If you’ve ever met me in person, it’s no secret that I’m not a native Kansan.
I drop way too many “y’all’s”, own way too many sundresses, and spend too much time researching the ultimate fried chicken recipes to be considered a natural born child of the Sunflower State.
So how’d I end up living on a recently revived homestead nestled in the Flint Hills? By quite the circuitous route.
It all started in Memphis, TN – our nation’s most dangerous city. I was raised in the shadow of Elvis, half a dozen Evangelical (or Fundamentalist, depending on your political leanings) cult leaders, and the ultimate sweet sauce BBQ. Continue Reading…
What states come to mind when you think “snow skiing”?
Colorado, Montana, Wyoming?
Yeah, those are home to my top ski destinations.
What about South Dakota? Did you know there was skiing just outside of Sioux Falls?
Turns out, there’s a lot more to South Dakota than just the Badlands, Wall Drugs, and historic mining towns like the ultimate Wild West destination – Deadwood, SD.
Just outside of Sioux Falls, a publically-owned ski area – Great Bear Recreation Park – offers super budget-friendly snow sports with over a dozen runs, three lifts, and none of the typical Rocky Mountain crowd congestion.
The Cardinals and the Gateway Arch.
Those are the only two things I knew about St. Louis, Missouri before last weekend.
Considered by many to be just another Midwestern flyover city, St. Louis has been a drive-thru destination for me for the past few years, always a good place to take a quick fifteen leg stretch on a long road trip. But this year, things were different. St. Louis no longer a pit stop, but a holiday destination. We were heading to the Gateway of the West, and we were ready to have some good ol’ fashioned Midwestern fun.
Time to get my TripAdvisor on.
Here’s a few of the St. Louis highlights we hit on our holiday travels:
Can you believe that summer is almost over?
Technically, my summer came to an end with the first day of fall semester classes. I went from riding horses every day to lecturing college students on business and technology. The annual change from a life in cowboy boots to sensible pumps is always a little drastic. I’m still getting saddle time in the afternoons and evenings, just spending most of my mornings discussing economic trends and marketing strategies.
Summer 2017 wasn’t exactly an awesome season for me thanks to unexpected surgeries, moving, and other not-so-glam events. I initially didn’t think the season warranted its very own blog post; however, jotting down a few of the highlights has reminded me that headlining summers don’t have to include Caribbean cruises and blowout weddings. Some – like this past summer – involve some pretty cool, albeit not-so-Instagram-worthy events that shape the year that follows.
So, as we usher in the autumn breath of color changes, football games, and harvest season, here’s five highlights from the Summer of 2017:
Kansas City is a unique city, in more than one ways than one.
The barbeque is fabulous, the museums are awesome, and there’s a lot of history for your inner nerd. Oh, and there’s the KC Royals, and the Chiefs (can’t forget those!).
Another Kansas City distinction is that it’s a city spanning two states – Kansas and Missouri.
Although I’m a Kansas resident, I haven’t spent much time on the Kansas side of Kansas City. The majority of the metro’s population, along with a lot of historical development, is on the Missouri side. So, as a KC local, most of my day to day happenings end up being hosted across the state line, on the Show Me State’s side.
Like many residents, I’d heard a lot about must-see attractions in Kansas City, Missouri; however, I was pretty oblivious to the unique art and culture offered over in Kansas City, Kansas (KCKS). Thus, I was just tickled pink when Kansas Tourism announced the June #NoPlaceLikeKS Instameet hosted in Kansas City, Kansas (KCKS), as I was finally going to get to explore the often underrated KC gems of the Sunflower State!
As a 20-something millennial, I’m pretty late to The Bridges of Madison County fan club party.
Pretty sure I was somewhere between binge watching My Little Mermaid VHS’s and leaving my latest lost molar under my pillow for the tooth fairy when “The Bridges” made its daring debut. A love story about an Italian born Midwestern farm wife and a vegetarian National Geographic photographer form the Pacific Northwest would probably have received the same reception from me as the “cooties”.
But fast forward 20-some odd years, to a time in life where my dressing up like Ariel has been replaced with an academic career as a business professor, and I receive a free copy of the bestseller The Bridges of Madison County at our local library book sale. I didn’t think much of the book at the time – looked like a good rainy day read for when our rural Wi-Fi leaves Netflix buffering – but boy, was I in for one of the best reads of my life. Continue Reading…
Pella, Iowa is one of the Midwest’s best kept secrets.
A historic Dutch settlement, about forty miles south of Des Moines, Pella offers a glimpse into the “old world” while providing a rich cultural experience to iPhone streaming visitors.
The first weekend of every May, the community of Pella puts on the three day Tulip Festival that is simply beyond words. I’ve attended many regional holiday events all across the United States in my travels, but Pella’s Tulip Festival truly takes the cake.
Before arriving in Pella, I did a little internet searching and was expecting just another Midwestern May Fest, with a crowd somewhere between your traditional county fair crowd and Veteran’s Day roll out. You can imagine my surprise when we rolled into town, only to find almost the entire town shut down to accommodate for the swelling crowd! Continue Reading…