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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The Clinton Store - Lawrence, Kansas
Thursday - August 1, 2019: We added a new page devoted to Hildebrand Farms Dairy in Junction City, Kansas, The business started in 1930 and is operated today by the 3rd & 4th generations of the Hildebrand family. In addition to producing milk and beef, there is a farm store and tours.

We had supper at Snack Shack on Santa Fe in downtown Overland Park. We try to get by there for the burgers, every month or so. The neighborhood has been changing a lot in the past couple of years. In some ways, the changes seem negative, as the character is changing and it is getting more crowded and congested.

A positive change is the recent addition of several murals. The one pictured to the right is by JT Daniels and features women from Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East. It is on the Ten Thousand Villages store in Overland Park, which sells fair trade crafts and house wares made by women around the world.



Ten Thousand Villages - Overland Park, Kansas Ten Thousand Villages mural

Saturday - August 3, 2019: We made several stops on the southwest side of Lawrence, Kansas, starting with lunch at Auntie Em's Deli & Bakery. In online reviews, we read many raves about the Reuben sandwich and I am a big Reuben fan, but thought it was a pretty typical sandwich.

There is a small area at the back of the restaurant (guarded by the Wicked Witch of the West, with a nice selection of canned (in glass jars) fruits and vegetables from Ohio.

Our next stop was to get more photos of the waterfall in the spillway leading from Clinton Lake, but because of flooding in Missouri, no water was being released from the dam.

We were headed to the Wakarusa River Valley Heritage Museum, on the far side of Clinton Lake and were a little surprised to see highway sign after highway sign directing us to "Clinton Lake Museum." It hasn't been called that since 2008!

The museum is at the tip of a peninsula which juts into Clinton Lake from the southwest. The museum normally sits above a beach and park, but high water covers all of that and only the roofs were visible of shelters which are normally 200 yards from the shore. We watched someone kayak through what is normally a playground.

The 35 year old Wakarusa River Valley Heritage Museum is in an old cow shed, which was part of a farm, before the building of the lake. The museum. primarily about the 10 communities which once or now populate the Wakarusa River Valley. 

A large portion of the modest museum, and the Freedom Rings" sculpture outside the museum, are devoted to the relationship of the Underground Railroad and the 10 communities which are or have been in the valley (Bloomington, Clinton, Kanwaka, Lone Star, New Belvoir, Old Belvoir, Richland, Sigel, Stull and Twin Mound). The adjacent museum has several exhibits devoted to the communities, the Underground Railroad and the people or were aided or helped aid them. The museum

We took advantage of being in the unincorporated community of Clinton, to stop at The Clinton Store, a convenience store and former gas station which was established in 1931. We knew that The Clinton Store occasionally serves food, but there is phone and we couldn't find the exact details online.

We now know that the "Poor farm pub" serves meals at The Clinton Store on Friday and Saturday evenings. There are different menus each night, but the menus stay the same each week. On Saturday and Sunday mornings, they serve biscuits and gravy.

We completed our circle of Clinton Lake and took some photos in Stull, Kansas before returning home.


Auntie Em's Deli and Bakery - Lawrence, Kansas Auntie Em's Deli & Bakery

Wakarusa River Valley Heritage Museum - Clinton, Kansas Wakarusa River Valley Heritage Museum

Freedom Rings - Clinton, Kansas Freedom Rings

The Clinton Store - Clinton, Kansas The Clinton Store

Friday - August 9, 2019: Lenexa Public Market has a kitchen for use by pop-up restaurants. African Dream has been open one weekend a month and has added a second weekend, so we tried them tonight. The couple who are running the pop-up are very nice. They serve food from their native Cameroon.

I wish the food had been a little warmer. They both have full time jobs, so I'm guessing that they have little time to set up and heat the food Friday evening, something which shouldn't be an issue on Saturdays & Sundays.


African Dream at Lenexa Public Market African Dream
Friday - August 23, 2019: Tastee Foodz is a new restaurant in Olathe, Kansas which opened in early August, 2019. It replaced Sam's Tastee Treat which had been run by its recent owners, Sueko "Sam" and Hugh Silvernale since the mid 1990s. The restaurant first started as a Tastee Freeze in 1963.

The exterior is almost identical, even keeping the old sign with "Drink Coca-Cola" and "Tasty Treat." The inside changes are dramatic. It as gone from cramped and old to spacious and modern.

The old Sam's had a large, diverse menu which included over 40 flavors of shakes, plus items as diverse as chili dogs, ice cream sundaes, country fried steak, shrimp, pork tenderloin, Italian steak sandwich, burgers, burritos, crab rangoon, and egg rolls. The new Tasty Foodz has a much smaller menu. Pretty much just burgers, hot dogs and ice cream. They did keep crab rangoon, and egg rolls.

The cheeseburger and crinkle cut fries are good, solid drive-in fare. Actually a touch better than I remember from before. The fries are crispy and and about as good as frozen fries get. The all beef, chili cheese dog is very good.


Tastee Foodz - Olathe, Kansas Tastee Foodz

Tastee Foodz counter - Olathe, Kansas New interior

Saturday - August 24, 2019: For lunch, we revisited B.B.'s Lawnside BBQ in Kansas City, Missouri. Although it isn't in Kansas, our Kansas City BBQ Restaurant Guide includes restaurants on both sides of the state line and B.B.'s is one we recommend. I try to get back to all of the places at least once a year, because the older a review gets, the less trustworthy it is.

Little had changed in the past year. I confirmed that the skillet fries, which I learned about last year, are my favorite side dish, crispy on the outside in a way that the thick battered fries (wedges) are not. 

The brisket, chicken, Italian sausage and pork ribs were all very good. The only item I did not enjoy was the baked beans, which contained a spice which I did not like, and I ate only a couple of bites.


B.B.'s Lawnside BBQ - Kansas City, Missouri B.B.'s Lawnside BBQ
Wednesday - August 28, 2019: After work, we drove to Grinter's Sunflower Farm between Tonganoxie and Lawrence. We knew we were early and the handful of flowers in bloom were outnumbered by visitors. The real bloom is still believed to be a week or so away. The Grinters think the best photography this year will be at a smaller field behind Sunflower General, but (at least this evening) the best seemed to be at the main field.

Because of the weather this summer. the blooms are not as plentiful and attractive as the past few years and they ask visitors to not pick flowers this year.

We drove on into Tonganoxie, to 1866 Bar & Grill, which has been getting some good online ratings. We had shrimp scampi ($13) and a midwest skillet ($12), both of which were fine, but not outstanding. If the skillet had been served with tortillas, I would have called it fajitas.

The downtown area was full of painters participating in Plein Air Art Fest. The public is invited to come watch them work and the fest continues at other locations in town, tomorrow & Friday mornings and Saturday afternoon. Everyone is welcome to come and watch the artists as they paint the town.


Grinter's Sunflower Farm - Lawrence, Kansas Grinter's Sunflower Farm

Plein Air Art Fest - Tonganoxie, Kansas Plein Air Art Fest

Saturday - August 31, 2019: We visited Berry Hill UPick Farm in Topeka, Kansas, where the first small field of sunflower blooms are at there peak. The weather has been hard on the sunflowers this year and the blooms are spotty, but it is still possible to do photography and and there were several families doing photo sessions. Happy Valley Farm from De Soto was operating a nice produce stand today. They will do it again tomorrow and will repeat next weekend if the next field is approaching peak.

After picking up my father-in-law, we visited the Topeka Zoo. It had been several years since the last time I was there and its listing needs updating and some new photos. The giraffes and the 4 ten month Sumatran tiger cubs appeared to be the most popular attractions. They can both be viewed on live cams at the zoo's Youtube channel. 

Signs all over the park boasted that the zoo has a "Saving Sharks" exhibit, but it turned out to be a modest touch pool, with a few rays and small sharks.

We attended the Highland Park High School 40 year class reunion at The Pennant on Kansas Avenue. On the way there, we found several interesting displays on the sidewalk, including the Burlington North Santa Fe sponsored pocket park in the photo to the right. It is train themed and includes a statue of Topeka founder Cyrus K. Holliday, a 1,500 pound replica of a BNSF locomotive engine, a locomotive bell, a railroad crossing sign with lights and two train-wheel park benches weighing more than 2,500 pounds each.


Berry Hill UPick Farm - Topeka, Kansas Happy Valley Farm at Berry Hill UPick Farm

Topeka Zoo - Topeka, Kansas Topeka Zoo

Cyrus K. Holliday pocket park - Topeka, Kansas Cyrus K. Holliday pocket park

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