Off of the area of the Santa Fé Trail and between Council Grove and Strong City on Kansas State Highway 177 is the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve . This wonderful and unique public/private partnership between the National Park Service and The Nature Conservancy gives you both the view of an area undisturbed by farming due to rocks and a view of the Spring Hill Farm and Stock Ranch as it was. Today when we viewed the house they had it all open. You could even view the underground storage areas and spring house. I had always wondered what it was like inside so I was delighted to see the underground portion. The home is actually built like a lot of the modern homes today with a walk out basement type of set up except this has the front out instead of the back.
After the short hike around the structures we drove back to Council Grove to get some lunch. We decided to try the Trails Day Cafe where one of the owners was busy and proudly placing their bronze plaque on theTerwilliger Home. The owners reason that the it was the last house out of Council Grove and the first house in from Santa Fe was not good enough reason for the park service according to the owner. The house does have other reasons to be placed on the historical list as it was built in 1860-61 and was part of a campground set up along the trail at one time. I wandered upstairs, downstairs and the around the grounds. I was really interested in the way they reset the house back up to its original height and added open stairs to the basement (the house only had an outside entrance). They are also preserving a number of structures including a log cabin the have in a barn. The owners also gave us a history lesson of the house and area which included a scrapbook to look at. The have worked hard to keep history.
The menu was very interesting in a historical way. You can dine on old world, early American food or more modern affair. The also made an interesting cherry tea. I ordered the Buffalo Joe (ground buffalo with BBQ sauce). She tried to match from a BBQ rib place that was in Junction City, KS. I never went to the BBQ rib place so I could not tell you if it tasted the same but it was good. I suppose you can call it a blend of old with new.