Welcome to Abilene, Kansas, home of President Eisenhower and Glenda, The Good Witch

Hello from The Land of Oz, also known as the state of Kansas. While my father lives in a Kansas City suburb on the Kansas side of the border, and our Route 66 tours cut through a tiny southeastern corner of the state; I confess my travels here have been limited. My loss has become my gain.

While on a scouting trip last week to finalize plans for our upcoming Paths of the Presidents tour, we made a stop in Abilene, Kansas. A town of about 6,000, it has the distinction of being the hometown and the final resting place of President Dwight D. Eisenhower (his wife Mamie was also laid to rest in Abilene). The first thing that strikes you about Abilene is that it is definitely a “Main Street of America” town. It has that wonderful small town feel. As you drive through the main residential area, you find beautiful modest homes, each looking like it came from the 1950’s (indeed, many did). It’s as though time has stood still in Abilene, and that’s not a bad thing.

A stop at the Convention and Visitors Bureau office turned out to be a treat. We were warmly welcomed and our questions about potential dining spots for our small band of travelers in October were discussed. That’s when we Met Glenda, the Good Witch. Actually, she’s Glenda Purkis, Director of the CVB. On her desk, next to her business cards, is a miniature reproduction of Glenda, the Good Witch from the Wizard of Oz. After all, this is Kansas. Glenda and her staff turned out to be a wonderful find. Restaurant recommendations were made, a short guided tour of the town was added to the itinerary and my mind was made up. His is someplace we will visit more than once.

The campus (and that’s what it is, a 22-acre campus) at the Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum is beautiful. On the day we were in town, the weather was perfect, with just a tiny hint of fall in the air. In addition to a nice visitor center with a video presentation, you can spend time in the museum and even the library if you wish, before paying respects in the chapel where the Eisenhowers were put to their final rest.

Thanks Glenda, for the warm welcome. We’ll be back soon.

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