterfall
|Friday - July 23,
2010: We had supper at Vive Latino Mexican Restaurant on Holmes Road
on the south side of Kansas City, Missouri. It was highly recommended by
friends that said the food is so good, that they will forgo having Margaritas
(no liquor license) to eat there.
Vive Latino is in the
strip center behind Gomer's Chicken, which we tried the previous week.
The restaurant is very
plain, but the food is good. The best items sampled were the spinach dip
($5.49) and nachos ($7.50), The discada fajitas ($9.99) sounded better
than they tasted, but were not bad. Discada is a combination of grilled
pork, steak, chorize, bacon, ham, and meat franks.
I'm told that the discada
chimichanga ($9.99) is very good.
|Thursday - July
22, 2010: It is time for me to go back to visiting more Johnson County
Kansas restaurants for my city guides. There hasn't been enough time during
the past few months.
Today's lunch was at
Jose Pepper's Grill on Blackbob Road in Olathe. I had not eaten at Jose
Pepper's since it moved to this location several years ago. Jose Pepper's
is a small Kansas City chain with additional restaurants in Wichita and
I had one of the signature
dishes - the $14.99 Fajitas Del Trio (three jumbo bacon wrapped shrimp
stuffed with jalapeno cream cheese & jalapeno, flame grilled steak
and char grilled chicken). I was pleased to learn that Jose Pepper's Grill
offers the choice of substituting fresh fruit, a side salad or cottage
cheese for the beans & rice. They don't have blue cheese dressing for
the salads, but the Italian dressing was quite good.
The shrimp and stuffing
seemed a little wasted. They tasted good, but really all that I could taste
was the bacon. Overall, I wish the meats had been grilled with a bit more
Linda joined me for
supper was at Mafia Mike's Pizza in Lenexa. I had not been there in a couple
of years. The hot chicken wings (10 for $7.99) were meaty and had great
flavor. The $5.99 antipasti salad was large and came with a ton of cheese,
green and black olives, meat, mushrooms and pepperoncini. The $8.99 medium
calzone was large enough for two people, but came with only one topping
(filling). Even with our paying for a second topping, we felt that there
wasn't enough filling.
Mafia Mike's Pizza
appears to be an unusual chain. Near as I can tell, there is this one in
Kansas and four others in Arizona.
Jose Pepper's Grill
Mafia Mike's Pizza
|Wednesday - July
21, 2010: Driving through Edgerton, Kansas this evening, we stumbled
across a waterfall which I knew nothing about. Santa Fe Lake Falls is just
south of Sunflower Road near the Edgerton city limits. There have been
heavy rains this week and the waterfall was quite attractive.
Added new pages devoted
to Santa Fe Lake Falls in Edgerton
and Papa Bob's Bar-B-Que
in Kansas City.
I was disappointed
to discover today that Pickering's
Restaurant and Pub in Olathe, Kansas has closed and the building is
empty. I will miss their hand breaded pork tenderloin sandwich and chicken
Santa Fe Lake Falls
|Saturday - July
17, 2010: Two friends joined me for lunch at Gomer's Chicken in Kansas
City, Missouri. The restaurant is right across the parking lot from the
better known Gomer's Liquor. At times Gomer's is counter service only,
but at other times there are servers and there was very good service today.
The fried chicken and sides (particularly the real mashed potatoes) and
the cinnamon apples were both a hit.
I particularly enjoy
the fried chicken hearts, in part because this it the only place where
I can regularly get them.
pages of photos from the Campbell Conference.
|Friday - July 16,
2010: This is the first day of the Campbell Conference and we drove
to the University of Kansas in Lawrence where the Campbell Banquet and
Awards Ceremony were held at Mrs. E's (aka Ekdahl Dining Commons).
The dinner was followed
by the presentation of the John Campbell Award for best SF novel of the
year and the Theodore Sturgeon Award for best short SF of the year. I photographed
the awards for the MidAmerican
Fan Photo Archive. For several years the inductions for the Science
Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame were also conducted at this ceremony and
I was responsible for a portion of the program.
The ceremony was followed
by a reception on the 6th floor of Lewis Hall. As the evening wound down,
the sun was setting over Lawrence.
Campbell Conference Awards Ceremony
|Wednesday - July
14, 2010: Three friends joined me for supper at Ten Restaurant in the
historic Eldridge Hotel in downtown Lawrence, Kansas.
Our entrees were surf
& turf, Tandoori lamb chops, pork tenderloin, and buffalo short ribs.
I loved the garlic & thyme sauce that came with the ribs and ate two
much of the mashed potatoes with the sauce.
We started with a cheese
& fruit course and ended with two desserts. I thought the $9 Midwestern
Berry Milk Cake was particularly good. It was more or less a strawberry/raspberry
shortcake in a chocolate shell. The White Chocolate Kahlua Cheesecake was
also good, but it was a small serving for $8.
At just over $170 before
tip (without alcohol) it was an expensive meal. If the service had been
just a little better, it would have been worth it. But our server wasn't
good about tell us of specials and had to be repeatedly asked to bring
more water and iced tea.
As we were leaving
Lawrence, there was the sound of fireworks just south of the downtown.
It was the final weekly Wednesday night concert of the summer season and
the last concert always features the 1812 Overture with fireworks in the
Updated the review
of Soaring Heart Gallery, with
info about its new location in Lincoln, Kansas.
Midwestern Berry Milk Cake & White Chocolate Kahlua Cheesecake
|Tuesday - July
13, 2010: Added a new review with more photos of the
Idle-a-While Bar and Grill in Cherokee, Kansas. Updated the details
for Cedar Cove Feline Conservatory &
Sanctuary in Louisburg, Kansas.
For supper, two friends
joined me at KC Grill N Kabob in Lenexa. KC Grill N Kabob has a good buffet
a lunch time every day and all day on the weekends, so this is the first
time that we have ordered off on the menu. The $3.99 Noon Panear (Bread
with sliced tomatoes, dill, cucumbers and feta cheese) was a simple, reasonably
priced starter and the main dishes were very generous. The lamb that came
with the shish kabob was the best meat dish that I have ever had at this
restaurant and the chicken from the chicken kabob was nearly as good.
|Monday - July 12,
2010: Tonight Diners, Drive-ins and Dives had the premiere of their
Kansas City BBQ episode. which featured RJ's Bob-Be-Que & Johnny's
Hickory House Bar-B-Q in Mission, Woodyard Bar-B-Que in Kansas City, Kansas
and Smokin' Guns BBQ in North Kansas City, Missouri.
a Watch party and compared the BBQ from two of the restaurants in the show.
Here are the photos and the
results of the BBQ comparison.
BBQ from Johnny's Hickory House and RJ's Bob-Be-Que
|Sunday - July 11,
2010: Added brand new review of Mr.
Epp's K.C. Barbeque in Kansas City, Kansas. It has taken almost two
years for me to catch Mr. Epp's open enough times to complete my review.
Fortunately, the food is almost good enough to make it worth that much
Also added a review
of Scotty's Classic Car Museum
and Store in Arma, Kansas.
Mr. Epp's Barbeque
|Saturday - July
10, 2010: I had a lot of fun today, starting with a long awaited tour
of Scotty's Classic Car Sales and Museum in Arma, Kansas. The museum is
just a couple of blocks off of I-69 and I had seen it many times, but didn't
have the free time to stop and look around at the time of day when it is
Phyllis and Scotty
Bitner opened the automobile store & museum after retiring from their
Pittsburg automobile dealership in 1969. The focal points of Scotty's are
the classic cars which are displayed with mannequins in period clothing,
but many people will be just as interested in the toys and automobile related
memorabilia from the 1950s and 1960s.
It was a pleasure meeting
Scotty and Phyllis.
When scouting locations
to visit to day, I had found a web site for the Idle-a-While Bar and Grill
in Cherokee, Kansas. Pulling into the small town, it looked like all the
locals were eating at the nearby Cooky's Diner, but I decided to stay with
Idle-a-While even though it had no customers.
The Idle-a-While turns
out to be more restaurant than bar, has a malt beverage license and sells
no hard liquor. It has been in operation since 1935 but Dan and Michelle
have had the place just 4 and a half years.
When I was given the
menu, the first thing I asked was if they prepared their own mountain oysters
or used the ones that I have found at several restaurants around Kansas.
The answer was both. They used the commercially prepared ones, but occasionally
got them from a local farmer and cooked them up for the beer drinkers.
Dan prepared a batch of their own mountain oysters and brought me one to
see if I wanted the rest of the order. They were fried with flour &
pepper and were great.
I also had the $6 daily
special Tex Mex Burger, a 1/2 pound spicy ground sirloin burger patty topped
wit a slice of pepper jack cheese and 2 pieces of bacon on Texas toast.
With grilled onions, it ws a tasty burger, but my favorite part of the
meal was the hand cut onion rings.
It was time to race
back around Pittsburg to the Franklin Community Center where the Kansas
Explorers were having their annual event which is called "The Happening."
It is held in early July and brings together the Explorers in a different
region of Kansas each year. They never know how many will show up, but
there was a crowd of about 65 attending the meeting and learning some of
the history of the community which was nearly eliminated by a Category
4 tornado in 2003.
Members of the Franklin
and Arma communities welcomed us and told us about some of the community's
history. Then Marci Penner gave us some background on the Kansas Explorers
and invited members to share some of their experiences coming to this and
other Explorer events.
The meeting was followed
by "Walk the Walk" on the one and a half mile long sidewalk which connects
Arma & Franklin and is in the Guinness book of World Records.
I was disappointed
to learn today that the 1106 Drive-In in Pittsburg has closed and is now
Scotty's Classic Car Sales and Museum
Franklin Community Center
Exhibit of items from the Franklin Tornado
Kansas Explorers preparing to walk the sidewalk
|Wednesday - July
7, 2010: Today's lunch is at a fairly new restaurant which I have been
meaning to try for some time - Blue Fin Modern Asian Fusion on 135th Street
in Leawood, Kansas.
I had two appetizers
for my meal - the $7 hot braised chicken wings flavored with garlic, jalapenos
& sweet chili glaze and the $6 chicken lettuce wrap with ground chicken,
water chestnuts, bamboo shoots and oyster sauce topped with crunchy noodles
& served in lettuce bowls.
The two dishes tasted
quite similar. The key word was sweet, not spicy. The wings weren't very
meaty and disappointed me. The wrap was more interesting, but the noodles
added no flavor or crunch. The wrap isn't bad, but I think it is just one
ingredient away from being a very special dish.
|Tuesday - July
6, 2010: Today was the travel day, but we managed to work in some good
stops, starting with Hartwick Pines State Park near Grayling, which I had
not visited in over 40 years.
Hartwick Pines State
Park is one of the largest parks in Michigan and famous for its 49 acre
section of old growth virgin white pines and a logging museum. Many of
the pines are over 350 years old and are about 150 feet tall.
Lunch was in Grayling
at Spike's Keg 'O' Nails restaurant and tavern. The small tavern has been
operating since 1933 and has a lot of personality. I get a kick out of
the memorial plaques that commemorate the dates with soldiers stationed
at the nearby National Guard base drank record quantities of beer.
My ale and cheddar
soup was fairly good. So was my basket of deep fried smelt. Smelt are a
small fish that are cooked nearly whole, with just the head and guts removed.
These were some of the smallest smelt I have ever had. All of them were
just one large bite.
Supper was just a few
miles from Detroit Wayne County Airport at Haab's, a restaurant in Ypsilanti,
Michigan which was established in 1934 by Oscar and Otto Haab. It was good,
but didn't live up to the strong recommendations it has received. The bread
was the best items and the onion rings were good, but not great. THe hand
breaded Lake Perch didn't have the sweet taste that I have come to expect
and I wondered if they had substituted an ocean fish.
beer drinking historic markers at Spike's Keg 'O' Nails
|Monday - July 5,
2010: I really wanted to go to Munising and the Pictured
Rocks today, but fog and the threat of rain made me change our route
and we went to Tahquamenon Falls so that I could add some summer photos
to the beautiful autumn
photos of the falls which I took in 2008.
We spent almost two
hours and visited both the Upper and Lower falls. There are many steps
at the Upper Tahquamenon Falls, but we did the 97 steps down to the brink
and the 120 steps down to the river shore. It was quite beautiful.
Lunch was at the Little
Falls Restaurant in Paradise, Michigan. The whitefish basket was OK, but
nothing like the whitefish which I had at Darrow's Restaurant in Mackinaw
City on the day before. I think the restaurant has expanded since our previous
visit and the entrance is now through the adjacent Red Flannel Bar.
Then we drove on out
to the tip of Whitefish point where we toured the lighthouse and the Great
Lakes Shipwreck Museum. The museum is great, but really should be called
the Lake Superior Shipwreck Museum - the exhibits are all about Lake Superior
Shipwrecks and mostly those near Whitefish Bay.
The most popular exhibit
is the bell from the S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald which sank nearby in 1975.
The Audubon Society
also has a center across from the lighthouse, but it was closed. The best
time for seeing birds at Whitefish point is the spring. Migratory birds
follow the shore north to this location before crossing Lake Superior.
Supper was at the Hack
Ma Tack Inn, a hundred plus year old restaurant on the Cheboygan River
near Douglas Lake. The last time I dinned at the Hack Ma Tack was in the
1970s. The food was still good (particularly my lobster bisque), but the
service was pretty poor.
Little Falls Restaurant
Whitefish Point Lighthouse
Hack Ma Tack Inn
|Sunday - July 4,
2010: We attended the 11AM service at the Church of the Straits (United
Methodist and Presbyterian federated) in Mackinaw City. During the summer,
the members of the regular church choir are all busy at their jobs waiting
on travelers, so there is a volunteer choir formed from the visitors attending
the service. I took part in the volunteer choir, but I'm afraid that America
the Beautiful wasn't the best choice for the volunteer choir to sing.
Parts of it sounded good, but parts were rather disastrous.
Our lunch was a Darrow's
Family Restaurant. I remember back when Darrow's was just a drive-in in
the 1960s. The fried whitefish was spectacular and the hand dipped onion
rings were some of the best I have ever had. This isn't the best food I
have ever had, but I think I would choose it for a last supper.
We toured Fort Michilimackinac
where I worked in costume during the summers when I was in college in the
1970s. It was good seeing my old friend Jim Evans and seeing what changes
have been made since my last visit. Colonial
Michilimackinac is the site of the oldest continuous archeological
dig in North America. The Fort was destroyed when the British move to Mackinac
Island during the American Revolution, but reconstruction began in 1959
and continues through today.
Supper was in the Chippewa
Room at Audie's Restaurant in Mackinaw. The perch was much better than
the previous night's meal.
We followed supper
with a Vesper Cruise. The ecumenical service is held on a ferry boat and
includes a tour under the Mackinac Bridge.
The night ended with
us back at the motel watching the fireworks displays in Mackinaw City,
St. Ignace and Mackinac Island.
Freighter Niagara passing under the Mackinac Bridge
Fireworks & the Mackinac Bridge
|Saturday - July
3, 2010: We began the day taking a ferry to Mackinac Island. This was
my first time there since October 2008 and and I needed to freshen up my
web site devoted to the Straits,
Michilimackinac and Island.
First up was a Mackinac
Island Carriage tour. It took not quite two hours and we left the carriage
at the rear entrance to Fort Mackinac to avoid the climb up to the 18th
Century British and American Fort. After photographing several of the buildings,
we stopped for lunch at the Fort Mackinac Tea Room which is operated by
the Grand Hotel.
The Tea Room is in
the Officer's Stone Quarters (the oldest building in the State of Michigan)
and has a spectacular view out over the Mackinac Island Harbor. The menu
is limited, but very good. We had a personal pizza, classic Caesar salad
and a three cheese tart. The pizza and Caesar salad were excellent. The
tart wasn't very large, more of a side to the tossed greens that came with
Then we spent some
time on the Island's main street checking out the shops and famous fudge
shops, finally getting fudge at Murdick's Fudge which has been on Mackinac
Island since 1887.
We spent a little time
along the shore near the Round Island passage before returning to Mackinaw
Supper was at the Rusty
Anchor in Cheboygan. The restaurant opened at the former location of the
Boathouse restaurant on Mother's Day. It has an excellent location with
a view of the Cheboygan River. All of the food was good. My order of fried
perch was a little small, but the New York Strip was huge!
Fort Mackinac Tea Room
|Friday - July 2,
2010: We flew to Detroit today, planning to have lunch at the classic
old Bates Hamburgers in Livonia, Michigan. But construction on I-275 made
us change the route and we settled for an Elias Brother's Big Boy where
the food was so-so and took a very long time.
Driving north on US23
and I75, the traffic was often bumper-to-bumper until we were north of
We are checked in to
the Sunrise Beach Motel on the shore of the Straits of Mackinac, just outside
the Mackinaw City limits. The motel is clean and has a good view, but the
rooms are very tiny. There isn't anywhere to put things - I wouldn't stay
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