This Holiday Season, Give “Heartland” by Sarah Smarsh: More Importantly, Read it!

“Heartland” by Sarah Smarsh

Sarah Smarsh and her family lived and worked near Kingman, Kansas for generations.  They all worked hard, played even harder but never thought of themselves as being poor in the richest country on earth.  Her memoir, Heartland, is New York Times Bestseller, was a National Book Award finalist with many more accolades flowing in.  It is definitely worth your time!

Weekend Getaways!

Kansas! Magazine – Winter 2018

The readers of Kansas! Magazine voted on their favorite weekend destinations.  Here are the six finalists–and where to visit!

  • Abilene
    • Mr. K’s Farmhouse, Russell Stover Chocolate Factory, Greyhound Hall of Fame)
  • Atchison
    • The Riverwalk, Evah C. Cray Home Museum, Historical Socieity Museum in the Santa Fe Depot)
  • Council Grove
    • Council Grove Marina, Hays House Restaurant, Kaw Mission
  • Lawrence
    • University of Kansas, Massachusetts Street, Downtown
  • Lindsborg
    • Small World Gallery, Ol’ Stuga, Hemslöjd, The Ivory Thimble, Coronado Heights, Rendezvous Adventure Outfitters
  • Norton
    • Prairie Dog State Park, ‘They Also Ran’ Gallery, Scheetz Motor Building

Smoky Valley School District’s ‘Super’-intendent

Glen Suppes has just been named the 2019 Kansas Superintendent of the Year by the Kansas School Superintendents’ Association.  This award was very much earned for the long list of accomplishments since at USD 400.

Lindsborg has earned other accolades recently as well.  On October 18th, the city government was a finalist for the Voice of the People Award for Transportation in Education and Enrichment.

Good for what ‘ales’ you!

The Swedish Crown, in downtown Lindsborg, is creating a four-course meal paired with craft beers from Three Rings Brewery out of nearby McPherson.  Dinner starts at 7 pm on Friday, November 2.  Tickets are going fast, so call 785-227-8422 now!  Here’s the menu:

  • Appetizer:  House-made pretzel bites served with spicy cheese sauce and carmelized onion dip — served with Vertigo IPA
  • Salad:  Arugula salad with raspberries, pumpkin seeds, gorgonzola and champagne vinaigrette — served with Love Shack or Raspberry Gose
  • Entree:  Beef tenderloin filet with truffle mashed potatoes and bacon-wrapped asparagus — served with Wanderlust or Scottish Red Ale
  • Dessert:  Stout chocolate cake with espresso cream and raspberry coulis — served with Bulldog or Oatmeal Stout

McPherson, Kansas is among America’s Best 50 Cities to Live — # 24, actually

24/7 Wall Street recently published their list of the best fifty cities to live in America.  Here are McPherson’s attributes:

> Population: 13,212
> 5 yr. population change: 0.0%
> Median home value: $135,800
> Median household income: $54,057

“The median household income in McPherson, Kansas of $54,057 a year is just below the national median of $55,322. However, a dollar goes a long way in McPherson as goods and services are 14% less expensive than they are on average nationwide. Indeed, extreme financial hardship is relatively rare in the city. Just 7.3% of residents live in poverty compared to 15.1% of Americans.

McPherson residents also have many options when it comes to entertainment and recreation. The city has a far greater than typical concentration of restaurants, fitness centers, museums, golf courses, and movie theaters.”

The methodology of 24/7 Wall St. included a weighted index of 25 measures that fall into four categories: affordability, economy, quality of life and community.  To avoid geographic clustering, only the top-ranking city, with a minimum population of 8,000, in any given county was selected. 

‘Sweet Home, Salina!”

Blues Masters at the Crossroads starts this coming weekend!  (If you wait until ‘Stormy Monday” you’ll be too late!  In fact, this is their last ever blues concert!

Blues legends and legends-to-be will perform at Blue Heaven Studios
201 S. Eighth Street in Salina.  Buy your tickets at or by calling 800-716-3553.  So give up some ‘green’ for the blues!

Friday, October 26

  • Bobby Rush – “King of the Chitlin’ Circuit”
  • Mud Morganfield – Son of blues great, Muddy Waters
  • Marquise Knox – Blues guitarist on the rise from St. Louis
  • Beverly “Guitar” Watkins – 79 years old, but she’s still playing the blues

Saturday, October 27

  • Kenny “Real Deal” Neal – Guitar impressario – ‘swamp’ style
  • Robert Finley – soon-to-be-legendary soul singer
  • Larry Garner – Three-time blues writer of the rear
  • Li’l Ray Neal – Guitarist / bluesman from Baton Rouge

Learn about the ‘Renaissance’ at the former Assaria, Kansas high school

Walking toward the Renaissance Cafe, diners might expect to grab a tray and stand in line for Sloppy Joe’s.  Instead diners will be ‘schooled’ to order and enjoy some of the finest dining in central Kansas.  Or anywhere else!

The Renaissance Cafe just announced its new menu:

  • Amuse-Bouche: Red Pear, Bellavitana Merlot, Mint, Dried Cherry
  • Beef Carpacio with Radish and Kumquat
  • Pork Cordon Bleu
  • Seared Tuna with Edamame, Wasabi Cream and Shiitake Mushrooms
  • Salads: Panzanella, Arugula and Caesar

See ‘Kansas” in Kansas

Celebrate (don’t ‘beware’) the Ides of March!

The iconic band Kansas will perform at the Stiefel Theatre in Salina on Friday, March 15 as part of their “Point of No Return 40th Anniversary Tour.”  If you just can’t wait, listen to their live album “Leftoverture Live & Beyond” that was release last year on November 3, 2017.

Until then, buy your tickets for these upcoming performances at the Stiefel Theatre!  All shows start at 8 pm.

  • Friday, November 2: Lord of the Dance – Dangerous Games
  • Saturday, November 3: Tedeschi Trucks Bank with Sam Lewis
  • Wednesday, November 7: Straight No Chaser
  • Saturday, November 10: Lindsay Buckingham with J. S. Ondara
  • Thursday, November 15: Josh Turner
  • Friday, November 16: Generation Axe with Vai, Wyld Malmsteen, Bettencourt and Abasi
  • Thursday, November 29: Tommy Emmanuel with Jerry Douglas
  • Saturday, December 1: Mark Chestnutt and Joe Diffie

Traveling in Middle America

Middle America.  The Great Plains.  Flyover Country.  It doesn’t matter what the central United States are called.

Middle America deserves to be seated prominently at the table for all travelers.  Yes, especially the so-called luxury travelers.

Middle America is drenched with adventures and unique experiences that are literally everywhere–especially where travelers may least expect them: small towns and rural communities.

Middle America is easily accessible, reasonably priced and untapped!