Just a fraction of the whiskey barrels stored at J. Rieger Distillery Co. in Kansas City. Photo by Lacey and Troy’s Weird Adventures
We stepped out of the front door with a definite morning plan, then very loose afternoon plans. So we made the 40 mile drive to J. Rieger and Co. for a morning tour. Besides being interested in a company that has been in Kansas City since 1887, we are interested in the East Bottoms and Heim Brothers brewing. The Heim Brothers were responsible for the area’s first electric powered park, Electric Park. Electric Park was Walt Disney’s primary influence when he first began the Disneyland concept.(I will detail the East Bottoms in the future) So touring a business that is in one of the last remaining pieces of the Heim Brewing empire I had to book this tour to get inside.
Once the tour began we were greeted by the owners who give a detailed, top notch account of their path to get the company off the ground. (If you are interested in bourbon and spirits I’d recommend this tour. I believe they will start them back up in the fall. I was able to get a killer photo of the inside of Heim’s old bottling building. After the very informative tour, they have a table set set up with plastic shotglasses. For the sampling was their KC Whiskey, Gin, Vodka, and Cafe Amaro. Lacey and I both grabbed a Cafe Amaro, then I of course grabbed the whiskey and she grabbed a vodka. The Cafe Amaro will make a great additive to whatever cocktail ideas we can come up with so we brought a bottle home. She said the Vodka was pretty smooth. That KC Whiskey though was magic, very complex flavor with a punch. But not that punch that whiskey made by backwoods hillbillies make in old tractor gas tanks. This punch made me have a whiskey grin! Whiskey for breakfast? You betcha. We are on Daycation afterall so it’s acceptable.
Happy Gillis was featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. Season 10, Episode 1. Photo by Lacey and Troy’s Weird Adventures
We wanted to have lunch at a quirky little joint we’d had once before called the Happy Gillis Cafe and hangout. You walk up to the building and it has perhaps one of the coolest entrances of any Sundry in KC. I love the tasty sandwiches and Lacey loves the salads. It’s all locally sourced produce and breads they use in their food. This place deserves a foodies blog from us and I will give it one tomorrow. But in short of it, if you are like us and think your dining should be an experience then this one is in that category.
Holy Rosary Parish, home to several “big” funerals in the Little Italy area in Kansas City, most notable, mob boss John Lazia. Photo by Lacey and Troy’s Weird Adventures
After lunch we made a flurry of stops including the Holy Rosary Parish, home of some notorious wise guy funerals, a stop in the new Roasterie Cafe at 1828 Walnut, and an attempted meeting at Boss Tom’s headquarters. Seems every time we try and talk to the Boss he’s not in. Oh well, moving on. We needed excitement so we head to Kansas in search of Stull Cemetery. So back roads in Kansas we go!! Unlike the usual trips through Kansas where we get hills, prairies, and tumbleweeds with FedEx trucks pulling 98 trailers piggy back style this one offers abandoned buildings, beat up cars, dead farm equipment, and very sketchy properties.
Stull Cemetery in Stull, Kansas. Tabbed as one of the Seven Gateways to Hell. Photo by Lacey and Troy’s Weird Adventures
We arrived at the Stull Cemetery around 230ish. The Legend of the Stull Cemetery has been documented quite a bit. It was featured in an episode of Supernatural, a few direct to video films, and had a nice little write up in the Weird U.S. book. Legend has it that it is one of Seven Gateways to Hell and that the Devil shows up there twice a year. Halloween and then again during the Spring Equinox. There are signs galore that say no trespassing and to keep out but the gate is open. My guess is it’s to keep people out of there at night that are seeking thrills. We walked the grounds and didn’t notice anything outside of a beautiful cemetery. We found the rubble of the old church building where legend says the mysterious entry to hell was. A staircase that lead straight down, those that entered never returned. Later today I will get my blog up about this cemetery it’s history and legend and exactly what we seen while there.
Constitution Hall in Lecompton, KS. built in 1856. Photo by Lacey and Troy’s Weird Adventures
Lecompton, KS was the Territorial capital of Kansas from 1855 to 1861. Those familiar with Bleeding Kansas and the John Brown crusade probably already know of this place. Lots of incredible history happened within those walls of Constitution Hall. The town has done a great job preserving what it could of its past as the Constitution Hall, Democratic Headquarters, and formerly Lane University still stand. Lane University was the place where former 34th President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s parents met and eventually married in the Chapel in 1885. Anyone interested in seeing one of the places the real fight began pre Civil War should travel to Lecompton,Kansas the “birthplace of the Civil War”
Formerly Lane University where President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s parents met and later married in. Photo by Lacey and Troy’s Weird Adventures
Where do you go after having whiskey for breakfast, tracing mobster footsteps, searching for the devil, and finding the birthplace of the Civil War? Well it is Daycation so honestly I think we need to relax by a nice waterfront. But then we realized we were in Kansas so there was no chance of that. Or was there……………..upon leaving Lecompton and driving around we found a town called Perry, KS. In my mind it looked like small town USA, maybe a few hundred people and if really lucky there might be a full one thousand people. Boy was I wrong, we see a sign that says Perry Lake so we follow it expecting a large fishing pond. Once we got there we couldn’t believe what we seen!!! A rather large boat docking and storage area, so that means giant ass body of water!! Is it possible we could be lucky enough to have stumbled into paradise? In Kansas?
Perry Lake in Kansas took us by surprise! What a beautiful little place. Photo by Lacey and Troy’s Weird Adventures
Upon driving past the boat docks we find a good place to park to take some photos real quick before heading to Topeka to find dinner. Well once we stepped outside I hear cat calls, and wooooooos, music, and what sounded like a great time. Then we see a sign that says Hookers N Reelers bar and grill. I ask Lacey if she wants to grab a drink and ponder life while taking in the views from the patio we soon spotted. We walk inside and realize they serve legit food, well screw Topeka, I think we are eating here!!! We order our drinks and decide to eat inside.
After dinner we drank a beer on the patio overlooking Perry Lake. Photo by Lacey and Troy’s Weird Adventures
We take a table that allows us to look outside and see the lake. Sitting inside I swear it feels like we are far from home in some small little paradise! We make our orders, I got steak tacos and Lacey got loaded fries topped with steak. I’ll be quick to admit both items were really good!! My tacos were steak, onion, pico, and salsa with cilantro on top. Normally I go full assault mode, fried cheesy meat goodness, and Lacey goes for healthier. For whatever reason we went opposite of each other this time around. She got some loaded fries that had steak, bacon, queso, and shredded cheese. They were heavenly which comes in handy after looking to stick our heads in the fires of hell at Stull Cemetery!!
While sitting inside we laughed because there were alot of really cute girls working there, wearing shorts and tank tops and each time they walked by I would stare, not at them……..but the plates they were walking by with! That’s right, not ashamed to admit I was staring at plates of food. I couldn’t help it, it’s what chubby fellas like myself do!! I was like look how big that sandwich is! Do you see that steak? Holy hell is that cheese and bacon on that? I was like a puppy whose owner is unknowingly walking back and forth with the toy they so desperately want. We got a good laugh from it.
Sitting on the rocks after a long day of Daycation. Took some time to enjoy the views all around before heading back to real life. Photo by Lacey and Troy’s Weird Adventures
After dinner we stepped out onto the patio, and had our drinks. We held hands and enjoyed the beautiful backdrop. We watched some drunken goon in his speedboat and just really took a moment. It was a much needed slowdown that we needed in our busy lives. I would highly recommend a Daycation for anyone I know. It doesn’t have to be these crazy plans, just find somewhere your kids can go and you take your better halves out. Make your own adventures! Some of our best days we’ve just got on the road and drove until we found something interesting. That reconnection time with your partner is always welcoming! Nothing beats singing to retro music, laughing, having a drink in strange locations and just getting lost in each others company. Daycation number one is in the books for us, we’d done this sort of thing many times before but before Saturday never labeled it as a Daycation.
Hopefully I see and hear about your upcoming Daycations. If you have any questions about anywhere we visit then please feel free to ask. If you’ve been somewhere you think we’d love then please let us know!
Thank you for your time in reading this!
Travel with passion, travel with gusto!
……and of course eat with adventurous eyes!
Lacey and Troy’s Weird Adventures