Manhattan Magazine | Winter Spring 2024

Page 1

Forest Bathing with Melanie Nord

also in this issue

Bakery brings pies made with love to downtown scene • An inside look at MHK’s annual nighttime paddling event

WINTER/SPRING 2023–24 Winter & Spring Events

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WINTER/SPRING 2023–24

EDITOR

Kalli Jo Smith

ART DIRECTOR/ DESIGNER

Alex Tatro

COPY EDITOR

Leslie Clugston Andres

ADVERTISING AND MARKETING

Angie Taylor | (785) 832-7236 ataylor@sunflowerpub.com

CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS

Dave Mayes

Amy Meng

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS

Debbie Leckron Miller

Bethaney Phillips

Lucas Shivers

PUBLISHER

Bill Uhler

DIRECTOR

Bob Cucciniello

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Welcome to the winter and spring 2023–24 edition of ManhattanMagazine.

Despite the changes this magazine has undergone this past year, I can honestly say what keeps our staff going is the people in this community we have the opportunity to work with and support. While we have a notably smaller publication this time around, our goal remains the same: highlighting dedicated community members, businesses and events.

In this issue, read about TheraPie, a new downtown bakery. Sneak a peek of Manhattan’s annual and iconic Little Apple Glow Paddle. In our feature, meet Melanie Nord, a trained forest guide who seeks out nature for healing and relaxation. Lastly, flip to page 21 to read about winter and spring events.

As always, the biggest thank you to our contributors who make this magazine possible. I hope to be back next year with more stories to tell.

Happy Holidays, Kalli, editor

welcome.
Paddlers hit the Tuttle Creek waters for the annual Little Apple Glow Paddle.
Winter/Spring 2023–24 / 3 manhattan MAG
Photo by Dave Mayes

06 THERAPIE

Made-from-scratch pies with nostalgic undertones

10

LITTLE APPLE GLOW PADDLE

Experience MHK’s annual nighttime paddling event

14

FOREST BATHING WITH MELANIE NORD

Certified forest guide offers therapy experiences with the help of Mother Nature

21 WINTER & SPRING HAPPENINGS

Winter and spring events are back

a look inside. ON THE COVER
Nord, longtime Manhattanite and certified forest guide known for leading ‘forest bathing’ experiences, finds peace and energy in the outdoors.
Meng Forest Bathing with Melanie Nord Bakery brings pies made with love to downtown scene • An inside look at MHK’s annual nighttime paddling event also in this issue
Melanie
Photo byAmy
4 / Winter/Spring 2023–24 manhattan MAG
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TheraPie

Made-from-scratch pies with nostalgic undertones

It was during this time that she began toying with the idea of starting a pie shop—serving her own culinary interests and sharing a generational talent. What better skill to share than the one that was passed down by her beloved grandma?

“Grandma Thera taught me how to make her pie dough,” Oppelt says, admitting that she added a variation of her own. “She’d probably be a little salty if she knew I changed it.”

Meanwhile, Grandma’s Apple Pie, made from Thera’s recipe, is one of Oppelt’s top-requested pies.

Just like Grandma made it” takes on a whole new meaning through TheraPie, a made-from-scratch bakery in downtown Manhattan. Not only does the bakery, located at 106 S. 4th Street, serve its owner’s grandma’s recipe as a bestseller, she’s the company’s entire namesake.

Four years ago, Tiffany Oppelt’s, equipped with a commercial kitchen license, began selling pies out of her basement; she then opened a storefront, which opened in April 2023.

Her dream was to start small and work her way into brick and mortar, she says, adding that cooking and serving food had been an interest since she was young. After graduating Kansas State University with a degree in hospitality management, she completed a semester in Florence, Italy, to tackle culinary arts. For more than a decade she worked in restaurant management, serving as the general manager of Longhorns, then the operations manager of K-State Dining Services.

“I would arm wrestle someone over it being the best. I’m pretty passionate about it,” she says. While the recipe itself is a secret, she did share that it’s made with both sweet and sour apples.

Another best seller at TheraPie is Chocolate Silk.

“They’re neck and neck every single day,” Oppelt says. The duo is in such high demand that they remain a constant on the menu, with other flavors in rotation. In total, Oppelt and her team bake an average of 40 pies per day—all from scratch, in small batches.

The company has four additional bakers, two full-time and two part-time

6 / Winter/Spring 2023–24 manhattan MAG
Stella Isermann, baker for TheraPie, adds the final touches to a pie during the busy holiday season.

TIFFANY’S BROWN SUGAR PLUM PIE

Looking for a festive and fun recipe to try this holiday season? Check out this brown sugar plum pie step-bystep from the pie chef herself. Perfect for newbies!

Ingredients

• ½ cup brown sugar

• ¼ cup cornstarch

• ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

• ¼ teaspoon nutmeg

• 4–5 cups fresh plums (6–8 medium to large plums), sliced with peel on

• 1 pie crust & 1 top crust

• Egg wash (1 egg with 1 tablespoon water)

• Pinch turbinado/sanding sugar

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 425F.

2. Mix dry ingredients.

3. Add plums and combine. Pour into the prepared crust.

4. Top with a top crust and crimp edges. Cut an x-shaped air vent.

5. Add egg wash and sprinkle with sanding sugar.

6. Bake for 15 minutes, then lower oven to 375F. Bake for another 50–75 minutes or until bubbly and thick and crust is golden brown. If your crust starts to get too dark, cover with foil. Cool to room temperature. Cut, serve and enjoy!

Winter/Spring 2023–24 / 7 manhattan MAG
The triple berry oat pie is perfect for the holiday season.

Hours

Tuesday–Thursday: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Friday–Saturday: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Sunday–Monday: Closed

while others work the front of the house.

Each recipe makes four crusts, she says. “I would not be able to do what we’re doing without my team.”

“We probably picked one of the most intensive things that you can make,” she jokes. “It takes lots of time, and we try to do it the hard way. We make everything by scratch and by hand.”

That includes everything from crusts, to processing fruit (using local as often as it’s available), to their savory fillings. In addition to dessert, TheraPie offers savory options; daily lunch specials are available, with options like macaroni and cheese, quiche, pot roast, and more.

Meanwhile, take-home meals can be purchased from the freezer. TV dinners are a constant favorite and boast a homemade dinner and dessert all in one. They’re a far cry from their grocery-store cousins.

“Sweet pies, savory pies—we love baking pie, and we want to do it really well, and be known for making delicious pie,” she says, while noting that if it goes in a pie tin, they call it a pie.

Freezer items range from $12 to $35, with TV dinners selling at $14. Ready-made items can also

be purchased, from single slices, mini pies, or standard 9-inch pies.

TheraPie offers catering, and customers can order pies for special events or just because. Even with more than 100 different recipes, Oppelt says they are always adding new ones. The shop’s busiest time of year comes with the fall and winter holidays. To meet demands, TheraPie has a special Thanksgiving preorder menu, which closes about a week in advance to give them time to create the goods on a large scale.

Despite the hard work required to create so many pies, Oppelt and her team are all-in.

“For me, pie is one of those foods that feels just like a huge connector for people. It connects people with memories of those who were the best pie baker they knew. Or it connects them to memories of a favorite kind of pie.”

“And when you’re eating pie, usually you’re sharing it with someone else. It’s a really big connector with all of your senses; we love making the food that helps bring others together.”

To place an order, meet the team or explore the menu, visit therapiellc.com.

8 / Winter/Spring 2023–24 manhattan MAG
Tiffany Oppelt, owner of TheraPie, sits in her downtown bakery surrounded by an assortment of her made-from-scratch pies.

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manhattan MAG 10 / Winter/Spring 2023–24

Little Apple Glow Paddle

Experience MHK’s annual nighttime paddling event

As the sun sets at Tuttle Creek State Park’s River Pond, a kaleidoscope of kayaks pushes off the dusky shore. With headlamps beaming and skeletons as crewmates, the fun-loving fleet sets sail for another Little Apple Glow Paddle.

Every October, under a full moon, kayakers gather at River Pond, below the Tuttle Creek dam, to experience nighttime paddling. Sixty-two adventurers participated in the 2023 event—some seasoned paddlers and others first-timers.

“You don’t need to have skills,” says Tuttle Creek State Park manager Levi Gantenbein about the calm River Pond waters. “This is really the best place to learn to kayak that I know of.”

And on this evening especially, there’s safety in numbers. The fleet follows a lead boat, piloted by Gantenbein this year, and sticks together.

“We tend to go in a big circle around the pond, with a follow-the-leader feel to it,” explains Marcia Rozell, director of Visit Manhattan and a founder of the Little Apple Glow Paddle.

As an extra precaution, several motorized Corps of Engineers and Manhattan Fire Department boats follow along “to make sure nobody tips over or gets left in the dark,” adds Gantenbein. Occasionally, including this year, there is a harmless spill. “But everybody had fun, even the guy who tipped out of his kayak!” Gantenbein reports.

Participants must wear life jackets and have lights on their boats. Some trim their vessels with strings of lights and glow sticks, and many boaters wear headlamps, too. “I suggest any time you’re out on the water at night,

wear a headlamp,” Gantenbein adds.

Halloween-themed decor and costumes add to the fun, everything from a skeleton at the helm of one boat and spider-webbed hulls, to superhero and Renaissance costumes.

An avid kayaker, Rozell said the idea for a paddling adventure originated when the Kansas River was designated a National Water Trail in 2012. “Having a National Water Trail was unique to the state, and we wanted to push that as a tourist destination,” she recalls. The popular Little Apple Paddle was launched in 2015 and continues every July on the Kansas River.

“We had such a great response that people said we should do an event at night. So, since 2016 we’ve also staged the nighttime Little Apple Glow Paddle every October at River Pond, which is much safer than the Kansas River for this event,” Rozell explains.

The Glow is run by staff at Tuttle Creek State Park, with help from Friends of Tuttle Creek State Park and Visit Manhattan. The event is free, but a state park vehicle permit is required ($5 for a day pass). Paddlers can bring their own kayaks or rent one at River Pond.

As park manager, Gantenbein usually works behind the scenes at Glow Paddle. This was his first year to join in. The group he led, from families with children to senior citizens, launched around 6:30 p.m. and leisurely paddled for an hour or so around the pond and back to the ramp.

Winter/Spring 2023–24 / 11 manhattan MAG

“It was beautiful, warm and no wind. You couldn’t ask for better fall weather,” Gantenbein said. And, the requisite full moon shined the way.

A regular participant, Rozell points out why River Pond works so well: “You don’t need a shuttle to pick you up at the end of your trip. Just park in the big lot by the boat ramp, and get on and off on your own. Also, people can stay on the water as long as they want—from 20 minutes to two hours. That’s the beauty of the pond.”

Natural beauty is a big draw, too. “It’s very peaceful,” Rozell says, “and the amount of birds you see and hear is amazing.” Sightings often include turkey vultures, great blue herons, crows and eagle nests. “The turkey vultures kick up a storm when we paddle by, and as the evening light fades, fish splash and leap through the air for flies.”

Gantenbein recalls the thrill this year when a beaver swam between boats, flapping its tail, something he’d never seen before.

Anglers fishing from shore are also often surprised by what’s coming around the bend. “We have conversations from kayak to shore,” Rozell says. “The fishermen are fascinated with where this group of 50 people is coming from and why we’re doing it.”

The evening wraps up with a campfire and s’mores at the shelter house.

“It’s the simple pleasures like hanging around a campfire and bonding with people or docking your kayak to sit and look at the stars,” Rozell explains about her passion for the event. “It’s just fun!”

12 / Winter/Spring 2023–24 manhattan MAG
As an added precaution, night paddlers must install some form of lights on their boats. Many place Halloween-themed decor to add to the fun.
Winter/Spring 2023–24 / 13 manhattan MAG
A mix of experienced and novice paddlers gear up to hit the waters for the 2023 Little Apple Glow Paddle.
14 / Winter/Spring 2023–24

ForestBathing with Melanie Nord

Certified forest guide offers therapy experiences with the help of Mother Nature

Melanie Nord, a longtime Manhattanite, is a certified forest guide known for leading “forest bathing” experiences.

“I’m a huge hippy with more than 300 plants in our home, and I love hiking and being outside,” says Nord, who started Slow Spirit Sanctuary, known for empowering peaceful living through soul care.

The nature-immersive experience known as forest bathing is a structured outdoor walk that starts with greetings and brief introductions.

“I always tell people, ‘it’s your walk,’ and I’ll give invitations and open up with sensory meditations,” Nord says. “At times, we may plant our feet directly into the earth, sense the wind and get into our breathing.”

Visceral sensations

Forest bathing highlights all senses of sight, sound, feel, taste and smell.

“As a culmination, we also get into a ‘heart’ sense to explore even more by sharing our reflections for a full experience,” Nord says.

A final tea ceremony highlights the tastes where some is poured out as a sign of respect.

Winter/Spring 2023–24 / 15
Melanie Nord, a certified forest guide, leads photographer Amy Meng on a one-on-one, guided forest bathing walk.

“I’ve gone on three forest bathing walks that are both educational and inspirational,” says participant Tonnie Martinez. “I’ve worked at K-State for 20 years without an office window, so I try to get outside as much as possible. I was intrigued by Melanie’s expertise.”

Drawing from Japanese practices known as shinrin-yoku, which translates to “absorbing the forest atmosphere,” forest bathing offers both research-based and inspirational/mindful appeal.

“It’s so good for us, and now I’m hooked,” Martinez says. “I participate every time I can. Even months afterwards when I’m walking the dogs, I internalize the experiences and have Melanie’s voice in my mind as something I take with me in life.”

Peaceful purpose

Growing up in Kansas City, Nord went on to major in secondary education at Kansas State University and graduated in 2005. She earned a master’s of divinity in Chicago and became an ordained pastor at First United Methodist Church in downtown Manhattan.

She now runs her company, Slow Spirit Sanctuary, and raises two elementaryaged daughters, Hayley and Alayna.

“My kids are at a stage where they’re susceptible to society, so we often use our front yard to learn ways to slow down and get into what’s around us,” Nord says. “I love this community and the people in it. How cool is it to have something like forest bathing in our area?”

Starting the Slow Spirit Sanctuary in the summer of 2020 after transitioning out of church leadership, she wanted to offer support and group activities to find ways for people to connect across all spiritualties.

“With Covid-19, we all had to slow down,” Nord says. “I get to do a lot of different things like special events, funerals and weddings—anywhere that people want support to add a sense of occasion to fill a niche and help people at key times in life.”

16 / Winter/Spring 2023–24
Drawing from Japanese practices known as shinrin-yoku, Nord connects with nature in order to slow down and be mindful of her surroundings.

WINTER SOLSTICE WALKS

Check out these upcoming experiences in December 2023.

December 21, 12–1:30 p.m., Fairmont Park River Trail

December 22, 4:30–5:30 p.m., Blue Earth Plaza

To learn more about Nord and the services she offers, visit slowspiritsanctuary.com.

To seek fulfillment professionally, she enrolled in an online course for forest bathing in 2021 with a therapy focus.

“I completed a six-month cohort group model to learn all about it,” Nord says. “We practiced and learned many tips for a variety of regions. During our local Manhattan walks, we’ve encountered things like poison ivy, snakes and even a skunk once.”

Even without any other colleagues near the Midwest when she was in Forest Therapy School, she treasured the prairie and Kansas landscape.

“There’s so few in this area,” she says. “We may not have redwood forests, but we still have native tall grass areas and 100-year-old trees. When we pause, we can see the benefits and beauty of our region.”

The little details

Nord’s work ranges from structured events at the hiking trails of Konza Prairie Biological Station to children’s focused therapy walks to urban hikes.

“I love to do walks downtown to give the opportunity to see things even in parking lots with a few trees and shrubs to notice the details,” she says. “Even on some of our neighborhood streets, you can get a full canopy of trees.”

Deanna Likes, marketing director at Flint Hills Discovery Center, partners with Slow Spirit Sanctuary to host forest bathing.

“Although I don’t typically take time to enjoy walks around the neighborhood, even my own, it was so great to take in everything that was happening around me,” says Likes. “All the different ways to notice something stood out most. Everything has qualities that if you’re not intentionally thinking about, you may miss.”

One frequent, favorite spot, Meadowlark Hills retirement community, features an accessible, state-of-the-art trail used for forest bathing.

“I love working with a generation of participants who

Winter/Spring 2023–24 / 17
Nord taps into the plants and landscapes on guided walks to help participants slow down and be more at ease.

often have so much knowledge of nature,” Nord says. “One recent participant had just lost her husband and processed grief on the walk. For another, it was enjoying the sunshine. Another gained clarity on some projects they were working on.”

Deep emotions

Nord’s guided forest walks, designed to be a private, slow meditative approach to nature immersion, sometimes alter the participants’ perspective on the natural world.

“All of the plants and landscapes around us can show us there is no divide between human made worlds and the natural world,” she explains.

She helps participants explore what emotions are being evoked and shut out the world’s demands to find rest.

“It’s not to just get 10,000 steps or fast-paced exercise, but instead it helps us become hyper aware of sensations like the texture of plants and unique smells

of nature,” Nord says. “A lot of people have been surprised how much they’ve enjoyed it.”

Mindful benefits

Forest bathing makes participants more mindful in nature, using all senses in a nontraditional approach to explore all aspects.

“Many people say afterwards, ‘Wow, I drive this street every day but I’ve never noticed these trees.’ So many times, we go into autopilot, and there’s a much richer environment than we realized before,” Nord says.

Scientifically, nature walks can help with anxiety, insomnia and many other health risks.

“Trees can put off natural hormones called phytoncides, which are antibacterial and antifungal qualities to increase immunity and fight diseases,” Nord says. “We can absorb some of these positive effects. It’s all so connected.”

18 / Winter/Spring 2023–24
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Winter & Spring Happenings

DECEMBER

To the Stars Through Art: A History of Art Collecting in Kansas Public Schools, 1900–1950

December 2023–May 11, 2024 | Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art

The Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art presents an exhibition led by curator Elizabeth Seaton focused on the quest for historic art in Kansas K–12 schools.

beach.k-state.edu/explore/exhibitions/tothe-stars-through-art.html

Christmas Dinner + Move Night: NationalLampoon’sChristmas Vacation

December 22 | Liquid Art Winery and Estate

Spend your Friday evening getting into the holiday spirit with dinner and the Griswold family. Tickets are prepurchase only. Doors to The Barrel Room open at 6 p.m., and the movie starts at 7 p.m. manhattancvb.org/events

Holiday Film Fest: PolarExpress

December 22 | Wareham Hall

Enjoy a Christmas movie in Manhattan’s historic opera house. Grab your tickets online. Movie starts at 7 p.m. warehamhall.org/holiday-film-fest

Little Apple’s New Year’s Eve

December 31 | Aggieville

Ring in the New Year with the city’s 20th annual celebration. Festivities kick off at 4 p.m., with the apple dropping at midnight.

JANUARY

First Day Run

January 1 | Anneberg Park

Start your New Year on the right foot. Manhattan Running Company presents a 10k, 5k, and 1 mile run/ walk. Race starts at 3 p.m. Visit online to register. manhattanrunningco.com/races/our-races/ first-day

First Day Hike

January 1 | Eagle Pass and Western Heritage Trails

Start the New Year off with a hike made for beginners along Willow Lake and the Blue River to the Rocky Ford Dam. Meeting point will be at the State Park Office at 9 a.m. Check the Tuttle Creek State Park Facebook Page for weather cancelations. facebook.com/TuttleCreekStatePark

KARTA Ag Tech Conference

January 25–26 | Hilton Garden Inn

The 25th annual Kansas Agricultural Technologies Conference event brings hundreds of agricultural producers and industry leaders for a two-day interactive workshop on the use of technology in the agriculture industry. agmanager.info/events/karta-ag-techconference

FEBRUARY

Next to Normal

February 2–4, 9–11 | Manhattan Arts Center

Manhattan Arts Center presents Next to Normal, a play that explores how one suburban household copes with crisis and mental illness. This play contains strong adult themes and content and is not recommended for young children. manhattanarts.org

PrettyWoman:TheMusical February 18 | McCain Auditorium

McCain Performance Series presents PrettyWoman:The Musical—based on one of Hollywood’s most beloved romantic stories of all time. Tickets are available online.

mccain.k-state.edu/events/2023-2024/24-0218-pretty-woman.html

MARCH

St. Patrick’s Day Road Races

March 16 | Various

Fill the ‘Ville with green! Join 1,500 of your fellow runners for the 46th annual St. Patrick’s Day road races. Participants can choose between a 10k and 2 mile run/walk. Visit website for packet pick up information, race day starting points and full schedule. stpatsmhk.com

Winter/Spring 2023–24 / 21 manhattan MAG
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7:30 p.m. Thur., Apr. 11, 2024

The Midtown Men

7:30 p.m. Sat., Apr. 13, 2024

The Spinners

7:30 p.m. Tue., May 7, 2024

Buddy Guy:

Damn Right Farewell

7:30 p.m. Mon., June 24, 2024

Dates,artists,venue and ticket prices subject to change.
785-532-6428 | mccain.k-state.edu | McCainAuditorium | mccainksu
2023 – 2024
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