We love the old barns in the Kansas countryside. Here are a few we see routinely.)
SMALL TOWN ATTRACTIONS
Maisie’s Pool, an annual Labor Day Rodeo, and a good vintage shop in Eskridge, KS.
Town and County Fairs occur throughout the summer and fall. The Harveyville Fair is the last weekend in September. The Wabaunsee County 4H Fair is the last weekend in July. The Kansas State Fair is in September.
“Feeds” are sponsored by local churches and civic groups. Look for signs and notices in all the small towns. Pancake feeds, chili feeds, and taco fees are the usual suspects.
Farmers’ Markets run in the summertime.
High School Sports (and associated bake sales…). The local team is the Mission Valley Vikings. The cinnamon rolls & sausages served at football games are delicious. And I can honestly say that every bake-sale brownie I’ve purchased in Kansas has been mind-blowing.
The Demolition Derby recently moved to Harveyville. If you like smashy-smashy and fried oreos, you’re in hog heaven.
Wamego (a little over an hr) is home to the Oz Museum, The Columbian theater, an old mill museum, Settlers Farm, an excellent yarn & fiber store, and an annual 4th of July celebration. The Oz Museum has Mammoth collection of Wizard of Oz memorbelia and home of Oztoberfest. Wamego.
Paxico (45 minutes) has several antique stores and a nice yarn and fiber store specializing in alpaca, Rainbow Yarn & Fiber.
The Wabaunsee county seat, Alma is home to an old courthouse, the county’s museum, an outstanding bakery, and Alma Creamery. See cheese made & buy seasonal bargains.
Burlingame (~10 minutes) has the Schuyler Museum, located in the old school building!
FOOD & DRINK (see also: SHOPPING)
Riggins Market serves pizza, sandwiches, a daily special. Biscuits and gravy on Saturday mornings. Harveyville.
Santa Fe Cafe. Breakfast, lunch & dinner. Named after the famous Sante Fe Trail, which ran through Burlingame.
Flint Hills Steakhouse on Beautiful Lake Wabaunsee. Eskridge (15 minutes). Trudy Hawkins makes the outstanding desserts.
Annie’s. Breakfast & Lunch. Eskridge (15 minutes).
Probsky’s. Famous and wonderful sinus-cleansing horseradish pickles, lauded by Road Food. Take some home with you. Topeka.
Arthur Bryant’s. Insane Kansas City Barbecue that may make you weep with joy. Kansas City.
Stroud’s. Chicken like you never knew. Kansas City.
The Friendly Cooker in Wamego makes outstanding cream pies.
Cozy Inn. Home of world-famous sliders. (Sliders, btw, are a Kansas invention. The original White Castle was in Wichita.) Our friend Noah won’t shut up about them. Salina.
The Alma Sweet Shop makes delectable (and cheap!) cookies.
OK Liquor. Burlingame (a quick 8 miles drive) now has a liquor store! Whoo hoo!
Liquor Mart has a more extensive selection. Osage City
Fishing at various local lakes & ponds.
Hiking, biking, or Sunday driving in the rugged Flint Hills and around Echo Cliff.
Gorgeous sunrises & sunsets.
If you want a break from quiet, try:
Topeka (35-40 min) is the capital city and has an interesting downtown and a nice city park, complete with wonderful concrete animals, a mini train & historic carousel. A huge restoration of the capital building is currently underway.
Manhattan (~1 hr) is home to K State.
Kansas City, MO (<2 hrs) is a wonderful, historic city with outstanding attractions, food & architecture.
St Joseph, MO (~2 hrs) is home to the wonderful Glore Psychiatric Museum.
Wichita is Kansas’ largest city and home to a great Boeing outlet and the Starlight Drive-in movie theater.
Salina (~2 hours) is the home to the world-famous Cozy Inn sliders.
SIGHTSEEING/TOURS (also see CITIES and SMALL TOWN ATTRACTIONS)
Glore Psycheatric Museum in St. Joseph (north of KC) is awesome.
Gage Park in Topeka has a mini-train with a delightful old conductor/tour guide. There’s also a fantastic 1920s Spillman carousel and fanciful concret animals in the playground.
Midland Railway. Excursions on a restored Rock Island Line car. Baldwin City.
Fieldstone Orchards. Apple & Cherry Picking. Scranton.
1950s Electric House. Shawnee
CERAMICS. Jepson Studios. Award-winning hand-thrown, hand-glazed functional stoneware. Harveyville.
YARN AND FIBER. Art Club (The Harveyville Project), Settlers Farm (Wamego) and Rainbow Yarns & Fibers (Paxico). All three have good selections of local fiber. For raw and farm fiber, we also recommend Ewephoria Farm (Lawrence) and Alpacas in Wildcat Hollow (Eskridge).
AGRITOURISM. Local farm and ranch tours can sometimes be arranged.
HARDWARE. Krause Hardware in Burlingame is a dying breed of small-town hardware stores with a little bit of everything.
AUCTIONS. A ton of them featuring anything you can imagine. They’re going on pretty much every weekend. Check the local papers.
ANTIQUES. There are good antique stores in Scranton and Paxico.
LOCAL CHEESE AND MEAT. Alma Creamery specializes in cheddars and also sells local elk and bison summer sausage and delicious Paxico Sausage. We can also recommend local freezer beef, goat, and bison sources. Sisters Antiques in Paxico also carries Paxico Sausage.
THRIFT and VINTAGE. The Hippy Goddess Shop in Eskridge has a great selection of vintage clothing. Eskridge also has a rummage thrift store. The Bargain Hut in Osage City is our favorite junk store.