Cozy Western Ranch Set Amid Kansas Prairie
The roster of animals residing at the 500-acre Circle S Ranch & Country Inn includes a herd of bison, some longhorn cattle, a chorus of bullfrogs, a constellation of fireflies (in the warmer months), and a dog called Lucy. The latter serves as a friendly guide to any of the ranch's human guests who'd like to bring her along for treks through nature trails cut into the surrounding prairie or fishing trips at secluded ponds. Guided horseback rides provide further chances for exploring the landscape.
To complement its rustic setting, the inn was designed to look something like an old country barn, complete with rounded roof and brown clapboard siding. Each of the 12 individually decorated guest rooms boasts down-home décor such as woven baskets, hand-carved four-poster beds, and the kind of wicked-witch-flattening architecture for which Kansas is famous. There's also a silo on the grounds, but instead of grain it houses a roomy eight-person hot tub. Each morning, the inn serves a hearty complimentary breakfast, and on weekends it hosts an evening social hour.
Lawrence, Kansas: Bohemian College Town with Vibrant Arts Scene
Set in the prairie about an hour from Kansas City and Topeka, Lawrence is best known as home base for the University of Kansas. The school's presence lends the town a youthful vibe and attracts a diverse blend of college-sports fans, artsy types, and mortarboard salesmen. On Massachusetts Street, one of the town's busiest thoroughfares, funky antique shops and vintage-clothing boutiques stand alongside sports bars thronged with rowdy Jayhawks fans. Those seeking a cultural fix can sample Lawrence's art galleries, museums, and thriving live-music scene.