Every Friday in 2013, the Let’s Fly Away Across the USA series will feature a different state, documenting the things we love about each sate and what you should do or see when you visit.
For Kansas, Megan says
I’m Megan Davey, and I blog at Chasing Davies. I currently live in Roeland Park, KS. I’ve lived in KS most of my life! I have some of the best memories here, including competing in sports, attending college, meeting my husband and some lifelong friends, buying my first home and starting a family. This is where my life lives.
Kansas is located smack in the middle of the country and commonly referred to as the fly-over-state. I think it’s so underrated and an unfair statement. There is a lot to do in the midwest, and Kansas has a lot to offer. From sporting events and beautiful, well known university campuses to tour, to beautiful views of where the sky meets the earth, I think with one visit, you could find the beauty in Kansas, too!
1. Lawrence, KS. No matter where you went to school and if you’re a Jayhawk fan or not, Lawrence is not just home to the University of Kansas, but is a BEAUTIFUL town to explore! When you come visit, get yourself to the top of the Oread (a hotel, restaurant and bar) and marvel at the sea of trees (so colorful during the fall), tops of red tiled roofs and blue skies. After that, take a walk through campus to get a look under those trees and at the historic buildings. Then, head down to Mass. St. for some local eats. My favorites are La Parrilla for the best rice bowl you will dream about, Free State Brewing Company for their black bean quesadillas and a beer you can’t get outside this region (award winning!) and Milton’s (which recently just reopened based on demand) for brunch, coffee and hanging out.
Really you should make a weekend of Lawrence alone, and if you do, another great spot just out on the west side of Lawrence is Clinton Lake. You can hike or bike on the trails around the lake, camp, beach it, or spend the day on the water. There is even a great off-leash dog park near by if you have a furry friend in tow. A picnic at sunset would be the perfect way to end your day around Clinton Lake!
2. Visit the Flint Hills, which are beautiful hills that extend Marshall County, in the north, to Cowley County, in the south. These hills were formed by eroding limestone many, many years ago. Today, the hills are largely covered by tall prairie grass. This could make an amazing place for photos! An annual happening in this area that I have always wanted to go to is Symphony in the Flint Hills, as I’ve heard lovely things about the experience. The 9th annual event is next year, June 14, 2014!
3. Hitting up a Sporting KC game! I’m not a huge professional sports fan (love college basketball), but the Kansas soccer team is a game I enjoy! The environment in the stadium is thrilling, the games are not too long and it’s something both my husband and I can have fun at. The stadium is located next to a large shopping center, the Legends of Kansas City, so there are a lot of restaurant options for before or after the game.
For bonus points
The best time of year to visit Kansas is in the Fall, but you’ll have to pay attention to the weather forecasts, because it’s not easy to predict when Fall or Fall-like weather will hit. During this time of year is my favorite time to spend in Lawrence, KS. From where we live in eastern Kansas (Roeland Park, KS), we head west to Lawrence (only a 45 minute drive or so from Kansas City) for KU football games and (the real reason I go) tailgating and dinners down on Mass. St. with friends. The town just comes alive during sporting events and it’s a great opportunity to spend the whole day (or weekend) in Lawrence! Someday, I’d love to retire in Lawrence, KS with my husband someday… live in an old, but renovated Victorian-styled home within walking distance to Mass. St. We could ride our bike around town and avoid driving as much as possible and walk to our local favorites. We could even sit in on classes at KU to keep our brains moving. It sounds like a pretty good retirement to me.
For Nebraska, Alyx says
I’m Alyx, and I blog over at Every Day is a New Adventure. I enjoy “the good life” in the great state of Nebraska. I moved here (to Lincoln) about 6 years ago to go school (the University of Nebraska – Lincoln… GO HUSKERS!!!) and have been here (off and on) since.
People always ask me why, after I graduated from UNL and spent a year in Europe, I would ever want to come back to Nebraska. To be perfectly honest, I don’t know what it is about this state that makes me love it so dang much. It could be the people (those in the midwest are some of the nicest you’ll ever meet), the slower pace of life (everyone here is so relaxed), the good food (come to Nebraska and try some of our beef — it’s the best), or the good, old, midwestern values. Whatever it is, I love it and I’m here to stay!
Anyway, if you’re ever driving through the home of Arbor Day (I only know that because it’s on all of the “Welcome to Nebraska — home of the good life” state signs), there are 3 things that you absolutely HAVE to do/see.
1. A Huskers Football Game. I LOVE Husker football (just like everyone else in Nebraska). There is absolutely nothing that can compare to a Huskers game. We Nebraskans are absolutely crazy about our team — so much so, in fact, that we hold the record for the most consecutive sell-out games in college football history. So far we have sold out every game since 1962!
2. The State Capitol. Nebraska is home to the only unicameral legislature in the country, which is pretty dang cool, if you ask me. You know what else is cool? Our capitol building. There’s so much unique artwork and so much history behind the building. Fun fact: this is actually our third capitol building.
3. The Henry Doorly Zoo. Located in Omaha, this is one of the best zoos in the nation. It was established in 1894 and is home to some of the best exhibits in the country. If you’re a crazy cat lady, this is a must-see — it’s got the largest cat complex in North America.
For bonus points
Moral of the Story: There’s a lot more to Nebraska than just corn. Next time you find yourself cruising the I-80, plan a little pit stop in Lincoln or Omaha for some homegrown Nebraska beef and a glimpse of the good life.