Disclosure: Visit Winfield sponsored this post. However, all opinions and photographs are my own.
The residents of Winfield have a good reason to be proud of their Kansas town. Now that I’ve experienced it first-hand, I’d say there are more than enough reasons to love the town.
Less than an hour from Wichita, Winfield is a fun day trip destination for families, couples, or solo travelers. I arrived early Saturday morning and the town was just coming alive.
Outdoor enthusiasts love it for its recreational options. It sits on the edge of the Flint Hills and near waterways in Cowley County. Shoppers appreciate the downtown corridors for the town’s long list of boutiques and retail stores. I discovered noteworthy dining while spending the day in Winfield as well.
WALNUT VALLEY FARMERS MARKET
I could hear the bluegrass band playing as I approached the parking lot that was dotted with merchants under covered tents. It made perfect sense that bluegrass music set the backdrop for the opening day of Walnut Valley Farmers Market near Island Park. Winfield is home to the Walnut Valley Bluegrass Festival where people far and wide have arrived at the Flat-Picking Championships to hear the best musicians play every September. The market’s scene was set.
During the opening day of the market, I purchased a baked lemon loaf and walked away with a jar of preserves. Other vendors sold seasonal produce, leather goods, jewelry, soaps, and gifts.
PRO TIP: Bring cash to the market. Not all vendors accept credit cards. Don’t try to park adjacent to the vendor booths, which are reserved for them. Parking is available across the street.
COLLEGE HILL COFFEE
I made the short drive to College Hill Coffee (403 Soward St.) in desperate need of caffeine with a side of breakfast.
The coffee shop is located in a residential neighborhood and draws locals for its relaxed vibe. People sit on patio tables on the front porch or at tables inside what is a converted old house. It feels homey and comforting like someone invited you over for breakfast.
From the breakfast options I could see from within the glass case, I chose a slice of Farmers Quiche to go with a steaming cup of cappuccino. It was made from delicious ingredients and had a flaky crust. It hit the spot.
I took time to enjoy the meal from a quiet spot inside the converted house. The walls were adorned with local artists’ work and a small amount of retail (bagged coffee, jewelry, and artwork) is for sale. Music played from the room’s speakers and a cool spring breeze passed through open windows.
When in Winfield, promise yourself you’ll stop at College Hill Coffee. You can order from a window on the porch (seating available!) or dine inside. They serve breakfast all day and menu choices range from waffles and avocado toast to breakfast sandwiches and baked goods. Stop in for a salad or cup of soup at lunchtime.
PRO TIP: Order a dessert to go. I recommend a soft snickerdoodle cookie.
ELAM’S LAVENDER AND HONEY BEE FARM
Do you love the smell of lavender? You can pick your own $5 lavender bundle at Elam’s Lavender and Honey Bee Farm (5226 142nd Rd) which opened recently to the public. Simply borrow a pair of scissors, snip a bundle, and head to the retail store to make a purchase.
I learned from Rick about the numerous plant varieties and the growing habits of lavender as we walked the property. The farm has 28 varieties and he plans to add 15 more in due time. His family is dedicated to providing lavender to as many people who want it.
They grow lavender from seedlings inside a greenhouse and eventually move it outside to be planted in rows. What started as something to do in Rick’s retirement has blossomed into a farm where the public can come out and experience it for themselves.
Why pick your own lavender? You can use it in your cooking, home decor, craft projects, and the oil can be used in soaps.
I was excited to borrow a pair of scissors and sip stems. Afterward, I took my bundle to a farm employee at a cart who added a rubber band to it and directed me to the retail shop to pay $5 for the lavender. The process is easy and one you’ll appreciate.
When in Winfield, drive to 5226 142nd Rd, a short drive from downtown to the farm. Follow the lavender scent.
PRO TIP: Follow the farm’s Facebook page to learn about upcoming You Pick events.
THE FARM AT QUAIL VALLEY
The Farm at Quail Valley (934 194th Dr.) isn’t just an event center located outside of town used for weddings and large events. It’s also the site of the #1 disc golf course in Kansas that is also ranked #58 in the world. For disc golfers, it’s the holy grail of courses.
The 18-hole course is casually referred to as The Beast because of its challenging design that includes many opportunities to potentially lose one’s discs in water hazards and challenging holes. Designed by disc golf world champion Eric McCabe, the course often hosts tournaments.
Shady tree covered areas and tall grass surround fairways. The meticulous maintenance of the course makes it a beautiful settings. Each hole has two tee boxes made with turf pads. The basket placement ranges. Some baskets sit under trees near a water’s edge while others are located more in the open. For example, Hole 8’s basket is elevated on top of a mound of sand and large tires.
During my tour, I learned that golfers can arrive during course hours and pay cash using the honors system inside a converted train railcar or pay online. Inside the rail car retail shop, you can also purchase new discs. The farm invites campers to pitch a tent or pull up an RV for overnight accommodations for a small fee. If you feel like fishing in one of the small lakes, you’re welcome to drop a line after registering to fish.
PRO TIP: See a video overview of the course by clicking this link. Upon arrival at the farm, follow the gravel road until you reach a parking lot near the event center. Walk to the green railcar to pay to play the course.
SHINDIGS BAR & GRILL
It was time for lunch and I was famished. I drove back into town to Shindigs Bar & Grill (500 Main St.) and found a seat at the bar. The friendly bartender welcomed me and told me about the day’s specials, which included a dollar off a pint of beer, but there was a catch. We had to walk upstairs to “reverse pour it” from a 57 Chevy Truck. I was all in.
She added a magnet to the bottom of the glass, set it on a base and added pressure. Suddenly, the pint glass began to fill with beer from the bottom up. It was quite a sight.
Before we headed back downstairs to the bar, she excitedly gave me a tour of the upstairs dining room pointing out refurbished railroad relics in the interior design. The outdoor patio was a showstopper. Traffic stoplights hung overhead patio tables and from that vantage point, dinners could look down over the town’s train rails.
Back at the bar, I enjoyed the Smokey Turkey Club with onion rings with a side of sauce for dipping. It was made from top-quality ingredients and tasted delicious. In fact, everything on the menu looked crave-worthy.
Sporting events played on TVs as patrons filled the dining room. The bartender told me how the family, who has owned the restaurant for the last five years, sandblasted and reused industrial items to decorate the space. From the rustic chandeliers to the hostess stand, the entire restaurant almost felt partially like a museum.
PRO TIP: The design inside the bathrooms is a must-see. Trust me. When walking through the restaurant, look up, look down, and take time to appreciate all of the smaller design touches.
Winfield’s downtown corridor is dotted with at least a dozen or more retail shops worth checking out. It’s a haven for shoppers in search of locally-made items, antiques, and outdoor recreation stores.
I strolled into The Junk Generation (420 S. Main St.) and met the owner who told me about her love of curating primitive antiques to sell at the store. The inventory included handpicked new items creating the perfect mix. Seasonal displays simplified holiday shopping.
The store is definitely a gem for shoppers on the hunt for one-of-a-kind pieces who don’t want to pay big city prices.
PRO TIP: Store hours vary. View the store’s hours via the Facebook page before driving to shop there.
Walnut Valley Outpost (107 E. 7th Ave.) is a hub for all things gravel cycling and road biking. It is the kind of place where cyclists gather to swap stories and offer tidbits of advice. The shop also offers basic bike tune-ups and tire services.
In the market for a new bike? The owner is happy to educate shoppers on the models available for sale. Gravel cycling is popular in this area of the state, so she is your go-to expert on riding in the area and often hosts rides and events throughout the year.
PRO TIP: Ask about the option to rent a bike in the area. The owner stocks bikes for touring the town on two wheels. The store is closed on Sundays and Mondays.
Snappy Chicks Boutique (1019 Main St.) is where ladies shop for jewelry and clothing apparel in Winfield. They specialize in interchangeable snap jewelry so you can create customizable bracelets, necklaces, keychains, and more. Customers pick out a jewelry piece and select the snaps for it.
PRO TIP: If you have a custom snap design using a personal photo, ask Leslie or Marla to create it for you on the spot. It takes only minutes to prepare it for you.
The staff at Field to Fabric Quilt Company (907 Main St.) is passionate about quilting just like their customers. The shop is located on the Kansas Barn Quilt Trail Map and featured in the All Kansas & Nebraska Shop Hop magazine. Known for carrying a large selection of cotton fabric, notions, and floss, it’s one-stop shopping. Beginners and veteran quilters can take advantage of on-site classes.
PRO TIP: Walk down The Great Hall of Quilts to see handcrafted masterpieces.
GOTTLOB LAWN & LANDSCAPE
Calling all gardeners and green thumbs! Gottlob Lawn & Landscape (5001 E. 9th Ave.) is more than a landscape center. Inside, the retail shop carries a large selection of healthy houseplants, gardening tools, and unique gifts tailored for people who can’t get enough of plants.
I also appreciated the outdoor gardens with walkable paths that lead underneath arched to whimsical spaces and greenhouses. If you’re shopping for herbs, native plants, hardscaping options, or just need to talk shop about lawn care, Gottlob is where you go.
PRO TIP: Follow the Facebook page to stay up to date about monthly sales and upcoming events. Owner Alex Gottlob has big plans for developing an outdoor patio where guests can relax in a serene setting. Ask about picking wildflowers to place in a mason jar, $5.
BADGER CREEK STONE ARCH BRIDGE
Cowley County is home to 18 stone arch bridges, and since Gottlob’s was only a little over three miles from Badger Creek Stone Arch Bridge (13814 196th Rd) I made the journey. During the 1800s, Walter Sharp was a bridge builder who used native stone to construct one hundred bridges in Kansas.
As I drove the damp dirt road, the road curved to the left before I pulled over for the bridge. It was difficult to navigate the embankment to get a photo of the bridge, but the view in both directions from on top of it was nice. The water was traveling quickly from recent rains.
PRO TIP: View a map of the self-guided tour using this brochure.
LADYBIRD BREWING COMPANY
I discovered a new stop on the Kansas craft beer trail at Ladybird Brewing Company (523 Main St). Located in a converted gas station, the brewery serves a rotation of ales typically featuring regionally sourced ingredients.
People drive from out of town to visit the brewery open on Fridays and Saturdays. The shaded patio and indoor seating areas were filled with craft beer drinkers. Inside, you can select from 6-8 beers on tap.
I couldn’t decide on which beer I wanted so I created a flight of 3 oz pours. Cool Mom Pomegranate Saison was a winner. But if I’m honest, I enjoyed all of the beer in the flight.
The brewery doesn’t serve food but snacks were available for purchase. The vibe was relaxing as alternative music played in the background.
PRO TIP: Look for the cornhole boards on the patio to enjoy a friendly game while you sip on suds.
LUIGI’S ITALIAN RESTAURANT
Hungry for a bite to eat before driving back to Wichita, I chose Luigi’s Italian Restaurant (124 E 9th Ave.) located down the street and around the corner from the brewery. A few locals recommended the fettuccini alfredo with chicken or the homemade pizza. I chose the pasta ($10.95), a large portion served alongside a basket of complimentary garlic bread.
The prices were affordable and the staff consistently visited the table to check on me. Other menu options ranged from baked pastas like lasagna and manicotti to stromboli sandwiches and meatball subs. In search of lighter fare? Order a greek or caesar salad.
PRO TIP: Ask about the daily specials and wine by the glass. Six desserts are listed on the menu including cheesecake, cannolis, and tiramisu.
My trip to Winfield was long overdue. When I told friends that I was traveling to the area, everyone had good things to say about the Cowley County town. It turns out, they were right. Winfield is wonderful. I know you’ll appreciate a day trip to explore its many treasures as well.
On my next visit to Winfield and the surrounding area, I plan on making a stop at Wheat State Wine Co., to take a driving tour of historic homes, and I want to rent a bike from Walnut Valley Outpost and ride along the levy trail.
Have you visited Winfield or attended the Walnut Valley Festival? Leave your comments below to provide your travel suggestions to the area.