visit enchanting Oberlin

Visit enchanting Oberlin, Kansas

Imagine yourself in Oberlin, Kansas

Oberlin, Kansas welcome sign
As soon as you see the Oberlin welcome signs, you’ll know you’re coming into fun. This sign is on Highway 83 at the city’s southern entrance.

Are you hearing, “I want to get away; I want to fly away” on repeat in your mind? Imagine this solution. Imagine a romantic getaway in Oberlin, Kansas.

Cherish two romantic days in Oberlin, Kansas

private entrance to LandMark Inn
Welcome to the LandMark Inn! When you reserve the Courtyard Suite at the LandMark Inn, you’ll have a private entrance and a two-person Jacuzzi under a stained glass window. How’s that for romantic?

Once you arrive, you check into a lovely Victorian-era bed and breakfast, The Landmark Inn, 189 S. Penn Ave. You and your significant other head from your beautifully appointed room to the wonderful Teller Room Restaurant. (Check out the menu ahead of time.) Both of you enjoy a delicious meal before heading back to your room for a relaxing evening together.

If you prefer a hotel to a B&B, then Oberlin’s Cobblestone Inn & Suites, 507 W. Elm St., is just the ticket you need. The rooms are very comfortable and welcoming. Best of all is the nightly beer and wine bar. While you’re sipping your favorite beverage, hang out with fellow guests in the hotel lounge. Make sure you step outside at sunrise and sunset for beautiful, unobstructed views of Oberlin.

After supper, you feel your worries slipping away…

View of Oberlin, Kansas, from the Cobblestone Inn & Suites
Cobblestone Inn & Suites sits on a hill with unobstructed views of Oberlin to the south and rural Decatur County in every other direction. Definitely watch the sunrises and sunsets from the chairs outside.

History and shopping and outdoor recreation … oh, my!

The next morning, you eat at the Teller Room again or enjoy the Cobblestone’s breakfast. After breakfast, you head out for a day of shopping in Oberlin and exploring beautiful Decatur County. If you’re staying at the LandMark, check out their gift shop, Oberlin Mercantile, next to the Teller Room.

In season, you visit Decatur County Farmers Market at the Gateway Civic Center, 1 Morgan Drive, and buy locally grown food for your lunch. The Gateway is across the street from Cobblestone. If the farmers market is not in season, visit Raye’s Grocery, 119 W. Commercial St., for a delicious carry-out noon meal.

Last Indian Raid Tour map, beginning and ending in Oberlin, Kansas
The Last Indian Raid Tour map. | Printable version.

Follow history’s footsteps

Eric on the way to Oberlin, Kansas
The Handsomest Man in the World on our way to our romantic weekend in Oberlin, Kansas.

Eric and I are history buffs. If, like us, history is your passion, Decatur County fits the bill. A little imagination will take you back to the 1870s when Decatur County was settled.

In Oberlin, imagine yourself as a hopeful homesteader. You’ve come to Oberlin to apply for a free quarter-section of land. You stop at the Oberlin Land Office and file your application. Afterward, you might go next door and open a bank account at the First National Bank of Oberlin. The bank building is now the LandMark Inn.

Last Indian Raid in Kansas leaves an enduring legacy

In September 1878, the Indian Wars seemed far away. But one last blow, the Last Indian Raid in Kansas, fell on the unsuspecting homesteaders.

Northern Cheyennes fleeing reservation life in Oklahoma came through Decatur County in September 1878. When they exited Decatur and neighboring Rawlins Counties, 18 settlers were dead. To learn more about the Last Indian Raid, start at the Decatur County Last Indian Raid Museum. The museum also has 15 interesting buildings to tour. Allow a couple of hours.

Before you start the Last Indian Raid tour, mentally erase the roads, power poles, crops and modern housing. Imagine yourself on a cool September morning as a settler minding your own business or as a hungry, footsore Northern Cheyenne desperately trying to return to Montana. Imagine your shock as a settler when warriors came out of nowhere and attacked your home and family. Or imagine yourself seeking food as a Northern Cheyenne. Maybe imagine yourself as a soldier vainly trying to defend the settlers.

Then drive the nine-stop tour. Decatur County is beautiful. It’s filled with creeks, bluffs and canyons. Because it’s so beautiful, you’ll want to stop and enjoy the views. Besides, you’re with your significant other. Take your time.

At a minimum, allow an hour for the driving tour. Escape your car and enjoy the landscape. What could be better than enjoying the scenery with the one you love?

Decatur County Courthouse mural
This courthouse mural shows the location where settlers died in the Last Indian Raid in Kansas. (Courtesy Decatur County Courthouse.)

When you return to Oberlin, visit the Decatur County Courthouse. Look for the Last Indian Raid mural on the third floor. Also look for the funny first-floor sign that implies that you obtain drivers’ licenses in the women’s restroom.

markers south of Oberlin
Along with the Last Indian Raid, herds of cattle crossed Decatur County on the Great Western Cattle Trail. Look for both markers as you drive.

Pro tips while driving Decatur County

Decatur County road signs can be difficult to read. Because of that, keep track of your mileage between markers.

Also, consider the seasons of agriculture while driving county roads. Tall corn especially limits visibility at intersections. During planting, haying, wheat and fall harvest, be prepared for heavier traffic as farmers move between fields.

When driving gravel roads, avoid getting too near the shoulders. They can be soft. Plus, gravel tends to accumulate near the edge of the roads. Driving on thick gravel is like driving on ball bearings.

Whenever possible, drive on the places with the least gravel. Those places tend to be toward the middle of the road. (Gravel roads also lack lane stripes.) Move to the right whenever you approach a hill or other blind spot.

Be prepared for wide, slow-moving farm equipment. If you are behind farm equipment, keep an eye on the driver. If they wave you past them, they are telling you that passing them is safe.

Ward Drug under the awnings in Downtown Oberlin
Ward Drug’s storefront shows off Downtown Oberlin’s distinctive awnings. (Courtesy Ward Drug.)

Shop until you drop in Downtown Oberlin

Miss Sadie loves The Dresser BoutiqueOberlin advertises its charming downtown as a place where “friends meet on brick streets.” You will find warm and welcoming people who are ready to help you.

Downtown is centered on Penn Ave., paved with bricks in 1922. Unusually, all the businesses have awnings, protecting shoppers from the weather. You’ll find fun places to shop.

Here are three:

  • The Dresser Boutique has fine ladies’ clothing with unique accessories and gifts. Eighty-five ladies invested to make the store a reality.
  • Ward Drug is an old-fashioned drug store with Russell Stover candies, candles, and gifts. I loved their signs. What a hoot! If you need a prescription, browse the rest of the store while the pharmacist fills your medication order.
  • Country Quilting and Keepsakes is in a house two blocks west of Penn on W. Commercial St. If you like to do anything with fabric, and especially quilting, this is a must-stop.

Sappa Creek and Shelter House in Oberlin-Sappa State Park
Sappa Creek and the Shelter House in Oberlin-Sappa State Park east of Oberlin.

Head outdoors

Head two miles east of the US Highways 36 and 83 intersection to Sappa Park. But before you visit the park, you must visit Dale’s Fish N Fun N Gun east of the intersection. Stock up on hunting and fishing supplies and buy your Kansas hunting and fishing licenses. You’ll need a fishing license to fish in the 8-acre park pond.

As you turn north to the park from Highway 83, you’ll pass the Oberlin Country Club  At the park, relax beneath the park’s canopy of trees. A mile-long shaded drive ends at the Shelter House with its fireplaces. Take trails and wander the park together. What possibly could be more romantic than walking hand in hand along the park’s trails and stopping for a picnic lunch next to a campfire built in one of the park’s fire rings?

Enjoy an enchanted evening in Oberlin, Kansas

Enjoy a well-earned supper at the Re~Load, 133 S. Penn. You’ll love their pizza. Try the fried pickles. The twice-baked potatoes are also highly recommended. Tuesdays are Taco Tuesdays. They serve chicken-fried steak on Fridays.

Afterward, head back to your hotel and dream of the next time you can return to romantic, enchanting Oberlin, Kansas.

Directional map to Oberlin
Please click on the image to see a larger map.

How to get to Oberlin, Kansas

Oberlin is located at the junction of US Highways 36 and 83, between Interstates 70 and 80.

How to find the fun in Kansas

To help you find the fun things in Kansas, Kansas Sampler Foundation has published what I consider the Indispensable Kansas Travel Bible, “The Kansas Guidebook 2 for Explorers” by our friends Marci Penner and WenDee Rowe. (Buy a T-shirt and join the Kansas Explorers Club while you’re at it.) After you buy the book, take it wherever you go in Kansas. When you visit one of the places listed, ask an attraction staff member to initial and date that entry. If no one is available, please initial and date it yourself. It’s fun to look back at the great places you’ve visited.

Check out what we’ve written about Kansas.

Thank you, Oberlin, for hosting us. As always, our opinions and reviews are solely our own.


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