Our list of Nebraska’s Nicest would not be complete without a mention of the wildflowers and prairie grasses of Nebraska. Throughout our more than 1,200-mile journey across the state, we saw extraordinary displays of colorful flowers growing on the roadsides, near the bluffs, and across wide spans of fields.

 

Buffalo at the Niobrara National Wildlife Refuge. (photo by Ann Teget for www.postcardjar.com)

Buffalo at the Niobrara National Wildlife Refuge. (photo by Ann Teget for www.postcardjar.com)

We found ourselves continuously oohing and awing at the site of natural grasses and wildflowers and after several, “I wish I could have had a picture of that,” statements from me, Steve began stopping car and pulling over to the side of the road whenever we passed an exceptionally bright spot.

We encountered A LOT of what we think was goldenrod or yellow sweet clover throughout the week and about half way through our journey, we had to make a quick stop at a local drug store for Benadryl and Kleenex, as both of us have terrible allergies and sadly, are both seemingly quite allergic to our beloved and beautiful state flower. Despite a lot of sneezing and watery eyes, the displays of vibrant colors we witnessed were breathtaking and a real highlight of our trip.

Prairie grasses and wildflowers in Nebraska. (photo by Ann Teget for www.postcardjar.com)

Prairie grasses and wildflowers in Nebraska. (photo by Ann Teget for www.postcardjar.com)

While we haven’t identified all of the wildflowers we saw on our journey, we’ve been able to identify some with the help of a nice brochure about roadside vegetation produced by the Nebraska Department of Roads. The brochure includes lots of pictures of native flowers and grasses and explains how the NDOR has developed a plan to promote the use of native plants species that are more likely to thrive in the different regions of the state. There is a great map of roadside vegetation on their website and it’s worth checking out.

Wildflowers in Nebraska. (photo by Ann Teget for www.postcardjar.com)

Wildflowers in Nebraska. (photo by Ann Teget for www.postcardjar.com)

As we drove back to our home in the southeast part of the state, open fields of prairie grass and wildflowers turned to even greener landscapes of corn and soybeans. Our sinuses gradually dried up, and there were fewer and fewer roadside stops to take pictures. By the time we hit Norfolk, we weren’t oohing and awing as much at the scenery, but when we got home, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the wildflower bed in our own back yard had come into full bloom while we were away. Quickly — I grabbed the camera.

Wildflowers and daisies in our back yard in Crete, NE. (Photo by Ann Teget)

Wildflowers and daisies in our back yard in Crete, NE. (Photo by Ann Teget)

 

 

  • One of our favorite stops on our hosted food tour of @visitkansascityks was the @403club. Sure, they offer a great selection of locally crafted and larger production domestic beers. But they also have pinball machines. In fact, they even have a pinball league.⁣
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We spent about an hour in this fun spot, sipping, playing, and enjoying the relaxed atmosphere. It will definitely be on our list of places to go again, someday. Beer and pinball are a pretty good mix.
  • On our visit to Italy, we visited the Prosecco region. While we toured a number of wineries, we actually stayed at an inn run by the Roccat winery. ⁣
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Prosecco is a sparkling wine, and people often see it as intergangeable with champagne. This isn't the case at all. Champagne is made from the Chardonnay grape, while Prosecco comes from Glara. Because of this, the two wines are completely different.⁣
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We enjoyed a tasting at Roccat, where they served us glasses of crisp, clear, delicious wine alongside some crunchy breadsticks that were just the right thing to enjoy with the wine.⁣
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If you ever have the opportunity to go to Italy, make sure you include time to head to Valdobbiandene and try some Prosecco.
  • Located in @clearlakeiowa, the historic Surf Ballroom has hosted some of the biggest names in music. It was on this stage that Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and JP "The Big Bopper" Richardson performed their final show on February 3, 1959. After the concert, they boarded a plane for their next town on their tour. That plane crashed shortly after takeoff, and the date has been remembered ever since as "the day the music died."⁣
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@traveliowa
  • Set in Millennium Park in Chicago is one of the city's most iconic art installations. It's a giant, shiny bean which reflects everything in sight. It's fun to walk around (and under) the bean and see how the shape distorts what it reflects.⁣
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Folks come from all over to see this art installation and take it in. Children love running around it and gazing into it, not realizing they are learning about convex and concave shapes. ⁣
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Standing here you'll hear a multitude of languages and see people from all walks of life there to enjoy the art. And that's why we love public art so much--it brings people together.
  • On our cruise from Italy to Greece, we made a stop in Mykonos. There, we had the chance to take part in a Greek cooking class in a woman's home learning from her.⁣
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We spent an afternoon with lessons about Greek cuisine, and how they waste nothing, not even excess juice from a cucumber. We also saw how to make incredible dishes like this spanakopita, or spinach pie. Sitting in her dining room, enjoying the light, flaky crust and delicious filling is an experience we won't soon forget. ⁣
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While traveling, we try to find opportunities to experience local culture. It's amazing how similar people in the world really are if you just take some time to see what life is like.
  • Do you remember that song from "The Music Man" about trouble? You know the one about the kids in the knickerbockers, shirt-tail young ones, peekin' in the pool hall window after school. ⁣
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Well, we got to peek in a replica of that pool hall on a recent visit to The Music Man Square on our hosted to Mason City, Iowa. It's the town where "The Music Man" creator Meredith Willson was born and raised and his legacy lives on. ⁣
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Before you go see @thehughjackman and @suttonlenore in this Broadway favorite, consider a visit to the real River City.⁣
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Click on the link in our bio to see our latest blog post about why fans of "The Music Man" need to visit Mason City, Iowa. ⁣
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@themusicmanbway
  • When we heard that there was a community garden in Clear Lake, Iowa, we figured we'd stop and check it out. We've seen small town community gardens before, and were expecting a few flower patches, some paving stones, and maybe a bench or two. After all, it was built and is maintained by volunteers in a small Iowa town. ⁣
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What we found, though, was simply astounding! First, the entire garden had been designed beautifully; a small stream even meandered through the gardens, pausing in small lily-filled pools before continuing on its path. But the flowers took the cake. So many varieties, each more beautiful than the last. And the entire space had been planned out to take advantage of the spring, summer, and autumn species. ⁣
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if you enjoy gardens, put the Central Gardens of North Iowa on your list of places to visit.
  • Calmar, Iowa, near Decorah, is home to Pivo Brewery and Blepta Studios. There you'll find high quality craft beers, in a relaxed, fun environment. Upstairs from the taproom are the studios, where you can try your hand at art while sipping your beer.

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