changes to KansasTravel.org and Keith's exploration
& photographing Kansas restaurants, attractions, museums, festivals
and art. Contact him.
- May 1, 2021: I visited the Overland
Park Farmers Market in old downtown Overland Park, Kansas. For over
35 years the market was based at the Farmers Market pavilion next to the
clock tower in the heart of the downtown, but to provide more space and
allow social distancing, it has moved to the parking lots at the Matt Ross
Community Center, about 1,000' south of the old pavilion.
market is a fun place to purchase produce, live plants, homemade preserves
and fine baked goods. Many of the vendors come from Missouri and some come
from farther away.
"Taco Trail," group of over 50 Mexican restaurants in Kansas City, Kansas
has been getting a lot of hype and we are going to visit some of the more
popular ones over the next few months. Today we started with Tacos El Güero.
small restaurant has 5 tables and a short counter along the wall. You order
at the cash register, making selections from a menu board without prices,
mounted on the wall. Linda had a pollo (chicken) quesadillas and I tried
several tacos - asada (steak), lengua (beef tongue), chorizo (spicy Mexican
sausage) and birria de res (beef stew). All were good. My favorite was
the chorizo, though I like the chorizo tacos at Anita's Cuisine in nearby
quesadillas was $5.99, tacos were $1.85 each and bottled water was $1.
Overland Park Farmers Market
Tacos El Güero
- May 6, 2021: Today is the first day of the Big Kansas Road Trip which
is being held in Brown, Doniphan and Nemaha counties. Driving north from
Johnson County, the shortest route is actually in Missouri, driving east
of the Missouri River, through Weston and crossing back into Kansas at
taking a few quick photos of of the Amelia Earhart Bridge and adjacent
Atchison Swing Bridge, we headed north along the river and were surprised
to spot a tug headed down river pushing two barges. I spend time around
the river several times a year and rarely see this type of river traffic
into Doniphan County, our first stop was at St. John the Baptist Oratory,
in the small unincorporated community of Doniphan, Kansas. The former Catholic
Church was built in 1867. It is called an oratory because it is a small
chapel and is no longer used for regular mass. Friends of St. John's Oratory
were formed a few years ago to preserve the church, which was in significant
disrepair. So far they have replaced the roof and ceiling and performed
other extensive repairs.
continued north to Troy, Kansas to have an early lunch at Feed Store Cafe.
The rustic restaurant is across from the Doniphan County Courthouse on
the courthouse square. Wishing to review the restaurant, we ordered much
more than we could eat, starting with fried chicken gizzards. The batter
had little seasoning and they were greasy.
also had a cheeseburger and pork tenderloin sandwich. The tenderloin was
hand breaded and more than twice the size of the bun. The hand cut French
fries were the best part of the meal to that point, but the highlight was
house made peach pie. I'm not even a particular peach pie fan, but it was
outstanding with a particularly yummy crust. The service was friendly.
then photographed the art and memorials on the the courthouse grounds.
The best known piece is "Tall Oak," a 27' hand carved sculpture of a Native
American by artist Peter Toth.
1856 Nelson Rodgers House is across the street, north of the courthouse
and is the oldest surviving building in town. There is a small museum in
a building behind the house, but the exhibits had been pushed and piled
up in front of the walls, opening a larger meeting space and little of
the exhibits could be seen. The Nelson Rodgers House is unfurnished and
more restoration is needed.
the way out of town, we photographed and walked across the Waddell "A"
Truss Bridge, a 120 year old bridge which was moved to town in 2015 and
reduced in width to a 6' wide foot bridge from its original 20' width.
made a couple of brief stops in Everest, Kansas, touring the beautiful
1910 Everest Christian Church and striking United Methodist Church of Everest.
day was planned to get us to Horton, Kansas in time for a 2PM Horton Power
Plant tour and we arrived as it was beginning. Originally the plant provided
the power for Horton and a couple of nearby communities, but as other power
became available, it was cheaper to buy electricity and the plant was only
operated during peak summer usage when there were surcharges and electricity
became more expensive.
the plant is only operated when other electricity is unavailable, coming
online in about 15 minutes. One of the claims to fame is that some of the
generators were originally somehow used for the Apollo Missions.
visiting a few more attractions in Horton, we drove north to Hiawatha,
Kansas where we walked the grounds of the Brown
County Historical Society AG Museum, toured the downtown, photographed
the Civil War Cannon & Veterans Memorial at Hiawatha Cemetery, and
revisited the Davis Memorial & photographed
other graves at Mount Hope Cemetery.
had heard that seating was limited at The Bread Bowl in Hiawatha, so we
were waiting when they opened at 5 PM. Although there were several takeout
orders, the only other people dinning in were two other couples who were
also doing the Big Kansas Road Trip. In addition to baked goods and prepared
meals to go, there is a cooler with take and bake dishes.
had fried catfish, baked potato and fruit, while I had the a Smoky Blackberry
Chicken sandwich (chicken on birdseed bread with smoked gouda, bacon, onion
and blackberry cream cheese sauce) and hash brown casserole. The servings
were very generous and quite good. Once again, the pie was the star of
the meal, this time it was peanut butter.
spent the night at Best Western Plus Hiawatha Hotel, which was our base
for the weekend.
tug & barges
St. John the Baptist
Feed Store Cafe
Nelson Rodgers House
Everest Christian Church
Horton Power Plant
The Bread Bowl
- May 7, 2021: We continue the Big Kansas Road Trip with a day in Nemaha
County, starting in Baileyville, Kansas. As we pulled up to Koch's Service
Station Museum, we first noticed the old Philips 66 station across the
street, where there is a 1930s gasoline pump and where a vehicle was being
fueled from a 1960s gasoline pump. A we pulled up by what looked like a
100 year old Conoco Station, the man who had been fueling the vehicle came
across the street to greet us.
Koch explained that he had built the building, which looks like a classic
old service station, in the past year, to display his collection of antique
gas station materials. He can of a tour and also showed us his 3 space
RV park up the street.
rest of the morning was spent in Seneca, Kansas. Our first stop was at
the Pony Express Museum, which occupies a handsome building which is kitty
corner from the former hotel which had been the actual Pony Express Stop.
The docent was showing another couple around the museum, so we toured it
on our own. We found the information about the 1996 Olympic Torch
Relay, which went through Seneca, to be particularly interesting. During
this portion of the relay, the torch wa carried on horseback.
walked up and down the street, photographing other historic buildings and
went in the Seneca Free Library, portion of which are in a 1867 Old Stone
stop was the Nemaha County Museum, where a docent showed us the portion
of the museum which occupies the 1879 two story brick building which was
the jail and Sheriff's home. The museum occupies several buildings and
we interrupted our tour to go to lunch at the Willows Restaurant &
Bar before their noon lunch.
Willows occupies the clubhouse at Spring Creek Golf Course. The menu is
relatively short, but there is a very nice $11.99 lunch buffet. I enjoyed
the French onion soup and meat loaf, but we both loved the fried chicken.
Even served from the buffet, it is some of the best fried chicken we have
had. The manager was very friendly and stopped by our table for a long
at the Nemaha County Museum we looked at the exhibits in two additional
buildings and then asked about scheduling a tour of the hand dug well on
the west side of Seneca. A couple of minutes later, we were told that there
would be someone at the well in about 15 minutes, so we interrupted the
tour again, to drive to the well.
large 1895 well is no longer in use, but was rather interesting. It is
one of two Kansas wells which vie for billing as the 2nd largest hand dug
well in Kansas. The Seneca well is 34' wide & 65' deep, and the one
in Westmoreland is 29' wide & 38' deep. Both wells also claim to be
the 2nd largest hand dug well in the World (after the one in Greensburg,
Kansas), but there is no governing body to certify something like that.
returned again to the Nemaha County Museum and walked a block to the Military
Museum/Temple of Honor in the former Masonic Temple. The Temple has museum
type exhibits, but is more a series of individual tributes to the military
service of various Nemaha County veterans.
final stop in Seneca was the Historic Fire Truck and Museum, but it was
wa a short drive out of town to St. Mary's
Catholic Church in St. Benedict, Kansas. the church is 162' by 60'
and was dedicated November 14, 1894. We joined a brief tour, which had
just started and learned much of the history of the very ornate church.
The highlight of the tour was the playing of a portion of Beethoven's "Ode
to Joy" on the large pipe organ.
also visited the grotto on the grounds at the rear of the church. A lady
was planting flowers at the church, but graciously jumped up and pulled
her things out of the way when she saw that we were photographing the grotto.
next stop was Bern Meat Plant in Bern, Kansas, a community we had never
visited before. The meat market has been in operation since 1961. We purchased
brats, beef sticks and jerky. This was the first place we visited this
trip when they did not display Big Kansas Road Trip signs. The woman who
sold the meat asked what the Road Trip was after seeing our T-shirts. (May
18 update - one of the packages of beef sticks developed mold before we
opened the package.)
continued to Sabetha. Kansas where we photographed art in the post office,
a paved bridge which wa turned into a covered bridge and the classic retro
Sabetha sign. With more time on our hands, we drove south to Fairview,
Kansas to see an antique truck deploy at Long Haul Truck Wash. There are
some display of transportation memorabilia inside.
in Sabetha, we still had some time on our hands and purchased some spices
at Hearthside Country Store on the north side of town.
had supper at Brick Street Furniture Co. + Wine Lounge. The front of the
building sells furniture and decor, while that back is a very nice restaurant.
We were seated at the end of a long table which mostly filled up by the
end of our meal.
had a $16.95 half surf & turf of a petite grilled beef tender topped
with black garlic steak butter & 3 sautéed shrimp on a bed of
spinach, and the $29,95 16 ounce ribeye with black garlic steak butter
served with roasted garlic mashed potatoes & asparagus. Though I felt
that the steak had a little too much char taste, Linda was very happy with
her surf & turf. The asparagus was particularly good, even the thickest
end of the stalks.
are have had several great desserts during this trip and the $6 bombolini
did not let us down. I had never had the Italian filled doughnuts before
and selected one with salted caramel filling. I need to have a bombolini
again, maybe the strawberry or Key lime next time.
evening ended with the Peterson Farm Brothers appearance at Sgt. Major
Wilbur Bestwick Softball Field in Sabetha. We arrived early and saved a
good spot for ourselves and friends who couldn't get there until just before
the concert. The Peterson Brothers from Asaria, Kansas are famous for their
Youtube videos which parody popular songs with a farm themes. There were
actually just the two oldest Peterson brothers, Greg and Nathan, since
their younger brother had to stay at the farm and work.
made much of the presentation, explaining how their world famous videos
cam to happen and he & Nathan sang along with recordings of their videos.
The presentation was very interesting, though the songs lose some of their
impact without the clever videos.
Pony Express Museum
Nemaha County Museum
Seneca Hand Dug Well
St. Mary's Catholic Church
Bern Meat Plant
Brick Street Furniture Co. + Wine Lounge
Peterson Farm Brothers
- May 8, 2021: Our first stop of the day was the Brown County Historical
Museum in Hiawatha, Kansas. The museum occupies the front and basement
of the 1920 Memorial Auditorium, which is quite an impressive old building.
The bulk of the exhibits are in the large basement, where three aisles
are lined with recreations of many shops, businesses and a church and rooms
our way driving through Seneca, Kansas we noticed the Veterans Memorial
Park of Nemaha County while passing on US36 near K63. The memorial plaza
is lined on the north side by a 340' wall with places for plaques for 3,000
veterans and the wall is almost completely full. There is a separate "We
Gave All Wall" with 52 plaques for those who were missing or killed in
Corning, Kansas, our first stop was the City Hall, which was originally
a gymnasium built by the WPA in 1938. We continued to the Corning Museum
in Corning City Park. The museum's exhibits lines the single room in a
stone building which appears to have once been a park museum. The nice
lady who greeted us was surprised to have visitors who were not from Corning
or related to someone in Corning. The displays consisted of photos,
trophies, and a few old newspapers and it took only a few minutes to see
everything of interest to someone without ties to the community.
continued to the east side of Wetmore, Kansas to visit Rock and Critter
Garden a grassroots arts environment created by retired farmer and welder
Paul Fritz. Normally it is limited to viewing from the road, but we were
permitted to walk around the metal critters, which are along about 100
yards of Y Road. The critters include several huge ants on a ant hill,
a crocodile, spiders and grasshoppers. There are also skeletal moose, elephant,
rhinoceros, dinosaurs, and a giraffe. The critters are set in a garden
with many large decorative rocks. There are a couple of metal human figures
by the driveway.
Shoe Tree is several miles away on the northwest side of Wetmore. There
were several handmade BKRT signs leading to the large old tree at the corner
of 80th Road and V Road. The trunk of the tree is covered with shoes up
to about 15 feet. More shoes have been thrown up in the branches. There
is a mailbox with a guest registry, hammer and nails. John Kissel, who
started the tree had left an ice chest full of bottled water for visitors
along with directions to the closest public restroom, with different directions
depending on the roads being wet or dry.
we were photographing the tree, a family with two children pulled up in
a truck and brought several shoes to add to the tree.
planned to have lunch at the Blue Ribbon Diner in Horton, Kansas which
the Big Kansas Road Trip website said would be open today, but it was closed.
Deciding on another place on the fly and not having much time, we had lunch
at OK Corral. We had a pork tenderloin, chili dog, fried shrimp, French
fries and Pappy fries. Our favorite items was the Pappy fries, which are
house made potato chips.
arrived at Werner Wagon Works in Horton in time for the 2PM tour. Don &
Connie Werner took us the shops where Don restores, repairs and builds
wagons, telling us how he got into horse drawn wagon making and detailing
the extensive restoration they have done, as well as showing wagons which
are in the process of construction and the particularly detailed and interesting
wagon wheel manufacturing. We were met for the tour by a couple from our
church and also ran into Joe Hirsch of Sunflower
balance of the afternoon was spent in and around Everest, Kansas. We started
with Everest Christian Church (where we were treated to nice homemade cookies)
and them toured the nearby Everest Historical Museum, which fills the two
stories of a handsome old school building. The basement has an interesting
display from a 1964 time capsule.
went on to photograph St. Mary's Catholic Church, several miles east of
Everest, but the building was locked up. On the way back to town, we also
stopped by Miller Cemetery.
friends joined us for supper at Country Cabin, a few miles north west of
Hiawatha, Kansas. The restaurant was crowded, but we had a nice view overlooking
the small lake. We enjoyed rib eye, chicken fried steak, chef salad, bourbon
glazed salad and smoked chicken, wild rice & mushroom soup. My favorite
items were their onion rings and the American fried potatoes.
Brown County Historical Museum
Rock & Critter Garden
Adding shoes to the Shoe Tree
Don & Connie Werner
Everest Historical Museum
- May 9, 2021: Today began with the Kansas Explorers Club annual meeting,
which wa scheduled for 10AM at the city park in Powhattan, Kansas, but
it wa a wet morning and the meeting was moved into the Legion Hall across
the street. The highlight of the meeting was the announcement of the three
counties which will host the 2021 Big Kansas Road Trip. As predicted, it
will be in the southeast corner of Kansas. It will be Mother's Day weekend
in Bourbon, Cherokee and Crawford Counties.
had to leave a soon as the meeting ended, to be in Goff, Kansas at 11:30AM
for a tour of Skeezix's Toy Museum. Gerald Swart showed us around the over
2,000 toy tractors, trucks and cars which his brother, Melvin Swart collected.
After Melvin's death in 2004, his brother Gerald built a 960 square foot
building to display the collection and keep it together.
metal cage that was the Old Goff Jail is displayed outside and we were
told that there is also an original bridge from "Great White Way," out
of sight on the farm. The Great White Way was a 1914 highway route which
went 1,161 miles from Chicago, Illinois to Colorado Springs, Colorado.
returned to Wetmore to have lunch at Dinner Bell Cafe. Kansas Explorer
and photographer Larry Hornbaker pulled up a we were finding a table and
we got to catch up with him during the meal. I don't know what people thought
as we were both photographing our meal. I had a classic cheese burger with
crinkle cut fries and Linda had fried chicken with mashed potatoes and
green bean. We split a slice of peach pie. The food wa fine, but I wouldn't
make a point of driving to Wetmore just to eat there again.
Kansas Explorers Meeting
Skeezix's Toy Museum
- May 10, 2021: I drove to downtown Overland Park Kansas to photograph
the iconic UMB stagecoach sculpture. UMB has applied for permission from
Overland Park to remake their bank location at 80th and Metcalf and remove
this sculpture. We poted the photo to our Facebook page with a comment
about the growing number of people saying that it should be preserved somewhere
like Deanna Rose Children's Farmstead. The post generated many comments
that it either should not be removed or that it should remain in Overland
UMB stagecoach sculpture
- May 12, 2021: I had lunch at Jones
Bar-B-Q in Kansas City, Kansas. The small walk up restaurant was catipulted
to national attention in 2019 after the TV show Queer Eye
gave them a makeover. The lines were extremely long for over a year and
meat would start running out about noon, but busines has dropped back some
this year. I had the $6.50 Wednesday 3 wings & side special and a sausage.
I like the flavor of the smoked chicken a lot, though the meat is a little
- May 13, 2021: I got carry out from Zarda Bar-B-Q in Lenexa, Kansas
for lunch today, a half chicken and one of their specialty sandwiches,
the hog Wild with ham, pulled pork, melted provolone cheese and two strips
of bacon on a toasted Roma bun. The bacon really made the sandwich! The
Hog Wild comes ala cart for $8.99 or for $13.49 ot includes a side
had Kansas City BBQ again at supper, hosting a small group at Jack Stack
in Overland Park, Kansas. We started with their popular onion rings. The
large rings come stacked on a rod, 3 rings for $8.50, 6 rings for $11.50
or 9 for $13.50. The texture is good and some of our part can't imagine
eating at Jack Stack without having them, but some spice in the batter
leaves them so-so to me. Several of us had ribs and/or sausage, while two
of us went the $31 single Crown Prime Beef Rib. THe marbled short rib is
a lovely piece of meat.
Crown Beef Rib
- May 14, 2021: I stayed with the Kansas City BBQ theme and had lunch
at Joe's Kansas City Restaurant in Olathe. I used to work in Olathe and
dined there regularly, but it has been most of a year since I last dined
here. Although I recommend their Z-Man Sandwich (smoked beef brisket, smoked
provolone cheese, topped with two crispy onion rings, on a toasted Kaiser
roll) as one of the best specialty BBQ sandwiches in the city, it had been
many years since I had one and I decided to go with it today. It comes
in jumbo for $11.49 or regular (shown at right with seasoned fries) for
$9.39. I should have remembered to order the fries without seasoning, which
I think are much better.
really is an excellent sandwich, but my favorite sandwich from Joe's is
the Corned Beef Burnt Ends Reuben which they serve only on a few days in
March each year.
Z-Man Sandwich plus seasoned fries.
- May 19, 2021: We got carry out from Pizza Man in Lenexa, Kansas,
Although I enjoy their pizza several times a year, I decided it was time
to try some of their sandwiches again. It had many years since I had their
Polish sausage with sauerkraut and 12 years since I had their Chicago Dog.
Both were much as I remembered, good, but not stand out like pizza or Italian
steak sandwich which Pizza Man makes.
Chicago dog & Polish sausage
- May 28, 2021: I added a new page devoted to Skeezix's
Toy Museum in Goff, Kansas.
- May 29, 2021: We had lunch at Char Bar Smoked Meats & Amusements
in Kansas City, Missouri. We have reviewed it for our Kansas City BBQ Restaurant
Guide, but it has been nearly 2 years since the last time we ate at Char
had the $19 3 wings & 3 ribs with beans, and the $10 Triple Crown (Pulled
pork, smoked ham. smoked bacon, fontina, caramelized onion. pickles and
mayo on sourdough bread) plus a $4 small order of fries. KC has a growing
number of specialty BBQ sandwiches and this one is a definite contender
on taste. I would like there to be a little more meat on the sandwich.
I would have it again.
- May 30, 2021: I added a new page devoted to St.
John the Baptist Oratory in Doniphan, Kansas.
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