close
close

Latest Post

Some surprises in the school board elections in South Bend, PHM and Mishawaka Deadly police-involved shooting in Springfield, Illinois, sparks calls for reform

The state of Kansas often conjures up thoughts of the popular story of the Wizard of Oz and the menacing tornadoes that rage across the plains. It was also once the Wild West, as wild and nasty as it can be. Thankfully, Kansas has evolved over the years, and Victorian-era architecture is one of the many aspects of Kansas that reflects the region’s progress. World-famous literature like the aforementioned Wizard of Oz, beautiful scenery like Prather Creek Falls, and creativity around every corner in places like the Lucas Triangle Grassroots Arts Center are just a few of the things that await you in these charming small towns in Kansas.

Dodge City

The Boot Hill Historical Museum in Dodge City, Kansas. Image credit: RaksyBH / Shutterstock.com
The Boot Hill Historical Museum in Dodge City, Kansas. Image credit: RaksyBH / Shutterstock.com

Once with the dubious reputation of being the most wicked little town in Kansas, Dodge City is now a charming little town whose Wild West flair is brought to life at the Boot Hill Museum. At the Long Branch Saloon, gunfight reenactments and cowboy dance lessons are just a few of the things you can enjoy while sipping a cold sarsaparilla beer. Macy’s Round-Up Café serves breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a buffet on Saturdays, and specializes in American and Mexican cuisine, making it a great option for a family meal.

Abilene

Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum. Image credit: Michelangelo DeSantis / Shutterstock.com
Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum. Image credit: Michelangelo DeSantis / Shutterstock.com

Abilene, Kansas is no stranger to cowboy gunfights and cattle drives. Its history is closely tied to the Pacific Railroad and flourished through the cattle trade from Texas. History buffs know it is the home of the 34th President, Dwight Eisenhower. Learn all about his time in office at the Eisenhower Presidential Library and Boyhood Home, where the president’s legacy lives on in a collection of 26 million records, over 300,000 photographs, artifacts and films. There is also a research facility and his childhood home. Enjoy a live performance at the Great Plains Theater, where performances captivate audiences year-round. Children’s programs are also offered, making this an educational and family-friendly place to enjoy performing arts. Enjoy a home-cooked meal at The Hitching Post Saloon, which serves hearty steaks and tasty cold beers.

Cottonwood Falls

The banks of the Cottonwood River, Cottonwood Falls. Image credit: Hank Shiffman via Shutterstock.
The banks of the Cottonwood River, Cottonwood Falls. Image credit: Hank Shiffman via Shutterstock.

Cottonwood Falls is a great place for creative minds in Kansas. It is home to Prather Creek Falls, an outdoor paradise where nature lovers can take stunning photos or sit back and enjoy the natural splendor. Tallgrass Antiques will spark the imagination with its collection of salvaged antiques and glassware and inspire your next home improvement project. Prairie Pastimes Arts and Crafts boutique sells one-of-a-kind wood, steel and glass artwork straight from the hands of local artisans. Before you head home, add a little western flair to your wardrobe and visit Jim Roberts and Sons Western Wear clothing store to grab an authentic cowboy hat and boots and bring home a little of the true Wild West!

Atchison

Commercial Street shopping center in downtown Atchison, Kansas. Image credit dustin77a via Shutterstock
Commercial Street shopping center in downtown Atchison, Kansas. Image credit dustin77a via Shutterstock

The International Forest of Friendship makes Atchison, Kansas, a living monument to the world’s history of flight and aerospace. Aviation enthusiasts won’t be disappointed with the museum’s exhibits and events, including activities for kids. The theme of aviation history is explored in more depth at the Amelia Earhart Hanger Museum, which features the last remaining airplane identical to the one Amelia flew. A visit to Amelia’s childhood home lets you see the original Gothic Revival home built by her grandfather in 1861. For a spookier change of pace, Atchison’s 1889 Haunted McInteer Mansion offers self-guided tours if an overnight stay there seems too daunting.

Wamego

The Oz Museum in Wamego, Kansas. Image credit: Robert D. Brozek via Shutterstock
The Oz Museum in Wamego, Kansas. Image credit: Robert D. Brozek via Shutterstock

Lovers of all things Oz need look no further than Wamego, Kansas to see the Yellow Brick Road, Auntie Em’s gift shop and over 100 years of film history at the Wizard of Oz Museum. In keeping with the Oz theme, the Oz Winery is a wine lover’s paradise with wines such as Angry Trees, Curl Your Stockings and Flying Monkey, to name a few. The 4th and the Elm Bar and Grill satisfies any appetite, serving pub food on the cozy outdoor patio. End the day with a stroll through Wamego City Park, where you can admire a Dutch mill and a stone-log mill dating to the late 19th century.

Leavenworth

Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, Buffalo Soldier Memorial, Circle of First. Image credit: JOHN ERIC JACKSON via Shutterstock
Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, Buffalo Soldier Memorial, Circle of First. Image credit: JOHN ERIC JACKSON via Shutterstock

The Magical Carousel is the highlight at the CW Parker Carousel Museum in Leavenworth, Kansas, where historic carousels and horses are on display. Visitors are welcome to enjoy a ride on the museum’s 106-year-old carousel. The Leavenworth Reindeer Farm is also a magical place, where guests can hand-feed the reindeer or sit on Santa’s sleigh in December. Enjoy a dance around the maypole in Front Street Park or a stroll through the park’s alpine forest. End the day with a cold beer at Icicle Brewing Company, which serves craft IPAs and passionate collaborations from local breweries.

Lindsborg

The original Farmers State Bank building in Lindsborg, Kansas. Image credit: Stephanie L Bishop via Shutterstock
The original Farmers State Bank building in Lindsborg, Kansas. Image credit: Stephanie L Bishop via Shutterstock

Lindsborg, Kansas, or Little Sweden, brings hippie culture to life during the spring festival Lindsborg In Bloom, where good food, drinks, and good vibes abound. Get your caffeine fix at the Blacksmith Coffee Shop, located in a former blacksmith shop. The rustic atmosphere offers a cozy place to relax with a freshly made latte or cappuccino. Additionally, the Välkommen Trail is a cyclist’s paradise, with a 4.5-mile path that used to be the railroad line for the Union Pacific and Missouri-Pacific tracks, making it perfect for bikes. Pedestrians are also welcome to enjoy the trails year-round.

Lucas

A shot of the Garden of Eden in Lucas, Kansas. Image credit: Robert D Brozek / Shutterstock.com.
A shot of the Garden of Eden in Lucas, Kansas. Image credit: Robert D Brozek / Shutterstock.com.

Lucas is a charming Kansas town with an eclectic mix of things to see and do, including Brant’s Market, a butcher shop with a history dating back to 1922. It is the oldest meat market in town and serves Czechoslovakian recipes for sausage, jaternice, and bologna. The quirky Garden of Eden house is an attraction developed by a local resident that offers guests the chance to see the handcrafting and unique building style using unconventional materials. Continuing the theme of creativity, the Lucas Triangle Grassroots Art Center is a must-see for an encounter with the handcrafted creations of area artists, including the Deeble House, where artists create postcard-style diaramas throughout the outdoor space using locally sourced, all-natural materials.

You don’t have to click your heels three times to enjoy all the magic of these charming small towns. Enjoy the adventurous delights of riding the 106-year-old carousel in Leavenworth, savoring delicious food at 4th and Elm Bar and Grill, or sipping a glass of wine while reminiscing at the Wizard of Oz Brewery in Wamego. Follow your heart down the yellow brick road to these charming small towns in the wonderful state of Kansas.