Are you looking for a unique date night idea? Step into the 1940s via the Kansas Belle Dinner Train. This adorable dinner train starts in Baldwin, Kansas, which is about 30 minutes south of Lawrence, Kansas, and takes you through the beautiful surrounding fields for about three hours. The husband and I had a chance to enjoy a night out aboard the train this past weekend thanks to a Christmas gift from my mom and her husband. We got all gussied up (because where else can you wear a large hat if not aboard a train?), enjoyed a five-course dinner and experienced the Casablanca Express.
We went to one of their evening dinners on Saturday, which features a special murder mystery show. The theme to the show changes with each weekend. The evening we went the theme was the Casablanca Express: “As you flee across war torn North Africa, you have an appointment with murder. You may be a black marketer, a Nazi sympathizer, or at the mercy of both—wondering how you’ll ever escape Casablanca.”
The show was performed by two men from the Nebraska theater group The Likely Suspects. (Some of their shows are performed by actors from Theater Lawrence.) They were both very funny to watch (although one of the men laughed at his own jokes one too many times, in my opinion). But they didn’t put on the entire production by themselves, and instead enlisted the help of willing (or persuaded, if you want to look at it that way) passengers to play important roles. I was cast as Sam, the sassy waitress from Bogart’s Bar; and A.J. was cast as Leopold Dietrich, a German passenger. We attempted to solve the murder of one of the train passengers, which seemed an impossible task (there were too many suspects, and it was hard to pay attention to the storyline through all the laughter). We both thought I did it, because it sounds like something I would do, but alas it wasn’t me. It was A.J.’s “wife” Marlene Dietrich.
The best part was at the end of the night when everyone voted on their favorite actors. A.J. and I both walked away with second place for favorite actor and actress! I mean, we didn’t actually win anything, but still. We may need to consider switching careers.
The five-course meal featured a small appetizer to share (cheese, grapes, veggies); potato soup; the pre-ordered main course (I had grilled salmon and A.J. had prime rib); and dessert. Unfortunately, I have to admit that the dinner could have been tastier. The soup was cold, the steak a little fatty, and the fish a little dry. But don’t let that take away from our experience. The actors were fun and the atmosphere was delightful. Plus, where else are you going to enjoy a train ride filled with potential murderers?
If you’re looking for a fun and unique gift or date night, you should consider the Kansas Belle Dinner Train. The husband and I had a fabulous time, and fall was probably the perfect time to go because we got to see the beautiful colors of the changing seasons from our window seat. The three-hour ride on Saturday evening, along with the five-course dinner, coffee and tea, costs $65. (Pre-order a bottle of wine and request it be waiting at your table right when you get there. Trust me. The couple we sat with did this, and A.J. and I were beyond envious of their foresight.) There is also a two-and-a-half hour ride on Sunday that features a three-course dinner (and longer daytime views of the surrounding landscape) for $55. Visit their website for more information.