Monday, September 01, 2014

Readers pick area’s top romantic locales

By BOBBY BURCH, Herald Staff Writer | 2/11/2013

A dimly lit restaurant in Ottawa’s Historic Downtown; a perch to watch the sunset over the Marais des Cygnes; the silent serenity of the Prairie Spirt Trail — each represent some of Franklin County’s most romantic locales.

And with Valentine’s Day only 48 hours away, The Herald has complied a brief list of amorous areas found in Franklin County, as suggested by readers.

A dimly lit restaurant in Ottawa’s Historic Downtown; a perch to watch the sunset over the Marais des Cygnes; the silent serenity of the Prairie Spirt Trail — each represent some of Franklin County’s most romantic locales.

And with Valentine’s Day only 48 hours away, The Herald has complied a brief list of amorous areas found in Franklin County, as suggested by readers.

• Ottawa Main Street — Main Street, between First and Sixth streets, Ottawa

With dozens of restaurants and shops, Ottawa’s Main Street offers plenty of opportunities for local couples to enjoy each other’s company. Whether couples prefer the finer dining of such eateries as the Italian restaurant Bella Cucina, 129 S. Main St., or prefer a more laid-back atmosphere — such as at Smoked Creations BBQ, 306 S. Main St. — Ottawa’s Main Street offers variety for many palates. Wide, brightly lit sidewalks along Main Street also offer a safe area for two-somes to stroll after a meal or dessert.

• Pork Chop Hill — Northeast Franklin County

Rumored to previously have featured a pig farm, Pork Chop Hill is known by locals as a romantic spot for its sunsets and seclusion atop one of Franklin County’s tallest hills. Located between Wellsville and LeLoup, the hill historically is a popular locale for couples to smooch after the Kansas sun sinks below the horizon.

• Ottawa’s City Park — Fifth and Main streets

Perhaps after an evening perusing Main Street, Ottawa’s City Park presents a tranquil setting and plenty of sitting areas for valentines to gaze deeply into one another’s eyes — or a spot to digest a hearty meal. Featuring Ottawa’s Carnegie Cultural Center, the Dietrich Cabin and a large gazebo, there’s plenty of scenery to admire in addition to a paved pathway for walks.

• Second Street Dam — West Second Street, Ottawa

After reaching the far-west end of Second Street, the mighty Marais des Cygnes River traverses a large spillway and provides couples a nice view of Franklin County’s largest waterway. After a heavy rain, the spillway becomes more of a gushing waterfall and offers a pleasant sight to observe and hear.

• Marais des Cygnes River — Franklin County

While steep in areas, certain spots along the Marais des Cygnes river allow couples to bring blankets for sunbathing, reading or picnics. The river draws plenty of critters throughout the area, which should offer animal enthusiasts some entertainment. Also, an assortment of wild birds visit the banks of the river, providing bird-watching couples a special treat.

• Prairie Spirit Trail — Ottawa, Princeton, Richmond

Spanning about 51 miles from Ottawa to Iola, the Prairie Spirit Trail presents nature-loving couples a well-maintained pathway through three counties and various Franklin County cities, including Princeton and Richmond. While paved at times, the trail largely is made of crushed limestone and previously was a railway line. Bikers frequent the trail, but the scenery’s beauty is distracting enough that many couples wouldn’t notice.

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