A look back at 2016

A look back at 2016

After traveling in the Caribbean for 10 days over Christmas, Steve and I returned to our home in Crete, Nebraska, about 15 seconds before the clock struck midnight Saturday night and just in time for a New Year’s kiss to ring in 2017. Before we delve into our travel plans for the upcoming year, we wanted to take a look back at 2016 and thank all of you for coming on this journey with us.

Last year, we rang in the new year with friends and family at home spent most of the spring in our home state of Nebraska. In February, we drove to nearby Wahoo to pick up a half a beef and ended up spending a delightful day in the town previously known as the home office of the Late Night with David Letterman Show.

 

 

In March we drove to the central region of the state to witness, first hand, the incredible Sandhill Crane migration. It was an absolutely amazing sight.

 

 

Although I’ve spent most of my life in Nebraska and had heard lots about the Sandhill Cranes, for some reason, I’d never taken the time to visit the sanctuaries and see these majestic birds up close. Let me just say, if you live in or near Nebraska — GO SEE THE CRANES! I would rank this experience among my Top 10 best travel experiences ever.  You can read more about our visit HERE.

Another Nebraska highlight for us was our visit to the Museum of American Speed in nearby Lincoln.

The car driven by Louis Chevrolet in the 1915 Indy 500. It achieved a maximum speed of 81 mph.

The car driven by Louis Chevrolet in the 1915 Indy 500. It achieved a maximum speed of 81 mph.

 

We hadn’t really heard of this museum and were absolutely amazed by the quality and massive quantity of car and speed-related items in this hidden gem of a museum. Not only did the three-story building include car collections, it also had a metal lunch box collection, a taxi cab collection, and lots of guitars, record albums, and movie posters. It was absolutely amazing and great pit stop for those traveling Interstate 80.

In May, we returned for another visit to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, and then went on to Minneapolis for the North American TBEX, a conference for travel bloggers. We loved the conference, met some great new contacts, and became even more exited about growing our blog. We also had a chance to spend a day in Stillwater, Minnesota, while we were there. You can read all about HERE.

In the summer of 2016, we took one of the best vacations of our lifetimes to northern Europe. We’d been planning (and saving) for this trip for a long time and it exceeded all of our expectations. I picked Steve up from work the day his summer vacation began and he was able leave the middle school where he is principal. We flew to London, England, and took the Chirton Grange car service to South Hampton with a stop at the iconic Stonehenge.

 

Stonehenge

After a night in South Hampton and a visit to the local museum that chronicled  the sinking of the Titanic, we gathered the courage to board a ship and set sail on a 14-night cruise on the Baltic Sea.

The magnificent gold fountains at Peterhof Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia.

We had an incredible experience on the Celebrity Eclipse and enjoyed stops in Belgium, Germany, Russia, Estonia, Sweden, and Denmark.

Bath, England

Bath, England

We disembarked in South Hampton and took a train to Bath, England, for a couple days and spent another three days visiting friends in Taunton before flying back to the States. It was an absolutely unforgettable vacation, filled with new experiences and adventures that we’ll always treasure.

Upon our return, we spent one day doing 12 loads of laundry, then packed up the car, picked up our daughter, Meghan, and headed out on a road trip across Nebraska. Less than a month after visiting Stonehenge in England, we found ourselves taking selfies at a cheesy replica called Carhenge in Alliance, Nebraska.

Carhenge

We had a great week exploring our home state as a family, including stops in Hastings (where Kool-Aid was invented), Grand Island, North Platte, Scottsbluff/Gering, Crawford, Chadron, Valentine, and Norfolk. We loved taking the highways instead of the interstate, stopping to explore small (sometimes abandoned) towns, visiting quirky tourist attractions (like the Fort Cody Trading Post) and eating peanut butter sandwiches in city parks along the way.

With the exception of a short trip for appointments at the Mayo Clinic, we spent much of the fall near home and enjoyed taking friends and family to Nebraska Cornhusker football games. We even got to go to one away game when we flew to Columbus Ohio to see the Huskers play the Ohio State University in the Horseshoe. Great flight. Awesome venue. Devastating loss.

While we typically are home for Christmas, this year we decided to escape the cold and did another Celebrity cruise — this time to the Caribbean. We flew to Puerto Rico on Dec. 23 and boarded the Summit on Christmas Eve. We spent Christmas Day at sea and then enjoyed stops in Barbados, St. Lucia, St. Martin, St. Kitts (our favorite island) and St. Thomas before returning to San Juan and flying home on New Year’s Eve. Can’t wait to share some of those experiences with you, soon.

All in all, we traveled to two U.S. territories, six states, and 11 countries in 2016. We are still working on our travel schedule for 2017, but will likely spend most of our time in the United States, as there is so much here we have yet to see and experience.

Where did your travels take you in 2016? Let us know, we’d love to hear from you. 

Wahoo, Nebraska — A Pleasant Surprise

Wahoo, Nebraska — A Pleasant Surprise

For the last few years, we’ve enjoyed purchasing half a beef from one of Steve’s colleagues who is also a local farmer. This year, they had the beef processed at the meat locker in Wahoo, Nebraska, so we thought we’d make the 55-mile drive from our home in Crete to pick up our packaged beef one Saturday morning.

Perhaps most recognized as the former “home office” of The Late Night with David Letterman Show, we were somewhat surprised to find Wahoo a quaint town and a great place to spend the day.

The Wahoo Locker was fantastic. Not only do they process and sell meat, they also make and sell fresh soups and salads and operate a catering business. The store is just the kind that entices a visitor to shop around and we enjoyed seeing all of the kitchen supplies, food items, and even wine.

We purchased a few kitchen gadgets we don’t know how we ever lived without, and couldn’t resist a package of the Wahoo Wieners we’d heard so much about, accompanied by freshly baked buns. They did not disappoint.

We are so excited to fill our deep freeze with half an all-natural Nebraska beef.

We are so excited to fill our deep freeze with half an all-natural Nebraska beef.

After loading the back of our truck with boxes and coolers full of meat, we decided to stay in Wahoo for lunch and drove over to the Wigwam Cafe.

The Wigwam Cafe is unique because it has been open and continuously operating since the 1930’s. Through the years, many owners have put their personal touches into the business, but all seem to have respected the idea that quality food is most important

Tubes of popular kolache fillings like poppyseed, apricot, and lemon.

Tubes of popular kolache fillings like poppyseed, apricot, and lemon.

for a restaurant. Ann had a grilled chicken club sandwich, and Steve had a hot beef

sandwich. For dessert, we split a piece of their famous banana cream pie. We would recommend this as a nice place for a meal should you ever be in Wahoo and want to have good food while enjoying some of the friendliest service around.

After lunch, we noticed an interesting-looking store nearby called Warehouse Surplus and Variety. It piqued our interest, and we went inside.

So glad we did! What an interesting store, filled with five-and-dime-type items and in the back, warehouse food supplies including everything you’d need to make kolaces (a Czech tradition) and a huge variety of spices at great prices.

We picked up some poppy seeds, crushed Rosemary, and sesame seeds and were on our way.

Spices galore!

Spices galore!

What we thought would be a quick trip to Wahoo to pick up some meat, ended up being a wonderful Saturday spent exploring this great Nebraska town. If you’re looking for something different to do off the beaten path, swing through Wahoo–it has a lot to offer.