changes to KansasTravel.org and Keith's exploration
& photographing Kansas restaurants, attractions, museums, festivals
and art. Contact him.
- July, 2018: We began the day with the annual youth pancake breakfast
at Lenexa United Methodist Church. The small fee for parking is applied
o the breakfast, so that effectively you have free parking right next to
the Community Days Parade in Lenexa, Kansas.
year's parade was a little less interesting because 2/3 of the entries
were politicians and their supporters. The parade route parallels the Burlington
Northern Santa Fe railroad tracks and actually crosses the tracks. The
parade was delayed three times as trains passed through town.
lunch we had BBQ at the Lenexa American Legion Post.
- July 10, 2018: We drove to downtown Shawnee to have supper at Betty
C's Bar & Grill. Overall, the food is typical bar food, but one dish
stands out for me, the Reuben Rolls (Egg roll filled with corned beef &
Swiss cheese, served with Reuben sauce). The chicken wings are also good.
building housing Betty C's once held a place called Penny Droppers and
the floor is made of pennies.
C's is next door to the historic Aztec Theater, which is slowly being restored.
It appears that the projection that it would reopen this summer was overly
optimistic. The plan is to eventually show new and classic movies,
plus host live theater and events.
is a marker across the street "Oct 17, 1862 A band of Confederate
guerrillas led by William Quantrill corralled the residents of Shawneetown
into the square at this site. A majority of the town's buildings and homes
were looted and set on fire nearly destroying the town. Thirteen persons
were injured and two citizens murdered during this Civil War raid."
attacked Shawneetown again in 1863, just before his better known burning
of Lawrence, Kansas.
Quantrill Raid marker
- July 14, 2018: We took out of state house guests to Lansing and Leavenworth
to show them a little of the two communities, starting with Mount
Muncie Cemetery in Lansing. Are particularly wanted to show them the
two "baby mounds" of infant and children's graves. They are unique to this
cemetery, or at least the name for them is unique.
saw many unusual monuments in the cemetery.
our way back to K-7 we drove through the VA complex in Leavenworth with
its national cemetery and unique Chapel
of the Veterans. We saw that construction or demolition crews were
working on many of the empty buildings.
featured stop was the C.
W. Parker Carousel Museum, with its three historic carousels (1950,
1913 and ~1850). They have a nice film about Parker's heritage, which I
had not seen before. The highlight of a visit is a ride on the 1913 Parker
had a late lunch at Retro Diner, arriving shortly before they closed for
the day at 2PM. Highlights of the meal were the onion rings, chicken philly
and shrimp po 'boy. I was less impressed with the jalapeno burger and French
fries. The burger could have been much better if the mixture of diced onions
and jalapenos had not been raw.
prices were quite reasonable and the servings were huge.
1950 Parker Carousel
- July 15, 2018: We took out of state house guests to Lawrence, Kansas
for a tour of the University of Kansas, followed by lunch at Ladybird Diner.
The biscuits and gravy were OK, but the chicken pot pie was much better.
The double cheeseburger was good.
our way out of town, we visited Haskell
Indian Nations University Cemetery, a moving reminder of the days when
Haskell Indian Nations University an American Indian boarding school where
the United States government forced Native American children to live, removed
from the influences of their families and community.
- July 20, 2018: Three days of exploring Kansas began with a drive
to the tiny community of Wetmore, Kansas We were met at Spring Creek Classics
by by Merlin King, who gave us a tour of the private classic car museum
which occupies a lovingly restored old Chrysler Dealership, a 1925 Texaco
Station and two additional buildings. Your tour begins in the 5,000 square
foot Chrysler dealership, which houses 12 classic automobiles, memorabilia
and automobile related toys, as well as automobile and truck repair tools.
drove on to St. Marys, Kansas to the 3 building St. Marys Indian Pay Station
Museum Complex. The are normally closed in the morning, but Rita Mickentaler
had agreed to meet us this morning and David Steele gave us a detailed
and entertaining tour of the museum buildings. The centerpiece of the museum
is the 1857 Indian agency building for the Potawatomi Indians, which was
used as a Pay Station for payments from the United States Bureau of Indian
Affairs to the Potawatomi until 1870.
had lunch at The Chef, a breakfast and lunch restaurant in downtown Manhattan,
Kansas. We sampled the corned beef hash, smoked salmon bennie (house smoked
salmon, eggs and hollandaise over rye toast with home style potatoes),
and chicken fried steak-n-eggs. All of it was good, though I was less impressed
with the hash than many people are. I would have liked more spices.
our way back to the car, I spotted the Strecker Nelson West Gallery, an
art gallery which I had long planned to visit.
touring the gallery, we spotted the work of a familiar artist, the late
Eric Abraham, whose work we had so enjoyed when he had the Flying
Pig Studio & Gallery in Lucas, Kansas. We happened to mention liking
his work to the owner and learned that they has several more pieces by
Eric and we ended up buying a delightful ceramic pig in a hot air balloon
basket, a true flying pig.
west, we drove to downtown Abilene, Kansas to the Jeffcoat Photography
Studio Museum. The free photography museum is operated jointly by the Jeffcoat
Photography Foundation and the Dickinson County Historical Museum. The
museum has a collection of antique photography equipment, cameras and thousands
of photos which were taken during the years the studio operated.
visited a second private car museum in Mentor, Kansas, just south of Salina.
Rex Russell has about 80 classic cars and an automobile themed event space.
Pretty much all of the vehicles are ready to be driven and regularly are.
Rex had already driven several this day and during the summer months, the
students from the McPherson College Auto Restoration Program come up one
evening a week and take many of the vehicles out for a spin.
supper, we made a short visit to Coronado
Heights Park in Lindsborg to check on the restoration work which was
done last year. While it will help preserve the castle for the future,
the changes weren't that noticeable.
was a revisit of the Renaissance Cafe in Assaira. This was our send time
there since Executive Chef Kevin O'Brien left the restaurant in 2 1/2 years
ago. The restaurant is fine, but the food isn't the treat it used to be
and their were multiple service failures.
Gorgonzola salad used to be one of my favorite salads anywhere, but this
salad had little dressing and I could barely taste the cheese. The short
menu had no dishes which particularly sounded interesting. Linda tried
the grilled trout and I had the herb fettuccini. The trout was the best
part of our meal.
dessert we split the $8 Chocolate Trio of flour less chocolate cake, hazelnut
chocolate truffle and milk chocolate mousse. The server had warned us that
the servings would be tiny tastes of the desserts and she was correct.
Though none of them made me wish for more.
are removing this restaurant from our listing of Unique
a little hungry, I stopped at the 96 year old Cozy Inn on our way to our
hotel in Salina. The tiny, one ounce burgers are cooked on a tiny 1922
grill and are the only hot item offered by this little restaurant. There
are no inside tables, just a counter with 4 stools.
Spring Creek Classics
Pay Station Museum
Jeffcoat Photography Studio Museum
Rex Russell's Classic Car Museum
- July 21, 2018: We had a nice morning dive, stopping briefly at Riverside
Park in Halstead, which was used for scenes in the filming of the 1955
movie Picnic. The city of Halstead recently spent $85,000
to refurbish the famous swinging foot bridge.
we continued south, we saw a church spire in the distance and when we got
to the crossroad which led to it saw a sign saying, "Historic" St. Mark
Catholic Church, so we drove over to St. Mark the Evangelist Catholic Church
in Colwich, Kansas. It was built from 1903-1906, but has been remodeled
and made more ornate over the years.
photographing the exterior, we saw a couple doing wedding photos on the
grounds. When we opened the outside doors, the organ was being played.
so we quietly opened the interior doors to see if a service was in progress.
It turned out to be the organist rehearsing before a wedding later in the
interior is very ornate and a page about St. Mark will be added to our
Kansas Churches page.
revisited Tanganyika Wildlife Park
in Goddard, to update info on our page, get fresh photos for the page and
for Facebook posts. Then on to Eagle
Valley Raptor Center in Garden Plains. It had been several years since
we last visited this privately funded shelter for injured & orphaned
had lunch at Benny's Burgers and Shakes in nearby Cheney, Kansas. This
is our second visit at this counter serve restaurant and it deserves an
entry on our list of Unique Kansas Restaurants.
We had onion rings, fresh cut fries, a double hamburger and the new chicken
Philly sandwich. All were good, with the chicken Philly being the standout.
It was a huge sandwich for only $5.85.
west, we drove to Sawyer, Kansas, to the Family Food Store which we discovered
during the Big Kansas Road Trip in May. It is a combination bakery, deli,
specialty food store operated by the Wolf family, who are members of the
Old German Baptist Brethren. We were too late to get any of that day's
freshly homemade vanilla ice cream, but filled a cooler with items such
as pie, candy and pizza. The pizza isn't traditional, the toppings are
used to fill a pie shell. There are three kinds and we went with Greg's
Style (ham, salami, pepperoni, and mozzarella). We baked it the next night
and it was very good. A 9" pie is $12 and feed 2 - 4 people.
a few miles away, in Coats, Kansas, we photographed a petrified wood art
environment which was created by Frank Lockert in the 1930s. Today the
yard and adjoining house belong to Patsy A Fittro and her husband Glenn
Knowles. We took as many photos as we could from the sidewalk and then
knocked on the door to see if we could go into the yard. Patsy was delighted
to show us the yard and cottage, constantly apologizing for the weeds.
Glenn joined us shortly and quietly watched and listened as Patsy told
us story after story, some of them about the art environment.
reversed our course, then went on into Wichita, Kansas to continue our
exploring in the evening.
first was a fabulous Steampunk Art environment in a side yard West 17th
Street in a residential neighborhood. The small yard is packed with steampunk,
fantasy and science fiction art, with each piece fighting for your attention.
There is so much entertaining art in this space that it is hard to take
in. This was the high point of the weekend for me!
was at Bite Me BBQ in the Old Town area of Wichita. The large barbeque
restaurant was packed, but they soon found us a table. The food was good
and the servings were huge! Linda had the rib meat sandwich and I had the
12oz smoked prime rib. They also offer 16 and 24oz prime rib. Our sides
were corn and cottage fires. The prime rib had great flavor from the smoker
and I liked the horseradish sauce.
meal also included a trip to the condiment table which had a wide variety
of pickled vegetables.
finished the meal, splitting a large serving of peach cobbler.
wasn't quite dark yet, so we drove over to the Keeper
of the Plains, near the confluence of the Arkansas and Little Arkansas
Rivers. About 50' southwest of the Westar Energy building at 777 W Central
Ave there is an Arkansas River overlook where you stand on a large grating.
There is no sign to tell you to peer down through the grating, but we knew
to look nd found a 5' troll created by sculptor Constance Ernatt.
spent the night at the 1906 Hotel at Old Town. We went there for the location
and the low weekend rate, but the converted warehouse makes an attractive
hotel with a center atrium and while the room was a bit small, it was comfortable.
We would stay there again.
St. Mark the Evangelist Catholic Church
Chicken Philly sandwich
Family Food Store
Gary Pendergrass Steampunk Art
Smoked Prime Rib
- July 22, 2018: I was up early this morning and went out to take a
walk around the Wichita Old Town neighborhood, taking photos and playing
first stop of the day was at Field Station: Dinosaurs in Derby, Kansas.
It is the newest Kansas theme park, having opened in May 2018. On of the
first things we noticed is that the cast members at Field Station: Dinosaurs
have a lot of energy and enthusiasm. They make saying something for what
must be the 50th time that day seem important and interesting.
14 acre park has 44 life sized animatronic dinosaurs. They move their head,
mouth or tail, rather than walking. The concessions area has no hot food,
but offers sandwiches, candy, popsicles, soda, water, and sports drinks
at surprisingly reasonable prices.
are a variety of programs and activities at sites throughout the park.
Two attractions (geodesic dome ropes course and miniature golf course)
have additional fees and can be visited without purchasing admission to
was at a Wichita restaurant we have heard about for several years - Doo-Dah
Diner. On Sunday the only option is a Brunch Buffet at $19.99. You can
order some items off the menu in addition to large buffet and we sampled
many items. A few of the highlights were the maple pepper bacon, jalapeno
bacon, salmon, and monkey bread. The banana bread French toast we really
first stop on the drive home was Arvonia, Kansas, to photograph a couple
of buildings which are being slowly restored - 1872 Arvonia School and
1882 Calvinistic Methodist Church. We usually sign the guest registers
when we visit Kansas attractions, but when I opened the outdoor registration
box at Arvonia School, there was a swarm of wasps and I was stung on the
also visited the cemetery where we understood there were a number of headstones
in Welsh rather than English. Although we looked at a great many memorials,
we only found a couple in Welsh.
final stop of the trip was at Pome on the
Range Orchard and Winery near Williamsburg, Kansas. It had been several
years since my last visit, but things were little changed. We stocked up
on freestone peaches, peach wines and apple wine. I particularly liked
the flavor of the apple wine.
Field Station: Dinosaurs
Arvonia School guest book
- July 23, 2018: We added a new page about the Gary
Pendergrass Steampunk Art environment which we toured in Wichita on
- July 27, 2018: We added a new page about the Jeffcoat
Photography Studio Museum opened in Abilene, Kansas.
made a special trip to Topeka, Kansas after work to try out Lonnie Q's
BBQ. I had been wanting to try this barbeque restaurant for a couple of
years, but it has very limited hours. It is open for lunch on Monday -
Friday and supper on Friday. They only stay open until 7:30PM and even
going straight there, they had run out of the ribs well before we got there.
were packed when we arrived nd the line to order took at least a half hour.
By the end of our meal, most people had left and as the staff got caught
up, the owner, Lon Weaver, visited the people at the remaining tables.
Linda mentioned that we had been disappointed that the ribs had run out
and he returned to the kitchen to bring back a few bits of the rib meat,
so we could at least try it.
few minutes later, Lonnie visited all of the tables, passing out ice cream
bars and sandwiches. It felt like he concludes each Friday night this way.
- July 28, 2018: We added a new page about the St.
Marys Indian Pay Station Museum in St. Marys, Kansas, which we toured
- July 29, 2018: Friends joined us to help try Conroy's Public House
in Overland Park. We started with Fried Brie, which was served with fruit,
crackers and naan.
were quite a few items on the menu that looked interesting and we also
had onion rings, fish & chips, pork chops, and the Irishman sandwich.
All were good, the pork chops and onion rings were the best.
Conroy's Public House
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