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10/30/2011

KELLY’S TAVERN IN LURAY KANSAS… AND MORE ABOUT LUCAS…

Filed under: prairie musings, Area Sites, Lucas — Peg Britton @ 12:16 pm

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I’m sending this Philly Cheese sandwich to my friend, Ty Walk, who longs for a good Philly sandwich.  At Kelly’s Tavern in Luray they prepare this dandy with thinly chopped sirloin steak (made on site) and serve it on a hoagie bun with sauteed mushrooms, onions, and bell peppers with melted provalone and mozzarella.  The au jus was a special request…and was a wonderful addition.  You can’t really appreciate the size of this sandwich from this angle looking down on it, but it is several stories high.  This plate of food is $8.95 and enough for two meals.

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This is Kelly’s Tavern in downtown Luray.  You can’t miss it.  “Hooray for Luray”, as my friend John O’Leary used to say.

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Kelly’s Tavern is true to its name and located at 112 North Main, Luray.  Walter Keith is the owner and can be reached at 785.698.2305.

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Karen ordered The Club.  If you look closely you can see it fills the whole plate.  The french fries were piled on top. It was $7.95.   I ordered The Prime Minister, a customer favorite, that was made with thinly sliced prime rib, that melts in your mouth, with all the same toppings as The Philly except for the green peppers.  It, too, was $8.95.  We each brought half of our sandwiches home.

They also have seven varieties of  1/2 pound hamburgers.  The Kansas Killer Burger is served between two grilled cheese sandwiches with bacon, lettuce, tomato and onion.  It’s $7.75, the highest priced burger on the menu.  There are four varieties of 1/4 pound hot dogs, all served with fries. One is the Pig Roast served on a hoagie bun with grilled honey ham, bacon and melted Swiss and American cheese.

There are six appetizers on the menu and three salads. He serves a 14 oz K.C. Strip steak with choice of potatoes, salad and veggies for $13.95. We heard the chicken fried steak, which is $8.95, will fill a large platter.

There are plenty of items to choose from on the menu to make anyone a happy diner.  They have several selections of $2.00 bottled beer and wine.  You couldn’t possibly leave there hungry.

There are Kelly’s Taverns in Bluffton SC, Ridgeland SC, Coeur D’Alene ID, Springfield GA, Neptune NJ….and one coming soon in Russell KS.

We stopped in Lucas on the way home to see the progress they are making on the extraordinary public bathroom facilities, a one of a kind in Kansas or probably elsewhere.

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Isn’t this spectacular?  It’s not quite finished, but local artisans are diligently working on it as it nears completion.  The Kohler Company has taken Lucas under its benevolent wing and is providing top-of-the-line fixtures necessary for this bathroom facility.

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This is part of the outstanding art work, the creation of Eric Abraham, that will be mounted on the walls of the men’s restroom.

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This is Eric Abraham showing us one of his porcelain marvels.

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Karen image is reflected in the porcelain framed mirror.  Although his lavatory/mirror creations resemble one another, no two are the same.  They are found in  many parts of the U.S. and command a very hefty price.

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I never go through Lucas without stopping to buy fresh meat products from Doug Brant.  It’s a mandatory stop.  Here’s Doug dishing up pound packages of freshly ground meat for us.  We also put a dent in his fresh bulk sausage, pepper sausage and bacon.  He also sells the best beef jerky available in this neck of the woods.

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The Garden of Eden is getting a face lift…and it really shows.  The City of Lucas gave the Garden to the Kohler Company that is responsible for all the restoration work being done on the Garden.  Once completed, they will turn the facility back to the City.  This is a project that the City of Lucas couldn’t easily afford on its own.  The Kohler Company has done a great deal to aid in the preservation of the grassroots arts community of Lucas.

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My two traveling companions, Karen and Ally, stand in front of the restored Adam and Eve at the Garden of Eden.  The Garden is getting a grand restoration.  Stop by and view the progress when you are in Lucas.

Thanks for tuning in…

9/20/2011

THOMPSON CREEK SETTLEMENT..BY JIM GRAY 1/1/2008

Filed under: prairie musings, Ellsworth Sites, Area Sites — Peg Britton @ 3:42 pm

1/1/2008
THOMPSON CREEK SETTLEMENT

Posted today on the Thompson Creek article:
A recently published book SERENIA’S KANZAS at most book stores and AMAZON gives more details to this settlement on Thompson Creek.  As their direct descendant I inherited photographs and letters from them at this time in history (Civil War and soon thereafter) and taking ‘Poetic License’ with their dialogue developed the rest of the story of the Johnsons and Campbells.

The sequel ANNE should be published by Christmas 2011.

Kathleen Boston McCune  kathleenmccune@sbcglobal.net

You can read the Thompson Creek story here…

8/16/2010

7TH ANNUAL CRUISE THE BLUES MOUNTAIN BIKE RACE IN CENTRAL KANSAS 2010

Filed under: prairie musings, Area Sites — Peg Britton @ 8:02 am

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Doug and Tracey Palen own and operate Palen Family Farms located east of Tipton in North Central Kansas. Doug is a mountain bike enthusiast and has established 13 miles of private trails winding through the creeks, pastures, native grass, and croplands of the farm.

On Saturday, August 28th, 2010, the Palens will host their 7th annual Cruise the Blues festival. The day starts at 11:00 a.m. with the race and continues with concessions and raffle drawings for cool prizes donated by our generous sponsors. The day’s festivities conclude with an awards ceremony including 50 trophies and $2,400 in cash prizes right before an exciting live blues concert!

Cruise The Blues is an event in which riders of any age or ability can participate. All riders start at 11:00am and continue to ride laps until 4pm. Participants complete as many or as few laps as they like. You simply check in at the end of each completed lap. There are two divisions for which riders can register and race:

The JOY DIVISION is for the racers riding for fun and good sport. The Joy Course consists of 6 miles of trail winding primarily through the timber, pasture, and cropland of the farm. Its design is open and gently flowing, making it enjoyable for riders of any skill. One 6 mile lap takes between 40 and 60 minutes to complete, depending on your abilities. Riders can race individually or as a team. Joy categories are divided by age.

Click here for a great video of the event.  You really need to take a look at the video and see the magnitude of this event.
Read Dena Stoltz’s account of the race here.

The general schedule of events is as follows, although changes in weather or other happenings may alter these times on the day of the event:

Trails will be open for pre-ride August 21st - 22nd.
Friday, August 27th

7:00pm to 9:00pm     Registration
Dusk - Done     Night Ride Poker Run! (Bring your lights) Prizes!!!

Saturday, August 28th - Race Day!
8:00am to 10:00am     Registration and check-in (ALL Cruise The Blues participants MUST be registered by 10:00am!)
10:00am to 10:30am     Mandatory rules meeting for all participants
11:00am     Start of the official Cruise The Blues Races!
4:00pm     All riders must have started their last lap
5:45pm     Cruiz’n Kids Race (Parents are encouraged to arrive early to register their little racers)
6:00pm to 8:00pm     Dinner - hog roast (must have meal ticket) and refreshments served under the shade of the big oak trees
6:30pm     Awards ceremony
7:30pm to 10:30pm     Barn burnin’ live blues music with the Doghouse Daddies!
8:30pm        NEW!     Costume Parade!!
9:00pm     Musical Bikes and Gigglefest!!
Sunday, August 29th
Sunday morning     Clean-up and Ride Trails

Click here for all the information.

8/14/2010

LUCAS IS CELEBRATING THEIR 37TH ANNUAL ADAM’S APPLE FESTIVAL

Filed under: prairie musings, Area Sites — Peg Britton @ 2:55 pm

37th Annual Adam’s Apple Festival
Saturday, September 4 at 9:00am
Location: Lucas Main Street
For the schedule of events, click here.

You can’t help but have a good time in Lucas.  If you don’t have a good laugh while you are there, you have to be an old grump.  Anything that has been going on for 37 years and still draws a crowd would be worth a drive to Lucas Kansas. It’s a good place to spend the day, now and then.

7/25/2010

LUCAS PRESENTS THE TEMPORAL MECHANICS UNION IN CONCERT…

Filed under: prairie musings, Area Sites — Peg Britton @ 4:14 pm

Something good is always happening in Lucas.  On July 31st a percussion ensemble from Wichita is performing.

The concert will be at Grassroots Art Center Courtyard at 8:00 p.m.

Temporal Mechanics Union is a percussion ensemble from the Wichita area that began performing at Cowley College. They do traditional rhythms, as well as experimental music. Many of their rhythms have folkloric background, such as African, Brazilian, Cuban and Native American.

Admission is by donation and all proceeds will be donated to the Bowl Plaza!

In case you aren’t familiar with the Bowl Plaza, here’s the scoop.  Lucas with all their tourism has never been able to provide the public with easy access public toilets.  With all there is to see and do in Lucas, it required a day of leg crossing to get by.

So, two doors down from Brant’s Meat Market there is a “Plaza” where they are going to build nifty toilets in the style of Lucas’s Grassroots Art.  They will be unique and worth a trip on their own.  There is irony in that.  The Kohler Company donated the top-of-the-line fixtures.  They are already in storage in Lucas…and now, they just need more money to build these unique stopover places.

Check this out for further details about all the neat things going on in Lucas…

Some of us are just hooked on Lucas.  I happen to be one of them.  The local volunteers have made something very, very unique out of a town that could be in the throes of death, but instead, is thriving.  Pay them a visit. Attend the concert, if you can.

Thanks for tuning in…

4/25/2010

CHEYENNE BOTTOMS, THE LARGEST INTERIOR MARSH IN THE UNITED STATES

Filed under: prairie musings, Area Sites, blogs — Peg Britton @ 11:10 am

“The largest interior marsh in the United States, Cheyenne Bottoms is one of the most important shorebird migration stopover points in the Western Hemisphere.  More than half of all shore birds that migrate east of the Rockies pass through this 40,000-acre lowland…”

My friend, Cheryl Unruh, of Flyover People has an excellent post about Cheyenne Bottoms as it appeared as one of her columns in the Emporia Gazette.  Cheryl is one of the best writers around, imo, and I never fail to thoroughly enjoy each and every blog post, essay, column and article she writes.  She’s just very good at what she does.  She also takes wonderful photos.

Cheryl has taken one of my favorite topics, and places to visit, and explained it in a way I never could. The topic is Cheyenne Bottoms…

The Bottoms is located about a marathon race from my house.  It’s the place that swallows me up in its vastness and spits me out hours later much the happier for the experience.

This link  is one I think you should read if you live around here so that you’re better informed about what this very unique attraction means to Kansas.

If you don’t live around here, reading what Cheryl has to say will whet your appetite for visiting the Bottoms as a destination.  It is a treasure for bird lovers and prairie people.

Thanks, Cheryl, for another of your perspectives of Cheyenne Bottoms…

4/8/2010

A TRIP TO SEE DOUG BRANT IS IN ORDER…LUCAS KANSAS

Filed under: prairie musings, Area Sites — Peg Britton @ 3:22 pm

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Tomorrow Kenz and I are heading to Lucas for another road trip.  Our destination is to find Doug Brant behind the counter of Brant’s Meat Market…and visit Lucas in general.

Brant’s Meat Market features fine freshly cut steaks and roasts as well as dry cured bacon, beef jerky, homemade Czech bologna, pepper sausage, Jaternice and wonderful smoked link sausages. The Czechoslovakian ring bologna is amazing and I’ve seen customers carry out armloads of it.  It’s the favorite bologna in this part of Kansas and finds it’s way to many families as gifts. Brant’s market has been operating for 85 years, over 70 of those years by the same family.

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Brant’s Meat Market is the largest retail distributor of Luther’s Beef Jerky which is the finest I’ve ever found.  He ships it all over the country to fans who sampled it and then had to order more.  I’ll get some for my fave son-in-law in TX, for Tyler in Afghanistan, save some for Drew’s next visit…and for moi.

Luther’s Smokehouse in LeRoy, Kansas is one of Kansas’ fairly little known gems. Martin Luther started producing his delicious jerky in 1974, and it really took off when a store near Wolf Creek Nuclear Power Plant started selling it to the construction workers building the power generation facility. When construction ended, the workers started ordering the jerky from other parts of the country.

He’s open Monday through Saturday.  There is enough to do in Lucas to spend the day then take in their movie on weekends.  They have the best popcorn ever…and it’s affordable for the family.

4/7/2010

SOUTH-EAST CIRCLE OUTING…SALINA, LINDSBORG AND MARQUETTE

Filed under: prairie musings, Area Sites, Ryon Carey — Peg Britton @ 11:43 am

Mackenzie is here visiting so yesterday we did a road trip….the southeast loop including Salina, Lindsborg and Marquette.  We started by having lunch at Coop’s Pizzeria in downtown Salina.  Once again, I had one of their everyday specials…veggie pizza with a side of Greek salad topped with feta cheese and their special dressing.  Why change if you’ve found a good thing?  Kenz had the same only with Italian sausage pizza. Everything Coop serves is good.

One of our objectives for the trip was so find some “springish”  appearing artificial flowers at Hobby Lobby for a bouquet for Dane’s grave.  Neither of us like artificial flowers, but there aren’t many other alternatives if you want them to last more than a couple of hours. I think one of the most severe sentences a judge could levy on me for a criminal infraction is to be sentenced to serve time a in Hobby Lobby.

When I go to Lindsborg, I like to stop at Scott’s Grocery Store.  As far as small towns go, I think it has one of the best grocery stores in Kansas.  I love their section of Swedish products that includes lingonberries, cloud berries and other things I’m clueless about. They have fresh lingonberries in their meat department and great homemade brats.  They carry organic items including Ryon’s free-range chicken eggs and Hildebrand’s milk. It’s an independently-owned store offering a large variety of products in a very small town. You don’t often find that in rural Kansas.

Another nice thing about Scott’s is that they still ask you if you want “paper or plastic” bags.  With paper, you get those good sturdy sacks with handles.

There are interesting things to see and do in downtown Lindsborg.  They have an excellent Mexican food restaurant which is a good option for road food.  There are many quaint shops that carry quality merchandise.

Our next stop was to see Ryon and meet Claire, his new Great Pyrenees puppy. A French puppy who will be guarding his French geese…and other feathered friends.  We came home with dozens of cartons of fresh-from-the-hen,  free-range chicken eggs.  They last almost forever and we like the idea of having a refrigerator well-stocked with them.

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Ryon has this uber-enormous gaggle of French Dewlap Toulouse geese.  Here’s a small a gathering of them. Each of their eggs will bring $5.00 or more. They are way more than that on e-bay.  A goose for the table goes for $60.

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Our next stop was the drug store in Marquette that has one of the few remaining soda fountains in Kansas.  There are always local folks lolling around wanting to know where you are from and any other details they can take with them to talk about with family and friends.  They are always most welcoming and thanked us for dropping a few dollars in their town.  I love that soda fountain.  If you haven’t been there, make it a point to stop and get an old-fashioned ice cream soda…made with a smile.  If you have time, walk across the street and visit the motorcycle museum.

Then at the same intersection, we walked  across the street to Steve Piper’s grocery store to pick up some hard-to-find Pfannanstiel’s breakfast links, if they had some.  They didn’t, but I knew enough to ask the check-out lady who also appeared to be more than a disinterested clerk and one who could actually knew something. It was Mary Piper, one of the owners.  I asked her if they might have some Pfannanstiel’s sausages “in the back”, as the case was empty.    She quickly said…”The Pfannanstiel truck is unloading now, let me go check.”  Sure enough, Steve soon emerged behind the meat counter with exactly what I wanted. Perfect.

We came home by way of the Kanopolis Lake dam road and noticed how roiled and murky the water was.  The back road to mushroom rocks is a must with a drive through Carneiro to chuckle at the “Flood Zone” signs.

The south-east circle is a very scenic, rural drive and the stops along the way are fun. If I’m going to spend money anywhere, I’d much rather do it in a small town where it makes a difference and is appreciated.  Maybe you’ll want to take the same drive one of these days.

Thanks for tuning in…

4/1/2010

375,487 HITS TO KANSASPRAIRIE FOR MARCH…

Filed under: prairie musings, Area Sites, MetaPro totals — Peg Britton @ 10:11 am

Thanks for visiting Kansasprairie.  I really appreciate it.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, RINGO. What a sweetheart of a puppy dog he is.

It’s April Fool’s Day and I miss having little kids to joke around with.

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The sun is shining, sort of,  and spring is here.  What a relief after the long, cold winter we’ve had. Enjoy the day.

Cheyenne Bottoms is full of migrating birds and it’s one of my favorite places to visit, particularly at this time of year.  I think I’ll see if Ally would like to head that way with me tomorrow.

Spring migration continues.  Goose numbers have dropped to less than 5,000 as most have moved on North. The current pool depths are: Pool 1A- 38 inches; Pool 1B and 1C- 23` inches; Pool 2- 23 inches, Pool 3A- 13 inches, Pool 4B- 19 inches, Pools 3B, 4A and 5 are dry.

Total duck numbers are still estimated at around 80 to 90,000. Other duck species present include Mallard, Green and blue winged teal, American wigeon, gadwall, canvasback, scaup, bufflehead, common goldeneye and common, hooded merganser. They are fairly large numbers of hawks, with Northern Harrier, Red-tail Hawk, Rough-legged Hawk and Ferruginous Hawks being easily observed.

I love that place even though I usually go alone and am forever getting lost.  I always have a full tank of gas worth 400 miles of travel before I enter. My safety net. Once I decide to head home,   I roam around for what seems to be hours, half panicking thinking I should have brought food and drink for a week, warm clothes, a lantern and a pup tent.

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Once I went down this long dirt road for a couple of miles only to come to this huge crevasse  in the road that could swallow a semi. Retreat two miles and take another road.  If there were  an extremely tall tower with a beacon atop positioned on 156 by the entry, that would be perfect for people like me. Or, I need “EXIT” signs at every intersection that include arrows that clearly point the way out.  Or I need a smart phone with some woman telling me which way to turn.  I could never find my way out of there at night.   It’s flat as a pancake with no landmarks…just a bazillion acres of water, dirt roads and beautiful  birds galore.  But…it is well worth risking life and limb to go there.  It’s a wonderful place. And, the Kansas Wetlands Education Center is open and I hear it is quite amazing.

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See what I mean?  This is all you can see in any direction, imo.

One bit of very good news to Eaglecom.net users…bandwidth is being quadrupled and our download speed is going to increase greatly no matter how many people are using the system.  It’ll be here within a few days, if not already.

Grandson Drew will be home this weekend.  YAY.  We’ll be together at Todd and Karen’s for Easter Day dinner.  Ham and all the trimmings.  I’m really looking forward to a weekend of family.

Now, I’m off for my exciting events of the day…a trip to the post office, draggin’ main, and browse the shelves at the grocery store.Thanks for tuning in…

3/21/2009

SATURDAY AT THE DELI AND ORIENTAL FOOD IN LYONS

Filed under: Eat, Area Sites, Deli — Peg Britton @ 9:36 am

Today Ally is serving open-faced hot turkey sandwiches with dressing and corn for $6.50.

Speaking of food, as frequently I am…Ally and I went to Lyons to chase down the Chinese Restaurant.  It’s on the main floor of the LyKan Hotel and pretty dern good. They had a buffet last night but you can also order off an extensive menu.

There wasn’t any beef on the buffet, but plenty of chicken, shrimp and fish dishes.  I always enjoy the boiled shrimp…and they had crayfish as well…and I can make a meal on them.  They also had some interesting pickled veggies that I really liked.

These are the folks that Meredith chased after in Ellsworth so I thought I’d mention that to the young girl who was taking my money…but she spoke no English.  She had not a clue what I was talking about.  Our young waiter who looked like a native of Lyons interestingly enough spoke some Chinese.  Hard as he would try, he couldn’t get her to say they had been visiting in Ellsworth.   She kept saying “Salina”,  but there was no mention of Ellsworth.

Finally, they called in the reserves and another cute young oriental woman came to the rescue.  She couldn’t speak English either but the three of them, with a lot of help from the young man, finally realized what I was saying.  Meantime, Ally is trying to drag me out, knowing I’m not giving up on this, and is saying over and over…”Mom, it doesn’t matter.”

Then….Voila!   They jumped with joy, grabbed my hands and with smiles galore said “yes, yes, yes”.  They loved that woman (Meredith) and their visit to Ellsworth.  So, I told them how much we appreciated them coming to Ellsworth and that brought more jumping for joy and grabbing my hands and arms across the counter.  They are delightful people and soooo cute.  I wish they had settled here instead of Lyons.  I want to go back just because they are so nice.

Thanks for tuning in….

2/6/2009

FINALLY…WE LANDED IN THE RIGHT PLACE…EL POTRILLOS IN LYONS

Filed under: prairie musings, Area Sites — Peg Britton @ 8:49 pm

We found El Potrillos tonight in Lyons without any trouble.  After all, we finally knew what we were looking for and where to find it.  It was right across the highway from that terrible place we stumbled into a couple of weeks ago thinking it was the right place.  The right place is next door to the Lyons Inn so you can’t miss it.

The food was terrific and plentiful.  The four of us had a boat load of chips and salsa before dinner, a couple of Corona’s and wonderful food.  I had the special chicken dish and brought half of it home for tomorrow.  We all had flan for dessert. The servings where very large and the price for the four was very reasonable.  With the beer and dessert and mounds of food, it was slightly over $10.00 a piece for us.

Here’s another view from Wes Urbanek:

Just read up on some of Peg’s blogs today and got to the comments about a Mexican restarant in Lyons and also Mo’s in Beaver.

Gotta let Peg know El Potrillo’s is EXCELLENT eating. I’ve been there twice with Brent now and we left there, full, both times.

Mo’s is also excellent, too. The microbrewery had good selections but the strongest beer, aptly named at “Lights Out”, was no match for me since I love the darker lager beers. My dish for the day was a Hickory Burger which at 1/2 lbs. with onion rings did the job of filling me up.

Brent and I continue to travel the county(ies) looking and trying out other eateries. We both give El Potrillo’s 2 thumbs up. I’ve even recommended the place to our folks as mom loves Mexican. I think EP is by far the best Mexican food I’ve ever had.

Anyways, just a short message to let Peg know. She had a comment in there about someone’s experience with a Mexican eatery in Lyons that was terrible. I can’t remember the name of the place now but if she hasn’t tried EP, tell her she must!

So there you have it.  The restaurant was packed tonight all the time we were there with four friends from Ellsworth also popping in to eat. The menu has a wide assortment of options, something for everyone.  Everyone I know who has eaten there has loved it.  They’ve been in business there about a year. I took my camera but forgot to take pictures.

9/22/2008

LITTLE APPLE BREWING COMPANY

Filed under: prairie musings, Area Sites — Jesse Manning @ 6:28 pm

I’m off to a birthday party at the Little Apple Brewing Company, a Manhattan staple and home to some of the best food in the Flint Hills. Local breweries like Gella’s in Hays or Free State in Lawrence are popular places among natives and visitors alike, and Little Apple is no different. For the past 30 years, they’ve been serving up some of Manhattan’s best steaks.

If you’re ever in Manhattan, make sure to stop by. You won’t be disappointed.

8/11/2008

ROLLING HILLS WILDLIFE ADVENTURE MUSEUM

Filed under: prairie musings, Area Sites — Peg Britton @ 8:13 pm

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The Rolling Hills Wildlife Adventure is one destination with two unforgettable experiences:  zoo and museum of exceptional quality.  They feature hundreds of animals, animated robots, waterfalls and spectacular vistas.

Last week Mackenzie and I went to visit the museum as she had never before had the opportunity.  Her dad frequently talked about it and what a great contribution Charlie Walker made in creating it, so the prospect of actually seeing it held a lot of fascination for her.

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She’s also heard me on numerous occasions say that I believe it is the finest thing that has happened to Central Kansas.  That we have a zoo and museum of that caliber just a stone’s throw away is incredible.  Most metropolitan areas have nothing that would compare.

Her idea of what she thought she was going to see was entirely different from what actually existed.  I thought that might be the case with others who haven’t taken the time or had the opportunity to view the dioramas, robotics and wild life exhibits.  They are extraordinary. For people who want to stay in Kansas and see what we have to offer, this is our most outstanding “Wonder”, in my opinion.

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We also had a wonderful experience in seeing the Ansel Adams exhibit: The Man Who Captured the Earth’s Beauty. They always offer something totally unexpected and wonderful midway through the museum.

My pictures are nothing to write home about, but if you want to browse through them, you can get an idea of the high quality of the exhibits.  It’s a memorable experience and one that won’t disappoint you.  Everyone there is very helpful and courteous and I guarantee that you’ll love the experience.

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For more on Rolling Hills, click here.

8/8/2008

PICTURES FROM OUR TRAVELS TODAY

Filed under: prairie musings, Area Sites, Heritage turkeys/chickens — Peg Britton @ 6:33 pm

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Mackenzie and I stopped to see Patti’s Heritage turkeys at her farmette.  I took six pictures and this is the only one where you can see the elusive birds.  There are four of them in lock down.  No way out.  One was strutting around…Patti’s first glimpse of this activity…so we suspect he is a tom. She hopes the other three are Helens.

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And, there was a gathering next door.  They’d just been for a swim and were heading for the buffet line.

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The Secret Garden. The turkeys had their beginning here.

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Church in Chapman. Aftermath of the tornado.

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The town still shows the ravages of the tornado even though a great deal of progress has been made in their efforts to clean and restore the town. They were working on FEMA trailers today as we passed by and people were at work on various sites  throughout the town.

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And, it’s hard to pass by the Russell Stover outlet store in Abilene without stopping.

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Now where is that peanut brittle that Brit wanted?

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Special fudge with a variety of flavors. The one with all the peanuts is like a Pay Day candy bar, Ruth the candy cutter said. Now wouldn’t you know, it looked good enough to eat.

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I thought of Dane when I saw this.  I had to have a picture of it.  He worked for Edward Jones and AG Edwards so maybe he had something to do with these signs. I’d like to think so.

And now, the Olympics are on and the technology they are using in the opening ceremonies is amazing. Time to pay attention.

There is a Central Kansas connection to this year’s Olympics. Becca Ward is seeded #2 in the Women’s Sabre Fencing.  Here is one of the many stories written about her. To bring it closer to home, Beca’s dad, Bill, hails from Russell and was Rich Bircher’s roommate at FHSU.

Thanks for tuning in….

THE DISH CAFE IN ABILENE

Filed under: prairie musings, Area Sites — Peg Britton @ 5:07 pm

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For many years, when Mackenzie was much younger, the two of us would go some place special for “ladies luncheon”.   It started when she could barely walk.  She always got to select the place, and back then, it was always McDonald’s.  She didn’t grasp the idea that she could enjoy something much better until later on.

Finally, one day after stomaching as much of McDonald’s as one grandmother should endure, I asked if I could make the selection.  Well, with a young one who’s heart is stuck on McDonald’s, that takes some maneuvering.

I finally talked her into “just trying” the Holidome in Salina and promising surprises there as an aside.  She absolutely loved it with the wide array of food, plus the surprises which included playing miniature golf that they offered free and…riding up and down the elevator.  The only elevator we had in Ellsworth was at the hospital, so elevators were a big thing to her.  We must have ridden the elevator up and down a couple dozen times each time we went.  She got to push the buttons.

Today we jointly decided on going to Abilene and trying the food at The Dish, that we’ve heard was excellent.  It was all that and more.

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They had all sandwiches on the menu today, ten of them, and the best gazpacho I’ve ever had.  They change the menu every Monday and if someone told me I had to eat there every day, I’d be standing by the door when they opened at 11:00 a.m.

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I ordered the buffalo chicken salad sandwich and Mackenzie settled on the turkey sandwich with jalapeno pepper jelly.  We shared halves.  The chicken salad was made from hunks of chicken breast , hot sauce, celery, eggs, carrots, bleu cheese,and mayo topped with sprouts and vine ripened tomatoes.  Both were knife and folk operations. It’s a good thing we ordered those, as they were about out of everything else….shredded pork quesadilla, roast beef melt, salmon salad, caramelized balsamic onions, cheese and pear panini, tuna burger with zucchini chili pickle relish, meatball sub, etc.  They also have roasted red pepper hummus with pita.

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For dessert they had mini tartlets…cherry or blueberry.  They were fabulous.  They weren’t in a pie crust, it was more like a Philly cream cheese laden pound cake.  They are worth the trip.

The Dish has been in operation for two years this month.  It’s open from 11:00 to 3:00 Monday through Friday.

The Dish is small and from what I have heard and observed, the tables are full during the hours they are open.  Only two women seemed to be operating the place.  It’s clean, neatly decorated and the bathroom is homey and clean.  If you’re in Abilene, it’s a great place to stop and have lunch.   It’s on Cedar Street just north of the railroad tracks on the east side of the street.

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8/6/2008

FAT BOYZ IN LITTLE RIVER

Filed under: prairie musings, family, friends, Area Sites — Peg Britton @ 9:05 pm

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Fat Boyz in downtown Little River has a huge following.
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On Wednesday night, the place was filling up at 6:30 when we arrived and packed by the time we left.

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Chicken fried steak is their special on Wednesday night, but there are steaks and plenty of other options available.

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The place is full of character,

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and…characters,

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And, more characters.

Good food.  Good times.

THE COZY INN IN SALINA

Filed under: prairie musings, Area Sites — Peg Britton @ 8:28 pm

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You probably need to have cut your baby teeth on Cozy Inn hamburgers to have a deep affection for them.  Salina downtown development has managed to thwart attempts by promoters to turn the property into a parking lot or high rise. I imagine a sit-in like you’ve never seen before would occur if they tried to close the place.

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You buy them by the sack. People from all across the U.S order hundreds to be delivered for “Salina” gatherings.  Class reunions in Salina aren’t complete unless a night is devoted to devouring Cozy’s with cold beer.  Our class finally had to give them up a few years ago as too many digestive systems couldn’t handle them any more.

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This place hasn’t changed a bit in the 75+ years I’ve been eating them.  There are six stools with a counter so the cook can lay out a pile of hamburgers in front of you on a square of waxed paper.  There is room behind the stools for maybe eight people to pack in and order carry out or wait for a place to sit.  It is one very small place.

I remember being in high school and the “guys” would each order a dozen and eat every one of them.  They’d drink a lot of liquid and nearly explode.

They’ve stopped letting customers order them without onions. They aren’t the same without onions.  They can afford to be particular and don’t cater a lot to customer requests.  You can get “doubles” and you can get them with or without ketchup and mustard.

Way back in the beginning they were a nickle apiece.  You could hardly find the meat but the onions and grease were plentiful. No one ever really knew, except the owners, what they used for meat during the war. WWII that is. There is no another burger like them.  Kenz and I stopped by for a couple just to see if they are still doing things right.  Of course, they were.

Your clothes will reek from the odor steaming off the griddle if you venture inside, so plan to have people comment about it.  If you carry them in your car, count on your car smelling like the Cozy for a long time. There is a long-stand rule among employers that their employees do not go to the Cozy Inn for lunch.  Brit has never been forgiven for stopping there for a sack of Cozy’s before he picked me up all handsome in his tuxedo before we went to a dance at the Salina County Club. Everyone at the dinner dance commented on it!

It’s an experience so don’t miss it if you’ve never given it a try.

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1/1/2008

ROLLING HILLS ZOO

Filed under: Area Sites — Peg Britton @ 8:45 pm

625 North Headville
Headville KS
A 500 acre complex, the park is on the southeast corner of Headville and State Street roads, west of Salina, and about a thirty-minute drive east from Ellsworth and six miles west of Salina.

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Rolling Hills Zoo and Museum is an educational nonprofit zoo in Central Kansas whose mission is the conservation and propagation of rare and endangered species. It is the home for 100 or more animal species with about half of them being threatened or endangered. Its other goals are education, research and exhibition. There are 14 endangered species including Bactrian camels, Amur leopards, a sloth bear, a desert tortoise, a ring-tailed lemur.

The zoo grew out of a collection of exotic species owned by Charlie Walker, Salina businessman, which he once used to spice up the school tours of his large herd of Belgian horses.

Charlie Walker, founder of Blue Beacon and Green Lantern chains of truck washes, gas stations and convenience stores, donated the land and some buildings for the park, which is operated by a board of directors. Walker is chairman of the board.

The Rolling Hills Zoo and Museum is one of the amazing places in Kansas to visit. Put it on your schedule of events as you won’t be disappointed. It’s a marvelous place. Charlie Walker is one of the best things that has happened to Kansas.

THE AMAZING 100 MILES

Filed under: Area Sites — Peg Britton @ 8:39 pm

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One Charles was the product of a time when the buffalo roamed the Great Plains and the prairie stretched as far as the mind could imagine.

The younger Charles, or Charlie, as he is better known, made his mark in business, a modern-day Horatio Alger of commerce.

Both had vision…and a passion for the nature and history that surrounded them. The results of their achievements…the Sternberg Museum of Natural History at Hays and the Rolling Hills Wildlife Zoo at Hedville…stand 100 miles apart on Interstate 70.

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In between and 20 miles on either side of the roadway that cuts Kansas in half east to west are 52 communities filled with the story of a state and the people who settled it. This is what the tourism coalition from within this corridor refers to as “The Amazing 100 Miles”.

The region’s bookends only recently opened (1999). The Sternberg Museum, which in October welcomed its 100,000 visitor after being in business for about six months, houses almost four million examples of fossils from a period 81 million years ago when the area that is now Kansas was under the vast Crustaceous Sea. The examples represent the disciplines of paleontology, geology, history, archaeology and ethnology, botany, entomology, ichthyology, herpetology, ornithology and mammalogy. The Museum contains the third best collection of flying reptiles in the world. It has some of the most complete mosasaurs and plesiosaurs in any museum and houses the unique Fish-Within-A-Fish.
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The roots of the collection are in Ellsworth County, where a 17-year-old Charles H. Sternberg followed his brother, Dr. George Miller Sternberg, to Fort Harker. Dr. Sternberg was named the post physician in the 1860s when Fort Harker was established to protect the settlers and army from the Indians. Dr. George Miller Sternberg would later become Surgeon General of the United States.

It was in Ellsworth County that Charles Sternberg became interested in fossils. It was a passion he passed on to his three sons, all of whom became world-famous paleontologists.

One son, George Fryer Sternberg, went to Hays in the 1920s. He is considered the father of the Sternberg Museum, which started on the campus of Fort Hays State University. The Museum has a walk-through land and sea diorama of the Cretaceous period, with life-size models of a Tyrannosaurus Rex and other creatures of the Cretaceous complete with sound and motion.

The Rolling Hills Wildlife Zoo for rare and endangered animals was the dream of Salina businessman Charlie Walker. It opened in October 1999. Residents include an Amur leopard, one of only 200 in captivity. Another 50 are in the wild. There is also a rare white rhino.

The zoo was chosen for membership in ChimpanZoo, a collective effort between famed chimpanzee researcher Jane Goodall, zoological facilities and universities to learn more about the animals and their response to a captive environment. There are currently only 16 zoological institutions from around the world involved in ChimpanZoo. As one of the few zoological institutions to house an all-male chimpanzee group, Rolling Hills Zoo has the opportunity to provide ChimpanZoo with unique and significant data.

The Zoo is also home to the largest …even larger than the Smithsonian…collection of mounted animals in the world, some now extinct. For tax purposes, its value was established at 55 million dollars. It is due to open in 2002 in a new facility the size of two football fields. Each animal will be displayed in a diorama depicting its native habitat.

Between the museum and the zoo is a corridor with over fifty towns, each being a composite of unique culture, customs, art, architecture, history, commerce, cuisine, geography…and people representing these various heritages.

GARDEN OF EDEN

Filed under: Area Sites — Peg Britton @ 8:18 pm

Lucas Kansas, just north of Wilson
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It’s a given for anyone who comes to see me that they will also see the Garden of Eden. If you are looking for “the crème de la crème in irrationality”, check out this unbelievable place that is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Samuel Perry Dinsmoor, born 1843, was a retired school teacher, Civil War Veteran, farmer and Populist politician. He began the construction of his Cabin Home and Garden of Eden in 1907, at age 64. Then, for 22 years he constructed his unique “log cabin” out of a bazillion tons of limestone and fashioned bazaar sculptures, that surround the house, out of concrete while using over 113 tons of cement. This place is an endless source of amusement.

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They’ll tell you all about the place when you take the tour and share endless details about his life and eccentricities, all worth going miles out of your way to see. But, what they don’t tell you, and I don’t know why, is that this is a classic example of Dadaism, a nihilistic movement in the arts that flourished chiefly in France, Switzerland and Germany from about 1916 to 1920 or so, and was based on the principles of deliberate irrationality, anarchy and cynicism and the rejection of laws of beauty and social organization. Who knows what SP was thinking or what kind of grin he was concealing when he built this, but he left a great example of the senseless and useless for us all to ponder.

He claimed to be the only one in town to have a spring with natural water in his front yard so he built a decorative pond with running water. Many years later the city discovered he’d tapped into the city’s water supply and had been enjoying an endless stream of free water.

Dinsmoor was 81 when he married his second wife, in the spring of ‘24, who was 20 years old at the time, a very attractive woman from Czechoslovakia. They had a son and, yep, the town’s people who knew them both swear by it. The pictures of him look just like SP.

Take some time out to stop in Lucas, see the Grassroots Art Gallery down town. There was even a Smithsonian exhibit that selected this gallery above many others across the nation. Stop by Brant’s Grocery. Doug Brant makes great pepper sausage to munch on down the road and he’s a storehouse of information on what the volunteers in Lucas have done to jump start the town and make it flourish. Check out their restored theater too.

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