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)

 

 

  • Perched high on a hill in Tuscany is the medieval village of Montepulciano. In the center of town is the piazza grande paved with bricks laid in a herringbone pattern in the 14th century. ⁣
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Standing in the piazza, looking at the bricks, we were filled with a sense of awe at the history these bricks have seen. They've been there for 700 years so have seen times of war and peace, celebration and sorrow. Generation after generation of townsfolk were born, lived and died, and all have walked on these bricks. ⁣
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This is one of the things we love most about traveling. It gives us an authentic feel for history, one we wouldn't have if we just stayed at home.
  • We were so tickled when @thechefandthedish reached out and asked us if we'd like to take a complimentary cooking class with them. They offer private cooking classes with chefs from all over the world that you can take right in your own kitchen. ⁣
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For this class, we Skyped with chef Paola who taught us to make strawberry risotto, traditional bruschetta, and a delicious poached pear dessert that blew our minds. ⁣
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Risotto always seemed like a difficult dish to make, but Chef Paola explained it so well that it wound up being pretty easy. We spent a great afternoon with friends, learned something new, and enjoyed a great meal after. A class with The Chef & The Dish is a great gift idea, as well. Follow the link in our bio, and you can read more about our class on our blog.
  • The world is a big place, and there's so much to discover. Go places, and see things. It doesn't matter if you don't have a detailed itinerary, either. Sometimes, it's more about the journey and what you see and experience along the way, than it is about the destination.
  • During our trip in Tuscany with @italyunfiltered, we stopped at a small family winery. After learning about the organic methods they use to produce high quality Chianti Clasico wines, we had a tasting. ⁣
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Wine tastings in Italy are nothing like those in the US. They are glorious affairs complete with delicious foods paired with the incredible wines. This particular winery brought us samples of homemade, organic jams made from fruits grown in the family's garden. We dabbed these on locally produced pecorino cheese. Yum!⁣
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We're so glad that we had a local driver and guide. Stopping here was a highlight of our Italian adventure, and we never would have found it on our own.
  • The village of Marsaxlokk, Malta, is famous for these brightly painted fishing boats. The design is rather ancient, possibly dating back to Phoenician times, though it's still used today because it is very strong and holds up well in rough weather. One feature of each boat's decorations, are eyes painted on the bow of the boat. These eyes are said to protect the people fishing while they are at sea.
  • The blue cobblestones of Old San Juan, Puerto Rico, are actually part of a recycling project which started 500 years ago. Iron foundries in Spain produced huge piles of waste, called slag. Rather than throw these piles away, the slag was made into blocks which was placed into ships as ballast. The ballast was offloaded in Puerto Rico when they loaded products bound for Spain. The blocks were then used to pave the streets. ⁣
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Pretty good idea, and 500 years later, they are holding up well!
  • The Overseas Highway connects Key West and the Florida Keys to the mainland U.S. While the entire road is a marvel of engineering, the centerpiece is the Seven Mile Bridge, which runs over water for, well, seven miles.⁣
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The next time you're driving, reset your trip odometer and wait until it gets to seven miles. You'll see that's a pretty long distance. And then think about the fact that people built a bridge over water with no land to support them for that distance. Pretty incredible-especially since the first one was built in 1912.
  • We'd never heard of cannonball rocks before we drove past them at North Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park and asked each other, "did you see that?" We'd never seen anything quite like these natural "concretions" created when water leaked into pockets of minerals in the ground. Now, as a hill erodes, these formations are exposed.⁣
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Seeing these rocks was such a cool experience because it reminded us of why we travel. We never know when we'll find something new, something that we never knew existed. We got along fine not knowing about cannonball rocks, yet now that we've seen them, our lives are a little richer. ⁣
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The world is a pretty cool place. Check it out.⁣
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@ndlegendary

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