Summer 2018: ‘Summit Hill Gardens’ Sneak Peek!

Fall in Love at Summit Hill Gardens

There’s just something about Summit Hill. It captivated Patsy Smeed from the very beginning.

Photo courtesy of Hope’s Perspective Photography

She moved there – one acre of land south of Chanute, the site of an old one-room schoolhouse – more than 40 years ago with her late husband Larry, an artist and professor. All these years later, she still hasn’t left.

“I just fell in love with Summit Hill,” she says. “It’s been a lot of great therapy for me.”

Since her arrival, Patsy has slowly expanded her land from one acre to 65 acres. The sprawling property is much more than her home or the location of a historic schoolhouse: It’s also the site of her business, Summit Hill Gardens, which offers a soap shop (all products Patsy makes herself) and wedding venue/event center in partnership with her sister-in-law Gretchen Brant.

No matter what brings people to Summit Hill Gardens, they often leave captivated by the place – just like Patsy.

“We want people to feel that this is a very peaceful part of the world,” Patsy says. “Just a little bit of Eden.”

Want to keep reading about Summit Hill Gardens? Check out the summer issue of Southeast Kansas Living, out now! It includes this story in its entirety, plus so much more. Subscribe now, or contact us to find a newsstand near you.

Winter 2017: “Art is Ageless” Sneak Peek!

Art is Ageless
Art competition for seniors emphasizes creativity and encouragement

Aggie Keesling, 89, has taken up painting just in the last several years. She’s teaching herself, experimenting with colors, learning from trial and error. She even paints over old canvases multiple times so she doesn’t have to drive to town to buy more. 

“I paint quite a bit, especially in the wintertime because it’s so quiet out here,” says Aggie, who lives in Farlington. “When I have nothing to do, I’ll sit and paint. It gives me so much enjoyment, I wonder where the hours have gone.”

This year, for the first time, Aggie submitted her artwork to a contest: Art is Ageless, hosted by Fort Scott Presbyterian Village. She selected two of her paintings to enter into one category – and, much to her shock, she took home first and second place.

“A friend got me involved,” Aggie says. “I told her no way would I ever take my paintings up there, but she finally convinced me. I was really surprised and just thrilled to death to get second, and to get first – I’m real pleased.”

Aggie’s story is the epitome of Art is Ageless…

Want to keep reading about Art is Ageless? Check out the winter issue of Southeast Kansas Living, out now! It includes this story in its entirety, plus so much more. Subscribe now, or contact us to find a newsstand near you.

Winter 2016: “Dine & Dream” Sneak Peek!

Dine & Dream
Traditional B&B meets reservation-only fine dining at the Smittle House

Ena Smittle likes to say that she has the most fun job she could possibly have in Columbus, Kansas.

You can’t argue with that. 

At Smittle House Bed & Breakfast, Ena and her husband, John, have entertained guests from France to Costa Rica to just down the street. Some visitors come for a relaxing overnight getaway. Others come to eat one of John and Ena’s famous reservation-only, six-course dinners. One thing’s always the same, though: John and Ena make sure their guests leave happy.

“Who else in Columbus is getting to entertain these incredible people from all over the world?” John says. “There’s nothing else we could be doing that our lives would ever cross paths with them. It’s amazing…”

Want to keep reading about Smittle House Bed & Breakfast? Check out the winter issue of Southeast Kansas Living, out now! It includes this story in its entirety, plus so much more. Subscribe now, or contact us to find a newsstand near you.

Fall 2016: “Elk Falls Pottery” Sneak Peek!

Made by Hand
Elk Falls Pottery celebrates 40 years of craftsmanship

It was in college that Steve and Jane Fry fell in love with pottery – and with each other. They haven’t looked back since. 

This year, the Frys celebrate 40 years of running their family business, Elk Falls Pottery, a huge attraction in tiny Elk Falls. (They’re also celebrating 42 years of marriage.) While many of their peers consider retirement, Steve and Jane are staying as busy as ever: Just a few months ago, in fact, they moved Elk Falls Pottery to a new, larger, more scenic (and historic) location at the corner of Hwy. 160 and Seventh Street.

“People my age are thinking about retiring and finally doing what they really want to do,” says Steve, who just turned 64. “Well, I’m already doing what I really want to do. And I’ll do it as long as I can…”

Want to keep reading about Elk Falls Pottery? Check out the fall issue of Southeast Kansas Living, out now! It includes this story in its entirety, plus so much more. Subscribe now, or contact us to find a newsstand near you.

Spring 2016: “Glorious Glass” Sneak Peek!

Glorious Glass
ChaGlaz Designs in Glass wows with one-of-a-kind glasswork

ChaGlaz Designs in Glass in Parsons produces artistic glass pieces, including handmade marbles.

Keith Wilson examines three handmade marbles in his Parsons garage-turned-art studio, twirling them in his hand as their colors and sparkly dichroic glass catch the light.

“These are absolutely one of a kind,” he says. “I’ll never be able to replicate them; I can’t even tell you how I got the design. These three – they’re never for sale.”

They’re the kinds of rare pieces you get when you’re in the studio as much as Keith and his wife, Charlean, are. The retired husband-and-wife duo run ChaGlaz Designs in Glass in Parsons, a hobby-based business that practices all five disciplines of a full glass studio: warm glass, hot glass, torch work, cold work and recycled glass.

“We are probably the only studio of our kind in Southeast Kansas,” Keith says…

Want to keep reading about ChaGlaz Designs in Glass? Check out the spring issue of Southeast Kansas Living, out now! It includes this story in its entirety, plus so much more. Subscribe now, or contact us to find a newsstand near you.

Winter 2015: “Barn Quilts” Sneak Peek!

Barn Quilts
They’re popping up all across SEK these days, thanks to a fundraiser in Woodson County

Woodson County might be one of the newest members of the Flint Hills Barn Quilt Trail, but you wouldn’t guess it.

This is one of hundreds of barn quilts sprinkled around Yates Center, hand-painted by a group of locals.

This is one of hundreds of barn quilts sprinkled around Yates Center, all hand-painted by a group of locals.

Just a year after it launched, the Woodson County Barn Quilt Trail boasts more than 100 hand-painted wooden quilt squares displayed on homes, on barns, throughout downtown Yates Center and all across the area. They’re the handiwork of a dedicated group of Yates Centerans who aspired to do or create something to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Woodson County Historical Society – but they wanted that something to be “more lasting than a dinner for members or a commemorative mug.”

What they came up with – the Woodson County Barn Quilt Project – turned out to be much more than a successful fundraiser and tribute to the WCHS…

Want to keep reading about the Woodson County Barn Quilt Project? Check out the winter issue of Southeast Kansas Living, out now! It includes this story in its entirety, plus so much more. Subscribe now, or contact us to find a newsstand near you.

Fall 2013 issue: ‘Art Gone Postal’ sneak peek!

"Border Gateways," mural at Fort Scott Post Office

“Border Gateways,” oil-on-canvas mural at Fort Scott Post Office. Completed in 1937 by Oscar E. Berninghaus.

Art Gone Postal
Fall 2013 Issue

Just call them the seven wonders of Southeast Kansas.

Found in Burlington, Columbus, Eureka, Fort Scott, Fredonia, Neodesha and Oswego, seven New Deal murals and sculptures have called Southeast Kansas home for more than 70 years. Produced under the Treasury Department’s Section of Fine Arts in the ‘30s and early ‘40s, these seven art pieces – plus 22 elsewhere in Kansas – were placed publicly in area post offices to help bolster American pride and patriotism and boost the morale of those suffering after the Great Depression.

They’re still captivating Southeast Kansans today.

“Post offices were gathering places then, and everyone was getting to see this artwork,” says Dr. Lorraine Madway, curator of special collections and university archivist for Wichita State University Libraries. “Their purpose…”

Want to keep reading? Check out the fall issue of Southeast Kansas Living! It includes this story in its entirety, plus photos of all of the New Deal murals and sculptures in post offices across Southeast Kansas — and so much more. Subscribe now, or contact us to find a newsstand near you. (And stay tuned to this blog for more sneak peeks!)