Wichita, Kansas, the best kept secret in the world, and I want to keep it that way” – Nancy Hancock-Cullen
As always, when I begin to compose a blog post, I look for an inspirational quote. As I searched for quotes on living in Wichita, I came up dry. I am delighted! As the world continues to have a backward view of my fair city, only the sturdiest of folk will come. These select few soon discover what a treasure she is.
I grew up in north central Kansas, about a three-hour drive from Wichita via interstate today. As a child, the roads were less developed, thus the drive was more than four hours. We had no connections to Wichita, thus trips to this city were rare:
- I remember a three-day trip with my Methodist youth group for a Kansas-wide conference. We slept on the floor and met during the day at the First United Methodist church just a few blocks from where I live today.
- Then there was the day Dad and I visited the Wichita Airport Traffic Control Tower where I worked twenty-five years later for over seven years as an air traffic controller. For all the places I have lived and worked, I found where I was meant to be.
Living In Wichita
So why am I so enamored with this city? There are three reasons, in no particular order:
It’s size. I am not sure when a city’s size becomes unwieldy, but Wichita has not, in my opinion, reached that point. From where I live, I can reach any corner of Wichita in about 20 minutes. This allows for a lot more living and less time getting there. I can spend the morning flying, come home, rest, and still have plenty of time to go out in the evening. Try that in Los Angeles!
There are distinct neighborhoods but they are not really mini-communities like you see in Chicago, New York, or Paris. I live in Midtown, next to Riverside and Twin Lakes. Almost everything I need is within two miles of my home. Using the bicycle to go to the gym, bank, and run other errands
The choices of things to do. We have a great selection of theaters, both movie, and stage, museums, restaurants, events, and venues. We have festivals, nationally known car shows, airshows, fly-ins, rodeos, and concerts. For the sports fan, we have ice hockey, baseball, and serious Wichita State University college basketball.
The seasons. We have four distinct seasons, which are reasonably balanced in length. Winters generally are not too harsh, at least for long. Spring can be rather unstable but still bursts with new life, summers are warm and humid, and Fall is delightful. The sun shines 225 days a year.
A Sample Season Living In Wichita
To give you a sample of our recent Holiday season, we celebrated with a variety of events. They included:
- attending the PBS Kansas Holiday Tea, with special guest Ian McNeice. Currently known as Bert Large on Doc Martin. Mr. MacNeese has Kansas family connections, so he stopped by the station where we got to ask questions and enjoy this delightful British actor’s backstories!
- Seeing a production of Christmas with C.S. Lewis at the historic Century II.
- Dinner at the First Mile Kitchen, one of at least two area farm-to-table restaurants.
Wichita is much more cosmopolitan, even sophisticated than one would think at first glance. That is because she is unpretentious in her refinement and comfortable in her skin.
Living In Wichita Globally
There is one more reason I love living in Wichita that will not surprise any who knows me: Aviation. It is everywhere, yet not “in your face” everywhere. The mid-sized commercial airport, with moderate air traffic, is well done, but the real action is at the general aviation airports where pilots like me hang out.
Today home to TEXTRON aviation with its Cessna and Beechcraft lines, its history of designing and building airplanes is deep and wide in the city’s DNA. Cessna, Beech, Lear, Bombardier, Boeing, and Hawker, to name a few, have all either begun or passed through the hands of Wichita engineering and aviators. There are few places on earth that do not have a Wichita-built aircraft at a nearby airport.
So have you found you’re forever home? It is a great place to be – as they say: “There is no place like home!”