• Last modified 652 days ago (Sept. 1, 2022)


FRESH PERSPECTIVE: What other treasures has our new reporter discovered?

Staff writer

My exploration of Marion County continues — as does my affection for this part of the state.

Some people can’t believe I drive from Wichita to work in Marion. Let me tell you: The commute is a gift. The hourlong drive in the morning gives me time to gear up for the day, and the trip home gives me time to unwind.

Any only child who didn’t get married till I was 44, I require more alone time than the average person. My commute provides me built-in solo time.

It also provides me opportunities for wonder.

I often pull over to take photos of or notes about what I see — a calf grabbing some shade under a tree with her mom, a dilapidated limestone home, hydrangeas in full bloom, cornfields on either side of Sunflower Rd. that feel like a big hug as I’m coming and going.

I’m forever moved by sights, tastes, sounds, and smells.

After I wrote about my culinary tour of Pop’s Diner in Peabody, Flint Hills Market and Bakery in Florence, and Parlour 1886 at the Historic Elgin Hotel in Marion, reader Barbara Tajchman suggested a few more places.

She didn’t steer me wrong.

I savored flour chips and cheese dip and an enchilada at Al’s Café in Lost Springs, a place so vibrant I wanted to stay all day. I knew it was my kind of place when I saw the colorful plants out front.

I played peek-a-boo with a baby in the booth next to mine. I relished the salsa (see what I did there?). I smiled as old friends and strangers greeted each other.

People weren’t exaggerating when they said Al’s makes some amazing Mexican food. I’m looking forward to taking my husband there. I want Josh to try the burrito that bears his name.

Rhubarb Market Coffeehouse and Roasters in Hillsboro also delighted me to no end.

It’s fabulously curated with several intimate spaces carved out among its square footage. And the peach and cream scone? Heavenly.

Scones are one of my favorite treats. Too often, they can be so dry that you end up in a coughing fit while eating one. That was not the case at Rhubarb Market, where I also enjoyed a tasty iced chai latte.

I tried to notice as many details as I could — the 1929 license plate embedded in the wood floor, the impactful art of Tom Voth’s “They Took a Stand” show, the call to pray for peace for the people of Ukraine.

So far, everyone’s recommendations about places to eat, things to see, and people to meet have been top-notch.

I’m still looking for a “secret” fishing and swimming hole, so please keep those tips coming.

Last modified Sept. 1, 2022