We love exploring small town history and attractions

We love exploring small town history and attractions we happen upon. The history, stories, and unexpected sights are what we enjoy most on our RV meandering trips. We’re just not fans of the big-name attractions, at least not all the time.

After our overnight visits to the haunted Hotel Josephine and McInteer Villa, we spent a few fun days exploring the small towns of Holton and Atchison in northeastern Kansas.

This is the story of some of those small-towns we spent a little time in as we began our trip south and back to Texas.

Holton, Kansas

Holton, a population of over 3,000, is a small town not too far from Topeka, the state capital. This is a family-oriented, no traffic jams, kind of town. Holton is home to the fabulously haunted Hotel Josephine and Banner Creek Campground Reservoir is only three miles away .

Banner Creek Reservoir Campground

10975 K-16 Hwy
Holton, KS 66436
Diane and Bobby Levich, Camp Hosts (north side)

After our hysterically fun sleepless visits at Hotel Josephine and McInteer Villa, my sisters continued their vacation in Colorado and New Mexico. I joined Steve in the RV at Banner Creek Reservoir Campground, our home base, while we explored Holton and Atchison’s sights for a few more days.

Banner Creek is a great RV park, just what we look for. The sites have water and electrical hookups, a dump station on-site, shade trees, spacious and level areas, and a lake where you can enjoy fishing and boating. The RV sites, however, cannot be reserved but are first-come, first, serve.

We love exploring small town history and attractions

Diane was our terrific camp host. She greeted us when we arrived, made sure we were comfortable and pointed out the restroom/shower houses, playgrounds, and nearby trails.

Boomers’ Steakhouse

We had a great meal at Boomers’ Steakhouse. It was here that Steve enjoyed what he refers to as his all-time favorite Reuben sandwich. Boomers’ Steakhouse has excellent food and a full bar.

Jhett’s Pizza

I also can highly recommend Jhett’s Pizza in Holton, great pizza! This is a bustling but small, family-owned pizza shop. The employees here were working so hard and did a great job of keeping all the customers happy.

The old oak tree of Searle in Holton Kansas

We love exploring small town history and attractions

One of the sights to see in Holton is the old oak tree of Searle. This tree began its life as an acorn between 1792 and 1817 and, at one time, was the 11th largest Bur oak tree in Kansas. It was named after Mr. Searle, who donated the tree to the town in the early 90s. It is a beautiful tree.

Atchison, Kansas

Atchison is about 40 miles from our campground. It was well worth the drive back to visit the town’s historical attractions.

Sallie House

We love exploring small town history and attractions

This famously haunted house has hundreds of visitors each year. It has been showcased on numerous news and tv programs, including The Travel Channel, The Discovery Channel, and the Syfy Channel. This house has a haunted history that is way too dark for me to want to visit.

Take a look at the Sallie House website for the gruesome story. We did drive by the house to see what it looks like and to take a quick picture.

Amelia Earhart Birthplace Museum

We love exploring small town history and attractions

I was very disappointed to miss a tour of this home. We weren’t able to match our available time with the times the house was open. Amelia Earhart is one of my heroes, and I had looked forward to touring her birthplace.

The wood-frame cottage was built on the west bank of the Missouri River in 1861. A gift shop is on the premises now, and tours are given each day except Monday and Friday, but the open hours are brief.

We love exploring small town history and attractions

The home is maintained by The Ninety-Nines, which is an international organization of Women Pilots. Amelia Earhart was the first president of this organization. This was home for Amelia Earhart until she was twelve.

Atchison County Historical Society Museum

We love exploring small town history and attractions

This was a pleasant little surprise. We found exhibits about Amelia Earhart, Lewis & Clark’s exploration in the area, and local Native American history. We learned that the Pony Express operated out of Atchison for 18 months before being replaced by the telegraph.

We love exploring small town history and attractions

Lewis & Clark Pavilion

This attractive Pavilion in Riverfront Park marks the site where Lewis and Clark camped in 1804 while exploring the land of the Louisiana Purchase. Atchison would not be founded until 50 years later. The open-air Pavilion was built as part of the Lewis and Clark bicentennial celebration in 2004.

The Pavilion, built on the bank of the Missouri River, also displays an eternal bronze flame and is right next to a Veterans’ Memorial.

Jerry’s Again

We love exploring small town history and attractions

We enjoyed this restaurant so much; we returned here a second time – just for the pie! Don’t get me wrong, the food was excellent, but my gracious; the pie! My sisters, nephew, Steve, and I all happened into Jerry’s Again for lunch before checking into the McInteer.

We had a very leisurely meal and enjoyed visiting with the young lady that served us. She let us know upfront how many slices of what pie was remaining, but we decided on dessert after our meals. What a mistake! We ended up sharing one fresh peach pie and one strawberry pie – all that was left.

A few days later, Steve and I drove directly to Jerry’s Again to get pie, nothing but pie. I was disappointed to discover there was no peach pie that day, but the coconut crème pie I ordered was just as good as the peach was—perfect pastry and not to be missed.

We love exploring small town history and attractions

We love exploring small town history and attractions

You all know the apparent vacation spots, the cities, the beaches, the famous and often crowded destinations, and they are beautiful places to travel to. We, however, enjoy these small, maybe obscure small-town adventures just as much if not more than the famous vacation adventures. If you, like us, find you’re interested in little offbeat locations, these great small-town Kansas attractions and history could make a great RV or car road trip for you too.

We love exploring small town history and attractions

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