There’s plenty that can be said about a small town like Winfield, it all just depends on where in the country or the world you are from, and your life experience. However, the charm of this small town can’t be found anywhere else in the world. People, history and beauty make Winfield unique.
When people realize that I am from Norway, many ask the question; “Why in the world would you come to Winfield, Kansas?” I usually smile and give them the whole story about how I used to be a foreign exchange student in Kansas and how I visited the city of Winfield with a friend who was enrolling at the college here. The drive up Ninth Street was what instantly made me fall in love with Winfield. When I got to see the campus as well- the green grass, the flowers, the buildings- I decided that if I was going to come back to America for college, this was where I wanted to go. To me, Winfield was beautiful and colorful, and little did I know about colorful, because I had yet to see the trees changing on Ninth Street in the fall.
It’s now been three years since I moved to Winfield and every year I discover some place new that I find absolutely beautiful. When I had a bad day, I’d love to go to Island Park and just sit on a bench and listen to music. Many towns have parks, but there’s something very different about Island Park. It is not just that it’s surrounded by water. It is the fact that it’s a park that the community has supported through time and helped build up and keep nice and clean.
It is easy to see that people like Island Park and not just through the number of visitors it has every day. When there was a tragic fire in the park about two years ago, the community came together, helped and supported each other to build a new playground, something I personally found amazing. People come to the park for walks, picnics, conversations, scenery, the playground, fishing, the ducks and so much more. It is a great park where adults, teenagers and children can all enjoy themselves.
The small shops on Main Street are another part of Winfield that I find charming. I wish more people would park at one end and walk to the other, cross the road, and walk back on the other side. There are plenty of little shops filled wih many cute and interesting things and people who will usually greet you with a big smile. I don’t know if people realize how pretty the Main Street of Winfield is. It is easy to run errands and forget to look at the pretty buildings that all have a history to them, stop by the diners and the small shops, and enjoy that we’re still in a town that supports small business.
Just before sunset, when the sky is turning red and is reflecting into the river that runs along the nature track, is my favorite time to go for a walk. After a bad day, when in need of some serious alone time, I have a tendency to walk down the parking lot in the back of Beech, across College Street, and all the way down Olive Street until I find the little nature track. I find the track absolutely refreshing. Breathing the fresh air, and having the wind blow through my hair is an amazing feeling. As I look at the river, I sometimes imagine that I am back home by the ocean, which gives me energy and a smile.
There are fair grounds to be found in many towns all over America. Personally, of the few I’ve visited, I like the Winfield fair grounds. Even though this exact place might not be very special to some, it is such a big area and throughout the year there are plenty of things and activities to do. Sometimes I visit the big red barn to look at the horses and play with the kittens.
Other times I like to sit by the white bridge at the end of the fairgrounds on 14th Street and watch the river as the water moves on by. When campers start preparing for bluegrass, I might even be lucky enough to hear a good tune while enjoying the outside. There is a lot of space at the fairgrounds, so finding a spot to like is pretty simple, depending on the person.
My absolute favorite place is Lookout Hill, which lays southeast of town, near Badger Creek. There are plenty of beautiful places in Winfield, but when some friends took me out there my sophomore year, after the sun had set, I knew that this was the place for me. The lights in the city of Winfield were turned on, and it was a beautiful sight that struck me as so peaceful, when I looked out over the town. I always have trouble finding Lookout Hill by myself, but if I get the opportunity to drive out there with a friend, I will. Something I would recommend to others as well.
There are plenty of special places in Winfield, many with a lot of history and work behind them. I’ve found some places that have become special to me and that I really enjoy spending time in, and I hope others will start exploring Winfield and find their own favorite spot, a place they can call beautiful.