5 Great Places in the Flint Hills
In northeast Kansas, sky and grass merge at the horizon in a vivid painting. Explore this region at places such as the Flint Hills Discovery Center and the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve.
1 Flint Hills Discovery Center The $24.5 million center in Manhattan immerses visitors in the tallgrass prairie that once dominated mid-America. Winds gust, snow falls and smoke billows during the film Tallgrass Prairie: Tides of Time. You'll leave understanding the importance of preserving the grasses-root system to seedheads. flinthillsdiscovery.org
2 Konza Prairie Biological Station In a region of endless horizons, self-guided hiking and nature trails crisscross the 8,600 acres of untouched prairie south of Manhattan. konza.ksu.edu
3 Kaw Mission State Historic Site and Museum Members of the Kaw Nation host powwows near the museum, which was a boarding school for Native American boys (mostly orphans) from 1851 to 1854. Artifacts of the Kansa tribe, Santa Fe Trail and town fill the two-story limestone building in Council Grove. kshs.org
4 Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve Outside Strong City, you'll find the nearly 11,000-acre prairie. Head to the visitors center for ranger programs and tours; more than 40 miles of hiking trails are open year-round. nps.gov/tapr
5 Grand Central Hotel and Grill In Cottonwood Falls, the 1884 boutique hotel has beautifully appointed guest rooms (from $160), and its restaurant serves Creekstone Farms premium beef cut to order. grandcentralhotel.com
Sunset casts its glow over the tallgrass prairie, signaling the conductor to lift his baton. And the 85-piece Kansas City Symphony begins to serenade the thousands spread across the wide-open range for summer's annual Symphony in the Flint Hills.
(620) 273-8955; symphonyintheflinthills.org
For an upscale meal in downtown Manhattan, Harry's on Poyntz Avenue is the place. Expect white linen tablecloths, attentive waitstaff and a selection of more than 30 single-malt scotches. Six-story Wareham Hotel-the city's first skyscraper-is home to the ground-floor restaurant, which serves hand-cut steaks, fresh fish and marinated duck. (785) 537-1300; harrysmanhattan.com