Kansas Travel Blog

Chronicling changes to KansasTravel.org and Keith's exploration & photographing Kansas restaurants, attractions, museums, festivals and art. Contact him.

Art Prints

Rainbow and Smoky Hills Wind Farm
Friday - September 30, 2011: The previous evening we noticed that the Snak Shack on Santa Fe in Overland Park had reopened, so we went there tonight. We learned that it had opened 9 days earlier. A new family has the little burger place

The menu is mostly unchanged. They still offer burgers, veggie burgers, grilled cheese, rings and fries. The hamburger is still ground fresh daily by Bichelmeyer Meats and was very good. The rings were not fresh made, nor are the fries. They now have sweet potato fries.


Snak Shack on Santa Fe - Overland Park, Kansas Snak Shack
Thursday - September 29, 2011: I returned to ABC Cafe in Overland Park to photograph the new menu and continue to work my way through the intriguing list of dishes. The manager recognized that I had dined on steamed oysters when I was last there and told me that she did not have oysters this day.

Today I had the sticky rice stuffed chicken wings appetizer ($5.88) and clams sautéed with black bean sauce ($8.88). The main dish came out first and was accompanied by a large bowl of steamed rice. There were a few slivers of hot pepper in the black bean sauce, but it wasn't that hot, it was more of a dark gravy and went very well with the rice.

The bones from the middle third of the chicken wings had been removed and replaced with the sticky rice, then deep fried. It was one of my favorite dishes at ABC Cafe so far. When the manager asked how I liked it, I explained that the center third of the wing was always my favorite - to which she said "you know how to eat well. In Chinese homes that section is the most prized because it has the sweetest meat.

Linda joined me for supper at Wyandot Bar-B-Q #2 in Overland Park. We had a pork ribs short end, burnt ends, fries, beans and onion rings. The beans were much like sweet caned pork and beans, but with a few tiny pieces of jalapeno. The fries were crinkle cut frozen fries, but perfectly cooked and about as good as frozen fries get. 

The burnt ends were much larger than normal and didn't have the smoke ring I expect from Kansas City burnt ends. The ribs were the best item, fatty, juicy and with a great flavor from the smoking.


clams sautéed with black bean sauce - ABC Cafe clams sautéed with black bean sauce

sticky rice stuffed chicken wings - ABC Cafe sticky rice stuffed chicken wings

Wednesday - September 28, 2011: Linda joined me for lunch at Downtown Diner in Olathe. Her baby back ribs were a little dry, but I really liked my "downtown burger" which included two beef patties, Swiss cheese, corned beef and coleslaw. The overall taste was a little sweet and very good.

The fries and onion rings were better than most that are not fresh made.

The service is good and the prices are quite reasonable.


Downtown Diner - Olathe, Kansas downtown burger
Tuesday - September 27, 2011: We made a second visit to McGuire's Tavern in Overland Park which opened in June. The food is good and reasonably priced, though the menu is quite limited. I don't think I would find enough things to be a regular.

The chicken tenders had an unusual breading that was so crispy that the tenders broke into pieces as you ate them. A burger was fairly good, though nothing stood out about it. It came with very ordinary French fries. The best item was the potato skins.


McGuire's Tavern - Overland Park, Kansas McGuire's Tavern
Sunday - September 25, 2011: After spending the night in Pittsburg we joined Mary to attend the morning service at College Heights United Methodist.

With many of the interesting locally owned restaurants in Pittsburg closed on Sunday, we decided to drive south to Cafe on the Route in Baxter Springs. It is the first time I have been to the Cafe for the Sunday lunch buffet. At $10 is was reasonable and although not particularly large it was almost entirely meat dishes: fried chicken, BBQ ribs, BBQ beef, chicken & dumplings, chicken & noodles, chicken tenders, ravioli, and huge pork chops.

They were good, but not really great. The food was prepared too long in advance. This is the chef's day off and the food was prepped the night before. I wouldn't say not to go there on Sunday, but it wasn't the special treat like ordering off the menu.

Since we were already on Route 66, we circled around through Galena and stopped to pick up beef jerky and candy at Steve's Candy.

After dripping Mary of at Pitt State, we head back toward Lenexa. Near Pleasenton, we stopped to photograph the Trading Post ghost town and the Trading Post Museum. The museum included exhibits devoted to the mid 19th Century history of the area including the Marais des Cygnes Massacre and the Civil War Battle of Mine Creek.

As we reached Overland Park, we turned off on 179th Street for my annual visit to Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens. New features at the Arboretum include a minimal Garden Cafe and this year's annual Sculpture Exhibition. It was a beautiful fall afternoon and everywhere we went in the gardens there were families and couples doing portrait photography.

Since we were already in southern Overland Park, we had an early supper at Blue Moose Bar and Grill on 135th Street. It was the second time we have tried this restaurant by the local KC Hopps chain. 

The specials were all German this day and I had the $13.99 pork wiener schnitzel with lemon chive spaetzle and broccoli. I liked the wiener schnitzel but cared little for the spaetzle or plain broccoli.

Linda enjoyed the baked brie and a spinach & walnut salad.



Steve's Candy - Galena, Kansas Steve's Candy

Trading Post - Kansas Trading Post

Overland Park Arboretum - Overland Park, Kansas Overland Park Arboretum

Blue Moose Bar and Grill - Overland Park, Kansas Blue Moose Bar & Grill

Saturday - September 24, 2011: We drove to Pittsburg, Kansas for Family Day at Pitt State University, but stopped in Fort Scott during the drive south. After photographing the home in which Gordon Parks grew up, we got drinks to go at the fabulous Nu Grille, then visited Evergreen Cemetery on the south side of town.

I had thought I had previously photographed Parks' grave, but it turned out to have been an additional marker which had been erected about 50 feet from the location of Parks' actual grave and his parents' graves.

At Pitt State we picked up Mary and had lunch at Bob's Grill. I had been wanting to try the 65 year old little breakfast and lunch spot for some time, but it closes at 1PM on Saturdays and all day on Sundays, making it hard to visit. Bob's has a lot of character and I was very happy with my cheeseburger with grilled onions. The fresh cut fries were also very good.

It seemed like everyone in the restaurant knew each other, including the bride and groom who ate burgers at the table next to us.

Dessert was at Tropical Sno, a little shack across Broadway from the University, which serves over 400 flavors of shaved ice. Very nice!

We toured the Pitt State campus and the GorillaFest which preceded the evening football game versus William Jewel. GorillaFest is an event which starts 3 hours before Pitt State games an includes free kids games & inflatable slides, food vendors, live music and pep rally with band and dance team. Some people come to GorillaFest when they aren't even going to the game.

The 9,000 plus stadium was standing room only. Some of the cast of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition participated in the coin. The show will build 7 homes in Joplin, Missouri in a few weeks. 

Pitt is having a great football season. They are rated #15 in the nation (NCAA Division 2) and won 49 - 7 this night.


Gordon Parks grave - Fort Scott, Kansas Gordon Parks grave

Bob's Grill - Pittsburg, Kansas Bride & Groom at Bob's Grill

Tropical Sno - Pittsburg, Kansas Tropical Sno

Pitt State football coin toss Pitt State football coin toss

Friday - September 23, 2011: Tonight Linda and I finally made it to Unforked in Overland Park, the latest offering by Jim Sheridan who founded the wonderful Sheridan's frozen custard chain. This location in south Overland Park was originally a custard shop.

The fairly limited menu includes several types of tacos, sandwiches and salads made from ingredients produced at local farms. You place your order at the counter and are given a buzzer which will vibrate when your food is ready. It took about 20 minutes, which felt like a long time for this kind of food. 

We tried two types of tacos, chicken quesadillas, fries and a basket with three kinds of chips (corn, plantain, and taro). I didn't care for the fish taco, but the BBQ pork taco was pretty good. The thin fries were disappointing for fresh cut - under cooked and limp. The chip basket was the best item. It came with salsa and (for an additional charge) queso.


Unforked - Overland Park, Kansas Unforked
Thursday - September 22, 2011: For today's lunch I visited Master Wok Chinese Restaurant in Olathe. I dined there shortly after it opened a year and a half ago, but for some reason never made it back.

The prices are extremely reasonable for table service in an attractive setting. At lunch the menu includes 26 complete meals for $5.50 to $6.50. I went with the $6 Pork with Garlic Sauce. It came with the choice of fried or steamed rice, the choice of egg drop or hot & sour soup and the choice of egg roll or 2 crab Rangoon.

The meal was almost perfect. The one exception was that the crab Rangoon tasted like sour milk.

The service WAS perfect. The manager heard that I was only going to have water because they have only Pepsi products, and called my server over. She came back to say that they had Diet Coke available in a bottle, though there would be no free refills. A 24 ounce bottle!


Master Wok Chinese Restaurant - Olathe, Kansas Master Wok
Wednesday - September 21, 2011: Lunch was at Mariscos Veracruz in Olathe. I really like this authentic southern Mexican restaurant. I don't know why it seems herd for me to get there more often than just enough to keep its review current.

Today I had one of the most expensive dishes on the menu, the $14.99 mojarra Veracruz. The whole fried fish was covered with a sauce that was mostly  large pieces of onion and tomato. I liked it, but I prefer the mojarra mojo de ajo where the whole fish is covered with a garlic sauce.


Mariscos Veracruz - Olathe, Kansas Mariscos Veracruz
Tuesday - September 20, 2011: I revisited Burnt End BBQ in Overland Park for the first time since our very poor experience in April. Things looked much the same, though they have added some "bowls" where the meat and other dishes are served mixed together.

The burnt ends were not as good as they were when Burnt End first opened. They were quite tough and could not be cut with a fork.


Burnt End BBQ - Overland Park, Kansas Burnt End BBQ
Sunday - September 18, 2011: I opened an online store selling prints and greeting cards made from the art work you see on this web site and others: Keith Stokes Fine Art Gallery.


Saturday - September 17, 2011: We had a light supper at Rosedale BBQ in Kansas City, Kansas - splitting a long end of pork ribs and onion rings. The ribs were as meaty and juicy as I remember, but the rings did nothing for me and we didn't even finish them.

We were going to the 40th anniversary celebration of the Kansas City Science Fiction & Fantasy Society at the Writers Place in Kansas City, Missouri, but had a little time to kill so we drove through a few of the streets of KC in the Crossroads, Crown Center and Mid Town neighborhoods. Near the Liberty Memorial, we discovered a huge piece of temporary art made from huge cargo containers.

It wasn't clear at first what it was. But when I looked at it with my camera, the image cleared into what you see in the photo at the right. This temporary sculpture is titled IOU/USA (USA can be seen on the other side) by John Salvest.


Rosedale BBQ - Kansas City, Kansas Rosedale BBQ

IOU/USA - Kansas City, Missouri IOU/USA

Friday - September 16, 2011: I tried ABC Cafe one more time, for lunch today. One of the daily specials was steamed oysters. There were 6 large oysters in a black bean sauce that had a bit less flavor than I expected. This was OK, but not a special treat for me. 

I look forward to continuing to work my way through this interesting menu.

Linda and I had supper at the recently opened Hot Mama's Bayou in Shawnee. We had tried stopping there twice before, but the were closed the first time and the AC was not working the second. It was a cool night, so it seemed like a good time to try them again.

The experience was different. The service was friendly but totally disorganized. Different people kept coming to us and trying to do things that had already been done. At the same time, we had to aggressively ask for things you would expect to have handled. One small example: our server asked if we wanted water and brought it, but had to be called back after we placed our orders, because she had never asked if we want to drink anything else.

The dishes sampled were onion rings, coleslaw, fried shrimp and shrimp scampi. Every dish was heavily covered with an apparently identical Cajun seasoning. It went well with both shrimp dishes, but not well at all in the coleslaw. The rings tasted good, but the seasoning was so heavy I couldn't taste the onion.

Overall, the dishes tasted too much the same to hold my interest.



Hot Mama's Bayou - Shawnee, Kansas Hot Mama's Bayou

Monday - September 12, 2011: This evening we revisited ABC Cafe in Overland Park for the first time since spring. This small authentic Chinese Restaurant has become very successful. Not serving the kinds of "Chinese food" we see at most American Chinese restaurants, but by serving traditional dishes.

The hours at ABC Cafe seem unusual - noon to Midnight - but I understand the reason it is open so late is because Chinese people working at other restaurants and businesses come here when they get off work. I don't know if that is true, but as the restaurant filled up, I think there was only one other table where people were ordering in English.

The prices are very reasonable at ABC Cafe. For example, they serve made to order dim sum for $2.88 a plate. We had a slew of those dishes including stuffed green pepper, stuffed egg plant, pan fried shrimp dumpling and others, but my favorite was the single large $8.88 "special dish" - prawns with walnut in mayonnaise sauce. The prawns were sweet and wonderful.


ABC Cafe - Overland Park, Kansas ABC Cafe

prawns with wlanut in mayonnaise sauce - ABC Cafe prawns with walnut in mayonnaise sauce

Sunday - September 11, 2011: Before leaving town in the morning, we stopped so I could get an exterior photo of On the Bricks as well as some photos of the Big Easel project - a giant reproduction Vincent van Gogh sunflower painting on an 80 foot steel easel.

We continued north to St. Francis and Cheyenne County. I had seen much of this area a few years earlier, but it was very foggy that day and I have never been satisfied with the photos. We stopped first at the Cherry Creek Encampment which has a memorial to the Cheyenne Indian survivors of the Sand Creek Massacre. Then on into the Arikaree Breaks, an area of rough terrain, with deep ravines and gullies. It is quite beautiful and a marked contrast to the surrounding plains area.

Much of this drive was revisiting sites I had seen before such as Horse Thief's Cave, but we also visited the Tri-Point where Kansas, Colorado and Nebraska meet. It is the 3rd Kansas Tri-Point we have visited in about 9 weeks.

We got the obligatory photo of Linda standing in three states, but what we enjoyed the most was the White-lined Sphinx "Hummingbird" Moths (Hyles lineata) feeding on flowers nearby.

We stopped back in St. Francis to have lunch before getting on the road, but the only place we could find open on Sunday was Pizza Hut. We settled for cheeses and sausages purchased at Supers, the local grocery store.

We started the long drive back across Kansas (about 7 hours) but had a couple more stops along the way. The first was at the Prairie Museum of Art and History in Colby. The large modern museum building is almost exclusively devoted to items collected by the Kuska family.

I'm afraid the collection is a little too diverse for my taste (dolls, furniture, clothing, quilts, toys, glass, ceramics, silver, souvenirs, household items, tools, musical instruments, coins, clocks, stamps, guns, minerals, art, campaign items, etc). I would have rather they had more detail about a few of these areas.

I was more impressed with the old buildings which had been moved to the museum complex, particularly the huge 1936, 66' by 114' Cooper Barn and the 1915 Lone Star Church. The gift shop was also good, with a large selection of Kansas related books.

The last stop was for supper at Gella's Diner & Lb. Brewing Co. in Hays. The 6 year old brew pub is highly recommended and I hadn't been there since shortly after it opened, 6 years ago. Gella's is Hays' answer to the Free State Brewery in Lawrence.

The service was good and the building was interesting, with the restaurant spread across four old storefronts. The menu was large and made the dishes sound very interesting, but it came up a little short on the food, which wasn't nearly as interesting and tasty as it sounded. Still the menu is so large that I really need to try Gella's a couple more times before making a decision. Maybe we made poor choices. 


Vincent van Gogh sunflower - Goddard, Kansas Vincent van Gogh sunflower

Three Corners - Kansas Tripoint Linda standing in Kansas, Nebraska & Colorado at the same time

Cooper Barn at Praire Museum in Colby, Kansas Cooper Barn

Gella's Diner - Hays, Kansas Gella's Diner & Lb. Brewing Co

Saturday - September 10, 2011: Saturday morning we were on the road earlier than Linda wanted and continued
west from Salina. It was partly sunny, partly light rain and we turned off the freeway briefly so I could get a photo of Smoky Hills Wind Farm with a double rainbow. 

Our first attraction of the weekend was one I had visited 2 or 3 times before, but Linda had never seen. The Castle Rock Badlands are located on private range land about 15 miles south of I-70, It is dirt roads all the way, with a very rough two rut going through private range land at the end. Castle Rock itself is wearing away and may be pretty much gone in my lifetime, but the nearby badlands is still growing as a ridge wears away. The 60 - 80 foot tall chalk formations are pretty cool, particularly in this region where they would be unexpected.

We returned to I-70 and continued west to Oakley where we had lunch at the Colonial Steakhouse, right off the freeway. It had many recommendations and I really want to return and order off the menu someday, but we were running late and both went with the buffet. It was sill pretty good.

The salad bar included house made dressings and pickles. The hot dishes included good brisket & pork. The fried chicken was very good. Linda took one for the team and tried one of the pies the Colonial Steakhouse is known for. The peach filling was only average, but the crust was very good.

We passed through town, stopping at the new Discover Oakley center which had been added since my last visit. Surrounded by commercial sunflower fields, Discover Oakley consists of a modern visitors center with gift shop and a twice life size bronze sculpture which commemorates the local 1868 contest between William F. Cody and William Comstock where the winner became "Buffalo Bill." 

Then south on US-83 to visit the other major chalk formation, Monument Rocks and the nearby Keystone Gallery. Today there were more people at Monument Rocks than I had ever seen before, at least 5 other parties.

The Keystone Gallery is a combination gift shop, art gallery and fossil museum in a 94 year old stone building that was originally a church and is off the grid. This was the 20 year anniversary of the opening of the gallery and the place was packed. The Bonner family creates much of the art and has collected the fossils which are on exhibit. Many of the families fossil finds are in major galleries. They also provide fossil hunting tours.

We were running low on fuel and drove south to Scott City for gas. As we started west out of town on K96 an old Texaco sign caught my eye. Pulling over, we discovered a complete Texaco Station restored to the 1970s. It was locked up, but looking in, I could see the old oil cans, maps, pop machine, and other things that looked just like I remember from my Dad's old station. The hose running out to the pumps even rang the bell when I stepped on it. There was no sign or explanation of who had restored the station or why. It reminded me of the faux Texaco station I discovered a few years earlier in an old store front in Winfield an few years back. 

We drove west from Scott City on K-96, an area I hadn't visited before. We stopped in Leoti to tour the Museum of the Great Plains. The items on exhibit were in better condition than at many local museums, but I'm afraid that with a few exceptions there was very little to explain what items were or put them in context.

One of those exceptions was a display about the battle which determined what community became the county seat for Wichita, Kansas. They called it "the bloodiest county seat fight in the state of Kansas." I also liked a small room tucked in the back which had displays of local fossils and a mural by Chuck Bonner (from the Keystone Gallery).

We now turned north and west crossing into the Mountain Time Zone, which let us get to the Fort Wallace Museum in Wallace before it closed at 5PM. I was very impressed with the size and quality of the museum in a town of only 56 people. There were three historic buildings and a fairly modern museum building.

While touring this museum, I discovered a much larger display of local fossils. I asked the volunteers a couple of questions about them and was delighted to learn that one of the volunteers present was Pete Bussen, a paleontologist & retired rancher who collected many of the fossils on display. He started telling me the stories behind them. I was particularly fascinated with casting of an ichthyornis dispar, a toothed seabird from the Late Cretaceous period. The skeleton had been collected by Mr. Bussen and is the most compete specimen of the species that has ever been found.

The museum gift shop offered fossils for sale. There were come Cretaceous fish skeletons which were fairly large and reasonably priced. I was tempted to get one, but they weren't that handsome and I don't know what I would do with them. I did purchase a single vertebrae from a Platycarpus (a mosasaur or marine lizard) for just $4.

We continued west and north with a long stretch of gravel roads to the highest point in Kansas - Mount Sunflower. Mount Sunflower is simply the highest point in slightly rolling range land a half mile from the Colorado Border, but it is marked with a near shrine including a covered picnic area, metal sculpture, rocks, a memorial to Edward and Elizabeth Harold who homesteaded the ranch in 1905, a flag poll, and a mail box which contains a guest book and a few humorous details about the spot.

As we sundown was approaching, it should have been peaceful, but a ham radio operator had set up next to the memorial with a battery of antennas and the radio speakers turned way up.

We continued on to the north, stopping only to photograph a couple of groups of mule deer and the sunset.

Arriving in Goddard, we went straight to On the Bricks Cafe. The restaurant is known for its steaks so Linda had the chicken fried steak and I had the ribeye. There was a lot of the food for the money, but I thought the food was only average. The ribeye was tender, but looked like it had been beaten into submission. The only seasoning was black pepper.

The highlight of the meal was the house made wild cherry cheese cake. We split one and there was still enough to take with us for later. The dessert was $4.25, but the total for the whole meal including tax and tip only came to only $31.50! 


Smoky Hills Wind Farm rainbow Smoky Hills Wind Farm

Castle Rock - Kansas Castle Rock

Colonial Steakhouse - Oakley, Kansas Colonial Steakhouse

Discover Oakley sculpture Discover Oakley

Monument Rocks - Kansas Monument Rocks

Keystone Gallery - Kansas Keystone Gallery

Restored Texaco Station - Scott City, Kansas 1970s Texaco Station

Pete Bussen - Museum of the Great Plains Pete Bussen

Mount Sunflower ham radio operator Mount Sunflower

On the Bricks Cafe - Goddard, Kansas On the Bricks Cafe

Friday - September 9, 2011: I visited Johnson County Old Settlers, a festival in Olathe which has been going on since 1898. It is hard to realize that people we would think of as "old settlers," were thinking back to a much earlier time. Although Old Settlers has one of the larger parades in the state, the 3 day event (Thursday - Saturday) is confined to a few blocks in downtown Olathe and consists largely of arts & crafts, children's performances and a few free concerts.

Many of the vendors at Old Settlers have been attending the event for years, such as the one selling "grange pups" in the photo at the right.

In the evening we set off to visit some attractions in far northwest Kansas. We were late getting away and several of the restaurants which I wanted to visit closed before we could get to them. We almost dined at Kuntz's Drive Inn, in Abilene which said they would close sometime between 9 & 10 PM. We arrived there at 9:10 PM, but they were already closed.

Our final choice was Bogey's, a popular burger joint in a remodeled old gas station in Salina. It was open until 10:30. My burger was quite good, but the chili fries weren't so good. The curly fries and chili (with lots of beans) didn't go as well together as they might have individually.


Johnson County Old Settlers - Olathe, Kansas Johnson County Old Settlers

Bogey's - Salina, Kansas Bogey's

Thursday - September 8, 2011: Linda joined me in a revisit of the new Downtown Diner in Olathe. One of the specials today was bacon explosion sliders which we very nice. I have been a little disappointed with the fries here, but today we had the onion rings and they were very good.


Downtown Diner - Olathe, Kansas Downtown Diner
Tuesday - September 6, 2011: We drove back to Grand Rapids for our flights back to Kansas City. We had arranged a time cushion on that end in case there was trouble on the road. The drive had been smooth, so we had a very nice, leisurely lunch at Rose's On Reeds Lake.

The upscale hundred year old restaurant had a large deck, right on the water. The view was great and we had wild ducks literally at our feet (they had no fear of anyone). We started with Root Chips - house made chips from potatoes, sweet potatoes and beets, served with goat cheese fondue and red pepper aloli. It was the first way I have ever liked beets - they went well with the aloli.

Linda's Salmon Vesuvio and my Sausage Risotto were also good. It was a bit pricey ($48.50 total with tax), but I enjoyed the meal a lot and hope to dine there again some day. 



Rose's On Reeds Lake - East Grand Rapids, Michigan One of the ducks (female Blue-winged Teal) on a neighboring table

Monday - September 5, 2011: Labor Day is the only day of the year that the 5 mile long Mackinac Bridge can
be walked. It was my first time in Mackinaw City on Labor Day since the 1970s and the date for this trip was selected to let Linda & I do the walk. The numbers were down this year, but there were still about 36,000 people. Linda had worried that the walk would be too much, but she did fine. 

It was a cold morning and mostly overcast, but that didn't spoil the event. My camera lens was still acting up. Sometimes I had to wait for it to cycle off and then restart it, 8 or 9 times in a row.

Lunch was at another Mackinaw City favorite - Scalawags Whitefish & Chips. This little restaurant does a lot of take out business and I often recommend picking up food here and taking it to the shore for a picnic. Bit it was cold today and we were glad to snag a table inside. With so many people in town for the bridge walk, they had a limited menu and handled the line to order and serving fried whitefish very well. 

The "chips" (French fries) are pretty ordinary, but the white fish is quite good and so are hushpuppies. Scalawags also has chowder and perch (and occasionally smelt), but the menu was quite limited today.

After a shower and freshening up at our room, we drove to Big Stone Bay Fishery a mile east of town, just of US 23 to buy several small tubs of smoked whitefish which we brought back to Kansas. We froze the 8 ounce packs, they tucked them into the center of a suit case with clothes around them for insulation and they travel quite well.

While we were driving across town to the fishery, I saw a banner for sailing on a tall ship. When we got to my father's house, I looked the Appledore V up on the Internet and the final tour of the weekend was departing in jut 20 minutes. We raced down and turned out to be their only passengers for a 2 hour sail on the 65' schooner with a crew of 3. We helped work the sails. A great private charter for $50 total! 

For supper we drove over to St. Ignace to the Hillside House Restaurant. I've been trying to get there for two or three years, but their seasonal hours and my schedule had never worked out. I wish it hadn't the service and food were both disappointing. The only good thing about the Hillside House was its view.

After dinner, we drove west on US 23 to get some photos at a scenic lookout. While we were there, we saw that the sun was about to set and we drove down to the shore for some photos of the sun setting over St. Helena Island.


Mackinac Bridge Walk - Michigan Mackinac Bridge Walk

Scalawags Whitefish and Chips - Mackinaw City, Michigan Scalawags Whitefish & Chips

Appledore V - Mackinaw City, Michigan Linda & I on the Appledore V

Hillside House Restaurant - St. Ignace, Michigan Hillside House Restaurant

St. Helena Island - Michigan St. Helena Island

Sunday - September 4, 2011: We did less today, but did have nice walks along the water and visiting various shops. We got caramels at our favorite Mackinaw area fudge shop, Marshall's Fudge. There are dozens of fudge shops in Mackinaw City and Mackinac Island. Some of them are a hundred years old.

For lunch we tried the Admiral's Table which had been recently recommended to me. I'm afraid I won't be trying them again. The fried whitefish was the best item tried and it was only average.

Sunday evening, the three of us drove south to the Levering Cafe where we met another Trip Advisor user and her husband for supper. tymetraveler222 is a Destination Expert for the state of Michigan. (I am one for Mackinaw City, Mackinaw Island and the state of Kansas). We had a good meal and continued to chat in the parking lot until the cold drove us into our vehicles. 


Mackinac Bridge - Mackinaw City, Michigan Mackinac Bridge
Saturday - September 3, 2011: Much of our time in Mackinaw City was spent visiting my father, but we still managed to see a few attractions and I took photos for my sister web site www.mightymac.org. For lunch we tried one of my favorite Mackinaw restaurants, Darrow's Family Restaurant. I have been eating at Darrow's since it first opened as a drive in, over 50 years ago.

Darrow's has great soups, salads and house made pies. There were 17 kinds of pie today. My whitefish was very good, but I was quite impressed with Linda's Northern Cobb salad with a 5 ounce fried whitefish filet. A very nice meal for $12.99.

In the afternoon we crossed the Mackinac Bridge to St. Ignace to tour the Fort de Buade Museum. For years the museum was a private collection with a trinket shop in from, but the free museum has changed hands and is upgrading the exhibits and gift shop. The exhibits are still weak on explanations and context, but I think this museum will continue to improve.

We made our way along the main street visiting some of the shops, than crossing to Arts & Crafts Dockside, near the marina. There was a typical mix of booths, though a surprising number of the vendors had jewelry made from native Michigan rocks like Petoskey Stones, Lake Superior Agates, and Pudding Stone from Drummond Island. Our only purchase was a handmade leather belt.

We also walked part of the board walk along the shore and out on the old railroad dock to the Wawatam Light which was erected a few years ago as an attraction. The old elevator for loading the ferry recently collapsed and that is the remains in the foreground of the photo to the right.

It was a beautiful, cool sunny day and there were many sailboats on the Straits of Mackinac. My camera lens was acting up and it was very frustrating as the camera kept shutting down and it was extremely hard using the zoom. This continued the rest of the weekend.

For supper, we went to the Key Hole Bar in Mackinaw City. Dad had a good burger, while I had extremely good onion rings and as good of fried yellow perch as I have had anywhere.

In the evening we walked down to the lakefront again, this time with a borrowed tripod, which I used to photograph the Icebreaker Mackinaw Maritime Museum.


salad - Darrow's Family Restaurant Whitefish Cobb salad

Fort de Buade Museum - St. Ignace, Michigan Fort de Buade Museum

Arts & Crafts Dockside - St. Ignace, Michigan Arts & Crafts Dockside

Wawatam Light - St. Ignace, Michigan Wawatam Light

Icebreaker Mackinaw Maritime Museum - Mackinaw City, Michigan Icebreaker Mackinaw Maritime Museum


Friday - September 2, 2011: Linda and I are off to Mackinaw City for Labor Day weekend. We flew to Grand Rapids and drove north 4 hours, stopping for supper at Lakeside Charlie's in Cadillac. It had a large patio overlooking Lake Mitchell.

We returned to Deerhead Inn, a nice B&B where we have stayed twice before. One of the big attractions of the B&B this weekend was that they didn't raise their rates for the holiday weekend. Many places doubled their rate on Sunday night.

I was a pleasant night and after we checked in to the Deerhead, we walked the short distance to Mackinaw City's downtown. It was nearly 10:30PM, but Mackinaw City businesses stay open pretty late in summer. We caught the last 2 or three songs in the Mackinaw Crossings and stopped by a couple of gift shops before finding our way down to the waterfront where we watched a couple of freighters pass under the five mile long Mackinac Bridge.


Lakeside Charlie's - Cadillac, Michigan Lakeside Charlie's

Mackinac Bridge - Mackinaw City, Michigan
Thousand foot freighter passing under the Mackinac Bridge

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