Continued - this is part 2...
By the time I pulled into Eskridge, I was ready for a restroom break and a bite to eat. There were a number of vehicles in front of Annie Mae's Cafe Gift Shop, so I figured I couldn't go wrong there. Correct. It was Mexican food day, and I had a nice taco salad. The surroundings were just like most small town cafes, meaning serviceable not fancy, and the service was what you expect in such a place, meaning they treat you like a neighbor, even if you're a complete stranger. The natural, unaffected friendliness is so unlike the rehearsed and artificial line of patter you receive at Red Robins, Ruby Tuesdays, Applebee's, etc. Refreshing.
Next door was a grocery/general store. Eskridge is fortunate; not every town of this size even has this much of a place to buy groceries.
The grandest of Main Street's old structures is the Waugh Building, shown below, now partially occupied by a law office. Some restoration has been done on this beautiful old building, but I am certain they would welcome investment in order to accomplish more.
West of Eskridge on Highways 4 and 99 is the Native Stone Scenic Byway, a delightful drive with some scenic views. Just a few miles outside of town, however, I encountered my biggest surprise of the day - Lake Wabaunsee. This community lake (not Corp of Engineers) is not huge, but is beautifully situated in the Flint Hills, has a golf course, B&B with restaurant, beach and other amenities. There are a number of nice, but not extravagant homes around the lake. I can see the attraction - it's a very pleasant setting.
Continuing the Native Stone Scenic Byway into Alma takes you through some of the region's more scenic ranch lands. This prairie land was open range until 1867. Land owners were then paid 40 cents per rod (16½ feet) to build and maintain these stone fences, some of which have been continually cared-for or restored.
The excursion ended in Alma, the "City of Native Stone." I've previously visited and photographed Alma, so did not take time on this trip to do further shooting. Here are a couple of images from the earlier visit to that charming little town.
Settled in 1858, which makes Alma one of the older towns in the state, the heritage of its early settlers (Swedes, Germans, English, and Irish) is still very strong. In addition to its numerous interesting old buildings of native stone, Alma boasts a creamery which makes several very tasty all-natural cheeses. Its location just three miles south of Interstate 70 makes it an easy place to get to.