Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Good way to see Kansas: Mystery Trips!

Kansas Explorer #27 Susie Haver of Concordia is one of the best Explorers in the universe. She's a fabulous ambassador and has this nice way of bringing others into the Explorer mindset. Recently, she and co-Kansas Sampler Festival local director Tammy Britt, and friends went on a mystery tour.

This is something YOU could do with friends with results being a fun day for all AND making a difference in rural communities.

Below is the mystery trip in Susie's words:

We enjoyed a sumptuous breakfast at Kansas Creek Inn (north of Concordia) and a scenic drive on old Hwy 24 to get to Oak Hill in Clay County. Meg Perry welcomed us to Blackberry Mercantile where we learned how Meg came to Oak Hill. Of course, we all made purchases!

Then we headed to Oak Hill Pottery and learned the background of how Lonny and Jean purchased the old school and transformed it into their home and studio. Lonny demonstrated his work on the wheel and Jean shared how she makes the design with a sewing needle and then paints the pottery. The clay comes from Marion. We did our part for Commerce at Oak Hill Pottery, too. Jean's sister-in-law makes beautiful woven rugs. We made some purchases. By that time we were an hour late for our appointment at Wakefield Museum. But, we called and told them we were on the way.

One of our mystery trip participants, Sherrie Radcliffe, is a collector of costume jewelry. I asked her to bring a selection of brooches so we could all have a lovely brooch to wear all day. I especially wanted Sherrie to see the collection of 3000 brooches that Wakefield Museum has. We had a fun time with the two guides.

In a phone call the night before they suggested that we consider dining in Leonardville at Nelson's Landing. (They even called to make sure they were open and wrote down the directions for us.) The parents of K-State football player turned Green Bay Packer Jordy Nelson, run it in downtown Leonardville. It's cute, has great food and homemade pie! They were really friendly, too, and there were lots of people eating there. It's a sports bar so they had a big screen projector and numerous TV's. It looks like they have a dance floor, too. It's in two buildings with lots of sports stuff and old advertising signs and ag stuff on the walls.

Then we headed to Manhattan to see the Elizabeth Layton exhibit at the Manhattan Art Center and Birger Sandzen exhibit at Beach Museum of Art on KSU campus. We even managed a stop at the KSU Dairy Bar in Call Hall for some fine KSU ice cream!

We kept track of the money we spent. I had the girls guess at the total. Tammy was the closest (and also had the highest guess at $395.) By the time we added our gas money we were up to just under $450. I can tell you that we felt really good spending our money in small towns. Plus, we didn't think we spent a lot anywhere, but as you well know it adds up. It also felt really odd to be in Manhattan at the end of our mystery trip. It seemed so BIG.

We're pretty proud of ourselves though. Six women going less than 70 miles away from home in just under 12 hours can make a difference. Plus we all feel better for having gotten away for a day.

By the way, the other four had never been to Oak Hill or Wakefield and 5 of the 6 hadn't been to Manhattan Art Center or Beech Museum of Art. Leonardville was new to all of us.

We can hardly wait for the next trip. Plus, it's so fun having it as a mystery trip! The yellow bags helped us keep our stuff straight.

Thanks for sharing your trip with us, Mysterious Concordia Women!

It's fun to "Get Kansas" with a group using the guise of mystery trip all sorts of little-known places take on an adventurous feel. Thanks for the inspiration!

KE #2 Marci Penner

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