We are excited to announce that we’ve been asked to speak at what is sure to be an incredible ecotourism symposium in April called Plains Safaris. That’s right Plains Safaris.

Nebraska Sandhills

A view of the beautiful Sandhills of Nebraska.

If you’ve followed our blog for any time at all, you know that we live in a small, rural community in southeast Nebraska and we absolutely love our state! There is something special about watching the sun rise over the Nebraska Sandhills, studying the ancient fossils of long-extinct animals, and hearing tens of thousands of Sandhill cranes descend on the Platte River at dusk. There is so much to see and do on the Plains of Nebraska and we’re happy to do our part to tell more people all about it.

Sandhill crane migration, Nebraska, screenshot

A slide from our presentation talking about the sandhill crane migration.

We will be speaking about Social Media in Tourism and learning from other speakers like award-winning photographers Joel Sartore and Michael Forsberg, as well as traveler Dean Jacobs. In addition, we’ll hear from Rebecca Herrera-Schlicting who is working to spread ecotourism ideas to Indian tribes across the Plains.

Plains Safaris is open to anyone and we hope you’ll join us in Kearney, Nebraska, April 18-20 for this incredible event! The conference will also include a panel of other travel writers, including Melody PittmanMegan Bannister, and Sara Broers, along with Lisa & Tim Trudell.

Plains safaris

Plains safaris

Registration is $125 and the deadline is April 1, so if you’re interested, don’t delay signing up. You can register HERE. In addition to the slate of insightful speakers, the conference also includes hands-on opportunities to see and learn about ecotourism destinations and attractions during a series of optional pre-conference field trips and workshops including a Harlan County prairie dog tour, a guided bike tour in and around Kearney, and a workshop about integrating star gazing into nature tourism.

I could watch the prairie dogs at the Fort Niobrara Wildlife Refuge for hours.

I could watch the prairie dogs at the Fort Niobrara Wildlife Refuge for hours.

We signed up for the agritourism progressive meal where we’ll visit two Nebraska breweries and a winery. Each stop will include a tasting and food, a tour of the facilities, Q&As with the owners, and discussions about agritourism ideas and strategies. Doesn’t that sound fun?

Of course, we’ll be writing more about the Plains Safaris conference later on, but we if you can make it, we’d love to see you there as we learn more about the incredible destinations and attractions on the Great Plains of Nebraska.


For more information about Plains Safaris, visit their website at https://www.unl.edu/plains/2018-ecotourism-symposium

Conference co-hosts include The Center for Great Plains Studies College of Arts and Sciences, Visit Nebraska, and Heartland Byways in partnership with the University of Nebraska-Kearney and the University of Nebraska Lincoln College of Arts and Sciences.

  • 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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