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 … Read More »
Iola attracts multiple candy companies over the years, including Sifers Valomilk
Next time you spot Valomilk, that vintage chocolate-coated treat with a runny marshmallow center, make sure you thank Iola.
Valomilk’s creator, Sifers Candy Company, originated in Iola and was based there for several decades before moving its entire operation to Kansas City. It is one of a handful of candy manufacturers that have called Iola home since the late 1800s – including one of the country’s four Russell Stover factories, which is still based there today.
“You know candy was profitable here when three different men came to town before Sifers and all made big, big money from it,” says Donna Houser, volunteer with the Allen County Historical Society…
Want to keep reading about Iola’s candy history? Check out the winter issue of Southeast Kansas Living, out now! It includes this story … Read More »
Down-Home Dinner Theater
Chicken-N-Pickin’ serves up food and fun with family at the forefront
Spend one afternoon at Chicken-N-Pickin’ outside of Walnut, and you’ll experience a lot of knee-slapping, toe-tapping, dancing, finger-licking and comments like: “That’s the best fried chicken I’ve had in ages.”
Folks just can’t get enough of this down-home dinner theater, which always features an old-fashioned fried chicken dinner with all the fixins’, plus two hours of live music and comedy. Visitors come by the bus load – from Topeka, Kansas City, Wichita, Springfield – and by the time they leave they’re hooked, hailing Chicken-N-Pickin’ as “comparable to a Branson, Mo., experience – absent the crowds, traffic congestion, long drive and high prices.”
Karen Duling-Zitsch is the woman behind it all: acting as hostess, chef and country music entertainer. She comes by it honestly…
Want to keep reading about Chicken-N-Pickin’? Check … Read More »
Welcome to Neewollah
Annual celebration back in a big way this Halloween
Reverse the word “Halloween”; what do you get?
Much more than a jumble of letters, as Independence natives well know.
In fact, Neewollah is a 100-year-old nine-day festival in Independence, billed as the state’s largest annual celebration. And it’s back in a big way for 2015.
“I’m always a fan of everything at Neewollah, but this year, the Oak Ridge Boys performing and Jim Halsey being my honorary generalissimo – those are the big things I’m really looking forward to,” says John Hamlin, Neewollah’s 2015 generalissimo, who heads up the event. “I always knew that if I ever became generalissimo for Neewollah that I’d want to have the Oak Ridge Boys and Jim involved.”
That’s because both have deep roots in Independence and Neewollah. In fact, Halsey – an Independence native who’s gone on … Read More »
The Mysterious Morel
Where the beloved mushrooms grow – and how to find them
This time every year, Logan Martin sees an influx of visitors to state parks and wildlife areas.
But many of those Southeast Kansans aren’t out to simply relax and enjoy the scenery: Hundreds are actually on the hunt for the prized – and mysterious – morel mushroom.
“There might not be as many morel hunters as there are people chasing game or fish, but there’s almost always a lot of locals out looking in early spring,” says Martin, a bio-technician with the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism’s Pittsburg office. “Usually we can tell when the morels are starting to pop up because we’ll see the same pick-ups parked out there every year.”
What makes the morel so sought-after? For one, as many hunters will tell you, it’s delicious – … Read More »
Thousands of copper cookie cutters are sold at CopperGifts.com. Every single one of them is made right here in Southeast Kansas.
Flip on Food Network reruns, and you just might see the faces of Southeast Kansas locals Raymond and Beth Braman.
The Parsons-based Bramans have been featured on the network – twice, in fact – for their distinctive, handmade copper cookie cutters, sold on CopperGifts.com in thousands of different shapes.
“They filmed an episode of ‘Unwrapped’ here in around 2005, and a couple of years later they came for a Christmas special,” Beth says. “It was the last day of August and about 104 outside, and we’re all wearing Christmas sweaters with the house decorated for Christmas.”
The hard work – and sweat – paid off.
“I remember the big rush after the first show aired. It was just unbelievable,” she says. “We couldn’t … Read More »