Some say it's the Promised Land...

Ahhh...Manhattan, Kansas.

Known for its purple pride, wide-open spaces and okay, maybe an occasional whiff of cow, there is something about the small-town charm of my alma matter that just can't be replicated in big city living.

I realize much of my fondness for the Little Apple hinges on the quality relationships I built while experiencing life as a college student and not particularly on the settings in which this chapter of life occurred. But something about this springtime weather has me itching to drive west and hit all my favorite hot spots, including (but not limited to) the following:

*Note: This is by no means an all-inclusive list of why I think Manhattan is fabulous. I don't even mention the Derb, Kenny Ford Hall, anywhere near John Schwartz, Call Hall, So Long Saloon, etc. etc. etc.

...in no particular order...

1. Bob's 24-Hour Diner. Now, you may be thinking, "Really? A 24-hour truck stop? That sounds more than sketch." And, to be completely honest, it is. But the Bob's Diner experience at 12 a.m. is guaranteed to give you something to talk about for months. And before you know it, this rite of passage may just worm its way into your heart and keep you coming back for more than just heartburn. Quirky? Yes. Shady? Probably. Worth it? Definitely.

2. Top of the World. Okay, so it sounds like a cheesy make-out point... and maybe it is (but aren't all scenic overlooks? I mean, really...). At any rate, if you're looking for an excellent storm-spotting location in Manhattan, Top of the World is the place to be. In fact, I think it's one of Manhattan's best-kept secrets. You can quote me on that.

3. The Blue House. This ultimate bachelor's pad is hands-down one of my absolute favorite places in Manhattan. Sure, a hideous Native American carpet adorns the wall (it kind of grows on you, I swear) and yeah, you are taking quite a social risk by using the bathroom that notoriously locks unsuspecting users inside, but there is always something going on at The Blue House...and if not, just camp out in the living room and watch Seinfeld. Just don't move the hot pink stapler.

4. Java. [cue the Cheers theme song] Ross and Rachel had Central Perk. George and Elaine had Tom's Restaurant. And for much of my college experience, my friends and I had Java. Over coffee (okay, lattes with lots of Splenda) and gooey cinnamon rolls, we allowed each other to peek into our crazy, mixed-up lives. And somehow, by the time that coffee cup ran dry, the world seemed a little brighter.

5. Here and there and everywhere. Next to coffee talks, my favorite memories of Manhattan consist of the various power-walking adventures I had while exploring the streets of the Little Apple. It is how I learned the city, but more importantly, how I formed some of my strongest friendships. My travels took me from Manhattan Hill to University Gardens, from City Park to Old Stadium and countless Dara's stops along the way. I wore out more than one pair of shoes on the sleepy streets of Manhattan, and I am more than okay with that.

So, if you are lucky enough to find yourself in Manhattan for any period of time, please enjoy one (or all) of these for me.

If you doubt that Manhattan, KS can provide anything close to entertainment, I will prove you wrong with a guided tour...as soon as I finish planning a hometown showcase of Topeka. But that's another story.

--And yes, I am one of those people that still calls it Java instead of Bluestem Bistro...and probably always will.

p.s. If you'd like to give a shout out to your favorite Manhattan location that didn't make my list, feel free.


KK said...

favorite spot, bar none: old stadium.
i actually just got back from there - some good soccer time with my roomate.

bobs is indeed a magical place.

i'm also a fan of the basketball court in front of boyd hall

and the square wood tables outside of union station - yes the same tables we ate ice cream together at (do you REMEMBER?)

and anything and everything west of town. it's very peaceful.

Sarah said...

shakes: hands down best ice cream i had there, though it is no longer there, and many would disagree with me. i spent more money there than java...which i also still call java, unless speaking to current appleites.

old stadium: night ultimate, numerous runs - at all hours of the day and night, especially that semester of insomnia.

konza: the one and only location of my longest run ever - 9 freaking miles!

scenic overlook on 177: utterly amazing sunsets

now just think: you are now getting to do these amazing memory making stops in KC....like the plaza library, cactus grill, blue moose, loose park, the roasterie/brookside.

i'll send you a list of my fave nica joints when i find them :)

luke said...

yes it is always java.

great mention kk on the old stadium--so quality. you too sarah--love it super late at night. but stay out of the interior, a little creepy.

gotta love so long like none other. but let me through a curve ball--grizzly's. this place is so manhattan it makes you want to crawl all over the wall following those bear footprints and hug every one of the stuffed bears in the place. biggest chicken fried steak ever.

i have a spot in cico park--with a pine tree i love. there may or may not be a picture of it on my blog. i can't tell anyone where it is. my new favorite.

ps i tagged you!

Steph Moore said...

i should not have read this 3 weeks prior to graduating and leaving the promise land....let's just say you have sparked a little DEPRESSION into my life this morning.

and now i must start crying. preferably in java...preferably with you across from me.

p.s. are you coming for graduation?? eh...ehh?? just one incentive: my kentucky relatives are coming. that's right, including my crazy aunt kathy who is known to take her dog out without pants. you will LOVE her.

Sarah said...

i LOVE my shirt...and am learning how to explain it in spanish haha...love you girl

Sarah said...

I love the burning of the hills in Manhattan... the smell of smoke and the flames running over the fields. that's one of my favorites... I have to get off this... I'm getting really sad. Manhattan in the spring... it's so great! Plus... you know what spring means... walks, honks and spring crushes!

- Sarah Yeager

kimberly said...

I too love the burning of the hills, and the top of the world. agreed that it is a best kept secret.
I also love the old room with the murals in the old part of the library, even though it's freezing. I love it.
and boyd 17.
um....I also love the zoo. but not that big scary bird there.