We left the house around 9:45 am on Wednesday and drove an hour and a half to the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve. We visited the visitor's center, watched a cool video about the history of the tallgrass prairies and how there is only about 4% of them left...and most of them are in Kansas! We bought a cool kid's book about National Parks and Moriah bought herself an adorable bonnet. =)
How cute is this??
We toured the beautiful stone barn and house next, built in 1881.
The barn was huge, and the basement level was the quintessential, "old fashioned barn" that I think they should (if they haven't already) use in movies!! It might be the prettiest barn I've ever seen
The house was quite something... obviously these people had money. For some reason I didn't take a single picture inside, though! =0/
Walkway leading up the beautiful front doors
Setting out... we had no idea how far we might have to walk!
Looking back on the trail (that's Keenan in the distance)
Someone coming back had told us that three of the bison had broken away from the rest of the herd and they told us which way to go... we were delighted that they were still there as they were MUCH closer than the rest of them!
First view of them
I think this is my favorite picture of the day
We were excited to be able to get so close!
Not so sure about us
(Since there was fence, we were able to get much closer to them than if we'd been in the enclosure (they recommend a football field away)
I'm putting both of these since my kids can't all decide at once who's going to have their eyes closed ;)
Just me, my man and some bison
After seeing the bison, we decided to hike back a different way and checked out the school house that was built on the property in 1884.
Trying to be artsy with a photo of some thistles with the schoolhouse in the background
Little feet were getting tired by this point
Some pretty wildflowers
The schoolhouse...looking sort of sad and forlorn
I love how the background of this naturally looks sort of black and white against Caleb
He was saying, "This is the Wild Woods!" =)
They built 30 miles of these beautiful stone fences!!
Back in June, Philip had bid (at a silent auction) on a one night stay at the Prairiewood StoneHouse in Manhattan, KS. I had looked at the brochure at the time and was super excited about it but...the real thing was about three times as awesome as what I was expecting!!! It was built in the 1860's and has soo much charm and character! It was fully renovated in 2014.
A staff member gave us a tour and explained everything (and gave us a complimentary bottle of wine and a bag of locally roasted coffee) and then we brought our bags in and I went crazy with my camera!
Tiny pond, seating area and the old stone barn in the background
The beautiful kitchen
(I loved how the stove and everything was "old timey" to match the decor)
...and gorgeous attached bathroom
Living room upstairs
Caleb's room (they LOVED having their own rooms!)
Their bathroom (notice the double shower heads!)
Separated from the bedroom by a beautiful sliding barn door made from the wooden floorboards of the original kitchen was our bathroom...
...and one of the biggest tubs I'd ever seen!
The front of the house
From a bit further back
Another view of the beautiful barn (with the hot tub in the foreground)
Keenan was the first to kayak...
While the others canoed
Then they each took turns
A selfie while I waited for them to come back around the bend in the river
Caleb's turn in the kayak!
Everyone else in the canoe
Heading back to the sandbar
All of us in the hot tub
(It was actually hot enough! I'm kind of picky about hot tubs and my standard is that if it doesn't hurt at least a little to get in, it's not hot enough.) This one was! =)
Just the two of us
Our three silly monkeys
We stayed in for quite a while and us girls were the last ones out...
When we had finally all had enough, we came back in, changed, got all cozy, did a load of laundry, Moriah had a shower (in the fancy shower with two heads!), and we snuggled up to read books.
Some of us in a comfy chair with blankets upstairs...
...and Keenan in his bed on the main floor =)
(He said this was one of his favorite parts of the visit)
Everything lit up after dark
We all had a great night's sleep and packed up the next morning. Here are a couple shots I snagged before we left:
I love this silhouette of Caleb in one of the upstairs windows
We were all quite impressed with the pulley lamp over the table in the living room!
The view out our bedroom window
Looking down on the front yard
I found this cutie perched in one of the pretty windows
I bought one of their mugs, made by a local artist
What a fun experience! Though short, I think we will remember it for a Long time!