Secluded Splendor: Tuck U Inn at Glick Mansion & Atchison, KS

Tuck U Inn at Glick Mansion

Today the road has brought me to Atchison, KS.

Labor Day weekend had arrived and I felt the need to get away to someplace quiet and restful.  A look through my trusty spreadsheet and I realized it was the perfect time to visit Atchison and Tuck U Inn at Glick Mansion owned and operated by Chris and Loman Wildy.

I had been meaning to visit Atchison for quite a while, not only because of Glick Mansion, but because the town also contains a community theatre, Theatre Atchison, where I plan to one day review one of their shows.  However, with the pandemic currently throwing a wrench into the world of the arts, I decided to at least visit the town and inn.  (I would later learn that Theatre Atchison is mounting a 20-21 season.)

Theatre Atchison

It was the type of drive I like the best:  no interstate.  Nothing but highways and going through a small town or two before I arrived in Atchison.

Atchison is actually notable for a number of items.  It has a deep history, once had more millionaires per capita than any other city in the country, was the birthplace of Amelia Earhart, and is considered the most haunted town in Kansas.  In fact, across the street from Glick Mansion is Sallie House, the most haunted house in Kansas which has been featured on many shows.  It is available for self-guided tours and overnights, but one must sign a waiver to enter the house as there is a chance for injury in the abandoned domicile, though one hasn’t happened since the last tenants in 1993.

Sallie House. This is reportedly the most haunted house in Kansas.

I entered the town around 4pm and made my way to Glick Mansion which is located in Atchison’s historical district.

When I think of a classic B & B, Glick Mansion is the vision that pops into my mind.  This Victorian mansion was built by George Glick in 1873.  Glick had been a successful attorney and farmer and was also active in state politics as he was elected to the Kansas legislature in 1862 and served in that capacity in 14 of the next 18 years.  He also served one term as governor starting in 1882.

When I arrived at the mansion, I was let in by Chris and led into the entry room/den where I filled out some paperwork and selected a breakfast time in order to be socially distanced from other guests.  But when Chris opened the door to the living room, I felt as if I had stepped back in time.

Period correct furniture and property fill the massive living room whose centerpiece includes a baby grand (I think) piano.  Chris showed me around the abode and enlightened me on some of the history of the house and town as I gazed on the historical beauty of the inn.  Eventually, Chris led me to my room, the First Lady’s Room.

This had been the governor’s bedroom and it is a beaut.  From its elegant Victorian furniture to its queen sized canopy bed, this room practically shouts comfort.  The bathroom is especially impressive as it was once the sleeping porch of the Glicks.  Yes, you read that right.  The Glicks believed sleeping outside was healthier.  Not only does the bathroom contain a fireplace, but it also holds a jetted tub.

After getting settled, I took a little walk around the town.  I could definitely see the extreme wealth for which the town had once been famed as there are a lot of old money houses in the area.  As I later learned from Loman (who is a fount of knowledge on Atchison’s history), the town once had 57 millionaires and 11 women who were worth half a million.  That latter fact was the most interesting because this was during a period when women were not encouraged to work nor were allowed to inherit, so how did they accrue their wealth?  They either had to be working covertly or illicitly.

The truth was that they were doing a bit of both.  A restaurant near the riverfront was a brothel back in the day and that is where these women worked.  Atchison had been a big port town that often had 3 steamboats in dock to get supplies.  So the women would hit up the steamboat personnel when they docked and the money rolled in.

I needed some dinner, so I made my way to Paolucci, a bar/restaurant/deli.  I decided to go with their house special, a chicken romano sandwich which was grilled chicken seasoned with Romano cheese and topped with bacon.  As I wanted some vegetables, I also had the tossed salad with Paolucci’s homemade ranch dressing. 

Paolucci

This meal was a jackpot.  The vegetables were fresh and crisp and the homemade dressing was out of this world.  The sandwich was perfection on a bun.  The chicken was so juicy and the seasoning made each bit a little bite of Heaven.  With a satisfying meal tucked in, I returned to Glick where I had a long conversation with Loman before retiring for the evening.

In the morning, I drew a bath and the water gets very hot very fast, so it was a case of actually bringing the water down to my preferred temperature.  The jets were just what I needed as I’ve been using a new tabata workout regimen and my lower extremities were aching and the jets massaged the soreness out of them.

I enjoyed breakfast in the sun room where a small dish of honeydew and strawberries awaited me with goblets of orange juice and milk.  The main entrée was a sterling plate of Eggs Benedict with a side of seasoned asparagus.  It was an incredible meal with presentation that was a work of art.

Afterwards I began my explorations of the town and started with a visit to Benedictine College.  This small Catholic university only contains about 2,000 students and has a lot of elegant buildings including St Benedict church.  I halted my campus amblings prematurely as I saw a sign saying that through Sept 15 on-campus students were to remain on-campus except for necessities and off-campus students were to remain off-campus to help insulate against COVID, so I thought I should abide by the decree and drove around the campus instead.

From there I wandered about the town.  The town is still slowly reopening from COVID so certain venues only have limited availability.  This meant I was unable to make visits to the Amelia Earhart Birthplace Museum and the Evah Cray Historical House as they are only operating a few days out of the week.  However, I will visit these places when I make my inevitable return to the town.

So I spent an afternoon reading Sherlock Holmes, writing, and watching Ratatouille which I selected from the inn’s movie library.

About 6pm, I felt ready for dinner so I went downtown to Maria’s Mexican Restaurant.  Again, I found another winner of a meal.  I tried the Burrito Fajita and it was delicious especially when enhanced with a side of properly seasoned rice and refried beans mixed with a bit of queso.

With a nice dinner digesting, I returned to Glick Mansion where I watched The Mask of Zorro, took another bath, and read Sherlock Holmes until oblivion claimed me.

I had a feast waiting for me in the sun room the next morning. Chris had prepared a bacon, egg, and cheese quiche along with some kiwi, strawberries, and what looked like a miniature orange with a side of fried potatoes. There was even a bit of dessert with a strawberry turnover.

Thirty minutes later I had another leisurely meal under my belt and I returned to my room to put the finishing touches on this article.

This has been one of the best inns I’ve visited since I founded the Corner and it gets my highest recommendation for a visit. It’s a classic B & B where you’ll be surrounded by vintage comfort, enjoy some fine meals, and have some wonderful hosts in Chris and Loman. You truly will leave this inn as a friend and can enjoy some of this town’s history or even do a little ghost hunting if that’s your forte.

Until the next time. . .happy travels.

Beware the Ides of Smarch, Day 3: Desert Delights

I awoke to an absolutely perfect day.  I used the treadmill in my room to run 3.5 miles before getting cleaned up for Mat to take me to church at Our Lady of Mt Carmel.

It was packed today due to visitors attending spring training for the Arizona Diamondbacks baseball team.  Another truly uplifting service before Mat and Dave came back to collect me to return to Casa del O’Donnell y Langlois.

Mat prepared a homemade breakfast of taiyaki which is a Japanese fish shaped pancake stuffed with a sweet sauce (chocolate and vanilla custard in this case) and thick cut bacon which I used to make a sourdough bacon sandwich.

After breakfast (or brunch, depending on one’s point of view), the four of us played Tetris 99 which is a competition Tetris game where you play against 99 other online players to be the last person standing.  After a few rounds of this, we met on the battlefield of Super Mario Party once more.  Once again, I fell one star short as I lost to Carolyn, but at least having the satisfaction of topping Mat and making certain that Dave, as the accursed Yoshi, stayed in the basement of the rankings.

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StarFighters Arcade

At 3pm, Carolyn left for a concert while Mat, Dave, and I went back in time to the 80s and visited StarFighters Arcade, a vintage arcade.

I’ve visited several vintage arcades, but this has to be the top of the heap, so far.  For starters, it has the lowest price for an all day pass at only $11.  It also has a very varied selection of classic games and pinball machines with some serious old school stuff in here.  It also feels like a traditional arcade with 80s music being piped in and the place is so noisy, you have to practically shout to be heard.  80s movies also play on a couple of screens in the arcade.

I got to play some games that I hadn’t played in years such as Haunted House, a three tiered pinball game and Baby Pac-Man, a hybrid video and pinball game with the catch being that there are no power pellets, but you can escape to the pinball section of the game.  I also played a surprisingly fun Popeye pinball machine, battled Mat around the world in Karate Champ where he edged me out in duels, bested Golden Axe with Dave as he’s the best partner who’s ever worked against me, and even played original Dragon’s Lair and Space Ace games.  I had a pretty good run on Dragon’s Lair and may have been able to best it if I had focused my entire time on it.

We left the arcade machine shortly before closing time and stopped at a traditional Chinese restaurant called Shaanxi Garden for dinner.

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Shaanxi Garden

Shaanxi Garden is known for its homemade noodles and huge servings.  Each entree is truly family style, so I highly recommend sharing one entree among your group.  Mat ordered some cheese wontons as an appetizer and I enjoyed a few small servings of Stir Fry Pao Mo which is a braised, spicy lamb stew.

From the restaurant, we made our way to the Desert Botanical Garden to visit its Electric Desert light show.  This was also where Mat and Carolyn held their wedding reception and I was shocked to see just how small a space the venue had actually been.

It was a peaceful evening as we watched cacti light up like pinball machines, a mountain replicate the experience of a desert storm, and watched psychedelic colors dance over plants and rocks.

The night seemed over too soon before it was back to Mat’s and bed for tomorrow would be road tripping time.

The Wamego Files: A Case Study of Victory Inn, Oz, a Headless Horseman, and Zombies

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Victory Inn

Well, October is here which brings visions of colorful leaves, Halloween, haunted houses, and a return to the road.

This leg of the road would bring me to Wamego, KS as I had negotiated a media ticket with the famed Columbian Theatre to review their production of Sleepy Hollow.  My home away from home would be the Victory Inn Bed and Breakfast owned and operated by Francis and Margaret Feyh.

I was particularly looking forward to traveling this time as I would actually be going in a new direction.  Nothing but highways going west and south.  New scenery, at last.  It was a pleasant afternoon for a drive and I enjoyed passing through the small towns of our great country.  About 1pm, my thoughts turned to lunch just as I began to pass through the town of Tecumseh in Nebraska.

Lo and behold I saw a place called Frazier’s Café off to my left and decided it would be a make for a good break.  I glanced through the menu looking for something different when my eyes fell upon a meal listed as the H Bomb which described itself as a spicy chicken fried steak sandwich.  I decided to order one though I thought the price was a little high at $9.95.  That is I thought it was a little high until I actually got the sandwich.

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Frazier’s Cafe

This sucker was about the size of an H Bomb as well.  It was so big that I needed a knife and fork to eat it.  It was tasty and big enough for 2 meals which is exactly what I made out of it.

Full from lunch, I continued my drive which included traveling through Burchard, NE, the birthplace of silent film star, Harold Lloyd.  About 3:30pm I entered Wamego and parked in its downtown area.  I wandered up and down the street admiring the buildings.  I stepped into the library and thumbed through a few books before I finally headed over to Victory Inn.

I was immediately struck by the beauty of the inn.  It had a well manicured backyard with a little waterfall and gazebo.  I rang the doorbell of the back door and waited a few minutes.  Upon hearing nothing, I began to search out the front door when I heard the turn of doorknob.  I did an about face and retraced my steps as Margaret welcomed me into her home.

She quickly led me to the Victory Inn Suite before leaving me to my own devices.  I got myself settled and goggled at the palace sized bathroom which housed a Jacuzzi bathtub before exploring the house.  I admired the antiques and glassware and bumped into Margaret’s husband, Francis who quietly welcomed me to the inn.

After wandering about the home, I drew a hot bath and enjoyed a good long soak before slipping into my suit and heading over to the Columbian Theatre.

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Columbian Theatre

The theatre is quite an impressive edifice.  It was built in the late 1800s as a music hall and that same hall still serves as the theatre’s performance space.

The show itself was rather disappointing. After a rough show, I walked back to the inn where I wrote a very difficult review and then retired for the night.

In the morning I was ready for breakfast and Margaret had a nice repast waiting.  There was nothing fancy about the meal.  It was just good old-fashioned home cooking with eggs, bacon, cinnamon coffee cake, some amazing hash browns, and juice.

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Old fashioned country breakfast

I needed some exercise so I spent the next two hours wandering around Wamego where I visited the park, saw the town’s famed windmill, and then I stopped at the famed Oz Museum.

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The windmill of Wamego

The Wizard of Oz is very big in this town.  Not only do they have a museum dedicated to all things Oz but several businesses are named after items in the story such as Oz Winery and Toto’s Tacoz.

The Oz Museum has brought in visitors from all over the globe and it was actually an interesting little visit.  The history of L Frank Baum (author of the series), the birth of the stories, the creation of the famed movie, and other Ozian things came to life before my eyes.  The most surprising piece of trivia I learned was that the books were so popular that other writers were brought on to create more stories after Baum’s passing.  Baum had written 15 stories, but the series ended after the 40th novel written in the late 1960s.  For those who have the time or desire, the film is also shown all day.

When I stepped outside it looked like it was about ready to rain so I decided to while away the afternoon in my room where I watched the Iowa Hawkeyes pummel the Purdue Boilermakers.

After thoroughly enjoying Iowa’s shellacking of Purdue, I took another Jacuzzi bath and then headed over to St Bernard’s Catholic Church for worship.  The church is a pretty impressive edifice and looked fairly new to my eyes.  My eyes did not deceive as the building was erected in 2010.

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St Bernard Catholic Church

It was a pretty good service and Father had a very thought-provoking sermon about how 80% of Catholics no longer attend services which got me to thinking as to how much the attendance rate had fallen amongst all denominations.  His most telling statement was, “I don’t think it’s because we (he was an elderly man) were old-fashioned.  I think we’ve just lost faith.”  Very profound food for thought.

After services, I had hoped to eat at the Friendly Cooker, a diner on the main street of Wamego.  However, the only nights they serve supper are Thursdays and Fridays.  Instead, I decided to try the cuisine at Toto’s Tacoz.

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Toto’s Tacoz

Twas not a bad choice at all.  I had the namesake food which ended up being shredded beef, cheese, onions, lettuce, cilantro, sour cream, and tomatoes on a tortilla.  It was seasoned quite nicely and a little of it goes quite far.

Then I headed over to Junction City, a military town (Fort Riley is nearby) to experience Zombie Toxin.  As a teenager in Omaha, I rather enjoyed the haunted house attractions available in the city and we have some pretty good ones.  While my interest in them has waned as I’ve gotten older, this one made me curious as it touted itself as the #1 haunted attraction in Kansas.

After visiting it, I can say that those claims are perfectly valid.  I would also like to give a special shout-out to Rob for providing me with a speed pass media ticket so I could enjoy Zombie Toxin.

First off, this attraction pays meticulous attention to the details.  It begins with the story of Dr. Von Monschture which I absolutely love because it gives a sense of reality to the attraction.  Once inside, you appreciate the care that went into this place.  Each room has a specific atmosphere and a lot of creativity went into creating the numerous experiments in Von Monschture’s quest to revivify corpses.  There’s nothing cheap about the horrors here.  It has the quality of a big budget horror flick.

Aside from the horrifying beasts, you’ll have to deal with crackling electricity, falling barrels, giant wolf’s heads and a maze in darkness in your attempts to escape from the mad scientist.  Oh, and be wary.  The weird creations and characters of the house pop out anywhere and anytime.  I’m still trying to figure out who or what grabbed my jacket at about the halfway point.

If you live in the vicinity of Junction City and are looking for something to do this Halloween season, visit Zombie Toxin.  I promise you won’t be disappointed.

After visiting the haunted house, it was time to head back to the inn for the night.

For some reason my sleep was a little fitful.  I popped out of my sleep due to goofy dreams on a couple of occasions, but still felt well rested when I woke up for good around 7am.

Another old fashioned breakfast was on the table consisting of pancakes, sausage, scrambled eggs, cinnamon pecan rolls, juice, and water.  Once more I ate my fill, then came back to finish writing.

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Another leg of the road has been completed and Wamego is a quaint little town with friendly folk and a bit to do.  Take in a show at the Columbian.  Travel to the merry old land of Oz.  And for those who need more, the town of Manhattan is less than 30 minutes away.  But make sure you get a room at Victory Inn, you’ll get comfort, hospitality, and a good meal.

Until the next time.