Adventure: a good try

Whenever we hear even the slightest murmur of something cool within driving distance, we put it on our bucket list to head to on an open and pretty day!

I can’t remember who told us about this, but it’s a waterfall/reservoir in Alma (just about 20 min from here). But that’s all we knew. We were in a little antique store asking about it and finally found it down a small dirt road!

Except it hadn’t rained in a while…so it was dry.

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This would be super cool…with water coming down!

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We still had a great time hiking around it, but there’s nothing to report…

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Kansas Day Trip: Westmoreland Soda Fountain

Brian always finds really fun stuff to do and places to go. We are spoiled like that. This day over the Christmas Break it was Westmoreland, with a special emphasis on their Soda Fountain in a pharmacy.

Soda fountain in a Westmoreland

It was about a 25 min drive. I think I was expecting it to be more “tourist-y”…it wasn’t. We stuck out like a steak at a vegan festival but we didn’t care!

Becks birthday stuff

 Becks birthday stuff

These two. They are two peas in a pod.

The ice cream was yummy (we did shakes, malts and a float) and there’s nothing like small town hospitably to top it off! There’s something super relaxing about waiting for your drink to be made. It was refreshing.

Soda fountain in a Westmoreland

We asked where else we should go while we were in town and they pointed us to a “historic hand dug well.” Super cool and much larger than I was expecting!

Soda fountain in a Westmoreland

Soda fountain in a Westmoreland

Overall, super cute town!  There’s a tour you can do that includes this building. How I wish it was still in use!!

Dec 2016

 

This is why back roads > highway

Brian took us the back roads back home from Topeka one day.

When we see this on the side of the road, we brake and yell “KIDS! Put your shoes on and get out of the car!”

Kansas Bail Art

This was reason enough to stop, but as we looked around, it got better! There were tons of hay bale art! (Berkley?!)
Kansas Bail Art

Sadie Piper’s face!

Kansas Bail Art

Running to the next bale!
Kansas Bail Art

Kansas Bail Art

Kansas Bail Art

Kansas Bail Art

What happened here that everyone looks so normal?

Kansas Bail Art

We couldn’t figure out what this was. Maybe a jayhawk someone took apart?
Kansas Bail Art
Thanks random house on the back roads for being creative with your hay!! 
Back roads > Highways

Kansas Day Trips: Council Grove

 

More small town Kansas exploring. This time it was Council Grove. The only thing we knew about this town was that there was a cave. So off we went!

First stop: climbing on the garden tank. That’s what Brian calls them. I’d never heard that before. But it makes sense…

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Then we hit up the tree General Custer slept under during the Civil War. We were expecting a tree. It’s a stump they put a roof over. 
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But right beside it was the oldest old school playground we’ve ever been to!

This thing could teeter so far I thought we would tip. It’s on this concrete circle, but not attached. I wasn’t convinced we wouldn’t flip. 
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Once we realized that we had to scare the kids.

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Old school merry-go-round!

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Real see-saws. IMG_3999

I’m all about real see-saws, but honestly, someone cries when we play on them. every. single. time. 
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The swings had wood seats and were wicked tall. Meaning you could swing incredibly high. IMG_4018

And this slide. You can tell how I feel about it. You get air, and there’s no sides!

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I went down. Once.

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There’s an old bell labeled “Old Bell”

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And we found the cave! It looks like you can go in in this pic, but in reality Brian’s standing at the back. It was more of a cove. 
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This tin man in front of the Ray’s Apple Market topped the list for me! That’s just cool. IMG_4077

So this town loves putting tree stumps under pavilions. Here’s another one! IMG_4081

And no joke, a third tree stump they put a roof over. To put this in perspective, this town is only 2 square miles! IMG_4084

Really fun town to explore, not a repeat, but definitely worth hitting up for the afternoon!

Top 15 Things To Do In Marysville, KS

This post could also be titled: “The only 15 things to do in Marysville, KS.” (no offense to Marysville, we loved this little town!)

While waiting in line at Call Hall one day the woman behind us had a Marysville shirt on. We asked her where that was and why that town name sounded so familiar. She said it was probably because of the black squirrels. We said, “The what?” She explained that they had squirrels that were completely black for some reason. That’s how this town an hour north of Manhattan ended up on our Summer Bucket List. We had such a fun day that we decided to rank our experiences.

So upon arriving into town it became clear that they do indeed pride themselves on their black squirrels.

Black Squirrels

Here’s all we did, ranked in “fun” order even!

1. See the Black Squirrels.

Y’all. They really have totally black squirrels.

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The first squirrel we saw was a normal brown one, and we were about to cry “false advertising!!” but we asked some locals and they said they have brown ones, but they have black ones too, and that we would for sure see them. And we did! They were actually pretty common! Legend claims they arrived in Marysville when they escaped from a travelling circus in the 1910s!

Marysville Trip 2015

2. Ride bikes on the Blue River Trails

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This was actually the second reason we came out. Brian did some reasearch and found this great trail. It’s converted from the railroad tracks (just like Katy Trail) so totally flat!

Marysville Trip 2015

We only rode 4 miles, but the trail is 13 miles long and has this cool bridge:

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Sadie and I took a picture cause we were twinkies this day. And Berkley was pretending to be a bunny and the picture is mid-jump!

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3. Alcove Springs

We called an audible as we were on our way back home when we saw a sign that said “Alcove Springs, 6 miles.” What is Alcove Springs? Do we care? We followed the sign.

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It’s a spring that forms a cool waterfall!

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The settlers coming along the Oregon Trail discovered it in the 1800s. (The Donners passed thru here too, so they had water…but no food…)

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The hike was a pretty one.

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4. Take a Picture with the Giant Pony Express Statue

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This actually ranked higher than visiting the actual Pony Express Barn (below). Cause posing with statues ranks high in our book.

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5. Get a milkshake at Penny’s Diner

Thought it would be fun to find a fun local spot to stop for a snack, and Penny’s was it!

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We would have thought this place had been around 60 years. It was actually built in 1999

Marysville Trip 2015

6. Visit the only remaining Pony Express Barn open to the public

The Pony Express was only a thing for 19 months (1859-60), who knew?

Marysville Trip 2015

We didn’t go into the barn or museum (it was $6 for adults and $4 for kids, we are too cheap) but we peeked in the window and went to the gift shop!

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7. The Rope Ferry

A life-sized recreation of a rope ferry used along the Blue River

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8. Visit the City Park

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This scored high for a few reasons. One, cause they had an old school teeter-totter. (moments after this photo was taken someone was crying…) And two because it was just cool. I’m guessing it was designed by the same people who did the Clay Center one. 

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Marysville Trip 2015

9. Try to catch a rat snake

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Cause we’ve done a lot of that this summer!

10. Ride the Dinosaur

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At a random Sinclair gas station

11. Take a photo at the Pepsi Bottling Company

#MountainDew in #Marysville

There’s no bottling, just distribution, but a cool sign to show for it

12. Check out the rows of charred catfish heads on fence post

Marysville Trip 2015

You know how some people put boots on fence posts? This guy had a huge collection of huge catfish heads on his!

13. Visit the one room school house

Marysville Trip 2015

It’s a real one room school house

Marysville Trip 2015

14. Check out the Sod House

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It’s a one room furnished house you can look into (which was good for our kids to understand so we can say remind them of it when they claim to need more space! 🙂 )

15. Visit the historical courthouse

Marysville Trip 2015

Disclaimer: we didn’t go in. 🙂 That’s why it got the 15th spot!

 

 

 

 

Surprisingly fun: Kansas Sampler Festival

Our great neighbors gave us passes to the Kansas Sampler in Wamego, which is a “sampling” of all the cities and things the state of Kansas has to offer. Lots of booths, lots of samples, and really, our kind of thing!

Before we even got inside the gates, we ran into these cool people! I mean really, does it get better than this?!!?

Kansas Sampler 2015

Then there was this!! I’ve NEVER seen a baby kangaroo in a mommy’s pouch before!

Kansas Sampler 2015

They had a porcupine too!

Kansas Sampler 2015
And a baby alpaca!
Kansas Sampler 2015

Boo liked the “Boo-sized” goats best

(also, she likes to carry a purse places. She’s gonna make a great mom, always prepared!)Kansas Sampler 2015

This is a model of the hotel we saw just a few weeks ago in Waterville

Kansas Sampler 2015

And found this fun thing on rails! We had wanted to ride it when we were in Waterville, but it was locked. Woohoo!

Kansas Sampler 2015

No idea what this is. But if you can get on something for a picture, we do!

Kansas Sampler 2015

Also, we like to lay on railroad tracks.

Kansas Sampler 2015

Hiland Farms (a local dairy) had these cool milk mustache stickers!

Kansas Sampler 2015

So far this festival has had everything we love most: people dressed up, baby animals, things we can get on/ride, and wood cut outs!

Kansas Sampler 2015

Oh, and props for photos. You can never go wrong with props for photos!

Kansas Sampler 2015

The best give away? Cool sunglasses from the City of Manhattan with the “little apple” on it.
Kansas Sampler 2015

Kansas Sampler 2015

More animals!

Kansas Sampler 2015

Berkley hugged this one:

Kansas Sampler 2015

She’s weird.

Kansas Sampler 2015

Kansas Sampler 2015

And she wanted to take this one homeKansas Sampler 2015

Then someone spotted a “real teeter totter.” I was pumped about this, I haven’t seen one of those in…well, since I was small enough to play on them. Apparently our kids have no idea what a “real teeter totter” is. Cause this ain’t one guys.

Kansas Sampler 2015

Thanks Ron and Stacey for the tickets!! We had a great time!!

Kansas Day Trip: Blue Rapids and Waterville

We’ve said it before, but we are convinced Kansas is the country’s best kept secret. Tucked in middle America are some of the prettiest views and coolest little towns to visit! Saturday we loaded up and drove north in search of “the smallest town in the US to host a National League baseball game.” Brian read about it in a baseball book, and we are always up for an adventure. 

We hit Waterville first (and unplanned stop, but that’s actually what we love best about these trips!) to hop on the train!

Blue Rapids and Waterville

Both of them did this unprompted and without knowing that the other did it too!

Blue Rapids and Waterville

But SP has a better chance of surviving!

Blue Rapids and Waterville

It gets better: you can get inside!!

Blue Rapids and Waterville

Blue Rapids and Waterville

And there’s a caboose too!

 

Blue Rapids and Waterville

Blue Rapids and Waterville(We were so impressed he got all the way up there! I was picturing him scaling the walls. Then he told us he used the ladder there on the left! 🙂 )

View from the top:

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Apparently the train works and they have some days when you can take a 10 mile ride on it!

Blue Rapids and Waterville

The renovated Weaver Hotel

Blue Rapids and Waterville

Waterville has a super cute little antique shop too!

Waterville, Kansas

A few more minutes to Blue Rapids and we found the baseball field!

Blue Rapids and Waterville

Blue Rapids and Waterville

Blue Rapids and Waterville

Brian came prepared, so we played a little ball!

Blue Rapids and Waterville

Blue Rapids and Waterville

(Please notice Berkley, what is she doing??)

Blue Rapids and Waterville

Running to the infield to tag Brian!

Blue Rapids and Waterville
Blue Rapids and Waterville
Blue Rapids and Waterville

Blue Rapids and Waterville

Berkley may not be a natural:

Blue Rapids and Waterville

“Keep your eye on the ball?” Let’s start with “Keep your eyes open Berkley!”

Blue Rapids and Waterville

Blue Rapids and Waterville

Blue Rapids and Waterville

She actually hit it though, proving even a blind squirrel finds a nut sometimes!

Blue Rapids and Waterville

We cheered a little too!!

Blue Rapids and Waterville

Other facts about Blue Rapids: (they have a lot of “oldest” things…)

-The public library, built in 1875, is the oldest library west of the Mississippi in continuous operation in the same building

-They have the oldest roundabout in Kansas

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-And some of the oldest rocks too!

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Summer Road Trip: Rock City, KS

So, one of the places on our Bucket List for our Summer of Road Trips 2014 was Cawker City, KS, home to the World’s Largest Ball of Twine.

Kansas, y’all, we’ve got it all.

So we were ready to head out one day this summer. Then we bailed. It’s a 2 hour drive. To see this:

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We are all about cool things (such as huge balls of twine obviously) but that was too far, even for us! So plan B was Rock City, KS. It was only an hour and 15 min away from Manhattan. So Rock City it was!

Stopped to listen to the wheat in the wind. It’s one of my favorite things about the summer. The sound of wheat. Who knew?

Rock City in Kansas

Rock City in Kansas

Rock City in Kansas

So, Rock City is about two football fields of land where there are these weird rocks in the ground. Of course the literature about it is all about the “millions” of years…which was ironic to us cause people carved their names in them. I’m not convinced rock that scratches with a stick could hold up that long! 🙂

Rock City in Kansas

We picnicked on the rocks, then played on them!

Rock City in Kansas

Rock City in Kansas

I was gonna get a picture of Brian jumping off this rock…Rock City in Kansas

Then I told him he didn’t jump high enough. He told me it wasn’t high enough to get a good picture, but I wasn’t convinced. So I took a stab at jumping higher: Rock City in Kansas

“How did I do?!?”

Take 2.

Rock City in Kansas

Goofball.
Rock City in Kansas

We had a great time climbing and playing on the rocks! 
Rock City in Kansas

And playing Wiffle. Of course.
Rock City in Kansas

Rock City in Kansas

More jumping!

Rock City in Kansas

A little Lion King fun! 

Rock City in Kansas

They are the “littlests,” but they are strong…

Rock City in Kansas

One of the rocks has a hole in it!

Rock City in Kansas

Rock City in Kansas

It really wasn’t big enough for me. But that didn’t stop me. Nothing like a little hole in a rock to make a girl feel big. 
Rock City in Kansas

Rock City in Kansas
They didn’t advertise this one…but it’s unmistakable, right??

Rock City in Kansas

All in all, a really fun place to check out!!

Summer Time Konza

Earlier this summer we decided to take another trip out to the Konza. Brian has been more than I have, my only other trip was in January with 30 mile per hour wind! It was a beautiful day this time!

When we drive, we do a lot of turning around. Sometimes cause we are lost (if I’m driving) but most often cause one of us saw something that we need to get on.

This day it was this amazing merry-go-round from forever ago! We knocked on the owner’s door and asked if we could take it for a spin. It was originally from the little school house down the street.

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This is as fast as I like to spin these days:

IMG_6713It’s a brilliant design (it kind of swung while it twirled) and was still solid as could be (“they just don’t make things like they used to”).

 

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I adore old thingsIMG_6737

We also saw this awesome chicken coop!

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We finally made it to the Konza Prairie, swords and all!

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They started out like this:

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But it wasn’t long until that turned to this:

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Brian caught this. Then we were reminded how amazing it is that we have this computer in our pocket that we can, in a few seconds, look it up and find out what it is (and most importantly if it’s poisonous!)

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For being such a weenie about anything involving loud sounds and fire (fireworks are her bane), Berkley is by far the most adventurous when it comes to animals.

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Wouldn’t be a Hough Family Trip without Wiffle Ball…IMG_6774

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Sadie had her eyes dilated that morning before we left, so she sported her Hello Kitty shades!

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Contrary to what many think, Kansas isn’t flat. (Who am I kidding. I didn’t even think about Kansas before we got here…my loss though!)

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Popped a squat for a picnic lunch!

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Lunch time entertainment

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I think that was when Becks was the catcher?

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She said she found a throne. I think one of the other kids told her it was more of a toilet…

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One of these two thought this “hand through the tree” trick was funner than the other one did!

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Running low on water, energy and joy at this point…

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On the way home we wanted to try to get to the big “KS” letters on the side of the mountain. We made it and had a pretty great view of the city!

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Capitol Building of Kansas Visit

After hearing about it from the Albrechts, we visited the State Capitol Building recently in Topeka, Kansas. We were running a little late so we had to make a mad dash around the place to get caught up with the tour. Felt a little like a scene from  National Treasure.

It didn’t take long to notice there was a Texas flag among the American Flag and the English flag. Turns out the collection of flags was all the nations that Kansas has been under. Part of Kansas was once Texas, it’s starting to make sense why we feel so at home here. But I guess by this reasoning Colorado, Wyoming, Oklahoma and New Mexico would feel like home as well.

Here is a picture of the Map overlayed with the United States today to help you see. 

The building is beautiful, very elaborate.

They were doing some construction at first which Boo did not like at all. She must have good ears cause she hates noise.

Found Lance Kinzer on the wall which was very cool. He goes to Redeemer in Overland Park.

Also found his desk.

This is the State Supreme Court.

Here they are in the seats.

This is John Brown in Civil War painting. John Brown died in 1859, the Civil War began in 1861. But still this is what John Brown would have looked like had he lived to see the Civil War. He’s got a Beecher Bible in one hand (that’s the gun) and an actual Bible in the other hand.

This is the Governor’s Ceremonial Office. Apparently he dislikes Buffalo as much as I do, one dead on the wall, one dead on his desk. It was incredibly soft which was unexpected.

The art work was pretty cool.

I noticed they had a W that must stand for Wiffleball in the center of the circle. Yes, I actually had a wiffle ball in my pocket.

This was from way way up high heading towards the dome. I was intrigued to see they only finished off the side of the columns that can be seen by visitors below. What a picture of how we sometimes function in our faith- only working on the part of our lives that is visible by others.

As we climbed towards the top of the dome we had this nice view. 

This is Laura and Berkley chickening out and heading back to the real floors. The dome below them is the above portion of the dome in previous photos. It’s glass to let light in before the invention of electricity and light bulbs.

I laughed at this. Get there, get there… She’s still Jenny from the block.

This was our final ascent, pretty sure this was a 14,000 foot mountain equivalent.

Now were on the outside of the top of the dome.

We wanted to throw this, but they said no throwing things off the top.

The climb down.

Laura and Berkley were so traumatized they went to the very bottom floor.

World Cup Fever