Kansas Travel Blog

Chronicling changes to KansasTravel.org and Keith's exploration & photographing Kansas restaurants, attractions, museums, festivals and art. Contact him.
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Hatman Jack's - Wichita, Kansas
Friday - September 1, 2023: The day started with taking photos of the Wichita, Kansas home of the late Kirstie Alley, the actress best known for her roles in the TV show Cheers and the Look Who's Talking movies was born in Wichita and owned a lovely home on east Douglas Avenue.

She didn't try to keep it secret and each November would set out one of Wichita's most popular Christmas displays, "The Village," which was a row of large panels with Christmas town scenes which came from the set of Alley's 1993 movie Look Who's Talking Now.

I went to the new Wichita Baseball Museum, which opened at Riverfront Stadium on July 15. Arriving at the address, there was no sign about the museum and the doors were locked, but when the person at the Wichita Wind Surge ticket office was free, she told me the museum was inside on the second floor and to push an intercom button and tell them where I was going.

I'm not that big a baseball fan, but still found the small museum quite interesting. There are interactive games which are probably more oriented toward younger visitors and there was a lot of information about the history of baseball in Wichita and many of the people who played baseball in town over the years. It was interesting enough for me to read the information on most of the displays. I particularly liked the Wichita Baseball Heritage wall with uniforms, pictures ad posters. There was even info about The Monrovians (Western Colored League team) playing a game against the 
Ku Klux Klan.

Just a few blocks away, I visited Hatman Jack's, which was founded in 1976, and says that it is the third largest hat store in the United States. Hatman Jack's has thousands of hats from various manufacturers, as well as making custom hats. Although primarily a men's store, there are also hats for women, children and novelty hats.

When I arrived, founder Jack Kellogg was being interviewed by one of the other writers who had participated in the media event the past couple of days.

Hatman Jack's website boasts that their hats have been worn by celebrities such as B. B. King, Charlie Daniels, Merle Haggard, Alan Jackson, Mickey Mantle, Mickey Spillane, and Luciano Pavarotti. Their hats can also be see in movies and television shows such as, The Quick and the Dead, The Secret Life of Bees, The Road to Valhalla, and Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman.

Back across Douglas Avenue to Old Town, is Envision Arts Gallery, which opened a little over a year and a half ago. It is the first national permanent gallery that gives artists who are visually impaired a stage to showcase their work. Some of the art is textured so that it can be better enjoyed by a visually impaired visitor.

The receptionist was very welcoming and glad to share the story of the gallery and of the parent organization, Envision, which provides training & assistance to disabled Individuals. Most items displayed in the gallery are available to purchase.

Lunch was at Bills Charcoal Grill on Arkansas Avenue on the north side of Wichita. It has been getting good reviews and seemed worth investigating.

I ordered Special Burger #7 which came with a hot link on top of the patty and French fries for $10.88. The burger was decent and I think I would have preferred it without the hot link. The fries were good for battered fries, crispy, but tender inside.

The last stop of the trip was between Lawrence and Tonganoxie at Grinter's Sunflower Farm, which is the most famous place to take photos in a farm sunflower field in Kansas.

The first sunflowers of the season bloomed on Tuesday and the fields looked like they were near peak already. I don't think they will last as long as the usually do.

Sunflower General, where the Grinter family sells gifts and baked good was busy today and the farmer's wife was at the cash register.

 

Kirstie Alley's Home - Wichita, Kansas Kirstie Alley's Home
 
 
 

Wichita Baseball Museum - Wichita, Kansas Wichita Baseball Museum
 
 
 
 

Hatman Jack's - Wichita, Kansas Hatman Jack's

Jack Kellogg - Hat Man Jack's Jack Kellogg at left


 Envision Arts Gallery
 
 

Bills Charcoal Grill - Wichita, Kansas Bills Charcoal Grill
 
 

Grinter's Sunflower Farm - Lawrence, Kansas Sunflower General 

 
Saturday - September 2, 2023: We tried out The Kansas City BBQ Bistro's Hickory Log BBQ for lunch. The long name belongs to a year old BBQ restaurant in Kansas City, Kansas. Our server said that the building used to house a Korean BBQ Restaurant and that her aunt & uncle decided to serve BBQ to kind of have the same theme - that doesn't agree with the history posted on the restaurant's Facebook page.

They weren't very busy, but seemed to be have a lot of difficulty keep track of the orders and bills. One large party took 5-10 minutes to check out.

We ordered the $45 "Clay Can" BBQ Bistro Sampler, which came with the choice of two 4 oz smoked meats, 1/2 slab pork ribs, and 1/2 chicken served with bistro sauce, pickle and two slices of bread. We added seasoned fries and onion rings for $7.

The chicken was much larger than most Kansas City BBQ restaurants serve. It was well seasoned and flavored by the smoking and needed no sauce. The ribs were also good and didn't require sauce.

We selected brisket and sausage for the sliced meats. Neither of them had much seasoning and I did want sauce. The platter came with two small cups of sauce, hot or sweet. The sweet was a typical KC ketchup based sauce and quite good. The hot didn't seem hot, but had a significantly different flavor, largely vinegar.

The fries were crinkle cut and previously frozen. They were fairly heavily seasoned with what tasted like the rub used on the meats. The "onion rings" were actually onion petals. Not bad, though I did want ketchup for them.

We went home with enough meat to each have 2 or 3 more meals.

 

The Kansas City BBQ Bistro's Hickory Log BBQ Kansas City BBQ Bistro's Hickory Log
 
 

Clay Can BBQ Bistro Sampler - Kansas City BBQ Bistro's Hickory Log Clay Can BBQ Bistro Sampler

Monday - September 4, 2023: Added a new page devoted to The Kansas City BBQ Bistro's Hickory Log BBQ and added it to our Kansas City BBQ Restaurant Guide.

 

 
Tuesday - September 5, 2023: Added a new page devoted to Thomas' Taste of Chicago in Junction City, Kansas. Their Chicago Burger is added to our Kansas Best Burger List.

 

 
Thursday - September 7, 2023: Added a new page devoted to Hatman Jack's in Wichita, Kansas, which is one of the country's leading hat stores. It is on our Things to do in Wichita page.

 

 
 
Sunday - September 10, 2023: We just learned last night that the sunflower field used to grown cut flowers by Aunt B's in Pomona, Kansas opened a few days ago and this evening from 5:30 - 8:30 PM is the final day it is open this year. Visiting the field requires an online registration which I made this morning.

This was one of the larger sunflower fields we have visited. There were nice trails through the field, but no other accommodations for visitors. Not even a sign at the road. Most of the sunflower we well past there peak, but there were still some attractive flowers in the mix, sometimes several near each other. Many of the attractive flowers were covered with a mass of insects.

There were only two other vehicles parked near the sunflowers and I ran across one small party taking photos in the middle of the field.

We drove into Ottawa for supper at Prime Time Grille, which is connected to Fusion Alley, a bowling Alley. The front of the menu says that Prime Time Grille was opened in 2020 by a group of community members seeking to elevate Ottawa.

The entrance has a sign saying to wait to be seated, but the staff can not see you there and do not look. Once you go on farther into the restaurant and they can see you, they were helpful right away.

We had the Wildcat Parmesan Patty Melt and Prime Grilled Chicken. Both were good. The patty melt was big and nicely seasoned. Linda does not like mushrooms and ordered the grilled chicken with the mushrooms on the side. They were actually my favorite part of the meal.

I upgraded to onion rings instead of fries for $1.25. There were 4 very large onion rings. Together about the size of 10 smaller onion rings. There was a seasoning in the batter of the rings that I didn't care for and I used lots of ketchup to cover it up.

 

Aunt B's - Pomona, Kansas Aunt B's

Photo session at Aunt B's Photo session
 
 
 
 
 

Prime Time Grille - Ottawa, Kansas Patty melt & grilled chicken

Tuesday - September 12, 2023: We added a page devoted to Cato, Kansas, which was founded in 1854 and was one of the first communities of European settlers in southeast Kansas. Today there is just the Cato Stone School, Christian Church, a modern log cabin and a stone bridge. Other than Cato Days in the fall, it has no regular hours, but we toured it during the 2022 Big Kansas Road Trip.

Added a page devoted to Gearhead Curios on Historic Route 66 in Galena, Kansas and one for The Garage. an automobile museum which opened in Salina in 2022.

 

Cato, Kansas - Arcadia, Kansas Cato Stone Bridge
Thursday - September 14, 2023: We added a new pages devoted to the Carriage Factory Art Gallery in Newton, Kansas and Grazing Plains Farm a few miles southeast of Newton.

 

 
Tuesday - September 19, 2023: We added a new page about Switchgrass, a grassroots art co-op gallery Barbara McCreery a grassroots artist in Lucas, Kansas.  
Wednesday - September 20, 2023: We added a new page about the new Amelia Earhart Hangar Museum, which opened at the Atchison, Kansas Airport on April 14.
 
 
 
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