For Kristi Barger, traveling out of state ultimately meant having to move out of state.
Barger loved to travel around the region, whether that was visiting her parents in Kansas City multiple times a week or driving to Bismarck, N.D., more than 800 miles away.
“When possible I travel as much as I can,” Barger said.
That began to change when gasoline prices surged and Barger was no longer driving a compact Honda but instead a Ford F-150 pickup truck.
In May, however, Barger, an archaeologist, left Lawrence to take a job in Wyoming. With a new job, Barger hopes to travel more, and Wyoming will make it easier. She said the average price of gas there is about $3.55 a gallon, cheaper than the $3.78 gas found in Lawrence.
Although Barger can no longer enjoy destinations within driving distance of Lawrence, for those still here stuck with higher prices, travel options exist that will maximize enjoyment while minimizing costs.
Two of these options — Emporia and the Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum — are holding special events in the next few weeks.
Here are a few ideas for economical day trips:
Celebrate the Flint Hills Week
Between June 2 and June 12, Emporia will host Celebrate the Flint Hills Week, an array of events to showcase the Flint Hills and their place in Kansas life.
The celebration begins Thursday with a screening of “Ride with the Devil” at the Granada Theatre in Emporia. The film, a 1999 civil war drama starring Tobey Maguire, was shot in Kansas and Missouri.
Built in 1929, the historic Granada underwent a $2.8 million, three-year renovation before reopening in 2008.
“Of all the theaters in Kansas, I think it probably tops the list in extended renovation,” said Susan Rathke of the Emporia Convention and Visitor’s Bureau.
The busiest day is Friday, June 10, which will feature music and documentaries at the Granada Theatre throughout the afternoon, followed by a beer garden and free outdoor concert in the evening.
On Sunday, June 12, a vintage baseball game will be played.
Celebrate the Flint Hills Week is centered on Symphony in the Flint Hills, a concert on June 11 by the Kansas City Symphony in the tallgrass prairie.
“This is an effort to give those people who are coming to the concert a little extra to do before and after the event,” Rathke said.
More information and a complete schedule can be found at emporiagranada.com/wp/calendar/celebrate/.
Eisenhower Presidential Museum
Though the Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum in Abilene has been open for more than 50 years, the center continues to examine the Kansas-raised president from unique perspectives.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of Dwight D. Eisenhower leaving the presidency. To commemorate the anniversary, the center is housing a new exhibit this summer, “Eisenhower: Agent of Change.”
The exhibit is a 50-year retrospective examining the policy decisions made by the president and the issues that confronted him during his two terms in office.
The center’s communication director, Samantha Kenner, said she’s hoping to keep visitors of all ages engaged with the exhibit. Kenner also said an Eisenhower family reunion was planned for the end of June and is expected to bring together grandchildren of the president as well as extended family.
In addition to the anniversary activities, the museum maintains permanent galleries and Eisenhower’s boyhood home. In the summer, the museum is open from 8 a.m. to 5:45 p.m. every day.
More information can be found at eisenhower.archives.gov.
American Jazz Museum
Located at 18th and Vine in Kansas City, Mo., the American Jazz Museum celebrates the jazz history of Kansas City.
The museum is most noted for The Blue Room, a bar and performance space that recreates the feel of a 1930s jazz club. The Blue Room is a functioning bar where patrons can hear live music several evenings each week.
More information can be found at americanjazzmuseum.com.
And next door is the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, which features exhibits and a museum store. For more information, visit nlbm.com.
Quiet shopping getaway
The small community of Paola, southeast of Lawrence, features a downtown city square lined with antique stores, coffee shops and the city newspaper. In the center stands the county courthouse and a Victorian gazebo.
Old Prairie Town-Topeka
Old Prairie Town at the Ward Meade historic site in Topeka takes visitors back to another century.
The “town” offers a collection of historic buildings open all year featuring a drug store, stable, train depot, schoolhouse and church.
The drug store includes an authentic soda fountain and vintage candy. The church, built in 1880, has been out of use for only 10 years. The last service in the building was on June 24, 2011, according to Old Prairie Town’s website.
More information can be found at topeka.org/parksrec/ward_meade.shtml.
Clinton Lake is closer to Lawrence, but Perry Lake is another option for nearby outdoor entertainment.
Perry Lake, maintained by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, offers boating, camping, hiking and picnic opportunities. The park also has 140 acres of ATV and dirt bike trails. In addition, the park has about 25 miles of equestrian trail suitable for the “average” rider, according to the Corps of Engineers.
More information can be found at nwk.usace.army.mil/pe/Camping.cfm.