Haven't stayed here, but drive right by it all the time. It's a old motel right on U.S. Highway 50 in Strong City. I'm thinking that it has to be kind of noisy, with half the semi trucks in America driving past day and night. It looks to have been done over a bit, but I was more than a bit surprised to see "spa" surface in its name. It is run by a couple relocated from Chicago, who sound kind of interesting ... they show vintage movies on a bedsheet in the parking lot. If you're in it for a funky stay, or for a massage, then it might be worth a shot. If not, you might want to try the Grand Central in Cottonwood Falls, the Clover Cliff Ranch B&B out near Elmdale ... either one would give you a quiet and relaxing stop, but pricier. For more of a bargain, you could just hit one of the chain joints on the west side of Emporia.
I stayed at the Super Eight in Ark City in June. Nothing special, but clean. They didn't have my reservation, but had rooms available and honored the terms.
I did like that rooms on the front of the hotel on the first floor at access both from a central hallway and individual outside doors. And the wifi worked well.
Thanks for the information about Prairie Fire and, especially, the Super 8. I was concerned about some reviews on the Best Western in Ark City, so this will help me make a choice. I love touring off the "beaten path".
<<< I love touring off the "beaten path". >>>
You'll defiinitely want to stay in Strong City or Cottonwood Falls area, and not the Wal-Mart neighborhood of west Emporia. You'll also want to get out of the car, if you're able, or at least off the highway and on to some of the backroads in the Flint Hills. Ask your motel hosts, or stop in a local cafe' for route suggestions.
Thanks, NotDave... I'm actually from Fredonia, KS (as a youth) and make the heartland pilgrimage every 2 years, without exception. We've grown to like the route 160 scenery going west and thought we'd use Ark City instead of Winfield for a golf/lodging stop this year. Our next golf/lodging stop will be in Guymon, OK. On our way back home to northern Michigan, we'll make a second stop at the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve... we'll most likely avoid the edges of Emporia and flip a coin between Prairie Fire/Strong City and the pricey choices in Cottonwood Falls and Council Grove. It's all about avoiding the cookie cutter establishments off the freeways.
spbill, we have swapped lives. I grew up in Mackinaw City.
If you could arrange your travel to go through Yates Center around noon on a weekday, you could have a unique meal experience at Frannie's.
Frannie prepares one meal each weekday, as well as sandwiches. The cost of the meal including beverage is $1. She also prepares over a dozen wonderful pies. A slice of pie is another dollar.
When you finish your meal, you leave your dishes by the sink. Then you go to the cash register and make your own change.
Frannie has been in business for 20 years. She was already a grandmother when she opened, so I don't know how many more years the restaurant will continue.
I know this is an old forum but we have stayed at the Prairie Fire several times when visiting my husband's family. Since the new owners took over it is much better than it was in 2003. It is cheap around $45 for family of 4.(one double, one single, one rollaway) Beds are comfy and clean. Decor is country / western. Bathrooms are old. Not really disgusting but well used. They don't provide any toiletries so bring your own or buy at the truck stop across the street. If you stay in winter ask that they turn the heat and hot water on before you get there.
I agree with NaNa about the value & condition of the Prairie Fire... but would add that the available massage there is top-of-the-line. On last year's KS road trip, we stayed at the 1874 Stonehouse B&B in Cottonwood Falls and that place was fantastic... including the walking paths, friendly dogs and the fishing pond. Naturally, any trip to Chase County and The Tallgrass Prairie Preserve demands that you read, or at least try to read, William Least Heat Moon's "PrairyErth"... which is the best ever deep map into any US county's history. This year we'll explore Gove County and the scenic rock formations there and to the East.. much to the dismay of our travelling friends who demand more urban vistas. For us, there's nothing like the 2-lane roads and small towns of real America.
spbill, I think your friends will lose their dismay when they see castle rock badlands.
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