OZAWKIE, Kan. — If you want to make a full day of your trip to Lecompton, FOX4 has a couple of detours you can make along the way.
The first is Big Springs Berries, just outside of town, and the second is Perry State Park in Ozawkie.
Big Springs Berries
Big Springs Berries is a hidden gem on the outskirts of Lecompton.
“We are kind of off the beaten path, a little hard to find. But we’ve exploded in the last two years. COVID has a lot to do with that,” Cain Mathis said.
It’s a seasonal “you pick” blackberry farm flush with choices.
“We have three different varieties. These are as big as your thumb. They’re a little bit lower on the brick scale which just means not as much sweetness, but still better than anything you could get in the grocery store,” Mathis described.
“In the middle we have Osage. And at the bottom we have Arapaho. And that’s in order of when the fruit will ripen.”
The farm also offers local wines made with blackberries, fresh cut lavender, and honey from on-site beehives.
“They are really important for our pollination. Flowers are just starting to open right now, we are about 5% bloom. When it gets going, the bees are out there in full force. There is about a quarter of a million total.” Mathis said.
Blackberries will be ready to pick in late June, and you can check its Facebook page for updates.
Perry Lake State Park
About 20 minutes north of the farm, Perry State Park is open for business.
“We were 100% full last weekend. We’re going to be 100% full this weekend,” Michelle Campbell told FOX4 during our visit right before Memorial Day weekend.
Perry Lake is the third-largest lake in Kansas, perfect for families looking for outdoor and socially-distanced fun.
“We’ve got 40 some plus miles of equestrian trails. We just got a new shelter put up there, a new bathhouse, and a round pin now,” Campbell said.
The state park is building four new cabins. Two will open in the fall, but the new playground will open this summer.
“I’ve been here going on 14 years and have asked where is our playground? Where is our playground? And we finally got one,” Campbell said.
The cost is just $5 per carload to get on the grounds, camping costs extra. If you want to camp, you better hurry and make a reservation. Spots are filling fast.
“The days of just showing up and finding a utility campsite, those days are pretty much gone. What we are seeing now is we are booked two to three weeks out. So people need to start planning,” Campbell advised.