Celebrate the National Parks 100th Birthday in Kansas

2016 is the centennial celebration of  America’s National Parks, and nationally recognized historic sites can be found throughout the state of Kansas. Our favorites are those with trails to explore, like the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve near Strong City (keep an eye out for the bison herd!) and the Brown V Board of Education National Historic Site which is the start to the Landon Nature Trail.

Here are two places to join in the celebrations for the National Parks on the official parks birthday weekend (August 27 and 28).

Baseball game at Fort Scott, early 20th century. Don Miller. NPS website.

Baseball game at Fort Scott, early 20th century. Don Miller. NPS website.

August 27, 2016 at Fort Scott National Historic Site – Vintage baseball and picnic in the park

From the NPS website:

Bring your family and a picnic basket full of your favorite food.Eat on the grounds of a frontier 1840s fort while listening to period music.Music will be provided from 11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.

Then at 1:00 p.m., you are invited to watch a Civil War era baseball game that will be held on the grounds of the historic site. Two vintage teams will square off against each other;the Topeka Westerns will take on the Wichita Bull Stockings in a rousing game using 1860s rules, uniforms, and equipment.

August 27, 2016 at Fort Larned – Picnic in the park

A prairie dog show and talk starts the day at 10am at the visitor’s center, and throughout the day will be presentations on the history of the area along with a concert by the revived Fort Larned Post Band. Find out more details of the day here.

 

We’ll keep you updated on more centennial park events throughout the rest of the year.

Planning to go to one of these? Let us know in the comments!

3 Kansas restaurants to celebrate National S’Mores Day

So it’s National S’mores Day. I’m not sure when the tradition started of making national days began – already in August, according to NationalDayCalendar.com, there’s been a National Raspberry Cream Pie Day (August 1), National Root Beer Float Day (August 6), and National Sneak Some Zucchini Onto Your Neighbor’s Porch Day (August 8).

Photo by Derek E-Jay

These days are a bit strange, yes, but why not join in on the fun!

While s’mores are the classic end of a camping/trail day treat, toasted over a fire, here are three places in Kansas where you can get your s’mores fix without the campfire.

The Donut Whole (1720 E Douglas Ave, Wichita) makes their donuts from scratch with locally sourced ingredients and along with other unique flavors like Maple Bacon and Peanut Butter and Grape, they’ve got a S’mores donut. Oh, and they’ve got a 24-hour drive up window.

The vanilla marshmallows are made in house at Pinstripes (Prairiefire, 13500 Nall Avenue, Overland Park) for their s’mores dessert. You can counter some of the calories by playing bocce ball or going bowling.

At Sheridan’s Frozen Custard (stores around Kansas City and in Topeka) you can get a cone filled with fresh made vanilla frozen custard and topped with marshmallow creme, graham cracker, and chocolate chips.

 

World’s largest Czech egg now upright in Wilson

Kristin by the Czech Egg in Wilson

Kristin by the Czech Egg in Wilson

Built in 2012, painted in 2015, and now standing proudly in its own pavilion in the tiny town of Wilson, Kansas is a 22 foot tall Czech egg.

Wilson, a town of around 800 people, is the Czech capital of Kansas due to the large number of immigrants from there that settled in the area.

Now about that egg. The tradition of painting eggs with intricate designs at/around Easter is centuries old, and these eggs are called kraslice. And this 7,000 pound hollow structure was hand-painted with motifs and designs symbolizing good fortune and new beginnings. It’s world’s largest status isn’t yet technically official as Guinness World Records still has to measure and sign off, but I’d defy you to name a larger Czech egg anywhere!

If you go:

Exit 206 off of I-70

Corner of 27th Street and Avenue D

 

Presentation and book signing in Hays – July 30 at 1pm

We’ll be in Hays at the Hays Public Library at 1pm this Saturday, July 30. Our presentation will include just what you can find on the trails of Kansas if you take the time to get off the highway.

Far more than a flyover state, Kansas has plenty of trails for those on foot, on wheels, and on horseback. We’ll tell you our favorite spots around the state, give you some information about writing the book, sign books, and books will be available to buy a $24.95.

Hays Public Library

A Walk With Grandma – book review

A Walk With Grandma – book review

In the rich history of the Appalachian Trail, a more unlikely hero will not be found.  In the spring of 1955, a grandmother from Ohio decided to walk the trail from Georgia to Maine “on a lark” and captured the attention and adoration of a nation.  “Grandma Gatewood’s Walk” by Ben Montgomery recounts the story of the hard but captivating life of Emma “Grandma” Gatewood, a now iconic hiker of the Appalachian Trail, whose walk along the trail characterized her life of determination and grit.  While many hikers today obsess about the latest gear, technology, and trail amenities, Gatewood had little more then a napsack, umbrella, and the kindness of strangers to see her through a 2000+ mile journey.

Gatewood Picture

Grandma Gatewood on the Trail

At a time when only a handful of people had hiked the entirety of the AT, she started walking at the age of 67 and just kept on going.  The challenges that she overcame on the Appalachian Trail alone would make for an exceptionally inspiring read, but the book also artfully recounts Gatewood’s earlier walk through a marriage filled with adversity and abuse leading up to her first epic trail journey.  Gatewood’s long walk is just the start of her remarkable hiking career and the book will certainly inspire people of all ages to dream big and hike on.

Grandma Gatewood Trail

Hikers on the Grandma Gatewood Trail in Ohio

“Grandma Gatewood’s Walk” by Ben Montgomery is published and available through the Chicago Review Press