Or at least in the union.

It might seem the writers at Thrillist were ready to ditch the office last Friday afternoon when they came up with a list which ranked all 50 states by how beautiful they are.

Unfortunately for Kansas, somebody had to come out on the bottom of this list.   I've never driven across Kansas, but I would suspect the Thrillist writers haven't either.  he "I've driven across (fill in the state)" argument doesn't hold much water with me anyway.  Generally when you're driving across a state, you are on the interstate highway, driving over the speed limit and trying to get somewhere.  If you truly wanted to see the beauty of a state, the odds that you'll experience it while doing 80 mph on an interstate, are pretty slim.

Minnesota and Wisconsin fared quite a bit better, coming in at the Midwest-like middle of the pack.  (29th and 23rd)  The biggest surprise for me was South Dakota placing #11 on the list.  The Thrillist writers went so far as to declare it the most underrated state in the country!  The South Dakotan in me was so proud, but my inner farm girl was more skeptical.  Apparently the Black Hills and Badlands captured their fancy, but I suspect that most (if not all) of them, have probably never even  been to my home state.  What we have here is most likely a bunch of writers on one of the coasts using South Dakota as retro/hipster street cred!


The question of what makes a state beautiful reminded me of a car trip I took with my grandparents long ago.   We were touring a Pacific Rainforest state park in Washington state and I was going on and on about how beautiful it was.  My Grandpa said, "It's nice, but not as beautiful as a sea of waving grain in the wheat fields back home."  I dismissed him as a sentimental old fool, because I was a teenager at the time, so almost everyone was an old fool in MY eyes.  But at this time of year when I look across a field of waving wheat, I realize he was right.  Beauty is in the eye of the sentimental old fool, or something like that.

Unless you're in Indiana.  I spent a year driving across Indiana one afternoon...