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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Kaw Point Railroad Bridge - Kansas City, Kansas
Monday - October 2, 2017: We learned that two Kansas City area restaurants are closing on October 15. 

Chef Renee Kelly confirmed today that her Renee Kelly's Harvest restaurant in Shawnee will close its dining room after brunch on Sunday, October 15 and that she is retiring from the chefing world.

Winslow's BBQ, in the Kansas City, Missouri's City Market, about a mile east of the State Line is also closing. Winslow's BBQ will a have live music on the final weekend and a daily buffet special ($13.99 per adult, $4.99 for children 12 and under with a paying adult) until the closing.

 

Renee Kelly's Harvest - Shawnee, Kansas Renee Kelly's Harvest
 
Tuesday - October 3, 2017: Mary and Nicholas joined us for supper at Stroud's Restaurant & Bar in Fairway. It is so odd seeing this restaurant only half full, but since the opening of their third restaurant in south Overland Park, it has been much easier to get a table. The food is all served family style and we had chicken fried steak, fried chicken, fried chicken gizzards, mashed potatoes, French fries and cottage fries. All were good, as usual. Considering how big the other servings are, the chicken fried steak seem a little small, but was still large enough.

 

Stroud's Restaurant - Fairway, Kansas Stroud's Restaurant
Wednesday - October 4, 2017: I dropped into the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art on the campus of Johnson County Community College in Overland Park for an after hours event with the Lenexa Chamber of Commerce. I took a walk through the museum before the meeting and discovered that there is presently no art on the first floor. The main gallery on that floor is closed in preparation of n exhibit which will open later in the month and the large open area contains no displays.

 

Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art - Overland Park, Kansas Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art 
Thursday - October 5, 2017: I had two of the appetizers at Crazy Good Eats in Olathe for lunch.

Mr. Hanmey was smoked ham salad and crackers for $3.99. The salty ham salad was ground very fine, giving it a texture like potted meat. The crackers were not very crisp.

There were 6 Chicken wing thirds for $6.99. They had a good flavor from smoking and the sweet mildly spicy sauce complimented the meat, but they were tough.

 

Crazy Good Eats - Olathe, Kansas Crazy Good Eats
Saturday - October 7, 2017: It has been several weeks since I have spent any real time exploring Kansas and I had several places to visit today.

This weekend is the Kaw Valley Farm Tour and I thought that I would visit several farms along the way, starting at the first farm on the tour which was closest to my home - Happy Valley Farm on the south side of De Soto. Although there were several people working at stations on the farm and a musician playing guitar near the entrance, there was no one greeting people, explaining what all there was to see & do at the farm, or selling the booklets which double as a guide to the stops on the tour and the admission ticket. 

After a short walk around the front near the road, I stopped into a little store where they were selling produce, honey, eggs and many Amish jellies. The cashier station was a table outside and I selected a jar of spicy peach jalapeno. The person was gone from the cashier table and I waited about 10 minutes, but finally left the jar on the table and went on my way.

The next stop was on the south side of Lawrence, at the new Baker Wetlands Discovery Center. The attractive new building has a large display area, but it doesn't take long to go through that. There are several miles of trails, including a nice boardwalk near the center.

For lunch, I first stopped at the Levee Cafe, just north of the Kansas River in Lawrence. It is in a cute little building, across the street from the levee. I ordered a Dam Reuben Sandwich and cheeseburger soup. The soup was only $2/cup and the broth was good, but it was filled with cubes of raw potato and I hardly touched it. The Reuben was rather pricey at $9 and was a disappointment. There wasn't a lot of meat and toppings and there wasn't much flavor to the corned beef, I ended up picking out the meat.

Having had very little to eat, I decided to revisit a nearby Lawrence restaurant. It has been about 7 years since the last time I dined at Terrebonne Cafe and it was better than I remembered. The generous $3 serving ot poutine fries was OK and I probably would have eaten much more if I hadn't already had a little food at the first restaurant. The $8.50 jambalaya was very good with lots of shrimp. chicken, andouille sausage and ham.

Since I didn't have a guide to the Kaw Valley Farm Tour, I had a little extra time and revisited a couple of other Lawrence attractions - Watkins Community Museum of History and Prairie Park Nature Center.

On the was out of Lawrence, I stopped at Wells Overlook Park, 3 miles out of town. The Overlook is a high point with a broad view north toward Lawrence with an observation tower on top. It had been on my Lawrence leads list for many years.

Then on to the one stop I remembered from the Farm Tour, the Heritage tour which was added this year, with several homes in Vinland, half way between Lawrence and Baldwin City. 

Several of the Vinland buildings (Coal Creek Library, Methodist Church, Grange and Barnes Apple Barn) were open for viewing, while others like the former Vinland Presbyterian Church could only be viewed from the outside. The Presbyterian Church is an beautiful old church that is now a private residence. Its biggest claim to fame is the the Inventor of Basketball, James Naismith preached there for a couple of years. 

Another Kansas City area photographer, Kevin Anderson, was also visiting the barn. We have encountered each other online on Facebook and Fine Art America, but this was the first time we met in person.

Returning to Johnson County, I made just one more stop, in downtown Shawnee where a Scarecrow Festival had been held earlier in the day. There were just a few scarecrows to be seen and most were not very interesting, but I did take photos of a few.

In the evening, we made a return visit to C. Frogs in Prairie Village, Kansas. The upscale BBQ opened a little over a year ago and we dined there 3 times in the first part of this year, adding it to our Kansas City BBQ Restaurants page. The service was spectacular during our previous visits, but not so good this time. We had to make requests repeatedly and wait a long time for things like drinks, to go boxes and the check. The food was still good!

 


 

Happy Valley Farm - De Soto, Kansas Amish jellies at Happy Valley Farm

Baker Wetlands Discovery Center - Lawrence, Kansas Baker Wetlands 

Levee Cafe - Lawrence, Kansas Levee Cafe

Terrebonne Cafe - Lawrence, Kansas Terrebonne Cafe

Wells Overlook Park - Lawrence, Kansas Wells Overlook Park

Vinland Presbyterian Church - Baldwin City, Kansas Former Vinland Presbyterian Church

Scarecrow - Shawnee, Kansas Shawnee Scarecrow

C. Frogs - Prairie Village, Kansas C. Frogs

 
Monday - October 9, 2017: We added a new page devoted to one of the Vinland buildings which we visited on Saturday, Coal Creek Library, north of Baldwin City, Kansas, which may be the oldest library in Kansas, but is now more of a museum.
 
Coal Creek Library - Vinland, Kansas Coal Creek Library
Tuesday - October 10, 2017: I had lunch at Smokey's on the Blvd in Overland Park. It was a chance to update the menu on its listing on the Kansas City BBQ Restaurants page. I had the BBQ egg rolls and a pulled pork slider. Both tasted good, much like previous visits, though the presentation was not very good. In particular, the egg rolls don't look nearly as good as they do in the previous photo which is on the review.

We also added a new page devoted to Fox Still's Art Environment in Sharon Springs, Kansas.

 

Smokey's on the Blvd - Overland Park, Kansas Smokey's on the Blvd
Wednesday - October 11, 2017: Today, I continued to revisit Johnson County restaurants. The first one was Master Wok in Olathe. It doesn't have a page of its own, but is listed on the Olathe Restaurant Guide. Master Wok has may very reasonable combination lunches, but today I had the Pad Thai for $10.50. It was OK, but not as good as the less expensive Chili Chicken or Pork with Garlic Sauce.

For supper I went to Talk of the Town Grill & Bar in Overland Park. It had been nearly 3 years since the last time I dined there. It had been nearly three years since the list time I went to Talk of the Town, ut the menu seemed little changed. It was half price burger day, so I tried the Mushroom burger (half pound hamburger with grilled mushrooms, Swiss cheese, sour cream & green onions) and waffle fries. They were OK, nothing special.

 

Master Wok - Olathe, Kansas Master Wok

Talk of the Town Grill - Overland Park, Kansas Talk of the Town

Thursday - October 12, 2017: We added a new page devoted to another of the buildings we visited on Saturday in Vinland, north of Baldwin City, Kansas. The Vinland Grange Hall has been a bank, a cream station, a barbershop and an art gallery. The 1884 stucco covered limestone building housed those operations downstairs, while the upstairs was used for Grange meetings for more than 100 years.

 

Vinland Grange Hall - Baldwin City, Kansas Vinland Grange Hall
Saturday - October 14, 2017: My family accompanied me to Fredonia, Kansas to for the Homecoming Grand Parade. Homecoming is not a high school sports related event, but an annual event which welcomes back former residents of Fredonia from around the world. My wife's parents both came from Fredonia and the parade was an extra treat this year, since Uncle John Parker was one of the two Grand Marshals. The parade also includes floats with Fredonia High School alumni from many of the classes for whom the year is a multiple of their 5th anniversary.

Following the parade we visited the various venders around the courthouse square and we bought the local specialty sandwich, Beef Burgers, from the VFW stand. We were disappointed the Beef Burger Bob's (a Neodesha restaurant) did not have a stand at Homecoming this year.

One of the more interesting venders was the (apparently temporary) Country Market in a building across the corner from the square. They had a variety of items including baked goods, free apple cider, produce, and crafts.

We stopped for supper at The Feedbunk, the only non chain restaurant open in Yates Center on a Sunday evening. The salad bar, chicken fried steak, chicken tenders and fried chicken livers were all good. A couple was performing music. Some of our party enjoyed listening to them, while others found it hard to have a conversation.

 

Fredonia Homecoming Parade Grand Marshals

beef burgers - Fredonia, Kansas Serving up beef burgers

The Feedbunk - Yates Center, Kansas The Feedbunk

Sunday - October 15, 2017: We added three pages of photos of the Fredonia Homecoming Grand Parade.

 

 
Wednesday - October 18, 2017: I made another visit to Crazy Good Eats in Olathe, Kansas, having the Insanely Good combination plate with 2 ribs, sausage & brisket, plus fries and cheesy corn. With the additional photos and checking out the additional meats, we added a new review of Crazy Good Eats to our Olathe Restaurant Guide and Kansas City BBQ Guide.

 

Crazy Good Eats - Olathe, Kansas Crazy Good Eats
Thursday - October 19, 2017: Linda joined me as I paid a second visit to K-Macho's Mexican Grill and Cantina in Olathe, Kansas. Linda had a Taco al Carbon (chicken fajita taco) and beans, while I had the Cabo Shrimp Tacos, which were sloppy, but oh so tasty!

 

Cabo Shrimp Tacos - K-Machos Cabo Shrimp Tacos
Friday - October 20, 2017: We added a new page devoted to the 2 year old Baker Wetlands Discovery Center in Lawrence, Kansas.

In the late afternoon, I stopped by Lenexa's Old town to take photographs of the team setting up for the Lenexa Chili Challenge. There was nice weather today, but stormy weather late the following afternoon closed the event a little early on Saturday.

 

Lenexa Chili Challenge - Lenexa, Kansas Lenexa Chili Challenge

Saturday - October 21, 2017: Linda and I had lunch at Sommerset Hall Cafe in Dover, southwest of Topeka. It had been about 4 years since my last visit to this restaurant. Today wasn't the best experience. The buffet was so-so and they were out of their famous pies at 12:20PM.

After lunch, we drove to the nearby Echo Cliff Park. The park area was cleared the 1920's and eventually deeded to the Dover Grange to be preserved for the public. There are unusual folk art signs, picnic tables and a shelter which were built from scrap metal and concrete by Earl Hepworth, a local farmer who has been a caretaker of the park since the 1960s.

We followed up with a visit to the new Evel Knievel Museum in Topeka, which opened n June. A large part of the museum is devoted to the motorcycle jumps he made, with displays devoted to many of the jumps he attempted. The displays sometimes include videos of the jumps and always say if the jump was a success or not and include a skeleton showing the injuries on the particular jump.

The second floor of the museum has interactive exhibits and (my favorite) a huge display of the Evel Knievel licensed items which were the largest portion of his income: toys, games, bicycles, lunch boxes and even several slot machines.

On the way home, we made one final stop, a revisit of Kroegers Country Meats in Lecompton. The selection of fresh meats and sausages has been significantly reduced. I had intended to buy sausage, but there was little to choose from and my only purchase was some beef jerky.

 


 

Echo Cliff Park - Dover, Kansas Echo Cliff Park
 

Evel Knievel Museum - Topeka, Kansas Evel Knievel Museum

Kroegers Country Meats - Lecompton, Kansas Kroegers Country Meats

Sunday - October 22, 2017: We added a new page devoted to Echo Cliff Park near unincorporated Dover, Kansas.

 

 
Monday - October 23, 2017: Linda and I celebrated our wedding anniversary with supper at Pig & Finch, a gastropub in Leawood Park Place, operated by the Clayton, Missouri based 801 Restaurant Group. My favorite dish was the Korean Style Chicken Wings. I wish they had come with more of the spicy kimchi!

The server really pushed the desserts, so we tried the Banana Bred n Mason Jar with chocolate ganache, candied pecans and salted caramel ice cream. It was OK, but not nearly as good as the description sounded. We never did find the candied pecans.

 

Pig and Finch - Leawood, Kansas Pig & Finch
Thursday - October 26, 2017: Friends joined me for lunch at Anna Mae's Cafe in Olathe, Kansas. The restaurant is in a Victorian house, a couple of blocks south of the Johnson County Courthouse. 

I had the lasagna, which has been added to the menu as a Thursday special. It was good, though a modest serving for $11, It comes fruit and a slice of croissant.
   
   

Anna Mae's Cafe - Olathe, Kansas Anna Mae's Cafe
Saturday - October 28, 2017: Today was mostly spent exploring Kansas City, Kansas. I photographed several locations in the downtown, including a number of murals which have been made by local high school students in recent years.

Then I visited nearby Kaw Point Park where the Lewis and Clark Expedition stopped on June 26, 1804. In addition to photographing the park, I hiked a little of the Riverfront Heritage Trail including the .7 mile long Woodswether Bridge over the Kansas River doing photography of some of the other bridges which are more or less jammed together here. One of those photos, of the 1903 Kaw Point Railroad Bridge has already been posted to my online gallery.

For a late lunch, I crossed over to North Kansas City, Missouri to pay a second visit to Hawg Jaw Brew & Que.

When I arrived at the BBQ restaurant, there was only one car on the street and I was afraid that it was closed, but it was open and was half full by the time I left at 2PM. Today I had the regular sausage and the smoked corned beef. I was blown away by the corned beef, much better than expected.

 

Kaw Point Railroad Bridge - Kansas City, Kansas Kaw Point Railroad Bridge

Hawg Jaw Brew and Que - North Kansas CIty, Missouri Hawg Jaw Brew & Que

Sunday - October 29, 2017: We added a new two page review of the Evel Knievel Museum in Topeka, Kansas.

 

 
Monday - October 30, 2017: I revisited Smokin' Joe's BBQ in Olathe, Kansas. I had the challenge sandwich which the owner created when he was trying to get the restaurant onto the Diners, Dinettes and Dives tv show, the Big Bad Joe - a 1 lb sandwich with beef, turkey, pork, sausage, 2 pieces of bacon, pepper Jack & American cheese, spicy sauce and French fries on the sandwich.

Although not large enough to be a true challenge, it is still large enough to be lunch for 2-4 people. It is pretty good, though the fries are too soggy to add to the sandwich and I think it would be better with something different, perhaps 2-4 onion rings.

No, I didn't try to eat all of it, but did eat half of the sandwich, which was still more than I should have.
 
 

Big Bad Joe sandwich at Mokin's Joe's BBQ in Olathe Big Bad Joe
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