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The Best of Both Worlds: A Local Perspective
Written by Ashley Watkins
The road that I live on has been named by some as “the prettiest road in Harvey County.” Within five minutes of arriving home after a long day of teaching, I can be walking on this road with my dog Blue, taking in the tall trees and sprawling fields that surround us.
One of my favorite places in Wichita has been named by some as “the best brewery in Wichita.” Within 40 minutes of driving after this same work day, I can be sitting on a bright orange stool at Central Standard Brewing, sipping a Keef Richards and laughing with my husband.
Wait a minute.
Did she say, “40 minutes??”
This length of commute can be seen as outrageous to some. But as someone who lived in the city of Wichita for the first 30 years of my life and out of it near the city of Halstead for the last eight, I don’t look at it that way.
I feel lucky that a trip to the Advanced Learning Library, Apollo Fermentations or The Monarch gets to feel like an event (and one that I can experience two to three times a week).
And I feel lucky that on the days I don’t venture away from home I can enjoy the quiet beauty of living in the country and the experience of being “known” as a member of our small-town community.
My husband and I also take advantage of being close to nature. We love fishing and walking the trails at Harvey County West and East parks, and we are just an hour away from great places to camp and kayak - Marion Reservoir, El Dorado Lake and Wilson Lake. People who once knew me as a “city girl” are still amazed that I enjoy the outdoors so much, but being surrounded by so much beauty just makes you want to get outside!
“So long as we find anything beautiful, we feel that we have not yet exhausted what life has to offer.”
From admiring the latte art at the bustling Leslie Coffee Co. near downtown Wichita to taking in the unobstructed view of the sunset from my kitchen window, living just outside of Wichita gives me ample opportunities to make this quote a part of my everyday life.
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