changes to KansasTravel.org and Keith's exploration
& photographing Kansas restaurants, attractions, museums, festivals
and art. Contact him.
- August 4, 2020: We added a new page devoted to the devoted to the
Largest Czech Egg in Wilson, Kansas.
- August 7, 2020: We added a page devoted to St.
Anthony Church in Schoenchen, Kansas. Construction of the present building
began in 1900, using native stone, quarried in the area by members of the
congregation. The church was dedicated on June 13, 1901.
- August 8, 2020: We drove to Kansas City, Kansas to revisit El
Pollo Rey, which serves only three dishes: a half chicken, a whole
chicken or chicken wings. Except for price, the menu is unchanged since
our last visit in 2017. We got a whole chicken and order of wings to go
and took them to a nearby park.
chicken was cooked on a wood fired grill and had a a strong smokey flavor.
The first bite of the wings, with no crispness to the skin, was a little
disappointing, but the spicy sauce had a unique flavor which grew on me
with each bite and I enjoyed each wing more than the one before.
leaving Kansas City, we drove to Strawberry and purchased bratwurst, Italian
sausage and smoked Polish sausage at Krizman's
House of Sausages.
added a new page about The Geodetic Center
of North America at the Meades Ranch in north central Kansas, which
was the point from which all surveys in North America were measured until
El Pollo Rey
Geodetic Center of North America
- August 9, 2020: We added a new page about Prairie
Lavender Farm, south of Bennington, Kansas, which grows over 4600 lavender
plants including twelve varieties of lavender. The farm has a gift shop
and offers tours. We visited the farm in June.
Prairie Lavender Farm
- August 12, 2020: We added a new page about the Post
Office Oak Museum in Council Grove, Kansas, which we visited in June.
- August 14, 2020: We are off for two days of exploring in north central
Kansas. As we drove west on I-70, we made brief stops to purchase pimento
cheese spread at
C W Porubsky Grocery
& Meats, a family market in Topeka, and cheese at Alma Creamery
in Alma, Kansas. I had intended to stock up on both, but Porubsky's only
had five 8 ounce tubs made up. Next time, I will call ahead a couple of
days early and ask them to make up more.
leaving Alma, we visited the Holy Family Cemetery on the west side of town,
to photograph the grave of 23 unknown Mexican railroad laborers. In January
1907, two Rock Island trains hit head on near Alma and a total of 32 people
were killed. We found the small marker of the mass grave and found it surrounded
by painted stones which were left earlier this summer.
drove on to Ogden, Kansas (southwest of Manhattan) to have lunch at Sunny's
Bulgogi House, which is very highly rated on Google. The menu us very short,
only eight items, led off by beef, pork and chicken bulgogi. Bulgogi is
usually described as Korean BBQ or Korean stir fry and is cooked by customers
at the table at some Korean restaurants.
ordered beef bulgogi, chicken bulgogi and Korean style chicken wings. We
had been warned that the dishes here are hotter than the same dishes at
Korean restaurants in the area and ordered the chicken bulgogi "not very
spicy" and the beef medium spicy. Both dishes were good, but the chicken
was still a bit hotter than LInda would have preferred. I usually order
hot, but would not have enjoyed the beef as much, if I had ordered it 3/4
or full hot as I do most places.
wings come sweet or hot and I ordered hot. I still enjoyed them, but think
I would have enjoyed the sweet more. The servings are large and we left
with over half of the meal for later.
owner took our orders and brought the food. He was masked and while the
tables were not spaced out, they were doing multiple things to reduce COVID19
risk, including plastic utensils and service in single use styrofoam containers.
lunch, we visited Rathert Stadium in Junction City, a baseball stadium
constructed of native limestone with wooden seating.
drove on to the Herington Historical Museum, which grew out of the Tri
County Historical Society & Museum in Herington, Kansas. My favorite
exhibits included the local history of the Rock Island and Pacific Railroad,
a hand painted advertising curtain which came out of St. John's Catholic
Church, and historic advertising posters from local movie theaters.
leaving town, we photographed a few other items, including a mural in the
post office, called "Arrival of the First Train in Herington – 1885" which
was painted by H. Louis Freund in 1937 for the Public Works Administration
next community we visited was Lost Springs, where we photographed a post
office in old one room school house which was moved to town, and an interesting
abandoned church. The clerk at the post office believes it many have been
a Methodist church, but we have been unable to confirm that.
brief stops at Lost Spring Station, Tampa and Hoxbury, we went on to Lindsborg,
to visit the Old Mill Museum. Although I visited the museum 12 years ago
during a Millfest, when the 1898 Smoky Valley Roller Mill is demonstrated,
I failed to ever make a page devoted to the mill. It didn't take very long
to tour the adjacent museum, where the most interesting things were a brief
video about the operation of the mill and a display of sculptures of members
of the Lindsborg community, which were created by Oscar Gunnarson (1884-1962).
mill itself is star of the show. It fills three floors and a basement.
Everything is in place and they do a good job od explaining how it all
works. That said, the best time to tour the mill is the first weekend in
May when it is operated at Millfest.
to other historical museums across Kansas, several other historic structures
have been relocated to museum grounds, across the street, including the
1879 Lindsborg’s Kansas Pacific/Union Pacific Railroad Depot. The 1904
World's Fair Swedish Pavilion is unique. It was used to represent Sweden
at the St. Louis World's Fair. Following the fait, it was relocated to
Bethany College in Lindsborg for many years. In 1969, it was moved to the
leaving Lindsborg, we visited the downtown, briefly touring Anatoly Karpov
International School of Chess, sampling and buying wine at Smoky Hill Winery
- Under the Cork, and checking out the fossils and minerals for sale at
was at Renaissance Cafe in the small
nearby community of Assaria. The fine Italian restaurant is open only 3
evenings a week and is located around the gymnasium of a former school.
We had not been back since shortly after a change of chefs in 2015.
I had ribeye and Linda had grilled pork tenderloin medallions with whiskey
and peppercorn cream, wild mushrooms and herbs. The steak had an excellent
flavor from seasoning, but I particularly liked the roasted garlic and
mushrooms which I added. A large portion of the generous serving of mushrooms
were morels. The mushrooms were marked $3 in the menu, but we were charged
$4. They were still a bargain and I didn't complain.
medallions were tender and morels were also in the mushroom mix. When I
sampled the sauce, I didn't notice any flavor beyond the peppercorns.
meal was preceded by an amuse-bouche, a single bite sized appetizer of
marinated beef, compliments of the chef. Actually, we each had two. Our
server forgot that he had already brought it and brought another a little
later. The entrees came with a choice of salad or soup.
both went with the Caesar salad, which was an unusual presentation of a
thin wedge of romaine. Nothing else was remarkable about the salad.
meal also came with two excellent breads, one of which was a Foccacia from
Seraphim Bread in Salina, accompanied by honey butter and herb butter using
herbs from their garden. I enjoyed the honey and with both liked each bread.
split a dessert of chocolate semifreddo with caramel ribbons and sea salt.
It seemed like a tiny serving for $8, but was rich and the serving size
stayed overnight at the Holiday Inn Express in Concordia.
mass railroad workers' grave
Sunny's Bulgogi House
Herington Historical Museum
Lost Springs Church
Smoky Valley Roller Mill
World's Fair Swedish Pavilion
- August 15, 2020: I was up early and slipped out alone to take photographs
around Concordia at the National
Orphan Train Museum, garden at the Nazareth
Motherhouse Lourdes Park, Cloud County Courthouse, Brown
Grand Theatre, and Cloud County Historical Museum.
returned to the hotel to prepare for the day and have breakfast. In response
to COVID-19, there was someone serving the hot dishes. My favorite park
of the meal was the cinnamon rolls.
had a 10AM appointment at Herrs Memory Lane in Washington, Kansas. Lawrence
and Cara Herr have three buildings filled with restored classic cars, with
most of the work having been done by the two of them. Cara took us on a
tour giving many details about the restoration process on each vehicle.
We could have easily have spent longer, but had to leave after 55 minutes,
because of an appointment to visit the Washington County Historical &
Mooren met us at the main building of the historical museum and aloud us
to walk through the three adjacent building at our own pace. We then followed
him in our vehicle and visited the 1889 native stone jail, which needs
some TLC, but could potentially be a stand out attraction for the community.
leaving town, we photographed the exterior of the home where the late Charlie
and Jessie Becker lived. Charlie portrayed the Mayor of Munchkinland in
the 1939 movie, The Wizard of Oz.
is being spent in Washington and Marshall Counties, in part because they
are "green" for COVID-19, very low incidence in Washington County and only
1 case since the start in Marshall County. We continued east to Hanover,
to try lunch at Ricky's Cafe, which has been in business for 55 years.
prices are quite reasonable. We had grilled ham and a chicken fried steak
sandwich. Both were good, though not standouts. The server was quite attentive.
leaving town, we photographed St. John the Baptist Parish (which will get
a page of its own, a 1874 German Society Hall, a a yard with a number of
rock creations, including a castle. No one knows who created them or when.
into Marshall County, we visited the Koester House Museum & Gardens
in Marysville. The home was was built in the 1800s by Charles F. Koester,
German immigrant who was a banker and Mayor of Marysville. The house and
gardens are interesting, but we would have benefit from a orientation or
even a guided tour to help us understand it. There was a sign that face
masks were required, but the person who collected admission did not wear
we arrived at the Koester House Museum, we saw a store front museum across
the street, with a sign which said, "Museum - Dolls, Toys & Indian
Artifacts." It was locked up with no sign about hours, but two phone numbers
were posted in the window and we called to arrange to see it when we finished
at Koester House.
were greeted at the Doll Museum, by Lois Loftin, who told us the background
of her starting the museum and said that she was getting burned out by
the museum and is not sure how much longer she will be keeping it. There
are three galleries, most of which are filled with dioramas she created,
which are filled with dolls. There are also several displays of Native
American artifacts which were given to her by Truman Washington Dailey,
who was the last native speaker of the Otoe-Missouria dialect of Chiwere,
a Native American language.
had a 3:30PM appointment to visit the Marshall County Historical Society's
museum in the beautiful 1891 County Courthouse. When a new courthouse was
built next door in the 1970s, the courthouse was donated to the Society,
rather than being demolished. It is a very handsome building and still
has the large courtroom intact, just waiting to be a set for a period movie.
The exhibit which I found the most interesting, was a room devoted to the
Marysville Advocate, which has been the community newspaper since 1885.
a nice gesture, which I think is also done for others, Dixie Talbot of
the Historical Society arranged for some ears of corn to be left on the
ground east of the Courthouse to attract squirrels and we had the opportunity
to photograph the famous black squirrels which Marysville is known for.
had been a long day and we started toward home, with just one more stop,
to have supper at Boomers Steakhouse and Grill in Holton, Kansas. The tables
were not spread 6' apart, but there were some efforts to reduce the spread
of COVID-19. Our server happened to be the only one who was wearing a mask.
had broasted chicken and the Saturday night prime rib special The chicken
was very good and the prime rib was even better. The prime rib was well
seasoned with lots of garlic and was accompanied by well seasoned garlic
toast. We both went with the potato wedges, which were deep fried fresh
cut wedges of large poetess. They were good, but would have been even better
with a sauce. Perhaps horseradish sauce which would have gone well with
the prime rib.
French onion soup was not complex, but still was very nice. It appeared
to be house made.
1889 Washington County Jail
Koester House Museum
- August 18, 2020: We added a new page devoted to the devoted to the
Castle Museum on the campus of Baker University in Baldwin City, Kansas.
It recently reopened, by appointment only.
- August 20, 2020: We're off early on another exploration of Kansas,
primarily in and around Wichita. On the drive south, our only stop was
at Fanestils Fresh Local Market in Emporia, where we bought beef sticks
and sweet Italian sausage.
was lunch time when we arrived in Wichita and we revisited Ty's
Diner, which is one of the places on our Best
Kansas Burgers list. We were impressed with the great care they are
taking to limit COVID-19 risk for their customers and employees. I particularly
liked "The Ultimate," a cheeseburger with pickle, mustard, lettuce, onion,
tomato, grilled onions, grilled mushrooms, grilled jalapenos and bacon.
I rarely get bacon on a hamburger, but the couple of well cooked slices
added a lot to this burger. I also like it having both raw and grilled
primary stop today was the B-29 Doc Hangar, Education & Visitors Center.
The Hanger houses "Doc," one of only two air worthy Boeing B-29 Superfortress
aircraft left in the world. It is presently open just three days a week,
and only open when Doc is not on tour.
hanger houses a small museum about the assembly of B-29s in Wichita and
other cities during WW2 and about locating the airframe in the Mojave Desert
in 1987 and the long process of restoring it and naming it for one of the
planes in the "Show White" Squadron. There are also two smaller airplanes
displayed in the hanger.
were supposed to be guided tours, but no one was available to conduct one
and we toured most of the hanger on our own. A guide did take us up to
see the cockpit of the plane. That and the end of a bomb bay is the only
part of the interior of the plane you visit. There is a $5 additional charge
(on top of the $10 admission) to see the cockpit, though it appeared that
everyone was seeing that, regardless of paying the fee.
went on to the Sedgwick County
Zoo, which we last visited over 4 years ago, when the "The Reed Family
Elephants of the Zambezi River Valley" was newly opened, but the visitor
area was not open then. We spent a long time with the elephants today,
watching natural behaviors like drinking and spraying their bodies with
mud to keep cool.
limited numbers of people are permitted in the zoo at a given time. Visitors
purchase their admission online and schedule a timed admission at that
time. We arrived over 15 minutes early, but called and were permitted to
come in right away.
new entrance to the zoo is being built.
we were on the northwest side of town, we continued out to the new location
of the Coleman Factory Outlet and Museum, which reopened at a new location,
after closing the original location near Old Town in 2018. Although the
sign says there is a museum, there is no museum at all, just the outlet
store in a new, larger location.
and not at our best from three hours in the son at the zoo, we checked
in to the Best Western Wichita West and cleaned up before going to supper
at The Anchor, We selected it on the basis of its positive online reviews
and from seeing on their Facebook page that they were taking COVID-19 safety
had the Red Waffle BLT and a double smash burger with cheese. The BLT was
very good, a large sandwich with a lot of delicious bacon and flavored
with a garlic aioli. The burger was just a burger. We had fresh cut fires
and house made potato chips. The chips went well with a side of French
followed dinner with a stop by the Arkansas River near the Keeper
of The Plains. We were surprised to learn that the parking lot at Exploration
Place which offers a great view of the Keeper of The Plains is not
longer open at night. It closes most nights at 6PM and 9PM on Thursday.
arrived just as the sun was setting, We were too late to cross the river
and get the sun behind the Keeper of The Plains, but we were able to take
some photos and videos, shooting up the river with sun at the horizon.
The Ultimate, 1/4 basket of fries and a regular cheeseburger
Elephants of the Zambezi River Valley
Coleman Factory Outlet
Red Waffle BLT
- August 21, 2020: We started the day near Clearwater, Kansas. Klausmeyer
Farm & Pumpkin Patch, north of town, has added sunflower fields which
are open to the public for a $2 fee. They have planted three 40 acre fields
with sunflowers, a few weeks apart, so they bloom over a longer period
of time. We liked the path ways they have left through the fields and the
props which are in the fields for better photography, such as hay bales
in the day, we added a new page about Klausmeyer
Farm & Pumpkin Patch.
through Haysville on the way back to Wichita, we photographed a restored
1956 Vickers Petroleum Service Station which is on historic register.
had lunch at Buster's Burger Joint on the south side of Wichita. The small
building has a counter, seating for just a few people and a cooking area
with a small grill and 2 deep fat fryers. I was disappointed to learn that
they have temporarily moved to frozen French fries instead of fresh cut,
because most orders are togo and they believe the fresh cut fries do not
travel as well. The sign said, "Our everything is mustard, ketchup, pickle
and onion. That is what you get if you say 'everything.'" and "Anything
else ust be specifically requested." So we asked for grilled onions and
they added them at no additional charge.
ordered a single cheeseburger and a double. The 1/3 pound cheeseburgers
are $4 for a single or $6 for a double. Fries are $2.15 for a small (plenty
took a seat at one of several picnic tables outside the restaurant and
they brought our food out when it was ready. The burgers were great. not
particularly pretty, but juicy, without being very greasy. Despite this
being my 3rd cheeseburger in three meals, a really enjoyed my burger. This
will soon be added to our Kansas Best
the fries were good even though they weren't fresh cut.
spent the afternoon at a group of places around the center of Wichita.
We photographed a number of murals and several historic buildings including
the 1909 Mentholatum Building, the 1902-05 St. Anthony of Padua Catholic
Church the 1922 Orpheum Theatre, 1888 Scottish Rite Center and 1923 W.A.
Dye Chili Building.
visited Naftzger Memorial Park, which was closed for a complete make over.
Now reopened, I came to see the Carry Nation Memorial Drinking Fountain
which was here before the make over, but it turns out it is still in storage
and needs some repairs before finding a new home. While I was trying to
find the fountain, I talked to a couple of city employees, one of who told
me that the last time she was in The Spice Merchant (the old Mentholatum,
there was a display of memorabilia from the old Mentholatum company.
we went back to The Spice Merchant, which was pretty neat with its huge
selection of spices, canned foods made exclusively for them and custom
coffee roasting. It turned out that the Mentholatum display is long gone,
though a lady did find one old jar of Mentholatum.
next stop was the Nifty Nut House and I'm not sure how we have missed being
their before. The Nut house is iconic and was established in 1937. The
Nut House is known for making their own fudge, roasting their own nuts,
and selling several hundred products in bulk by the quarter pound or more,
as well as having the walls lined with favorites like Moon Pies and candy
bought small quantities of about a dozen items, including a wide variety
of candies and dried fruits
revisited the Kansas
African American Museum, a mile or so away. I hadn't been back for
11 years, but was surprised that the small permanent collection seemed
unchanged. Most of the exhibits continue to be temporary exhibits. There
is major construction taking place next door and it felt like it was encroaching
on the museum.
spent an extended period at Maple Grove Cemetery. After consulting at length
with a volunteer in the office, we were able to locate most of the notable
graves we were interested in photographing, including two Civil War Medal
of Honor recipients and two Kansas Governors. I was a disappointed at how
little I was able to learn about notable woman who are buried at the cemetery.
was impressed with the row of large family mausoleums at the south end
of the cemetery, though none of them contained interments I was looking
found Piatt Park surprisingly interesting. The park was built where a number
of homes were destroyed when a KC-135 airplane crashed in this residential
neighborhood on January 16, 1965. 7 crewman and 23 people on the ground
were killed in the largest non natural disaster in Kansas history. There
is a monument to those who died that day. The names of the people on the
Project committee seem more prominent than the names of those who died.
great, Lynette Woodard, grew up across the street from the park and there
is another monument dedicating the park to her. It has been damaged and
tonight was at Georges French Bistro on the east side of Wichita. The tables
weren't as spaced out as we would have liked, but it appeared that the
staff were taking COVID-19 precautions otherwise. Too many customers walked
through the restaurant with out wearing masks.
were more appetizers which looked attractive to me, than entrees, and I
toyed with making a meal from them, but our only appetizer was mussels
& frites. It had been a long time since I last had mussels and I enjoyed
these in the white wine garlic.
entrees were trout amandine and steak frites. For some reason, I enjoyed
these fries more than those which came with the mussels. The steak was
very good, though I would have enjoyed it more without the green L'Entrecote
sauce. The trout and the Parisien potatoes, which accompanied it, were
favorite part of the meal was the pâte à choux profiteroles
which we shared for desert. The chocolate toped cream puffs were very nice
Klausmeyer Farm & Pumpkin Patch
Nifty Nut House
Piatt Street Plane Crash Memorial
pâte à choux profiteroles
- August 22, 2020: Our day began with a visit to Infinity Art Glass
in Benton, Kansas, the studio and gallery of glass artist Scott Hartley.
A glass furnace was still heating up and instead of watching him work,
we had the pleasure of Scott giving us a tour of the gallery and the studio.
We love his art and purchased a Cane Eternity sculpture of our own, which
is now sitting on our piano.
this neat old building was a blacksmith shop, but after extensive work,
Scott and his wife, Gwen, opened Infinity Art Glass as a gallery and studio
next stop was Walters Pumpkin Patch, which is midway between El Dorado
and Burns. Kansas. This is the second year that Pumpkin Patch has extended
their season by adding a couple of plantings of sunflowers. They charge
$10 and offer many activities, such as a corn maze, two gift shops and
play areas, We liked the fresh warm donuts for a dollar.
is the first place where we have seen ProCut sunflowers in non-traditional
drove back into El Dorado, where we planned to have lunch at Hampton's
Restaurant, but discovered that they are closed Saturdays. So rescheduled
lunch until later in the day and moved on to Augusta. Diana Burress - B
Realty Realtor/Broker grows sunflowers on the southwest side of town and
invites the public to visit the field for free.
the sunflowers hadn't started blooming until ten days ago the bloom was
already over. The heads have grown heavy and have flopped over with the
petals turning brown. This field appears to have as many weeds as sunflowers.
drove on into Wichita to revisit B&C
BBQ, which we last visited a little over a year ago. Since this was
unplanned, I had not researched how COVID-19 careful they were being, but
based on my previous experience, I trusted them to be protecting the customers
enough, they were being firm about the employees wearing masks and customers
wearing masks while walking through the restaurant. The all you can eat
buffet is no longer self serve and no longer all you can eat. For the lunch
buffer at B&C, you have always paid before going into the restaurant.
Instead of a flat fee, you now pay according to how much food you want.
1/3 pound of meat, 3 sides & a drink is $11. A half pound $13, 3/4
pound $15, 1 pound $17 and 1.5 pounds is $21.
decided on the 1/5 pounds of meat, plus an additional drink. At the buffet,
we told them which sides we wanted and then started having them assemble
the 1.5 pounds of meat. We started with some chicken, ribs and hot sausages.
We were still well short of the 1/5 pounds and added a chicken wing, another
rib and about a half pound of pulled pork. It was a lot of food and we
took home eoungh for another meal.
meats were as good as I remembered. Linda loved the ribs, while I enjoyed
all the meats, even the pulled pork, which isn't one of my favorites at
most BBQ restaurants.
had been many years since I last visited the Wichita
Art Museum and with free admission on Saturdays, today was a good day
to make that up. This is the largest art museum in Kansas and has a lovely
collection. I do wish they exhibited a little more work by Kansas artists.
headed back out of town for our last 4 stops of the trip. Next up was Kansas
Maze Sunflower Festival near Buhler, Kansas. This only the second year
that the corn maze has also had sunflowers. They charged $7, which includes
taking home one bloom as well as activities like a jumping pillow, giant
puzzle, sand volleyball, and photo opportunities.
Saturday, they will offer the choice of a 5K or 1 mile Trail Run
that will include a route through the sunflowers for a much higher fee.
we left the field, we called Ad Astra Food &
Drink in Strong City, Kansas and reserved a table for 6:15. We made
only one more stop on the way there, at the Drinkwater & Schriver Flour
Mill on the Cottonwood River at Cedar Point, Kansas. I try to stop there
at least once a year, to see how work on the old mill is going, but I couldn't
see where any new exterior restoration has been done since our last visit.
It is still a beautiful spot.
Astra is a small, interesting restaurant which is open only on Thursday
through Sunday. The menu focuses on innovative dishes with food from local
providers. This is a favorite stop for us, but with so many restaurants
to visit across Kansas, I get here only every couple of years.
had the Bad Astra French Dip and Ad Astra Fish and (Potato) Chips. The
French Dip (sliced Yoder prime rib, Swiss cheese, grilled onions on a hoagie
and au jus for dipping) was one of the best I have ever had. I rarely care
for the au jus that comes with French dip and often end up asking for a
sauce such as horseradish, but the au jus had a lot of flavor and really
compliment the sandwich!
only dessert which was made in house was the peanut butter cheese cake.
It was actually chocolate peanut butter, which went well together, but
the chocolate was never mentioned. It was a great final dish of the trip.
food came very quickly and we were out of the restaurant in under 45 minutes.
The left off just enough time to get to one more sunflower field, Eleanor's
Events, near Scranton, Kansas. This was our first visit to this sunflower
farm wince 2018, when it was a few miles away and sponsored by Lyndon Leaders
arrived with just 8 minutes of sunlight remaining and snapped a few quick
photos before heading home.
Infinity Art Glass
Diana Burress Sunflower Field
B&C BBQ lunch buffet
1.5 pounds of meat
Kansas Maze Sunflower Festival
peanut butter cheese cake
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