In the Flint Hills of Kansas rests the last great swath of tallgrass prairie in the nation, and many claim in the world. In a 2006 article about bringing tourism to Kansas, a consultant wrote: “It is your incredible, special, singular natural landscape that helps define you. This is where you can get a sense of what it must have been like if you were a Plains Indian or one of your great-great-great-great-grandparents.”
This is a magical land where there is abundant natural beauty plus a lure that attracted our nation’s pioneering past. And today you’ll find an active community of third and fourth generation ranchers. Historic farmsteads still in operation also dot the land. Worth a visit, you bet.
The natural beauty consists of open sky and an endless horizon. Many folks think (as I did), that the Kansas landscape is flat. Not so in the Flint Hills. It consists of gently rolling hills dotted with crevices where streams flow and trees grow. And yes there is a reason why prairies are described as a ‘sea of grass’. In the fall when the tallgrass is at its tallest the grass resembles endless waves. The diversity and subtlety of the tallgrass landscape is also described as soothing and very peaceful. A touch of Zen in Kansas!
For tourists there are many ways to experience the Flint Hills. 2016 is the National Park Service Centennial and the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve is in the heart of the Flint Hills, Kansas’ only National Park. “The preserve protects a nationally significant remnant of the once vast tallgrass prairie and its cultural resources.” Rangers give bus tours, there are back country hiking trails, fishing, education programs and cell phone tours.
The Flint Hills National Scenic Byway, Route 177, travels above the hills for panoramic views and through towns with names like Council Grove, Cottonwood Falls and Strong City. Travel slowly and stop often.
In Cottonwood Falls you’ll find the landmark Grand Central Hotel circa 1884. In 1995 the current owner took the structure “down to brick and dirt” and voila the present day hotel and restaurant was created. An expansion to the building was added and now houses 10 oversized guest rooms, an outdoor dining courtyard and a warm and inviting dining room with fireplace and down home western charm. The décor in the entire inn reflects Kansas history. Fun stuff like spur doorknockers and tooled bootjack doorstops. Historic photos line the brick walls as well as local landscape art. All this gives the Grand Central Hotel a strong sense of place.
The Hotel’s restaurant has a well-established reputation and attracts diners from far afield. American fare is served with Great Plains Beef featured of course. The B&B Team is pleased to offer this historic property for sale. The Grand Central Hotel is the premier lodging option for sale in the area, yet has great unrealized potential for future owners. A wonderful business opportunity in the heart of this magical land.
I want to end with a Kansas motto I found in my research. ‘Kansas doesn’t take your breath away, it makes you breathe.’ Yet after reading about the Flint Hills of Kansas and viewing some spectacular prairie photos I believe experiencing the Flint Hills would take my breath away.
Thanks for Listening,