Hoot Owl Hill

Brenda and Steve Wrischnik, longtime Overland Park residents, fell in love with the idea of moving into a big old house in an itty-bitty town. Steve spotted a wild bit of land outside of Paola in which the house on it had been abandoned for a few years. They came out to walk around on a beautiful fall day and fell in love with the views, so they purchased the property not knowing that one day they would happen upon such a novel idea as glamping in Kansas. 

While waiting for their house to be built, the Wrischniks planted a vegetable garden, 116 blueberry bushes, and blackberries and raspberries. Brenda started wondering if there would be a way to quit her day job, be on their land and do something that she had been dreaming about. After all, it was such a beautiful setting, the gardens were started, and she knew others would appreciate the beauty also. After much research, she knew what she wanted to do and had confidence in her heart and soul that it would work. So, Hoot Owl Hill began to take shape.

Glamping is an experience that combines the hospitality and comfort of a bed-and-breakfast and the outdoor beauty of camping. Hoot Owl Hill offers a place where you can feel at ease and at peace and have the sense that you are somewhere very far away from it all. They supply lanterns, and the tents are made up like hotel rooms that include beds with linens, pillows and bedspreads or quilts. Guests can enjoy the outstanding views of the night sky, the flicker of lightning bugs over the meadow, and the music of the coyotes, tree frogs, crickets and the distant train whistles. 

Hoot Owl Hill is a Certified Monarch Waystation and Wildlife Habitat, so they have a variety of butterfly gardens with plants that are both host plants for the caterpillars and nectar plants for the butterflies. Their back acreage is a true prairie remnant meadow, which is a rarity for Kansas as most open land has been grazed or planted. The property also includes a very small pond where guests can enjoy fishing, and they have a fish feeding station that is a favorite of guests.

Upon arrival, guests are given a quick tour of the grounds and are invited to relax, settle in and stroll the gardens as they wish. The Wrischniks also introduce them to their family members: ducks; chickens; Sebastopol geese Prince and Zsa Zsa; Royal Palm turkeys Whitey and Felix; their peafowl Ricky and Lucy; their guinea fowl; their dog, Hootie; and three goats, Casper, Chip and Halo. 

Guests are welcome to bring anything they want to eat or drink, so a “wine stroll” around the property and cookout over the fire is always a popular activity. The Wrischniks provide the firewood and start the campfire for guests. Fire pits include grates that can be used to cook dinner and s’mores, and if cooking over a fire isn’t something that guests would enjoy, they have the option to choose a garden-to-table dinner when they reserve their space. The locally sourced, fresh-from-the-garden homemade dinner is served outside on the wraparound porch. In addition, a farm fresh breakfast is served the next morning for guests to enjoy.

You don’t need to come glamping to experience Hoot Owl Hill. It offers one-day retreats, dinners, garden tour groups, book clubs and a variety of classes and other small-footprint experiences. 

Hoot Owl Hill is perfect for anyone wanting a nontraditional, laid-back rural experience to enjoy the night sky without all the city interference, or someone who likes nature but doesn’t necessarily want to rough it. The environment at Hoot Owl Hill is peaceful, beautiful, ignites the senses and is waiting to be enjoyed.

For reservations, contact 
brenda@hootowlgardens.com.