Welcome to Inspire.
Spring is here and it's time to start planning your summer vacation.
So why not make it a staycation?
We'll be right back with some wonderful ideas for summer travel without leaving thoe Sunflower State.
Inspire is sponsored by Kansas Furniture Mart, using furniture to Inspire conversation and by the Blanch Bryden Foundation.
The Friends of KTWU, honored to support programs and services that enrich the lives of our viewers and the Raymond C and Marguerite Gibson Foundation.
♪ Hello and welcome to Inspire.
It's great to be back with my two wonderful co-hosts, Danielle Norwood, Amy Kelly and you.
Thank you for being there.
During the summer months, many of us feel the need to just get away from it all.
Yes, we do.
But while we may dream of sunning on a tropical beach or taking in a Broadway show, not everyone has the time or the budget for long distance travel to exotic vacation destinations.
So we're going to inspire you to make your next vacation a staycation.
And here to help us with that are some beautiful, familiar faces.
Joining us again today are Colby Sharples- Terry, public relations and communications manager for Kansas Tourism, and Marci Penner and Wendee Rowe from the Kansas Sampler Foundation and The Big Kansas Road Trip.
You all are the travel experts.
So I want to start out with Colby.
I want to see what the mission of your organized nation is.
So we are the state tourism office, and so we create awe inspiring content to bring visitors to Kansas, but also inspire Kansans to travel their home state.
We want people to be proud Kansans, and fall in love with it because there's something in every single corner.
And I think it's something that we can all work on for sure.
Is is becoming the best brand ambassadors for our own state.
I'm gonna ask the same question to Marci and Wendee.
What's the mission of the Kansas Sampler Foundation?
Well, our our job is to make rural communities awesome or to help make them awesome to preserve and sustain rural culture.
And the way we get into conversation, like with you, is that we develop Kansas guidebooks by going to every single incorporated city in Kansas to create a thoughtful audience for these rural communities and and help see things through explorer eyes.
And you guys have been doing this for a number of years.
You've traveled the state and you do know every single cranny, every country road, every signpost, you know, in your travels.
Marci, What has stood out to you about the great state of Kansas?
Well, I'd say the diversity of geography.
We have 11 physio-graphic regions, and that stands out.
But, you know, if you learn how to do exploratory things, that means you learn how to talk to the locals.
And therefore every town is different with the experience you might have.
And, you know, it's just about enjoying the things that are there in a way that maybe you didn't appreciate before.
Okay, Wendy, I'm going to ask you, what's the biggest contrast?
We've got all these different regions.
What's the biggest contrast in terms of like maybe the highest hill or mountain or the lowest thing in terms of physical graphic regions?
So when you say the highest hill, I instantly think of Mount Sunflower way out in western Kansas, which is what's the height?
The elevation is 4039 feet above sea level.
Oh my gosh.
You just rattled that off like it was nothing.
That's so awesome.
On the lowest point in the state is near Coffeyville on the Vertegris River, 739 feet above sea level.
Oh, Wendy, what's the contrast region?
For me, the contast regions that I love are the Gyp Hills down in south, kind of the southwest south central region of Kansas along the the Oklahoma state line.
And this is some of the most unusual geographic formations out there that you'll see anywhere besides the monument rocks up there by Jerusalem, little Jerusalem to a northwest Kansas.
So if somebody wanted to do a staycation, if they wanted to, I mean, how would you start?
There's so much information and there's so many great things to go to and see.
How would you even start putting that together?
Colby, Can you?
So I do a lot of road trips, especially when I bring media in and we like to focus on the regions.
We think there's so much to offer and so we do it regionally based.
You can do it by themes, by food and attractions, but I've just found it easier in and to really get to understand that part of the state, that's where we go.
And so I just use our website travelks.com, We have all the attractions there.
And so what we look for is, you know, what is unique to Kansas?
What's an experience they can get in this region that they can't get anywhere else?
And that's what we that's what we really, really want to show travelers, visitors, whatever, but also my own children.
You know, I want them to see the best of the best.
And there's a lot of real communities and places all across Kansas that you can do that.
Now, when do you guys both mentioned that you visit with the locals?
So what's the quirkiest thing anybody sent you off to see in the region?
You know, well, Joe asked you to jump in his pickup with them and I went to a pasture to see something that's always fun It's a thing you just don't know.
So you have to be open to things that people will invite in for tea or to see their quirky collection in the basement -the collection in the courthouse in Columbus.
Yeah, we just stepped inside and the maintenance man heard that we were researching.
He said, Well, come to my office.
We go to the maintenance man's office and there's a on every wall or pop bottles, thousands of them.
And you know, if you combine going to these places with knowing how to talk to the locals and being open to adventure, they will just take you on adventure.
But it's more about than just going to festival after festival.
I mean, some of these things are here year round, right?
So what are some of the things that are around here?
Because, you know, I always think about the music festivals and food festivals and cultural festivals, but what are some of the things that are always there?
Well, one thing I love are huge cottonwood trees, and there are several, several around the state, but there's one nearby in Reno County, and it's just out in the countryside along a dirt road.
But it has been it's a champion Eastern Cottonwood.
And it I mean, you know, so that's always there.
But, you know, there there are things maybe a cafe will come or go, but there's quirky things like an old bank vault in Cuba where the bank was torn down, but they left the vault.
And I want to say a little bit ago, you were singing home on the range, but, The Kansas Road Trip in Smith County, you can actually go to that cabin where Brewster, Higley wrote our state song during the Big Kansas Road Trip.
But you could go there any time of the year.
Where you have to sing?
Yeah, and we were also singing John Denver song about Colby, Kansas because Colby's here.
So, Colby, so what's there to do?
Say we want to go to Colby and we want to stay in Colby, but where can we go if we want to offshoot different days around there?
Oh, for sure.
So obviously Colby is the oasis of the plains.
They have great travel center there, too.
If you're looking for information about the northwest part of Kansas is to me super underrated.
You know that's that part of the state was underwater was was an inland sea.
And so that's where you get the rock formations.
A lot of people know monument rocks they hear a Little Jerusalem Badlands State Park but honestly my favorite is Castle Rock Badlands, it's free entrance.
Whenever I've gone and I've gone three times now, I've been the only person in the park or me and my children, and they can literally just run wild.
I mean, I've taught them to respect the rocks.
They are fragile, but it's really one of those places where I feel like my kids can be children and just explore.
I don't there's not these rules and all these other things.
There's just them and kids in these giant rocks, as they say, bigger than our house.
And to me, that's like those are the moments that are special.
There's there's great restaurants, you know, there's unbelievable eats, there's cafes.
You just have to dive into the regions, you know?
And whenever I plan a trip, I always think about the main attractions I want to see.
You know, you have like the Castle Rocks or the Sternberg.
But then also what cafe can I go eat at that's been here for this long, or what other experiences can I have?
I always look for attractions, food and lodging.
Where can I stay that isn't you know, nothing against, you know, regular hotels, but where can I stay?
That can give me an authentic experience.
Is it somebody's ranch, is it somebody's farm?
And that's how I book travel and that's how I book, you know, when I bring media in.
And that's the type of places that we're staying at.
And they're all over Kansas.
They they truly are.
You'd be surprised just how many unique opportunities you can get in each region or, you know, just a few set of communities.
Oh, I love it.
And there's so much for you guys.
So hang on.
You stay there.
We're going to take a short break but start packing because we'll be back with more ideas for your perfect Kansas staycation.
And welcome back.
We're visiting with Marci Penner and Wendy Rowe with the Kansas Sampler Foundation and with Colby Sharples- Terry of Kansas Tourism about taking a Kansas staycation.
Now, ladies let's hear some more suggestions about staycations.
I'm interested in those roadside attractions.
Ya know where you see, that's the biggest Ball of twine we got to see that, you know, just like you can do, you don't even have to do a stayaction.
You're just driving through the state and you can do that.
What are some of those?
Yeah, so Kansas is home to a few of the world's largest things.
We talked about the world's largest hairball found in a cow stomach in Garden City.
You've got to be kidding.
And it really is.
You can touch it.
You know, it is the world's largest chick egg.
There are some fantastic road side attractions.
And, you know, like the town, the entire town of Lucas is basically a roadside attraction.
You know, Kansas Sampler has their favorites as well that they'd like to share.
One is the largest gas can in the state.
Can you guess in what town you would find the world's largest can gas?
Yeah, that's it.
It says GAS appropriately and then KAN for Kansas.
So gas can.
Oh so down a little bit you'd find big Brutus which is the world's largest coal shovel still assembled.
You've got the world's largest ball of sissel twine in Copper City, the world's largest baseball in Muscotah.
And there's Champion Trees all over the state that you can look up online.
And it's always fun to see the big trees.
But So Texas has nothing big over Kansas, right?
Can't even compare.
Can't even compare.
Let's talk about movie sites, though.
Picnic was done here in Kansas and talk about some of that you could, movie buffs come here and of course, The Wizard of Oz, the big one.
Well, should we start with that one?
So if you're a Wizard of Oz person, you'd go to Wamego where you can see the Oz Museum, right?
You could go to Liberal or where they also have a lot of Dorothy's on this street intersections and you can find Totos all over Wamego.
Yeah, you can find Totos.
What would you add Colby?
I would add Route 66.
So Kansas has 13 miles of the mother road.
And so it wasn't a film that was filmed there, but the inspiration for Disney Pixar's Cars Tow Mater was truly inspired on a road trip through Kansas.
And so Kansas's version of Route 66.
There are some Cars related activities down in that area.
You can see the original Tow Mater, which now has eyes, and it just makes for great roadside attractions.
And you know, it's the ultimate like American road trip to do Route 66.
But you can do the cute little 13 miles in Kansas.
There's so much to see and do.
You can spend a whole day in that area.
I would not be a good Salinan if I did not mention Picnic.
Yes, and also Up The Academy was also filmed in Salina as well, because Saint John's Military School was the basis for part of it.
Thank you very much.Ya'll can send my checks to Topeka.
All of that.
Let's talk about food, because you cannot go through Kansas and not talk about some of the food places that to me make Kansas, Kansas.
So talk about some of your favorites.
I'm going to start with you, Colby.
Yeah, so I would say that my favorite it's almost a tie because I love food, so I can't choose, but I'll say a couple of my favorites will definitely be just like the fried chicken dynasty that is Southeast Kansas, the best fried chicken that you can imagine you know, five, six different restaurants in that area.
But also I love different varieties of Hispanic food.
So when you talk about Kansas City, Kansas and what they offer, even here in Topeka, I'm just a foodie.
I love it all.
I'm a cheeseburger girl.
Everywhere I go, I'm like, I want a cheeseburger.
So we really do have some fantastic eateries just across the state.
I know they have their favorites their my pie people, whenever I have questions about pie, they are the best pie enthusiasts in Kansas.
You should add that to your title.
Are we talking about pie?
Or are we talking about food in general?
Lets do the pie maybe.
Are we talking about pie?
So Somerset Cafe in Dover.
Yes, yes, yes.
What would you think of Bradley's in Topeka of course.
Yeah, also Hiawatha.
Oh, at the Bread Bull Bread Bowl and Main Street Cafe in McPherson, just down there, Deli?
Yeah, Main Street Deli.
Just right down the road from us is the Inland Harvest Cafe.
Fabulous desserts, fabulous everything.
They make everything from scratch.
It's one of my favorite restaurants in the whole state.
Oh, my gosh.
And what about main dishes?
Do you have, like, other places that you would suggest?
Okay, we got the pie fix.
What about, like, main entrees?
So, yeah, well, one of my all time favorite restaurants in the state is the Renaissance Cafe in Assaria.
Not far from Salina, It's in the magazine recently.
And the food there is just out of this world.
The service is excellent, but it's also the interior of where you're sitting.
It's in an old high school gym and you're up above the school into the gymnasium.
It's just it's very clever how they've done it, but it's also very charming, small, and I highly recommend it.
So there's places like the Elephant Bistro in Hoxie that'll blow your mind, another fine dining, but I am a chicken fried steak person if it's done the Explorer way, which is fresh meat hand breaded pan fried or grilled fried, not deep fat fried.
And the very best one's is in Bleden in Sheridan County, home of the Elephant Bistro, in a old motel that you'd never want to stay in.
And it's just the best food ever if you are someone that appreciates comfort food.
So but, you know, like the Cozy 101 years old, you smell like it for 24 hours.
But literally, Oh, yeah.
So after eating all this food and it's all wonderful.
Now you're sleepy, now you're tired.
Where are some of the funnest places to stay, to spend the night, to actually spend the night?
So if we're not talking about camping, go camping, Right?
Yeah, That's my love.
Oh, my gosh.
There's so many.
There's a boxcar in Salina that I want to stay at.
That is an Airbnb.
There's another really cool Airbnb.
Outside of Manhattan, the Konsa Prairie cabin style.
I really like those.
I like the kind of like unique lodging.
Like if Kansas had a giant sunflower you could stay in, I would do that all the time.
There's some treehouse options, there's Graham's treehouses and then there's an outside of Winfield.
Can you guys help me with the name of the cool treehouse Barns at Timber Creek outside of Winfield.
Super cool properties that I love staying like that.
I've stayed at Gyp Hills Guest ranch, you know, being able just to stay on a working ranch and watch them and sleep in a cozy cabin.
It's it's my love language.
This is so awesome.
Marci, Wendee, Colby.
And we have too little time to chat with the three of you.
And I want to go on a remote with you all sometime because I think it would be totally fun.
So as we get into season four, can we plan some kind of, like, you know, moving kind of staycation where we could all do like a weekend and put something together that way?
Because I think it'd be fabulous.
But thank you all for being with us today.
Time flies too quickly.
We certainly appreciate your sharing with us and giving us all kind of ideas for travel.
And we're going to take a short break and we're going to be right back to talk about more staycation ideas.
♪ I'm Jennifer Case.
I've been doing Brazilian jiu jitsu for over 20 years now.
Jiu jitsu titles that I've earned six time IBJJF world champion.
I've been a pan-am champion, won all kinds of opens and pro fights and that sort of thing.
Brazilian jiu jitsu.
It's basically submission wrestling.
You know, you start on your feet.
So there is a wrestling Judo Sambo type component.
You got to try and get your opponent down and then from there, once you're on the ground, the idea is to get your opponent to submit.
So you're trying to do a joint lock or a choke, something to get them to basically say, Uncle, you win, we're done.
And that's kind of one of the things I love about jiu jitsu is because it's the only martial art where you can go all out and not worry so much about hurting your opponent.
Brazilian Jiu jitsu.
It was originally like the big draw was it was a style of fighting where the smaller person could beat the larger person.
And the reason why is because in jujitsu you learn all about how to use your body for the most beneficial leverage point today.
You know, when I was out there rolling, a lot of those guys are over 200 pounds, so they're significantly larger and stronger than I am.
But by putting your body in the right position, using your legs and getting that leverage, getting that mechanical advantage, you're able to put them in a bad position so you get the win.
And when you take that into the self-defense realm, I used to teach at sororities quite a bit because with those young ladies, if I could just teach them how to use their hips and their legs to get out of a bad position, create a little space and run away, that's all they need for self-defense, right?
You don't need to stand there and trade blows with somebody.
That's just silly.
It's the street.
If you're getting attacked, you just need to figure out how do I create space and run away.
And I love seeing our kids class grow because those, particularly the young ladies, right?
They're going to go off to college and they can do all the right things, you know, not go to the bad parts of town and this and that.
But something could still happen.
It's a dangerous world.
And so to see those in junior high and high school girls learning some jujitsu before they head off to college, I think is wonderful.
So it has changed so much.
20 years ago when I started, when I came into the gym, the guys did not want me there.
They literally were trying to beat me up to get me to leave.
But being a stubborn farm kid, I just was like, okay, let's keep going.
I just nose to the grindstone and just kept at it.
And finally I started submitting them and then they were like, Okay, you can stay.
We like you now.
But what that did us ladies that were stubborn enough to stick with it and take our beatings.
And the men started realizing, Hey, these ladies are here to train.
They're not here to be a distraction.
And so they started being a little bit more open and a little more open to ladies coming in.
And what I've really seen in the last five years is that they're a lot more welcoming, a lot more open to having the females in the gym and seeing that there are ladies that are here to train and not be a distraction.
And so I think that's really helping the sport to grow.
What a blast to have Marci, Wendee and Colby on the show.
I mean, are we ready for a staycation or what?
Every time we have them on the show, it's like this week.
What are we doing?
I should go out and I want to just start exploring our own state, which we don't do it.
You know, every time we think about vacation, it's like, Oh, well, let's go to New York, let's go to that.
But Kansas has this filled with wonderful, fun things.
Yes, amazing things.
And you can learn so much.
And they talked about things for all ages.
People, single people, couples, those with families.
I mean, there's so many things that you can plan outside of going to Missouri.
I haven't left to go on a vacation vacation in probably over a decade.
I am all about the staycation.
I love Kansas.
And there's so many places that I haven't been to.
And some of the places I'm like, Uh huh, I've been there.
And the places that I need to check off the list.
I'm excited about being here.
I'm a Kansas girl, right?
I love where we live, how we live, and so, yeah.
And who doesn't?
Who doesn't love the Flint Hills?
And knowing that it was once completely under water.
I mean, those are just little things like that that you just need to take pride in and wonder, gosh, how did we get here?
And and people like those three make sure that people know about it and can find it and make it more accessible.
And I love what Colby said.
Pick a location, pick a geography, pick the foothills.
Or something like that, and then explore, dig deep, You know, just don't hit the oh, there's the Panera.
I mean, it's like, okay, let's find something that's local and that's that's authentic.
That's, that's Kansas and and find ways to dig deep into that geographic location.
And why does it make it so special?
And that's that's one of the reasons why I love Kansas so much.
And even those of us who like to be a little sissy on the vacation, I like a staycation.
It involves like, you know, some spa time and, you know, because in Hays, they have one of the best spa's out there.
I mean, you could have like, a lovely time eating at one of their restaurants, just, you know, driving around out in the country.
I mean, so it doesn't have to be all like with a shovel.
Exploring that way.
I mean, you could just have some time to just relax and enjoy.
I love the I didn't know we had three houses.
We could stay in.
That sounds wonderful.
You know, I think that's I think that's amazing, you know, climbing up in a tree.
Well, I would watch it.
We didn't even talk about the lakes and all those things.
You know, there's so much kayaking and boating and everything.
So, yeah, there's a lot, there is.
Well, I'd love to actually be in some of those glamping glamping and we have those around the area and dude ranches there are dude ranches.
Joy that she gets the dude ranch but the glamping guy.
Hey hey It was a dude on the dude ranch.
Maybe we could be doing that, but I don't know about that.
Unfortunately, that is all the time we have.
And we want to again, thank Colby Sharples- Terry of Kansas Tourism and Marci Penner and Wendee Rowe of the Kansas Sampler Foundation for their staycation ideas.
As a reminder, you can watch this program again and again at watch.ktwu.org.
And if you're so inspired to learn more about our guests, find out what is coming up on future shows and to get access to additional content, be sure to visit our website at www.ktwu.org/inspire.
We know you got all that inspiring women, inspiring staycations and road trips in our beautiful state of Kansas and inspiring you, we hope.
Thanks for watching.
♪ Inspire is sponsored by Kansas Furniture Mart, using furniture to inspire conversation and by the Blanche Bryden Foundation.
The Friends of KTWU honored to support programs and services that enrich the lives of our viewers and the Raymond C and Marguerite Gibson Foundation.