changes to KansasTravel.org and Keith's exploration
& photographing Kansas restaurants, attractions, museums, festivals
and art. Contact him.
- March 1, 2014: We returned to Hayward's Barbeque in Overland Park,
to see what changes have been made in the month since it changed hands.
It appears that little has changed since our meal there on February 3.
The dishes sampled were pork ribs, burnt ends, sausage, chicken, French
fries, and onion rings. All were OK, but none would really bring me in.
We will give it a few more months before another try.
- March 3, 2014: I had lunch at Chosun
Korean BBQ in Overland Park. It had been about a year since my last
meal here and I had discovered that the review had not been updated in
nearly 3 years.
had nakji bokeum (sliced octopus and fresh vegetables in a spicy sauce).
I enjoyed this dish, but it isn't as spicy as I like. In addition to steamed
rice, the meal came with kimchi, pickled radish, tofu, sprouts, noodles
and pickled cucumber.
Chosun Korean BBQ
- March 6, 2014: I'm off to northern Michigan. The next three days
should include ice caves, frozen waterfalls, ice locked lighthouses and
an ice locked Mackinac Island for my other web site - MightyMac.org.
This trip will depend on the weather. It is all about winter photography.
It shouldn't be TOO cold, about 20 degrees by day and 10 by night, but
I want sunlight for the photography I am hoping for.
flew out this afternoon, changing planes in Detroit, with supper at National
Coney Island in the airport. It is my 2nd favorite airport restaurant -
nothing fancy, but I developed a taste for Coney Islands and chili fries
when I lived in the Detroit area in the early '80s. Coney Islands are to
Detroit, what BBQ is to Kansas City. Well it isn't quite that dramatic,
but they are a local specialty food with a hundred year history.
flight on up to Marquette went quickly. I sat next to a former Marquette
Mayor and we talked all the way. He took the info about my travel web sites
and gave me a card in case he can ever be a help.
is about 40 miles away and though there was some drifting across the highway,
the drive was easy. Munising has a lot of snow. Driving to my motel on
residential streets, the snow at the sides of the streets was taller than
the rental car.
spent the night at the Terrace Motel, a small, older motel that has good
reviews and low prices. There was trouble with the door to my room, but
everything was otherwise OK.
chili dogs at National Coney Island
- March 7, 2014: I was hoping to start the day with photography of
the lighthouse and ice caves about 3/4 mile off the Munising shore on Grand
Island, but it was overcast and snowy. I did visit two frozen waterfalls
Munising Falls (Munising Falls and Alger Falls), since they were easy to
reach. One is right next to the highway and the other was only about 100
yards on a fairly well packed trail. With the poor light and falling snow
none of the photos are worth bragging about.
drive down the Straits of Mackinac was uneventful. The sky grew a little
brighter and I stopped for photos at the Cut River Bridge, a 641' foot
long, 147' high bridge over a river which can be jumped over with a running
a St. Ignace, I snapped a few quick photos of the Mackinac Bridge, then
went to the Mackinac County Airport to catch the 12:30 flight to Mackinac
Island. Great Lakes Air provides 5 scheduled flights daily during the period
of winter when the ferries are unable to run. The fare is $50 round trip
and the flight is only about 5 minutes total time. Our departure was delayed
when a couple with two very young children arrived as we were about to
depart. I went from being the only passenger to riding a full plane.
flight was very quick, though we did make a pass over the Island's downtown
so we could approach the Mackinac Island runway from the east. The two
children were so small that they could not see out through the windows.
had called for a horse drawn taxi to meet the flight and invited the family
to share the ride into town. The taxi was driven by George Wellington,
the same man who drove me during my last winter visit in 2008. He isn't
very talkative, but we did confirm that we have some friends in common.
George is an interesting man who retired after 30 some years of working
for Mackinac State Historic Parks. He appeared in the episode of the TV
show Dirty Jobs which was tapped on Mackinac Island.
dropping the young family at the Pontiac Lodge, George took me down the
main street and to the east side of town to Bogan Lane Inn. The 4 room
B&B is run by the daughter and mother team of Trish and Alice Martin.
I never did meet Alice, but Trish and their dog, Jake, showed me around
the house and to my room upstairs in the front. Normally two rooms share
a bathroom, but I was the only guest on this Friday night and had the upstairs
I told Trish that I was on Mackinac Island for winter photography and hoping
for clear & bright weather, she said that she had heard the same thing
from a three person team from Midwest Living magazine a few
room was comfortable despite having just twin beds. I hadn't slept in one
of them since traveling in Europe.
had no encounters with the ghost of a little girl who has been reported
as playing the piano in the B&B.
quickly headed back out into the light snow and walked back toward the
downtown, taking photos along the way. I went to the Mustang Lounge, one
of the two places open for meals on the Island this winter. The side street
in front of the bar & grill was packed with parked snowmobiles and
the dining areas were full of tourists who had driven over to Mackinac
Island on the ice bridge.
winter menu at the Mustang is more limited than in summer and I was disappointed
to find that the only fish on the menu was cod. I settled on a $10.99 bacon
and Cheddar burger. The burger was fine. The French fries which came with
it had been battered before deep frying, but I can't say that it improved
them any. Service was slow, but that was perfectly understandable, considering
how busy the Mustang Lounge was.
wind had picked up, adding blowing snow to the that which was falling and
making the photography harder after lunch. I circled around toward the
Mackinac Island Public School. School had let out while I was on the way,
but some children were still leaving or being picked up by parents on snowmobiles.
The wind had picked up even more and it was fun watching the children playing
on top of 8' snow banks, not noticing weather which would have shut down
everything at home.
a another hour of trying to take photos in the snow and poor light, I stopped
to pick up a few things at Doud's Market, a family owned grocery which
has been in business since 1884, picked up some snacks and returned to
the B&B for some down time.
went back out for more photography after dark. After some photos of Fort
Mackinac and the main street, I went on to the other restaurant open in
Village Inn was the Village Inn for 30 years, but was renamed and taken
over by the Grand Hotel in 2011. I was joined for dinner by Todd Anderson.
Todd Is doing a restoration of the 18 acre grounds of Mission Point Resort
on Mackinac Island and has provided many photos for use on the MightyMac.org
- The Mackinac Bridge Facebook Page.
had a nice conversation, sharing our life histories and dreams, while I
enjoyed an all-you-can-eat fried whitefish diner and he had smoked whitefish
spread. We talked for nearly an hour and a half, but felt we should give
up the table since people were filling up the restaurant for trivia night.
snow had stopped falling while I was at supper and I headed up Market Street
and then Cadotte Street doing night time photography. The 1904 Little Stone
Church looked very attractive and I took several photos, one of which may
be used for out Christmas Card this year.
more night photography of the Grand Hotel, Round Island Passage Light and
the Mackinac Island Harbor, I returned to Bogan Lane Inn for the night.
Cut River Bridge
Landing on Mackinac Island
Cawthorne's Village Inn
Little Stone Church
- March 8, 2014: It was a beautiful, cold sunny morning. I was a bit
slow getting out of the B&B, but after packing up and calling to reserve
a taxi to take me to the airport later in the day, I left my bags downstairs
and headed out with both cameras.
first lengthy stop was at Fort Mackinac on the bluff overlooking the Mackinac
Island harbor. I had contacted Mackinac State Historic Parks prior to the
trip and had permission to enter the closed fort for winter photography.
It was beautiful and I took many photos which I am proud of. Some have
gone to my fine
art website, while others have been organized into a page about Fort
Mackinac in Winter.
I was already up on the bluff, I circled around to the Grand Hotel for
more photography, but while I was there, realized that I had lost the Yaktrax
ice traction devices off of my boots. Time was starting to get valuable
and I was tempted to forget them, but I would really need the traction
the next day, so I followed my foot prints back to Fort Mackinac and found
both of them in deep snow.
this point I stayed above the bluff and took the road through the woods
to the East Bluff for some of my favorite angles for Mackinac Island photography.
I have taken this same photo with Ste Anne's church in the foreground in
every season of the year, but the shot
I took today may be my favorite.
to Main Street, I photographed Mission Church and Ste. Anne's Catholic
Church. Although no longer in use as a church, Mission Church (built in
1829) is the oldest existing church building in the state of Michigan.
horse drawn taxi was just arriving as I returned to Bogan Lane Inn and
I quickly said good bye and recovered my bags. The ride through town back
to the airport offered many more photos opportunities.
was the only passenger on the return flight to St. Ignace, but the plane
was still loaded with what looked like a lot of US Mail leaving Mackinac
returning to St., Ignace, I moved my luggage to the rental car and prepared
both cameras for a one hour charter flight in a 4 seat Cessna 172 Skyhawk.
It is less expensive to operate than the 6 seat Piper which had brought
me back from St. Ignace.
pilot was Josh Beauchamp and we outlined the places I wanted to photograph
during the flight - the St. Ignace shore line, the docked Coast Guard ice
breaking tug Biscayne Bay, Mackinac Island, Mackinaw City, the Mackinac
Bridge and many lighthouses.
sat in the back two seats so that I could photograph on both sides of the
airplane and when we were at something I wanted to photograph, the right
window was opened. My hands got very cold, but it was a beautiful, hectic
hour flight. I photographed many sights with both cameras, but wanting
to take the time to look at the photos that I had already taken. This would
be much easier if there were intercom headsets. It was difficult communicating
if I wanted to be higher or closer. Three
pages of photos from the flight.
the flight, it was time for a rather late lunch at Bentley's B-n-L Cafe.
This restaurant has a long history, having been moved to this location
in 1940. It currently looks like something out of the 1950s. I settled
on the $10.95 whitefish dinner which came with coleslaw and fresh cut fries.
They were out of slaw and substituted a salad, which was pretty good. The
fries were also good, but the fish was nothing special.
is also known for their pies. There were only three available today and
I sampled the blueberry. It isn't one of my usual favorite flavors, but
it really was quite good.
was now mid afternoon and I hurriedly drove across the Mackinac Bridge
to take some photos of the Bridge, Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse and Fort
Michilimackinac while the light was still good. There were more people
out on the ice than I had ever seen before. I worry that there may be some
tragedy on the ice this spring. People have lost much of their respect
for the ice.
had intended to do more photography inside the fort, but the drifts made
it hard to even get to the Fort and it wasn't clear if there was a gate
which I would be able to open.
spent the night at the Holiday Inn Express next to the Mackinac Bridge.
They upgraded me to a large room on the 4th floor with a view of the Bridge
from my balcony.
was at the Key Hole Bar & Grill. The Key Hole does a few dishes very
well, particularly the fried perch and the fried onion rings. Unfortunately
they do not permit upgrading from fries to rings for an up charge. If I
wanted to have both, I had to order a large appetizer in addition to the
$16.99 fish dinner and I passed. The fries and slaw were nothing special,
though the perch was quite good.
Ste. Anne's Catholic Church
View from the front of my taxi
loading the mail
Waugoshance Lighthouse & snowmobilers
Bentley's B-n-L Cafe
- March 9, 2014: This was the final day of the trip and I had a lot
which I hoped to do on the way back to the Marquette Airport. It was overcast
and often snowing, not a good day for photography, but this was my only
chance, so I took just a few quick photos at the foot of the Mackinac Bridge
before heading back to the Upper Peninsula.
first stop of the trip was the Whitefish Point Light House Station on Lake
Superior. It is the oldest lighthouse on Lake Superior, having been first
lighted in 1849. The current building was built in 1861. It is automated
and the buildings at the station house the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum.
The museum is closed in winter, but some of the sidewalks had been plowed
and it wasn't too hard getting around until I went on down to the shore.
went out on the ice a short distance to photograph the ice formations and
to get a photo of the Light House Station from off shore. It was mostly
ice, not snow on top of ice and I fell a couple of times. It was
so cold and windy out there that my camera shutter froze up.
next stop was just a mile back down the point. Whitefish Point Harbor has
some great looking abandoned buildings and fishing boats which I wanted
to photograph, but it was now snowing fairly hard and I left after just
a few stops. Photos
from Whitefish Point.
Falls is just 20 miles away. With a tight schedule, there wasn't time to
visit both sets of falls, so I went to the larger Upper Tahquamenon Falls
with its shorter hike through the snow. It was still overcast and lightly
overcast, but some of the photos
turned out fairly well.
last stop was Eben Ice Caves, just 20 miles from the airport. The undeveloped
ice caves are in the Rock River Canyon Wilderness in the Hiawatha National
Forest, but the easiest access is from private land, just outside the National
Forest. It was about a 3/4 mile hike each way, some of it on trails that
have been packed down like a toboggan run by thousands of people visiting
the ice caves earlier in the winter. The footing at the caves themselves
is treacherous and I was glad to have the Yaktrax on my boots. Photos
of the Eben Ice Caves.
a hurried drive to the airport. It is located far out of town and when
I picked up my Hertz rental car, I had asked where I could get gas on the
return. The instructions I had been given were not accurate and I was unable
to gas up the rental car. They charged $10/gallon for a tank of gas. I
bet this is a real profit center for them.
sunrise beyond Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse
Upper Tahquamenon Falls
Eben Ice Caves
- March 13, 2014: Linda and I had supper at the Snack
Shack on Santa Fe, in Overland Park. The small family run burger joint
continues to do a good job on hamburgers and a variety of other sandwiches.
They recently switched from frozen French fries to fresh cut, and although
I would prefer that the fries were cut a little larger, this is a nice
menu has been updated. Not because the prices have gone up, but because
the number of sandwiches being offered has increased and the number of
side dishes as decreased.
Snack Shack menu
- March 14, 2014: Linda and I attended the semifinal games in the Big
Twelve Tournament on March 14, 2014. The opening game was the University
of Kansas versus Iowa State and the second game was Baylor versus Texas.
We were pleased to be invited to watch the games in the Channel 5 suite
where we had seen KU
beat Western Kentucky in the NCAA Tournament last March.
photo opportunities at this location are much better than at Allen Fieldhouse.
The seats are in a great location and there is plenty of room to operate
a camera without interfering with other people. The lighting is bright
enough for lower ISO, though the lights add an odd tint to the photos which
I have only partially been able to compensate for in post production.
State got off to an early lead, but Kansas more than compensated in a 23-5
run which had the Jayhawks up by 10 points in the first half. The Cyclones
came back to within 2 points at the end of the first half. Iowa State scored
first in the second half, took the lead, and led for the rest of the game.
half of the overflow crowd left the Sprint Center following the game, but
we remained for the Baylor/Texas game. Baylor dominated the first half
and we called it a night at their half time. Baylor went on to win 86-69.
page of photos from this night has been added to our sister website, MightyMac.org.
University of Kansas team during the playing of the national anthem
- March 15, 2014: Today was a beautiful day and I wanted to at least
get out of town a little ways. I decided on driving down to Paola, where
I had lunch at Beethoven's 9th: The Restaurant.
I really like this German restaurant, but it is only open Thursday through
Saturday, so I seldom get back there.
makes it hard to sample new dishes and I compromised today - having an
old favorite appetizer, but trying a new dish for the entree. The $10.99
German Sausage Sampler was as good as ever, with bratwurst, weisswurst,
nuernberger bratwurst and knackwurst served with sauerkraut and German
mustard. I think that it is best when the mustard, sauerkraut and sausage
are combined in the same bite.
new dish was the $8.99 Bieroc (Bierock), which wasn't just new to me, but
new to the menu since my last visit. It came with the choice of one side
and I selected onion straws. I couldn't taste the onion in the onion straws,
just the fired batter, which did little to me. The Bieroc (traditional
German sandwich with spiced ground beef and cabbage naked into homemade
bread) was huge, with a great deal of the bread surrounding the ground
meat. I probably should have requested mustard to spice it up, as it was
a little bland.
followed up with photography around the downtown, including a number of
photos of the 1898 Miami Courthouse.
Miami County Courthouse
- March 18, 2014: Today's lunch was a Smokey's
on the BLVD in south Overland Park. It had been almost a year since
my last meal here, but I found that little had changed. Some of the prices
are slightly changed and there are some new combinations such as the $5.99
BLVD Fries,, which is a bowl of fries, topped with pulled pork, shredded
cheeses, one onion ring and BBQ sauce.
didn't try the BLVD fries but had ribs, pulled pork and onion rings. The
ribs were not as good as I remembered, but the pulled pork was every bit
as good as I recall. I just wish the serving of pulled pork was a little
Smokey's on the BLVD counter
- March 19, 2014: Three of us had supper at Thai Place on Santa Fe
in Overland Park. Over 20 years ago, this was the first location for this
small Kansas City area chain of restaurants.
began with $6.95 crab Rangoon (crisp, fried wonton loaded with cream cheese)
which is lighter and has less wrapper than the crab Rangoon at Chinese
restaurants in this area.
entrees, we had the $14.95 King & Ann Chicken, $13.95 Garlic Pepper
Shrimp and $15.95 Crazy Salad. The chicken and shrimp tasted fine, but
looked rather dull, the way they were served with a puck of white rice.
The Jumbo Crazy Salad was much more interesting for the eyes and the tongue.
It was made with grilled jumbo shrimp, scallops, imitation crab meat, mussel
and calamari tossed with fresh lemon grass, Thai chili, fresh mint, red
onions, scallions and cilantro in tamarind dressing served over lettuce.
ask how (spicy) hot you want this salad and I was glad that I only asked
for medium. For some reason the heat it more noticeable in the salads than
in most other dishes.
Jumbo Crazy Salad
- March 20, 2014: Today's lunch was at Fred
P. Ott's Bar and Grill in Olathe, where I was pleasantly surprised
that the menu had not changed since October 2012. I ordered the $8.89 1/2
pound burger which comes with the choice of fries, onion rings, claw or
cottage cheese. upgrading it with swiss cheese, mushrooms and grilled onions
for 99 cents each.
only real complaint about this bar & grill is that no matter how you
order it, the meat comes well done I don't know why the servers ask.
- March 21, 2014: At lunch time I paid a second visit to Nick and Jake's,
an upscale bar & grill in Overland Park. The owners of Nick & Jake's
also own Wil Jenny's Restaurant, next door, but it closed earlier this
month. With the second restaurant closed, Nick & Jake's was packed.
There was no room in the parking lot and I had to park in the Wil Jenny's
parking lot next door.
time I had one of there most popular dishes - the $15 half rack of Baby
Back Ribs. It is served with French fries and coleslaw. The ribs were great.
Not BBQ, but tender and with a distinctive flavor. The fries were adequate
and slaw was flavored with a mild, sweet sauce. The serving was adequate
for a lunch, but seemed a little small for $15.
Nick & Jake's
- March 28, 2014: Tonight Linda joined me for a second visit to Smokey's
on the BLVD in Overland Park. The burnt ends were very good, much better
than I remembered from 2013. The onion rings are still also very good.
was a second chance to try the pork ribs and pulled pork which I had earlier
in the month. My opinion was unchanged. The ribs were tough and did not
have as good a flavor has they had had a year ago. The pulled pork is still
great and yes the pulled pork serving is too small.
Smokey's on the BLVD smoker
- March 31, 2014: We paid a second visit to
New York Dawg Pound in Overland Park. This trip gave us a chance to
try more of the menu. Linda had a Boxer (blue cheese crumbles, bacon, onion
and sweet mustard) bratwurst, while I tried the two options which include
peanut butter - the Goofy Dawg (peanut butter & bacon) and the Spicy
Thai Dawg (peanut butter, Asian slaw and Sriracha sauce).
don't regret trying either dog, but I probably will not have either one
again. I think the Goofy Dawg would have been better with onion.
Goofy Dawg & Spicy Thai Dawg
Month Kansas Travel
April May June
October November December
April May June
February March April
May June July
August September October November
April May June
April May June
April May June
April May June
June July August