Morning Clouds/Flint Hills Discovery Center

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Often when I walk in the morning, I wish that I had my camera with me to take pictures of the sunrise. This morning, I actually remembered to bring my camera with me, so I went to the uppermost patio at the Flint Hills Discovery Center to take some photos. The Discover Center is just a few blocks away from The Morning Star and is a fun destination even when it is closed.  It has a walking path that winds up around the Northeastern side of the building, passing through a native plants area.

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It was pitch black when I arrived at the Discovery Center, but I was hopeful for vivid skies.

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The sunrise this morning was obscured by clouds, but the clouds had their own beauty.

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… And, of course, shortly afterward, it started to rain – just a little.

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I was happy to catch some interesting cloud photos this morning. Then I had to rush home to make yummy breakfast!

Have a great day!

Downtown Manhattan’s Dining Renaissance

For many years, Manhattan, Kansas has had some great locally owned eating establishments, running the gamut from burger joints and donut shops to truly fine dining. That trend has really seen an uptick in the past few years. To the culinary delight of residents and visitors alike, Manhattan now has approximately fifty local restaurants, cafés, and speciality eateries. That means there is no shortage of choices for where to go for a dining experience unique to Manhattan.

 

The downtown area has been one of the main loci of the dining boom. For several decades, the cornerstone of Manhattan’s fine dining scene has been Harry’s Restaurant, located in the historic Wareham Hotel on Poyntz Avenue. Harry’s offers contemporary American cuisine, hand-cut steaks and fresh seafood during evening hours in the main restaurant. (Its deli serves salads and sandwiches at lunchtime.)

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In 2007, Harry’s was joined on Poyntz Avenue by Della Voce, an Italian bistro serving traditional and contemporary dishes and original cocktails in a vibrant urban atmosphere. The bistro, which recently changed ownership, now has weekly specials featuring locally sourced ingredients.

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4 Olives Wine Bar and Restaurant is the latest upscale restaurant to move in downtown, having relocated from its Westside location at the beginning of the year to a completely renovated corner space at 4th and Houston. The restaurant specializes in dishes made with fresh fish, wild game, local ingredients and artisanal cheeses. It also serves a broad selection of classic cocktails and has an award-winning selection of wines. Its bakery, 4 Cakes, which is quickly becoming a favorite place for cupcakes and sweets, is right next door … and speaking of sweets, Hazel Hill Chocolates is almost right across the street.

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While the fine dining is amazing, there is also a fun variety of casual eateries downtown, all of which have opened or relocated to the neighborhood in the last six years and about half of which have opened this past year. Here is a quick rundown.

 

Having opened in 2008, The Chef Café is one of the oldest of the downtown restaurants. The Chef serves an eclectic menu of breakfast and lunch items, cocktails and wine, and is so popular that its regulars queue up out front to wait for a table on weekends.

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Another neighborhood favorite that has been around for a while is AJ’s NY Pizzeria, known for its creative interpretations of the “pizza pie” and for its large patio area – fun for people watching and outdoor events.

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Just down 3rd Street from AJ’s is a new addition, Karnivore, serving BBQ and burgers and a wide selection of beers in an energetic bar-and-grill type atmosphere.

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Hibachi Hut is a favorite with K-State alumni who fondly recall its Cajun and Southwestern dishes from back when it used to be in Aggieville. Earlier this year, it moved to Poyntz Avenue under new ownership, but featuring the same recipes.

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Also new on Poyntz is the fun and distinctive Bourbon and Baker – part bakery, and part bar – serving Southern dishes family style or as small plates.

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The latest to open is Radina’s Bakehouse, offering coffees, fresh baked breads, light meals and chocolates made by Annette. The Bakehouse is an expansion of the locally owned Radina’s Coffee House & Roastery brand, which has several locations throughout Manhattan.

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While the growth in local dining, is not confined to downtown – it is an exciting trend occurring all over Manhattan! – it has certainly brought an influx of energy to the downtown area.  And all of these restaurants are within walking distance of The Morning Star! Bon appetite!

 

Library Lovers’ Month

In honor of Library Lovers’ Month, the Manhattan Public Library has invited people to say what they love about the library. In addition to the obvious things – the book collection and the helpful staff – I love its trees.  Pictured here are Red Bud and White Bud trees by the Poyntz Avenue entrance. I can’t wait to see them in bloom again this spring!

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After the Storm

The sun is shining this morning and everything looks beautiful after the 12.8 inches of fresh snow that fell here in Manhattan, Kansas yesterday. It is frigidly cold, though, and the schools and some businesses are closed; so not too many people are out and about town. It is hard to believe that it was almost 60 F degrees here a few days ago!

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Stay warm! Have a lovely day!

Early Autumn on Konza Prairie

I was out on the Konza Prairie the other afternoon and it was just about the prettiest that I have seen it.  The grasses are starting to put on their autumn colors – subtle shades of golds, oranges, reds and purple – before they turn brown for the winter. It is delightful to walk on the trails and hear little besides the wind blowing through the grasses, the songbirds and crickets, and the crunch of one’s own footsteps. In some places, the grasses are tall enough that I could extend my arms almost straight out from my sides and touch them with my fingertips as I passed by.

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