I met Jeanne Goetzinger several years ago, when my daughter, Meghan, and I were exploring northwest Nebraska. We saw a lot of interesting things on that trip, but none was more memorable than the straight-talking, curly-haired woman who greeted us in the parking lot of the historic Olde Main Street Inn and encouraged us to step up to the bar and enjoy a refreshing Sarsaparilla after a long day’s drive. She was unlike anyone else we encountered on our week-long, annual trek across our home state. She was a kindred spirit, but tough as nails and I couldn’t wait to introduce her to my husband, Steve, when we decided to spend a night in Chadron this summer.

Checking in to the Olde Main Street Inn in Chadron, NE. (Photo by Ann Teget for postcard jar.com)

Checking in to the Olde Main Street Inn in Chadron, NE. (Photo by Ann Teget for postcard jar.com)

We arrived at the Olde Main Street Inn mid-evening and Jeanne, a second-generation innkeeper, came down from her second-floor apartment to unlock the front door for us. First, she introduced us to her companion, an American Stag Hound named Grace, whom she rescued two and a half  years ago, even though she suspected (by the look in her eyes) that the dog was pregnant. In fact, the dog gave birth to 10 puppies three weeks later and Jeanne says Gracie was responsible for making 10 families very happy. After introductions, she kindly invited us to take a seat at the empty bar, asked what we’d like to drink and then poured herself a glass of wine. While her glass sat practically untouched, Steve and I sipped our cold beers and listened to Jeanne reminisce about the historic hotel and the many characters who have graced its doors.

The bar at the Olde Main Street Inn. (Photo by Ann Teget for postcard jar.com)

The bar at the Olde Main Street Inn. (Photo by Ann Teget for postcard jar.com)

She told us about the room where General Nelson Miles stayed when the hotel was his headquarters during the Wounded Knee Massacre in the 1890s. She explained how her mother, Evva, purchased the hotel and restaurant in 1969 and managed it until Jeanne took over in 1990, retiring her mother to what she calls “Grande Dame status.” And she was most excited to name drop the authors, artists, and celebrities (Dick Cavett and Woody Harrelson to name a few) who have spent time at the Olde Main Street Inn over the years.

Today, the inn serves as a bed and breakfast and the bar is open Wednesday through Saturday. According to Jeanne, it attracts quite an eclectic group of locals and travelers that make thought-provoking conversation. We were there on a Monday, so the inn was pretty quiet — just us and few construction workers. We asked her if the bar attracts many of the college students who attend Chadron State College up the street. She said, “Just the really smart ones. I don’t serve Red Bull. And I don’t serve Jägermeister. Whoever thought an energetic drunk was a good idea?”

After our welcome drink, she walked us up two flights of steps and down a wide hallway to our third-floor room.

It was fun to think about the cowboys, Generals, and celebrities who have also walked these wide hallways. (Photo by Ann Teget for postcard jar.com)

It was fun to think about the cowboys, Generals, and celebrities who have also walked these wide hallways. (Photo by Ann Teget for postcard jar.com)

Because all of the rooms have full beds (just like in the 1800s) and my 6’4″ husband and I would not fit well in one, we chose to stay in the Railroad Room, as it had two beds and a small bathroom. The room and its railroad-themed contents were dated, but Jeanne made sure the bathroom was clean, the sheets were freshly pressed, and it met our needs after a long day of exploring Western Nebraska.

We stayed in the railroad-themed room at the Olde Main Street Inn. (Photo by Steve Teget for postcard jar.com)

We stayed in the railroad-themed room at the Olde Main Street Inn. (Photo by Steve Teget for postcard jar.com)

As we walked back to the hotel through the alleyway after having dinner at Maria’s around the corner, we were greeted again by Jeanne and her 88-year-old mother. They were outside, enjoying Jeanne’s garden area behind the hotel and they graciously invited us in. We explored her potted flowers and herbs and admired the clematis and hens and chicks she had planted herself. The garden was a respite for the two women and apparently, for anyone else walking by who needed a break or a quiet and relaxing place to rest.

Jeanne tends to her garden behind The Olde Main Street Inn. (Photo by Ann Teget for postcard jar.com)

Jeanne tends to her garden behind The Olde Main Street Inn. (Photo by Ann Teget for postcard jar.com)

When we came downstairs the next morning, Jeanne was ready and waiting with a cinnamon roll and a strong cup of coffee. We visited about our plans for the week and she told us more stories about the inn, the people of Chadron, and the eclectic collection of decor and art work that encompasses the entire building. She even took a few minutes to tell us about how she first became interested in spinning yarn and then even demonstrated her craft for us. Click here to see Jeanne spinning yarn!

She walked us through what used to be a formal dining room and showed off her daughter, Lorri Meng’s paintings. Jeanne’s love and appreciation of art was evident. She told us she was even going to open the dining room this summer for a special exhibition called “Au Naturale:  A Celebration of Art and the Human Body.” The free exhibition would give local artists like Don Ruleaux, Robin Smith, Lorri Meng, and Bob Zillig an opportunity to display their art in one-of-a-kind fashion — perhaps a first for rural Nebraska. 

As we prepared to leave the Olde Main Street Inn, Jeanne asked if she could fill our cooler with ice and gave us each a bottle of water for the road. When my husband extended his hand to thank her for her hospitality, she brushed it aside and said,”I’m a hugger. Always have been.” She gave us each a warm hug, wished us well, and sent us on our way. As Steve and I walked to the car, we smiled at each other and didn’t even need words to express what we were both thinking. It’s people like Jeanne who make Nebraska especially nice.

  • Sometimes you find things in your own backyard.⁣
⁣
Just up the road from our home in Crete, Nebraska, we found the National Museum of Roller Skating. Our curiosity piqued, we stopped in and took a look around. There we found the world's largest collection of historical roller skates, costumes, and memorabilia. ⁣
⁣
It took us back to our childhood and spending time at the roller skating rink (do kids even skate anymore?). We remembered crossing over on the turns for the first time and bending at the knees for "Downtown" by Petula Clark. So many great memories. ⁣
⁣
Sometimes, we focus so much on getting away that we forget that we have some really interesting places close to home, as well. The next time you feel a hankering to go somewhere, maybe try going down the street. You never know what treasure you might find and what memories it evoke.
  • This was our Valentine’s Day dessert last year. Chef Kurtess Mortensen at The Pioneer Woman Mercantile created this memorable dish he called “Fat Elvis.” It was a chocolate bread pudding, served alongside banana brûlée and caramelized peanuts then topped with marshmallow cream, homemade peanut butter ice cream, and a candied bacon garnish. We are giddy with anticipation to see what he comes up with tonight! We are budgeting our calories accordingly. 😉
  • “Actually, the best gift you could have given her was a lifetime of adventures.”
– Lewis Carroll
  • It's been a long winter. I need to see flowers again! Are you with me?Let's talk about these flowers. ⁣
⁣
We are often asked about our favorite place we've ever visited. While that question is hard to answer, we almost always mention Tallinn, Estonia, as a contender.⁣
⁣
Estonia has an interesting history. Conquered in 1227 by Denmark, it never again enjoyed independence until  1920. That freedom was short lived, however, as the Soviet Union occupied the country in 1940. Finally, in 1991, Estonia regained its independence and has remained free ever since. The country joined NATO in 2004. ⁣
⁣
Visiting Estonia, we could see the remnants of Soviet control. Large block buildings dominate the landscape. They are of Soviet Communist design: utilitarian in nature with no thought given to design. They look just like the buildings you've seen in movies about the Soviet Union. ⁣
⁣
Now free, Estonians have done what they can to erase the gray days of Soviet control. The Soviet-style buildings are painted bright colors, and flowers abound in the streets. The people are warm, cheerful, friendly, and welcoming. ⁣
⁣
Yes, Estonia is a wonderful country, and we can't wait to return.
  • Each year from late February to early April, hundreds of thousands of Sandhills Cranes migrate through Nebraska on their way north to their breeding grounds. It's considered one of the greatest spectacles in nature, so thousands of people come to experience this incredible time.⁣
⁣
We traveled to Kearney, Nebraska, one of the best cities for crane viewing, last year. Because the best times to view the cranes is sunrise and sunset, we found ourselves with some free time during the day. It turns out that Kearney has a lot to offer in terms of things to do.⁣
⁣
Scroll across our highlights on Instagram, and you'll find the stories highlights we made during our time there. On our blog (link in bio) you'll also find a post we wrote with ideas for 20 things to do in Kearney while you wait on the cranes. ⁣
⁣
Put crane viewing on your bucket list. It really is one of the most amazing experiences we've ever had in nature. And don't worry about being bored between sunrise and sunset--Kearney has too much to offer.
  • Sometimes, you find great cocktails where you least expect...⁣
⁣
In the Mason City, Iowa, airport, (about halfway between Mason City and Clear Lake) we found a wonderful little restaurant called CAVU-American Kitchen and Coctail Lounge. It's different from any other airport restaurant and bar in the world because it is place so good, the airport becomes the destination.⁣
⁣
While there last fall, we sampled a couple of their specialty cocktails. On the left a refreshing take on a margarita, on the right, a cocktail featuring St. Germaine Elderflower liqueur. Both were fantastic and worth a trip to the airport, even if you're not flying anywhere.
  • Learn how to avoid being labeled "that annoying guy" on a cruise ship in a new post on our blog that Steve wrote this weekend. ⁣
⁣
You should know that 99% of the people we meet on cruises are nice people and fun to be around. However, it seems like there's always that one guy or gal who just gets under your skin. ⁣
⁣
Click on the link to our blog in our bio and see what made of our list of things to do to avoid being "that guy" on a cruise ship. ⁣
⁣
Are there some things we missed? Let us know - we'd love to hear from you.
  • The Sandhill Crane migration will be starting very soon, and @visitkearney, Nebraska, is the perfect place to go to witness this amazing sight. ⁣
⁣
Because the cranes are best viewed at sunrise and sunset, a good cup of coffee is a necessity. ⁣
⁣
During our hosted visit to town last year, we re-caffinated at a couple different coffee shops, including @baristasdailygrind. ⁣
⁣
Ann loved the way her coffee was served, with a barista's kiss--a chocolate covered espresso bean sitting in a little cloud of whipped cream. Talk about a great good morning kiss!

Second most popular blog in Pawhuska