U.S. Virtual Road Trip- Day 16- Kansas

Today we are in Kansas with author Tessa Gratton. Let's see what awaits us in Kansas.

Check out Yesterday's stop in Iowa with blogger Terri @ Second Run Reviews here

Welcome to Kansas, the Sunflower State! 

We are a state of bloody history, big blue skies, buffalo, cottonwood trees, amazing storms, rolling green hills, semi-arid steps, all the prairie you could ask for in between. We are farmers and industrialists, inventors, students, and hippies. We love our barbeque and personal space, but won’t forget to smile and wave when we pass on the street. Kansas also provided women the right to vote in 1912 nearly 10 years before it was adopted by the rest of the country!

I might be biased, but the best city in Kansas is Lawrence. It’s between Kansas City and the capitol Topeka, with some of the best restaurants and a very intense history. During the Civil War it was burned down (again) by Quantril, and we still have markers up around town pointing out the original bricks that survived. The Lawrence Massacre was an important part of why Kansas is sometimes called Bloody Kansas: in the 1850s and 60s settlers moved to Kansas from all over, trying to affect whether the state would join the Union as a slave or free state. The Free Staters (also known as Jayhawkers) won, but for decades after (and even today, I could argue) there’s a harsh competition between Kansas and Missouri (a slave state). 

In Lawrence you should check out Free State Brewery and the Natural History Museum on the University of Kansas Campus. Watch a storm roll in from the top of the hill! 

Nearby Stull Cemetery is supposedly home to a gateway to Hell – just ask the Winchester brothers. Alas, the cemetery is closed to the public now, but you can still drive by.

For more great history and frontier town fun, head down to Dodge City, KS, where Wyatt Earp spent some time as a lawman before heading down to Arizona. Visit the Boot Hill Museum and nearby Boot Hill Cemetery.

Here are some other great places of interest:

Places to eat:

- Joe's Kansas City for the best barbeque in the USA
- The Corner Pharmacy in Leavenworth, KS
- Trail Days Café in Council Grove, KS

And I recommend finding a small, Mexican restaurant with bright décor and formica tables. Sometimes the best are even in strip-malls! Guaranteed to be delicious in any town.

Here are some famous people associated with or from Kansas:
  • John Brown, violent abolitionist
  • Carry Nation, temperance advocate
  • Dwight D. Eisenhower, 34th POTUS
  • Janelle Monae, amazing music artist
  • Astronaut Steve Hawley
  • Bob Dole
  • Erin Brockovich
  • Clark Kent

And these actors: 
  • Ed Asner
  • Buster Keaton
  • Rob Riggle
  • Paul Ruddd

Books that take place in Kansas: 

IN COLD BLOOD by Truman Capote
MOON OVER MANIFEST by Clare Vanderpool
MAY B by Caroline Starr Rose
LANDRY PARK by Bethany Hagen
THE BLOOD KEEPER by Tessa Gratton

And these famous writers spent a lot of time in our great state: 

William Burroughs
Langston Hughes

Thanks for stopping by my home state! 

Thanks Tessa. Kansas sounds like it has some amazing history. What do you think of Kansas? Leave me a comment below.

Tomorrow's stop is in Kentucky with author Karen Ann Hopkins & a giveaway.

Follow all the road trip posts here


  1. I had no idea there was so much history in Kansas. There are number of places I'd love to stop at if I ever make that trip around the country I've been planning!

  2. Lawrence sounds like a great place to visit!