Overnight in Lyons Twin Mansions in Fort Scott

Lyons Twin Mansions

Lyons Twin Mansions in Fort Scott

After a long day of hiking at Gunn Park and Crawford State Fishing Lake in Southeast Kansas, I arrived at Lyons Twin Mansions in Fort Scott sweaty and stinky. I had no idea what to expect, having contacted the Chamber of Commerce and letting them arrange my accommodations for me, and I couldn’t have been more surprised and more pleased with where I’d be staying for two nights as I researched and hiked trails in the southeast: Lyons Twin Mansions in Fort Scott.


The check in room for Lyons Twin Mansions.

Near the center of town are two twin Victorian mansions one now primarily guest rooms and the other one housing Nate’s Place, the B&B’s restaurant that’s open for anyone and everyone, not just guests. I figured that I was staying somewhere unique as I pulled up and parked the car, but it wasn’t until I stepped inside and was greeted by owner Ms. Pat that I realized just how special this place was.

Elaborate decorations fill the mansion, and everywhere you look, there’s something that catches your eye. From the peacock atop a chest in the dining room to the historical pictures tucked into a windowsill on the way up the servant’s quarters stairs, it’s a lavish and unique place. There are guest rooms in the mansions themselves and a few in the surrounding buildings, as well as a dining room and lounge areas. Each one has its own character and flair. So even if you stay there once, if you go back and you get a different room, it’ll be a whole different experience with rooms ideal for romance and luxury as well as family getaways.

I was staying at the top of the main building servant’s stairs in “The Adventure” room. With wooden floors that creaked upon occasion and old, built in wooden desks, the room also came with modern features that I love whenever I can get them – a king size bed, flat screen TV, and mini fridge. Bonus – the fridge came stocked with a handful of sodas and if I managed to drink them all or needed more Diet Coke (which I happened to need), all I had to do was head outside my room to the living space that not only had a lounge area with several board games, but a microwave and popcorn and extra soda and bottled water.

Shangri-La room at Lyons Twin Mansions

Shangri-La room at Lyons Twin Mansions

My room felt more rustic luxury (as rustic as a place with a comfy bed, coffee maker, DVD player, and couch can be) but there were more high end style luxury rooms, and you can even get an entire mansion to yourself with the von Blucher mansion next door starting from $500 per night.

On the second floor of the main building, I was able to check out a room with a large, walk in steam shower, and upstairs, across the hall from my room in the former servant’s quarters, I snuck a picture through the open door of the Shangri-La room that comes complete with a large whirlpool tub.

The B&B is all about detail. Forgot something, like a phone charger or shaving cream? They’ll be able to take care of you. Don’t like the sound of trains in the night? (In the heyday of the railroad era, 7 lines ran through Fort Scott, now it’s just 2.) There are complimentary earplugs next to your bed for anyone who doesn’t want to be serenaded to sleep by the sound of a train whistle.

Both mornings of my stay, I hit up Nate’s Place for breakfast. The selection was varied, though fairly classic, with options from Belgian waffles topped with whipped cream, strawberries, and blueberries to a create your own omelet to Eggs Benedict. Something new, at least for me, was the sweet hash option – fried sweet potatoes and apples.

I wasn’t able to take advantage of the spa services the B&B can arrange (facial, hot stone and aromatherapy massage, manicure/pedicure), though I wish I would have had the time (and the money). I did get a chance to wander the grounds a bit. With a sprawling lawn in the front and a well-kept fountain and gardens in the backyard complete with hammock, it was a calm, pleasant space to relax. Just the thing after a day of hiking.

The sitting room of the main building

The sitting room of the main building

And, the B&B is on the warmshowers.org site, which is a free hospitality exchange for touring cyclists to find places to stay on the trips. Check through the warmshowers site, and if you can, try and stay here.

And even if you’re not crossing the country on your bike or hiking the nearby trails, it’s a great spot to stay under 90 minutes from Kansas City and about 45 minutes from Joplin, MO and worth the trip for a quirky, memorable stay in a historic town.

If you go:
Rooms from $119
742 and 750 South National, Fort Scott, KS 66701


Garden at Lyons Twin Mansions

Garden at Lyons Twin Mansions – The pond I could see from my window in The Adventure room

The Breadbasket (of Newton)

After a hike at the Sand Creek Trail or Harvey County West Park, try lunch at The Breadbasket (219 N Main, 316-283-3811) in Newton. This humble eatery has been dishing up authentic German fare along with genuinely good soups and sandwiches since 1984. For lunch, the deliciously wide variety of soups are highly recommended. With at least eight unique choices ranging from chicken borscht, green bean & ham, to a spicy Philadelphia peppercorn you’re sure to find something that’s just right. The soups are hearty and thick with a good balance of bold flavors. To go with your soup, cut off a thick slice of fresh-baked bread from the loaves available with every meal. If you are in town for supper on Friday or Saturday, try The Breadbasket’s Low German buffet complete with authentic verenike and other old country fare.

Some of the best Kansas City barbecue: Oklahoma Joe’s

The Kansas City area has some great hiking and biking trails, like at Kill Creek Regional Park in Overland Park, which will be featured in our Kansas Trail Guide book, coming out early 2015. And while you’re in the Kansas City area, it would be a waste to miss out on authentic Kansas City barbecue. As a Kansan, I’d argue it’s some of the best barbecue in the world. And one of the best places to get the best barbecue is at Oklahoma Joe’s.

Oklahoma Joe's. Photo by Marshall Astor

Oklahoma Joe’s. Photo by Marshall Astor

The birthplace of Kansas City was near 18th and Vine on the Missouri side of the state, but Kansas boasts some great barbecue options in the barbecue city. The original Oklahoma Joe’s is rather unexpectedly located in a gas station, but don’t be put off. It was opened by Jeff Stehney and his wife in 1996 after their barbecue competition team, Slaugherhouse Five, had won hundreds of awards, and it will have lines out the door for lunch.

But the line is worth it, and one of their most popular dishes, and one that’s won a lot of their awards, is their pulled pork. I’m partial to the brisket, but really, you can’t go wrong with just about anything on the menu. It’s quite literally finger-licking good, and if you spend some time on the nearby trails in Kansas City, you won’t have to feel guilty about digging into the overwhelmingly delicious (though not really all that healthy) lunch.

Visitor information:
3002 W 47th Ave (the original gas station location)
Kansas City, KS

11950 S Strang Line Rd
Olathe, KS

11723 Roe Avenue
Leawood, KS 66211