Rachel describes herself as a self-proclaimed Kansas Ambassador as does this month’s guest, Bryan Lisbona. Bryan is driven by the philosophy #lovewhereyoulive, and he invests in that philosophy and takes daily steps to live his truth. Through our conversation listeners will uncover details of Bryan and his family’s journey into small town life after their decision to leave one of the state’s (sub)urban areas. Listeners uncover the benefits of smaller towns, and why Kansas offers distinctive qualities of life such as knowing your neighbors, the ability - perhaps necessity - to get involved and impact your town in concrete ways, and living in communities whose energy wellspring is generated by the various personalities and characteristics and actions of the town-folk themselves, not by the depth of restaurant reservation wait-lists and number of new openings of entertainment venues.
We talked and uncovered A LOT, so the ‘links in the show notes” are pretty long!
Nick Hague - Astronaut
Kansas Sampler Foundation
Uncovering Kansas: Big Kansas Road Trip 2019 episode
Uncovering Kansas episode (featuring Gypsum Hills)
Flint Hills Discovery Center
Johnson County Museum
This month Rachel uncovers another story about a Kansan, Nancy Overmyer. Rachel (and Geoff) met Nancy while they were volunteering for the Lenexa Art Show in May 2019. And Rachel immediately fell in love with Nancy’s artwork.
In this episode, Rachel sits down with Nancy, a gourd artisan who also did a stint as a librarian. They discuss the origins of the gourd, the intricacies and nuances of the gourd as (artistic) medium, and how Nancy’s path meandered and branched out to include making gourd jewelry, as well as carving and decorating. And you’ll learn what it means to ‘love the 745s’ and how Nancy sees unique patterns in each gourd. Nancy’s passion and commitment to her artistic development is evident in this interview and in her artwork (see photos). It’s no wonder her creations have been highlighted and showcased in magazines. Being a library geek herself, Rachel encourages Nancy to share with listeners her experience as a librarian as well as her personal picks and favorites from around the Sunflower State.
A note from our co-producer, Geoff: Uncovering Kansas never requests or expects compensation, in any form, from guests appearing on the show. Rachel fell for Nancy’s creativity and purchased a necklace while volunteering at the Lenexa Art Fair. Unbeknownst to Rachel, Nancy brought another necklace to the recording of this episode and presented it to Rachel as a token of appreciation and kindness. Rachel accepted the gift. While it was not a requirement of appearing on Uncovering Kansas, nor influence the content or direction of the recording, we believe it appropriate to share this information with listeners in the spirit of transparency and openness.
Gooseberry Lane (Nancy’s) Facebook Page(look for a picture with a gourd)
Sunflower Gourd Patch
Silver Lake Kansas
Maple Leaf Festival
Baldwin City Kansas
Baldwin City Lumber Yard Arts Center
Coronado Heights Castle
Emma Chase Friday Night Concerts
What’s a honey tap? Is there lanolin in alpaca? You can learn the answers by listening to the podcast and by attending the Kaw Valley Farm Tour. This year’s tour is October 5-6, 2019. It is also the 15th anniversary, featuring 34 farms located in five counties. Attendees are able to get an insider view of working farms and ranches and get to know the people who produce the food they consume and the materials that go into the products they buy. Uncovering Kansas loves encouraging our listeners to explore and learn about Kansas. Rachel interviews the owners of two of the farms participating in this year’s Kaw Valley Farm Tour: Spike and Patty Durkin of Happy Valley Farm, and Claudia Hey of Ad Astra Alpacas.
A side note from our co-producer: The relaxed format of our podcast leads to friendly, casual bantering between host and guest. This episode is no different. Listeners may incorrectly conclude we (Rachel and Geoffrey) literally 'throw out' our empty honey containers. I assure you, friends, we do no such thing. We recycle with pride and vigilance and, whether glass or plastic, our honey containers are correctly disposed of with care and attention to environmental impact. Also, I'm wicked stoked to work this honey tap. Bees, baby. Bees!
Kaw Valley Farm Tour
Happy Valley Farms
Ad Astra Alpacas
We are sharing a short BONUS episode with listeners about an event our new friends at the Kansas State Historical Society (KSHS) are hosting. Rachel offers listeners a chance to follow along her first steps as she discovers who and what the KSHS is and does by talking with Bethany Falvey and Katrina Ringler. Some focus is directed at special KSHS programming happening in Dodge City, KS in September 2019.
This year is the 10th anniversary of the Flint Hills Shakespeare Festival, which takes place each September in St. Marys, Kansas. For 2019, the festival features Twelfth Night along with an artisan village of about 50 craft and food booths along a forest path. The festival is a volunteer led event, another example of the power of people coming together to make something happen.
Our guest is Ben Moats, the President of the festival, and he and Rachel talk about the festival, the history of St. Marys, and the importance of bringing culture to towns across the state. The festival is in September (2019). Event and ticketing details can be found at the Flint Hills Shakespeare Festival website. (Bring your own chairs and wear appropriate shoes for walking through the woods -- Shakespeare out in the open, as intended)
St. Marys Kansas
Kansas City Flint Hills Enthusiasts Group
We are working on a project to create a group in Kansas City for Flint Hills enthusiasts. We'll meet every few months to enjoy a drink, socialize, and talk about our love of the Flint Hills. If you would like to be notified once we have the details worked out, please let us know below.
Most of us have experienced that always exhilarating, and sometimes frightening, feeling when we end up doing something we never quite expected doing. Chris Alexander's path took her from theater to stained glass to metal working. As co-owner of Alexander Artworks, Chris has found herself busier than she ever imagined as she and her co-owner husband try to keep up with orders. Rachel and Chris talk about metal working, the importance of personal connection, and what it's like to be a business owner in a small town. Chris' answers and responses during the Get to Know a Kansan section impressed, and Rachel captured her insights so our listeners can add to their list of places to check out when exploring Kansas.
Morris County Community Arts Council
Strong City Rodeo
Bloody Bill Anderson
Allegawaho Heritage Memorial Park
Rails to Trails
Kanopolis Drive In
Lost City of Etzanoa
Of course anyone can go online and research a trip. But it isn’t every day you’re able to get vacation planning ideas straight from the Director of a Visitors Bureau. That’s exactly what you’ll get in this (part II) episode. Rachel talks with Jan Stevens, the Director of the Dodge City Convention and Visitors Bureau and Joni Whitman, the event coordinator for Dodge City Days. So....Want to learn to mosey? have a hankering to try some Prickly Ash Bitters? or want to enjoy a rodeo? Then you’re sure to have yourself a great time in Dodge.
Dodge City Travel Site
Boot Hill Museum
Dodge City Round Up
Boot Hill Distillery
Dodge City Brewing
Red Beard Coffee
Carnegie Art Center
Dodge City Trolley
Dodge City Days
Boot Hill Casino
It’s finally stopped snowing, and the rains have come, and the kids are getting out of school. You’re starting to plan your summer vacation. Part of our mission is to encourage Kansans to get out and learn more about our state, so we’ve put together a new travel episode series (that we’ll post every once in awhile) that allows you to listen to locals share places to see and things to do in their towns in order to give you ideas for your travel plans. For summer 2019, we are going to highlight 3 great towns for a summer vacation: Hays, Dodge City, and Manhattan.
In our first episode, we talk with Melissa Dixon, Executive Director of the Hays Convention and Visitors Bureau. There are lots of things to do in Hays, and it makes a great base camp to explore the surrounding attractions. Whether you visit Fort Hays to see how the soldiers lived before there was I-70 to get us across the plains, or the world famous Sternberg museum for its amazing fossil collection, or spend the day at the aquatic park, you’ll enjoy yourself in Hays. If you go to Hays this summer, share pictures with us on our Facebook Page!
Hays Tourism Website
Gella’s Diner and LB Brewery
Hays Aquatic Park
On The Bricks
Larks Baseball Games
Hays Art Walk
Wild West Festival
Ellis County Fair
Tour die Kapellen
Side Trips from Hays:
Cathedral of the Plains
David Hanzlick is a native Kansan who has written a book titled Benevolence, Moral Reform, Equality: Women’s Activism in Kansas City, 1870-1940. Most of us have forgotten that the women’s movement started long before we started burning our bras in the 1960s. In the early days of Kansas City —when we were still a frontier town and a newly forming society— the women of Kansas City had a national voice in the push for equality under the guise of moral reform. This was the generation that brought child labor laws to the mainstream, introduced the concept of public kindergartens, and was successful in getting women seated on school boards for the first time.
We should never take for granted today the hard fought progressive milestones won in the days when Kansas City was beginning to be a railroad hub for the nation. David has brought together the story of how these women fought for equality, with the objective of ensuring a safe and positive home environment for their families.
[Update and disclosure: During the interview of David, Rachel mentions her (then upcoming) plans to climb Mount Sunflower as part of the 2019 Big Kansas Road Trip (BKRT). Due to two serious events affecting two different family members, she and Geoff were unable to attend the 2019 BKRT and they have yet to climb Mount Sunflower. A travel scheme meant to rectify this situation is being developed.]
Benevolence, Moral Reform, Equality - Women's Activism in Kansas City, 1870-1940
Belleville High Banks Track
North Central Kansas Free Fair
Works Progress Administration
Worlds Largest Concrete Prairie Dog – now closed, but check out Prairie Dog State Park instead
Pawnee Indian Museum
Carrie Nation Home in Medicine Lodge
The Kansas Sampler Foundation is dedicated to connecting Kansans across rural communities. One way they do this is through the Big Kansas Road Trip. This happens May 2-5 in 2019, and the Road Trip will be in Cheyenne, Sherman, and Wallace counties in northwest Kansas. Here’s how Marci Penner, founder of the Kansas Sampler Foundation describes the event. “Create your own adventure at your own pace the same day that other people are doing the same thing.”
The Big Kansas Road Trip website
Cheyenne County Kansas website
Sherman County Kansas website
Wallace County Kansas website
Kansas Guidebook for Explorers
In 2018, we recorded 2 episodes about our experience during the 2018 Big Kansas Road Trip. Check them out:
2018 BKRT Highlights
2018 BKRT – The Experience
The podcast about culture, travel, people, history, and enterprise in Kansas.