We are so impressed by our friends, Matt and Jennene Anderson, who still take their three kids on old-school family vacations. You know the ones – where you load the kids in the family truckster and drive across the country to explore new cities, visit National Parks, learn about history, and try not to make anyone cry.

The Anderson family sets out on a road trip in summer 2016.

Last summer, the Andersons reviewed their travel map and decided they’d explore some of the southern states they had not yet seen.

The Anderson family colors in states they’ve been to after each trip. This is what their map looked like before their summer trip in 2016.

They sent us several postcards from their road trip, including the first postcard from the iconic Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri. The Jefferson National Expansion Memorial is a National Park Service unit authorized in 1935 to commemorate St. Louis’s role in the westward expansion of the United States during the 19th century.

In addition to the 630-foot stainless steel Gateway Arch, the site also includes a Museum of Westward Expansion and the Old Courthouse, scene of the Dred Scott case, which is a major landmark in the story of the Civil Rights movement in the United States.

Next, the Anderson family sent us a postcard from the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee.

They had never been to Nashville before and were so excited to see the historic Ryman Auditorium. The family’s next stop was Atlanta, Georgia, where they caught up with some friends and visited the Georgia Aquarium.

They wrote that Matt was not a fan of the traffic in Atlanta, which is understandable, considering his daily commute to work in Nebraska is approximately  two minutes.

The last stop on the Andersons’ adventure through the south was Bourbon Street in New Orleans — or what their youngest, Grace, referred to “crazy street.”

This summer, the Andersons are exploring the Mountain West and we are hoping they send us some more postcards. We have to say, it is so refreshing to see families who still take vacations like these. It really demonstrates that you don’t have to book plane tickets, visit amusement parks, or jet off to a tropical resort to have a great time together.

Matt and Jennene are both great teachers in our public schools here in Crete, Nebraska (Matt teaches high school science and Jennene is a middle school music teacher). We’re even more impressed by the incredible lessons they are teaching their own children about the history of our country,  the value of exploring new places and things, and the joy of spending quality time together as a family.

(*Vacation photos courtesy of the Anderson family)

When you’re traveling next, send us a postcard at: Postcard Jar, P.O. Box 334, Crete, NE 68333.

As always, thanks for sharing!

  • 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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