changes to KansasTravel.org and Keith's exploration
& photographing Kansas restaurants, attractions, museums, festivals
and art. Contact him.
- June 7, 2023: I'm off for three days of exploring the Wichita area.
first stop of the trip was in downtown El Dorado, Kansas at the Coutts
Art Museum. Although I previously visited the museum, those photos were
accidentally lost and no page was made. The museum is in the former Butler
County State Bank. The third floor of the building was made into the Coutts
Memorial Museum of Art in 1970 and over time came to fill the entire building.
portions of the third floor have permanent exhibits, most of the museum
is made up of temporary exhibits. My favorite parts of the museum were
the French impressionist paintings in the European Gallery and the temporary
"Misshaped Clouds" exhibit of conceptual sculpture by Matt Lyczak.
also like the "Sculpture Plaza" in the alley next to the museum, with sculptures
and a tile mosaic titled "Glory of the Hills" by Phil Epp and Terry Corbett.
was at Prairie House Cafe & Lodge in Leon, Kansas. Jonny, the manager,
had invited us to try them out in 2021, but this was the first time I made
half chicken fried steak dinner is a salad, choice of potato, vegetable
and roll for $11.95. The half is a good size, but you can double the meat
for $2 more. The salad was better than many, though the blue cheese dressing
was nothing special.
steak and peppery gravy were quite good. The French fries were average.
The fried okra was pretty good, but I think I would have enjoyed the corn
roll didn't come until near the end of the meal and I wish I had taken
a picture. It was warm, soft and served with a good honey butter.
house made peach cobbler was served cold in a styrofoam box. I still liked
it, but believe it could have been special if it had been warmed and served
on a plate.
the end of the dinner, I asked the party at the next table for directions
and they were able to point me to the location used for the flaming cattle
seen in the opening of the movie Mars Attacks. The buildings look much
the way they do in the movie, but the trees have grown a lot since 1996
and the road is paved. It was also paved in '96, but the pavement was hidden
by dirt for the movie
toward Wichita, US Highway 400 passed Henry's Sculpture Hill east of Augusta,
Kansas. Sculpture Hill is drive by only and displays some of the art of
Frank Jensen, who I believe has not been creating new art for several years.
With the exception of a "Sculpture Hill" sign, I couldn't spot any additions
that weren't there when I first photographed Sculpture Hill in 2007.
just learned of the Bonavia Foundation PBS Kansas Museum earlier this week.
It was added when KPTS moved into its new studio late last year. When I
checked in at the entrance, Director of Programing Dagoberto Patlan happened
to be standing there and he walked me back to the museum and gave me a
also showed me the adjacent PBS Kansas Cochener-Garvey Children's Education
& Discovery Center, which is believed to be the first of its kind at
a Public Television station. Lynn Woolf, Director of Education, gave me
a tour of the center. Both the museum and Discovery Center have free admission.
checking into my hotel, there was a brief stop at the Wichita
Art Museum, which recently went from offering free admission on Sundays,
to all the time. Making a short visit is much more attractive with no admission
was at B&C BBQ which has been my
favorite place for BBQ in Wichita since 2006 and is one of my favorite
places for BBQ anywhere. They offer a fabulous buffet lunch on Monday -
Saturday and that was the only time they were open for many years, but
four years ago they expanded, renovated and added a regular menu at other
had a $26 two meat combo, selecting ribs and hot links, with French fries
and garlic slaw as slides. I wanted to sample the onion rings and added
a $4 order of rings. They were large and sweet. I only have onion rings
that good 3 or 4 times a year.
slaw, ribs and hot links were like I remember from the buffet. Both meat
were very good. They didn't really need sauce, but the hot BBQ sauce was
a nice addition to the sausage. The garlic slaw was good as always.
fries were slightly above average
the evening I drove downtown, going by the Riverfest
carnival and stopping at River Vista where (mostly) young people were renting
paddle boats, kayaks and canoes. Wichita State University normally offers
bike and boat rentals at this location, but during Riverfest, a pedal boat
rental is free with a Riverfest admission button.
also briefly visited the famous Keeper
of Plains statue a little farther up the Arkansas River.
final stop of the evening was at the original NuWAY
Cafe. Although the 93 year old restaurant is famous for crumbly burgers
and homemade Onion Rings, I am an even bigger fan of the root beer, which
is made fresh daily and makes a wonderful float.
"Mourning Rituals" by Matt Lyczak
"Glory of the Hills"
Mars Attacks Location
PBS Kansas Museum
Two Meat Combo
Boats and Bikes
- June 8, 2023: I started the day with a visit to the House of Tank
on the north side of Wichita, but they were not open. They were supposed
to open at 9AM, but even though I waited until after 10AM, no one ever
showed up. They do not provide a phone number, their Facebook page did
not say they were closed and they did not respond (ever) to a Facebook
message asking what was going on.
stop was Gallery Alley at 616 E, Douglas Avenue. The alley was created
in 2017, is flanked by art galleries and is lined with interactive art
such as giant spiders and a kinetic art installation.
drove to Rose Hill, first to revisit Jurassic
Art, which has dozens of welded grassroots art creations by Phil Brinkley.
I first visited Jurassic Art in 2019 and had not been back since. As I
approached the years, it first looked like nothing had changed, but I soon
discovered that Phil has added many new pieces in the past four years.
A woman with several children were discovering and interacting with the
sculptures, while Phil followed them with a cup of coffee and I had a nice
talk with Phil while wandering through the new art.
going to lunch, I stopped by the Rose Hill Historical Society Museum. I
had tried to call the day before to see if an appointment could be scheduled
to tour the museum today, but there was no answer. While taking a few exterior
photos, I found a sign on the door with a different phone number and instruction
to text to visit the museum, so I gave that a try and was able to arrange
to tour the museum after lunch.
been wanting to try Louis Rose Hill Cafe for a couple of years. It is just
a block over from the museum. The restaurant is in a small storefront with
an attractive dinning area. The menu is on a chalk board which surrounds
a three foot window where your order is placed. One side of the menu is
tucked behind coolers and difficult to read.
chili is sweet and mild, not particularly meaty and includes kidney beans.
Bob's Blaze Burger includes sautéed onion & jalapenos, pepper-jack
cheese, and cayenne. I ordered a $6.47 double burger, but the $3.99 single
would have been plenty big. It was juicy and tasted very good. It may be
added to our list of Kansas Best Burgers, The $2.99 small order of fries
was good and also plenty big.
45 minutes later, Cindy Bradford met me at the Historical Society Museum.
The museum has three buildings and the first one we saw was a small home
furnished with period furniture. Only the main floor is used for the museum.
Behind the home is a 30 x 42' display building which was built in 2020.
It houses the majority of the museum's exhibits in two galleries, split
between climate protected exhibits and a garage. The third building is
a former one room school house which was moved to a short distance away.
than a 1929 delivery truck, the biggest exhibit in the museum is a doll
collection which fills one small room.
I drove north to the Andover Historical Museum in Andover, Kansas, which
I had confirmed would be open from 1-3 today. The gentleman at the front
of the museum nodded when I came in and never spoke until replying when
I said good bye. The museum is mostly one large gallery with items that
aren't particularly well organized or arranged in a way to draw you in.
The most interesting item was a Grain King wagon in the center of the room.
is a small old home which appears to have been moved to a spot behind the
museum, with a sign saying 1870's Gilmore House. You can't see into the
building and it was locked up. A cement pad next to the house has a custom
vehicle from the 1960s or 70s, but no label or sign.
I made a much longer drive to Wellington, Kansas, stopping first briefly
to take new exterior photos of the Panhandle Railroad Museum then going
on downtown to the National Glass
Museum. My interior photos of the museum were all taken in 2018, but
in 2019 the museum had to move to a new location after the collapse of
the front facade of that building. Although a photo of the new exterior
had been added to its page, all of the interior photos have been of the
old museum. They have more room in this new structure and among other things,
have expanded the gift shop. They no longer invite visitors to select a
glass piece to take with them as the National Depression Glass Association's
gift. There is no charge to visit the museum, but donations are encouraged.
a short stop at Slate Creek Dam Falls, I drove back north to Bartlett Arboretum
in Belle Plaine, Kansas. I had understood it was open this afternoon, but
discovered that was incorrect. Robin Macy saw me taking photos through
the fence and asked what was going on. After I explained, she invited me
to come in and take a quick 20 minute look around.
arboretum was founded in 1910 by Dr. Walter E. Bartlett. The Bartlett operating
the Arboretum until 1995. Robin discovered the then neglected garden in
1997 and took it over as an act of love.
look forward to returning when there is more time.
to drive north at a leisurely pace, I made a brief stop at Wyldewood Cellars.
They weren't offering tasting today (which seemed odd), but I bought a
couple of bottles of their "Partridge In a Pear Tree," which turned out
to be sweeter than I expected for a semi-sweet white wine.
was at Boudreaux Burger Barn, about 3 miles west of I-35 near Peck Kansas.
You order at a counter from a short list of 8 items on the wall. I got
a $9 chicken fried steak sandwich, which came with fries and a fountain
drink, plus an additional order of onion rings. I wasn't really ready for
a meal, so this was too much food, but it gave me a chance to taste the
sandwich and fries weren't a very big serving, but plenty big at that price.
The chicken fried steak was thin and had different seasonings than I am
used to, but tasted good. The French fries were fresh cut and very good.
I would say the onion rings were above average, but paled when compared
to the onion rings at B&C BBQ last night.
of Boudreaux mention homemade ice cream, but it wasn't on the menu. Fortunately,
I asked and was told yes they sell cups of vanilla ice cream for $1. Chocolate
topping is also available. The woman at the register said the ice cream
was very cold and offered to soften it, which took only a few seconds.
It had the texture and taste I expect from homemade ice cream.
restaurant would be a good choice for someone passing through on the Kansas
Turnpike, who wants to have a meal while avoiding the congestion around
in Wichita, I stopped by "The
Village," an art environment showcasing the Steampunk Grassroots Art
of Gary Pendergrass. I first visited this yard in 2018 and there have been
new pieces of art each time. Now there is also a covered area with benches
and chairs where you can relax and be surrounded by some of the new pieces
of folk art.
stop of the night was a light supper at Stroud's Restaurant in Wichita.
Although the Stroud's in metro KC don't talk about it, there has long been
a Stroud's in this 1930's Wichita barn. At one time there was also one
in Topeka. This was my first time back since 2019 and I got a half order
gizzards appetizer and cottage fries. I love both of them covered with
hot sauce and Stroud's gravy. I finished the gizzards but still had a nice
amount of cottage fries and gravy to take home.
Solar-Vkrtes Time Portal at Jurassic Art
Louis Rose Hill Cafe
Bob's Blaze Burger
Rose Hill Historical Society Museum
Andover Historical Museum
National Glass Museum
Boudreaux Burger Barn
- June 9, 2023: There was no way to know if House of Tank would or
would not be open today, but I gave them a second try and they were open.
When I mentioned it having been closed the day before, the young woman
said they post the hours on the door. When I said the posted hours said
they would be open the the day before she didn't reply. There is no way
to contact the museum.
heavy armored vehicle museum is in a former carpet warehouse in an industrial
park and is the personal collection of someone who is not identified and
whose contact info is not available. There are about 23 vehicles inside
and 4 others (In rough shape) outside. Most are the actual vehicles and
are from World War 2 or the Cold War era. There are a couple of replica
vehicles, but I found them just as interesting as the original.
read all of the material available next to the tanks and wanted to more.
This subject turned out to interest me a lot. There was little to see or
learn beyond the vehicles. My visit still took less than 40 minutes.
tanks which interested me the most were a M5A1 Stuart light tank from WW2,
a Gepard self propelled German anti-aircraft gun from the 1970s, and a
replica M4 Sherman Tank which was used in the filming of the 2014 movie
which stared Brad Pitt. I've never seen the movie, but will seek it in
actually returned to look again at the Stuart twice. Although I had forgotten
about it over the years, when I was about 12, I read several about the
"Haunted Tank," which appeared in G.I. Combat by DC
Comics. They featured a World War 2 M3 Stuart tank which was haunted by
the ghost of J.E.B Stuart.
to the museum is by donation, with a recommendation of $5/person.
was at Buster's Burger Joint
on the south side of Wichita. I hadn't been back since first discovering
this great lunch place in 2020. 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. The restaurant is only open 11AM - 2PM, Monday through Saturday
and is cash only.
cooks the burgers slowly on a small grill and if they are busy, there can
be an extended wait. I got there at 11:30AM and had only a 15 minute wait,
but those arriving a little later were warned that their food would take
a half hour. The burgers, French fries and onion rings are all great and
are a bargain. For $7.50 (including tax) you get a 1/3 pound burger, choice
of side and can of pop! There is an additional $1 if you choose onion rings.
second museum of the day was the Sewing History Museum in Wichita, which
opened just a year ago. If fills the bottom floor of the Chapman-Noble
House, a Queen Anne home which was built in the late 1880s. There are several
other Queen Anne homes nearby, though not all of them are in as lovely
a condition as this one.
museum is owned and operated by Katrina Stockton, who ran The Alteration
Shoppe in Wichita for 45 years. She started the collection in just 2020
and hundreds of sewing machines are shoehorned into the home. There are
many more machines and she plans to expand the museum into the 4 car garage
behind the home. At the time of this visit, her oldest machine was manufactured
by Wheeler & Wilson in 1854, but there will probably be older sewing
machines in the collection by the time that you visit.
is enthusiastic about the collection and happy to show you through the
museum and tell you more about the sewing machines and toys.
parking on a side street near the museum, I spotted a monument in a small
vacant lot at the corner of 12th Street & Jackson. Checking it out,
I learned that in 1869 an abandoned dugout at this location was used as
both the first school in Wichita and a Sunday School which led to the formation
of First Presbyterian Church in 1870. William Finn led both groups.
on to Augusta, Kansas to see the third of four museums today.
Modlin opened the Twisted Oz Motorcycle Museum in an old body shop in 2016.
Today there are over 100 vintage motorcycles displayed in side by side
buildings, many of the cycles are over 100 years old. The museum's web
page says that admission is free, but it strongly felt like a generous
donation was expected.
owner's brother took a half hour showing me around the collection. I could
tell that many of the bikes are special, but in all honesty they aren't
really my thing. I actually was more interested in the old Valentine Diner
sitting in the main gallery and many items from the old Joyland Amusement
Park which operated in Wichita from 1949 to 2004. The Joyland artifacts
are courtesy of Jerry Ottaway, a motorcycle fan from the family which owned
next stop was at Paradise Doll Hospital & Museum in Towanda, Kansas.
The collection of approximately 7,000 dolls fills a row of attached sheds.
There are few labels or information about the dolls. One room has about
500 Barbie dolls. The museum is not a good place for people who are sensitive
to cigarette smoke. The museum is owned by Barbra Bush and has been open
started a leisurely trip back across Kansas, with the first stop in Cassoday,
The long closed Cassoday Cafe has a banner proclaiming that Sundance Saloon
is coming soon. but their was no evidence that any work is being done.
leaving the area, I drove east 4 miles on NE 150th Street to a field where
there have been wild horses every time I checked. They weren't near the
road today, but there were about 23 horses in the field a few hundred yards
driving back to Cassoday, I headed north on K-177 stopping wherever there
was something which looked interesting. The first stop was a Scenic Overlook
with markers about Pioneer Bluffs Ranch.
up was the PrairyArt Path at Matfield Station. There is four miles of walking
paths through prairie with cattle pens, sculptures and vistas. I walked
a fairly short stretch between K-177 and active railroad tracks. Freight
trains passed every 10-15 minutes. I like all the wildflowers along the
next brief stop was at Pioneer Bluffs, a historic ranch and wedding venue
next to K-177. The buildings are closed, but visitors are welcome to walk
the grounds and hike during daylight hours.
final stop on the highway was where a sign denotes a "scenic view" about
3 miles south of Cottonwood Falls. There isn't enough elevation for Schrumpf
Hill Scenic Overlook to offer a view better than many places on the highway,
but there is a paved walkway with signs with photos and descriptions next
to several of the native plants at the Overlook. Many were in bloom today.
Cottonwood Falls I took fresh photos of the beautiful Chase County Courthouse
and the Cottonwood River Dam and Bridge.
had learned that after over a year of being closed, Ad Astra Food &
Drink in Strong City reopened last week under the new ownership of Jared
Roberts of Jim Roberts & Son Western apparel store in Cottonwood Falls
and with chef Stan Lerner of Chef Stanís Place in Strong City.
restaurant had closed over a year ago due to staffing shortages and the
new restaurant is dealing with the same issue. The inaugural menu had 7
items and just 3 of those (denoted by check marks) were available tonight.
They were an 18 ounce ribeye with French fries for $65, bison burger with
fries for $18 or hamburger with fries for $13.
were no other side dishes or options, just the frozen crinkle cut fries.
The server did not ask how the bison burger should be cooked and it came
well done. It was a bit dry, but otherwise fine. Grilled onions was a welcome
has big plans for the restaurant, including expanding the dining room into
the storefront on the left and eventually reopening the market on the other
side of that store. I wish them luck and look forward to trying them again
when they have their feet under them.
M5A1 Stuart Tank
Buster at the grill
First School Monument
Paradise Doll Hospital & Museum
Ad Astra Food & Drink
- June 17, 2023: We took our granddaughter to the Topeka Zoo where
the new Giraffe & Friends exhibit opened in March. It is the largest
habitat in the zoo's history and now provides indoor and outdoor exhibit
of the reticulated giraffes, lesser kudu, ostrich, grey crowned crane,
and Thomsonís gazelle. It is a nice space and at some point will offer
opportunities for visitors to feed the giraffes, with places to do that
both inside and out.
rest of the zoo was a disappointment today, with few animals on exhibit.
We went by habitat after habitat with no animals visible and other than
a male lion, I never got photographs of other animals after Giraffe &
the street we also enjoyed the children's play area and saw the new electric
Gage Park Mini Train in use.
Giraffe & Friends
- June 24, 2023: Today we revisited Chef J BBQ, which is one of the
growing number of Texas style BBQ restaurants in Kansas City, Missouri.
They are in the area known as the West Bottoms, about 1,000 feet from the
Kansas state line.
order at a counter just inside the door and the menu is on a large board
above the counter. We ordered a 4 meat plate, selecting brisket, house
made jalapeño cheddar sausage, bacon burnt ends and pork ribs. with
bacon & blue potato salad. and smoked elotes as our choice of sides
meats are very good, with the pork ribs having some of the best flavor
of any ribs I have had. On our first the meat literally fell onto
the plate off the bones and had to picked up with a fork, but the the ribs
were firmer on this visit. They were still tender, but held together until
you bit into them.
brisket is as good as the ribs. The meat is nicely seasoned and if you
like fat, the fatty parts of the brisket are heavenly as they melt in your
month. You also need to be a fan of fatty meat to appreciate the bacon
favorite thing about the jalapeño cheddar sausage is dipping it
in the house made mustard BBQ sauce.
smoked elotes (Mexican street corn) is the best side I have tried, but
still only average. The bacon & blue potato salad is OK, but overall
I am unimpressed with the side dishes.
also come with house made pickled vegetables. They make a nice garnish,
but I didn't notice many people eating them.
Chef J BBQ
4 Meat Plate
- June 26, 2023: I added a new review of Chef
J BBQ in Kansas City, Missouri.
- June 28, 2023: A friend sent me a link to a Facebook post of photos
of the sunflower field at StoneBriar Farms in DeSoto. I hadn't heard of
this place before and wanted to add it to our Guide
to Kansas Sunflower Fields Open to the Public, so I dropped what I
was doing and drove to DeSoto.
turns out that the farm is also an event space and the more I looked, the
less it looked like the sunflower field was open to the public. I took
a few photos, but did not enter the field.
home, I contacted the slef pick strawberry farm and was informed that the
public is not welcome. The sunflowers are just there for the enjoyment
of people attending events.
- June 29, 2023: Our Guide to Kansas
Sunflower Fields Open to the Public has gone live for the 2023 season.
We list 17 public sunflower fields. Although most of them do not bloom
until August or later, there are three fields in bloom right now. I have
also scouted five or six more fields which may be added to the guide once
I have had a chance to visit them. Just waiting for them to have flowers!
- June 30, 2023: We added new pages devoted to the Something
Old Something New wedding dress museum in Kensington, Kansas and to
Oak Museum & School in Burr Oak, Kansas.
are off to explore southeast Kansas. I have been in that region about 3
times a year for 16 years, but still found enough to fill the weekend.
stop of the trip was at White Tail Run Winery and Vineyard northeast of
Edgerton, Kansas. We just learned that they have sunflowers for the public.
They are only available when the winery tasting room is open. There were
fewer sunflowers than we expected. The owner's son grows them, they have
small flowers and the patch is only about 400 square feet. The winery is
doing a "Sunflowers & Sangria" event this weekend, though near as I
can tell the only thing being done special is the sunflowers have started
were told that he is also growing sunflowers with larger flowers, which
should bloom sometime this fall.
the tasting room, we did a tasting of 6 wines for $8. We liked the slushies
and probably would have purchased some to take with us, but they
wouldn't stay cold in our ice chest for 3 hot days. We did get a couple
of bottles of their semi sweet Seyval.
was at Troyers 1883 in Garnett, Kansas. We had the best table in the upstairs
dining room (up a long, steep flight of stairs), with a view of courthouse
square. The actual courthouse was completely hidden by trees.
ordered rib eye with chessy (sic) potatoes and a half order of lasagna.
They don't ever offer blue cheese dressing for the salads, but they were
very good, served on chilled plates and the dressings they did have were
steak was well done, rather than the medium ordered. The meat was marbled
less than rib eye usually is and had little seasoning. The potatoes were
cut like hash browns and served au gratin. I didn't finish them or take
them with us. The lasagna was fine, but not a treat.
than the salads, the highlight of the meal was the peanut butter cream
Chanute, we checked that the street mural in the center of downtown at
the intersection at Main and Lincoln still proclaims that when Google Earth
starts up on Apple products, the default position is this intersection.
had a good night's rest at the Holiday Inn Express, which is new since
the last time we stayed in Chanute. My only complaint was they assigned
us an accessible room without asking and it wasn't quite as comfortable.
I would definitely stay hear again.
Sunflowers & grape vines
Rib eye & cheesy potatoes
Main & Lincoln
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