Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Lucas Kansas featured in Lonely Planet USA Tour Guide!!!

Oh, what an impact such a tiny town can have. Here's the article I just sent to the paper after receiving my new copy of Lonely Planet USA travel guide:

Lucas featured in the newest Lonely Planet - USA Travel guide.

Kudos to Lucas! Not only is it one of the FEW listings in the Kansas section, it warranted more ink than towns ten times its size! The first mention of Lucas occurs early on, even before the state-by-state listings begin. On page 39, in the very first special itinerary, there’s a wee little map of the US with 20 must-see sights on the “Dude, that’s weird” itinerary. In amongst the Art Car Museum, Coral Castle, and the World’s Largest Chair, there a central dot simply labeled Lucas, Kansas. “For sublime examples of ‘outsider’ or folk art, aim for Lucas, Kansas (p. 679.)”

When you do turn to page 679, you have a reason to be proud of our tiny town. The write-up starts in the introduction to the whole Kansas section:

Kansas is probably the most mocked travel destination in the nation, but it’s not without charms; widespread as they may be. From the vibrant indie music scene in Lawrence to quaint little villages like Lindsborg, and from Hutchinson’s high-tech space center to the ancient, otherworldly Monument Rocks, there are hidden gems just waiting to be discovered. And surely nothing will surprise and amaze you as much as the oddball art community of Lucas, which is worth going way out of your way to see.

Kansas as a whole only gets 5 and a half pages (but don’t feel bad - Nebraska scored a mere 3 and a half pages, and they could only stretch North Dakota info as far as 2 and a half pages!) Only seven towns received their own heading: Wichita, Lawrence, Topeka, Abilene, Lucas, Hays, and Dodge City. For a bit of perspective, here’s that list again with populations: Wichita, 357698; Lawrence, 88605; Topeka, 122113; Abilene, 6543; Lucas, 436; Hays, 20031; Dodge City, 26101 (information from City-Data).

Our Lucas section outweighs Hays by three paragraphs, and ties with Topeka as to length of discussion and attractions featured. The listing starts with “Believe it or not, little Lucas is one of the world’s foremost centers for outsider art” and goes on to describe (complete with hours, admission, and contact information) the Garden of Eden, the Grassroots Art Center, the World’s Largest Collection of the World’s Smallest Versions of the World’s Largest Things, and the Post Rock Scenic Byway.

The Lonely Planet guides are the most popular travel reference amongst international travelers, as they focus on unique, quality stops, with a wealth of knowledge and ‘insider tips’ featured in each country. Each volume is a massive collection of information, and we should be proud to have such a (relatively) large listing in this 1192-page tome. Congratulations, Lucas, on finally receiving some of the recognition you deserve! We’ve been on the map for a long, long time, and the people who write the tour guides are finally taking a closer look at our little gem.

Lonely Planet, USA Travel Guide, 5th edition. Published March 2008 by Lonely Planet.

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