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Celebrating Kansas by Car – Beaumont

The Beaumont Hotel’s grass runway attracts flying enthusiasts from around the country, who often taxi in just to enjoy a meal at the hotel’s café.

By Stephanie Bergmann, Independent Living Sales & Marketing Director

If you love airplanes, motorcycles or Kansas history, you can enjoy all of them at the Beaumont Hotel, just 50 miles east of Wichita. The bed and breakfast dates back to 1879 and now hosts monthly events for pilots and bikers. Small planes from around the country land on a grass runway by the hotel and taxi down Main Street to park nearby. Motorcyclists ride in for a hot meal at the café and other guests get to check out the shiny machinery up close.

Beaumont’s wooden water tower was built to refill the steam locomotives that carried cattle to market.

It’s a far cry from the cattle barons and cowpokes the Beaumont Hotel attracted in the 19th century. Ranchers shipped their livestock on steam locomotives that ran through town. A wooden water tower filled the trains. That tower is still in operation today — the only one of its kind in the U.S., according to the hotel’s general manager, Jeanne Squires. She says her grandfather added the airstrip in 1953 so businessmen could fly in and out easily to keep tabs on their valuable herds.

Today, the town of Beaumont is dwindling, its residents outnumbered by wind turbines spinning in the distance. Yet the hotel and café continue to draw a loyal crowd. Some come for the novelty, others for the nostalgia, but all seem to like the food — especially Jeanne’s pie and prime rib! Whatever brings you here, the Beaumont Hotel is always a good place to land.

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