BEST I-70, Central Kansas, Antique, Fabric and Food Stops!

Travel | July 12, 2015 | By

This may be a long post, I have a lot to talk about! Our 4th of July weekend involved a few stops on our way. I know how much “fun” it is to drive across Kansas. Maybe you would like to know my favorite stops for food, fun and antiques! This is my drive from Lawrence, KS, to Russell, KS. Here we go!


Just 25 miles west of Topeka is Grandma Hoerner’s. This is where we stop for $1.25, fresh brewed gourmet coffee, snacks and chocolate covered ANYTHING (scoop your own!), and the BEST bathrooms on I-70! I would dare to say, beautiful bathrooms.



Always super nice folks to help you find anything you want, visit and ask where you are headed. On weekdays, you can watch their small factory through glass windows, while they make jams, jellies, and a little bit of jarred everything. They are quite a production! Yes, that IS my forever handwork of hexies on the right!

From here in Alma, KS, we can make it to Wilson, about 2 hours west. Now this is a tiny town. According to the 2013 census, the population was 763. For me, this is a super stop! Can’t say the hubs thinks so, but I could spend an afternoon here. If you’re hungry, stop first at one of three restaurants. “Made From Scratch” is nothing fancy, but simply good diner food. Save room for their pies! Saturdays they have German brunch, made from all things white! Dumplings, gravy, bread, you get the picture.

made from scratch

Next is “Grandma’s Soda Shop” on the main street of Wilson. They do old fashioned sodas. My favorite is the Orange Ice Cream Soda! They have the usual cafe food and burgers, with the best Bierock around these parts! If you aren’t familiar, a Bierock is a bread filled pocket of hamburger, onion, and cabbage. The best German food I know!!


Finally, there is the Midland Railroad Hotel for dinner; but hey, you can stay there too.  Then you CAN do a whole day in Wilson! This is a local favorite, quaint old limestone hotel.

midland hotel

Now that you’ve had food or an ice cream soda, you’re ready for the shopping!


First visit Jeanne at  Grandma J’s shop. She is open Friday and Saturday, but call and she’ll meet you there if she can! Make sure you have plenty of time to visit and meander through her shop. It is FULL of treasures! As her card says: antiques, treasures, fabrics and crafts. I needed some silk thread, she had it!



Jeanne has years of quilt knowledge and was very sweet to let me take pictures. She talked about a quilt guild group coming to visit. Half of them went to lunch while the other half shopped. That’s one way to shop a small space!


Her prices are incredible, batiks $8.50! She’s also got some unusual fabrics 😉 The $3.50 clearance closet might be my favorite!


When you leave Grandma J’s quilt shop, go visit the next Grandma, Granny’s Junktiques! Yes, lot’s of Grandma’s in this town!


I hope you can see the phone number on the door. If you go, call first! She’s open when she’s not at an auction ;). This is another small space with a LOT of stuff. I head right to the back, where you’ll find the 25 cent room! I once spent $5 and gave her $10 and said keep the change. Seriously a treasure trove! The 25 cent linen shelf is where I go.


There is currently another shop opening next door to Granny’s. I’m sure she’ll be open when Granny is open!

Another terrific lunch spot is in Dorrance at the “OLD 40 Bar and Grill”, about 5-10 miles west of Wilson. This is my destination spot for lunch if it’s Friday. You can enjoy their special, Open Roast Beef sandwich. Really! Does this look like a sandwich? This is simply pure, old fashioned like your mama made, GOODNESS!


I am seriously impressed with the waitress when she looks at me and says, “you don’t want bread, right?” Whoa! She says, “I don’t remember names, but I know what you eat!” I will mention my dad lives a few miles from Dorrance, so we do eat there every chance we get. Make sure to get the HALF order. That’s what this plate is, and I think it was $6. They also have a grill with hamburgers and such; but c’mon, isn’t this what you really want!!?


Alrighty, if you aren’t in a food coma at this point, move on down the road to Russell, KS, 18 miles west of Dorrance. If you take the main exit into town, HWY 281, head north. The first stop is Encore Antiques and Collectibles on the left side of the road. It’s a huge place, you can’t miss it!


Again, I head to my favorite linen stash! This one is unbelievable, and I’ve found lots of treasures in this spot.


I know you’re getting tired at this point, but don’t leave until you go to downtown Russell and visit the beautiful shop of D. Palma & Co. Mercantile. Follow HWY 281 north until you get to Wisconsin (6th street) and turn left. You’ll see main street ahead. Turn right and there you are at D. Palma.


I’m biased because it is owned by my cousin, Tim, and his partner, Dylan. Super friendly atmosphere, affordable prices and above average selection. I always find linens or quilts here. If you visit, tell them Kelly sent you! Last year the hubs found a hat he HAD to have! He thinks it’s his tough guy hat (he has to work really hard at not smiling!).



Maybe this is the last stop for today! Whew, that was some great shopping and good food! If it’s midday and you need a coffee, walk down the street to the Espresso coffee shop. If it’s late and you’re hot and tired, head north down main street to Waudby’s, the local bar and grill. Great hamburgers and a must try are their pub chips with cheese dip! YUM!

I hope you’ve had a good time in Central Kansas! I was a little long winded on this post, but I am always on the hunt for fabulous food and antiques. If you have a favorite route in your state, leave me a comment. I also love a good road trip if it includes these things! Thanks for following along!


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