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The Cornhusker State is filled with all kinds of wide-open spaces in which to get some one-on-one time with the glory of nature, and if we’re feeling particularly adventurous we can take an excursion along the Lewis & Clark route and walk in the footsteps of these trail-blazing explorers. If our tastes run more towards sticking around the city, Nebraska’s metropolitan areas offer wide ranges of dining and shopping experiences, along with all kinds of entertainment that’s appropriate for the entire family.
Starting in Omaha, the Lewis & Clark Landing is a 23-acre site with a river walk and a colorful plaza for picnicking down by the river. The Landing features a restaurant for fine dining and nightly live jazz. For more history, check out the Mormon Trail at the Historic Winter Quarters; the tours are self-guided and offer us a view of various artifacts, including a full-size covered wagon and log cabin. The Neale Woods Nature Center is a fine place to stretch our legs; the 559-acre preserve runs along the length of the Missouri River, and provides plenty of opportunity to see birds and other mammals in their habitat. For those who fancy a more strenuous exercise, there are nine miles of rugged trails to put our stamina to the test.
Getting out on the road, we point ourselves west and take the I-80 forty-seven miles to Lincoln. On arrival, one of the don’t-miss sites is the Haymarket District – its several-block area of galleries, restaurants, and one-of-a-kind shops, are housed in turn-of-the-century buildings. The Haymarket is home to an excellent farmer’s market each Saturday morning, beginning in May and running through October. The Lincoln Saline Wetland Nature Center is another great place to visit for some outdoor fun; the historic Wyoming Bridge, one of the only bowstring bridges in Nebraska, is located here, spanning a pond that’s teeming to the brim with aquatic life. The Woodchip Trail makes a fine place to get some hiking in as well. Also, don’t miss the chance to tour through the state capitol building, and see its massive 400-foot tower dome from without and within. The 14th floor observation deck gives us a great place to snap some pictures; it’s well worth checking out!
Back on the road, we take the eastbound Highway 2 for forty-two miles to our final destination, Nebraska City. Frequent visitors claim the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts as a favorite go-to spot, as it’s an artists’ enclave that allows up to 5 artists to live and work there at any given time. The resident artists give seminars and talks on their work, and there are always new presentations and exhibitions, due to the revolving-door nature of the residents.
The Kimmel Orchard makes for a fine place to spend a day, with a market and various gift shops on hand, which sell locally-made products and fresh produce. Taste some excellent handmade wines and mouthwatering fresh apple pie, made right there at the Orchard. You’ll be glad you stopped by.
Nebraska has so many possibilities for fun and relaxation, it’s impossible to completely do them justice with the written word. Experience the beauty of Nebraska for yourselves, and you’ll see what I mean!