When we were in Great Britain last month, our first stop was at iconic Stonehenge, a prehistoric monument in Wiltshire, England, where a ring of standing stones is set. Its history and purpose have boggled the minds

Our visit to Stonehenge in England earlier this summer.

Our visit to Stonehenge in England earlier this summer.

of archaeologists and visitors for hundreds of years.

No one we met there had ever heard about Nebraska’s Carhenge, and by the confused looks on their faces when I mentioned it, I’m not so sure they didn’t think I was making it up. I’m also convinced they were probably muttering something like “crazy Americans” when we were out of an ear’s reach.

But Carhenge is real. I saw it for the third time last week while on a family road trip with my husband, Steve, and daughter, Meghan.

Carhenge, Alliance NE

Carhenge is located three miles north of Alliance on Hwy. 87.

It’s not a place you just sort of stumble across. You have to want to go there. And we wanted to go there. Having just visited the original inspiration a few weeks prior on our three-week vacation in Europe, we couldn’t resist a stop at what is undoubtedly one of Nebraska’s strangest attractions and eagerly drove out of our way to Alliance and then three miles north on Hwy. 87 to see this Nebraska oddity.

 Carhenge

Meghan, me and Steve. Stonehenge is visited by about 60,000 people each year.

Carhenge is the artistic creation of Jim Reinders, who built a copy of Stonehenge out of cars in 1987, the summer I graduated from high school. Having lived and studied near Stonehenge in England, Reinders used 39 automobiles placed in the same proportions as Stonehenge, to build this incredible site. According to the Friends of Stonehenge website, “some of the cars are held upright in pits five feet deep, trunk-end down, while other cares are placed to form the arches and welded in place.”

Carhenge

Carhenge was constructed by about 35 members of the Jim Reinders family in the summer of 1987.

The cars are all spray painted gray and the honor of depicting the heel stone goes to a 1962 Cadillac. As the story goes, Reinders built Carhenge one hot sumer as a memorial to his father who had once lived on the farm where the structure now stands. About 35 members of the Reinders family gathered to build Carhenge and it was dedicated during the Summer Solstice in 1987 with champagne, poetry, songs, and a play, according to the website.

Since then, additional sculptures in a “Car Art Reserve” have been built at the site. I’m especially fond of the “Fourd Seasons” inspired by Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and constructed only of Ford vehicles and representing Nebraska’s four seasons.

Carhenge

The car art reserve.

Unlike the protected and roped off areas at the original Stonehenge, visitors here can walk among the stacked cars at Carhenge, gaze up at the hubcaps and grills, and even touch the automobiles of yesteryear to confirm they are real. I think the place is amazing! And, I’m not the only one. 60,000 people visit Carhenge every year and it even has a Wikipedia page!

I love how Wikipedia includes sections on structure and history and shows aerials of the two sites side-by-side.

I love how Wikipedia includes sections on structure and history and shows aerials of the two sites side-by-side.

Eventually, Reinders donated the 10 acres of land where Carhenge is located to the Friends of Carhenge who preserved it until 2013. In October of that year, Friends of Carhenge gifted the site to the Citizens of Alliance, Nebraska.

We roamed around the site taking pictures for a while and made a quick stop at the small, one-bathroom stall gift shop near the site.  There, we purchased a postcard and mailed it to the folks at Stonehenge in England.

We couldn't resist sending a postcard from Carhenge to Stonehenge in England.

We couldn’t resist sending a postcard from Carhenge to Stonehenge in England.

We count it a real privilege to have visited both Stonehenge and Carhenge within a month of each other. From the sublime to the ridiculous (you be the judge of which is which) — we loved them both.

Have you been to Carhenge? What did you think? Let us know, we’d love to hear from you. 

  • Just over two years ago, we stopped in Pawhuska to have lunch at Ree Drummond's @PWMercantile. From the person opening the door for us to the folks tending the line giving us water, we felt welcome from the moment we set foot in Pawhuska, Oklahoma.⁣
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But it turns out it wasn't just @thepioneerwoman and her husband, Ladd, who went above and beyond to welcome visitors. No, it turns out what they did was just par for the course in this town that's home to some of the friendliest and most welcoming people we've met in all our travels. ⁣
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So we bought a house there. We got it in part, so we could be a part of the community we've come to love. But we also got it so we could help welcome folks to town and let them know how glad we are they came to visit. Come and see Pawhuska. And when you do, stay awhile.
  • Fried dill pickles are a little different in North Dakota than they are in most other places we've been. Instead of just dipping some dill chips in batter, dropping them in the fryer, and then serving them in a basket with ranch, the folks there take their time and make a dish to remember.⁣
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They start with a dill pickle spear, wrap that in Havarti cheese, then put a wonton wrapper around it all. Then, they fry it, and slice it open just so before serving them alongside a spicy aioli dipping sauce. We had these at a complimentary meal at Outlaws Bar and Grill in @visitwilliston, North Dakota.⁣
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Let's be honest, these pickles are just one of many reasons we look forward to our return to @northdakotalegendary next year.
  • Have you ever had the chance to watch a cruise ship come into or leave port? These massive ships, often 1,000 feet or more long, can maneuver themselves by the dock so gently that you don't even realize you've stopped (or started) moving.⁣
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In Bermuda, we had the chance to watch the Norwegian Escape depart. We watched as she pushed away from the dock, then spun 180 degrees on a point before heading out to sea.⁣
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We've seen ships do this dozens of times. In fact, we've been on ships and have been part of this type of maneuvering dozens of times. And yet, given the sheer size of the vessels, it never ceases to impress.
  • You know you want to. Do it. Just book the ticket and go. At the end of your life, you likely won't remember most of the stuff you bought in 2019, but you will always remember the journey you took and the experiences you had. So enrich your life and go. We've never regretted spending money for a trip.
  • This just might be the sweetest, best pecan roll we've ever had. At the @PWMercantile, they bake these delicious treats daily. Covered in a luscious caramel and finely chopped pecans, these rolls are the stuff dreams are made of. Have you had one?
  • Smack in the middle of Portland, Oregon, we found the International Rose Test Garden. Set on 4.5 acres of land, the garden offers visitors a chance to see 10,000 rose bushes from about 650 different varieties. ⁣
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We spent more than an hour walking the carefully tended paths, snapping photos, and just enjoying the beautiful flowers. Our visit here made us glad that we literally scheduled time on this trip to stop and smell the roses.
  • Set in a renovated middle school in Grinnell, Iowa, Hotel Grinnell is one of our favorite boutique hotels. The owner thoughtfully designed the space and included touches from school including “Hall Pass” key card sleeves, and a bar cleverly named, “The Periodic Table.” We wrote a story on this hotel, you can read all about it on our blog. Link in bio. @hotelgrinnell #hosted @traveliowa
  • Everyone has a happy place, a spot where the world melts away and a sense of relaxation and calm settles in. For Steve, this place is on board a cruise ship, out on open water. He can spend hours sitting and watching the water, the ship's wake, and looking out for other ships. He loves soaking up the sun and fresh ocean air while cruising along on the sea. ⁣
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What's your happy place? ⁣
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