Nebraska: Possibilities…Endless

People who visit Nebraska are often amazed by what they find. They arrive with expectations as varied and as vast as the weather, and they leave having learned that Nebraska itself is just as unpredictable.

The land is rife with contradiction. Enormous, sculptured rocks tower above the yawning prairie. A veritable sagebrush desert covers the world’s largest underground reservoir. Wide rivers till the land, etching valleys and scenic overlooks into the wildly undulating grasslands.

Nebraska is a place where many cultures converge – evidence that the first Western settlers forged new lives from little more than earth and sky. These old-time pioneers would be surprised to see Nebraska today: for what was once the “Great American Desert” is now the breadbasket of the world.

So whether you hope to indulge in a rugged outdoor adventure or a sophisticated evening of French cuisine and the opera, Nebraska caters to your every whim.

Nebraska’s Monument to Westward Migration

If you’ve traveled across the Great Plains, you’ve likely wondered, “How did the pioneers do it? How did they manage to cover the seemingly endless miles in conditions from blazing heat to paralyzing blizzards? And in covered wagons?”

The Great Platte River Road Archway Monument in Kearney, Neb., brings those early travels to life.

You can’t miss this monument. The 1,500-ton eight-story structure spans 308 feet directly across Interstate 80. Westbound travelers will drive under it before getting off the highway at Exit 272; eastbound travelers need to make note of that same exit; otherwise it’s another seven miles before you can turn around.

The monument is located near a point where the California, Mormon and Oregon trails taken by the travelers of the 1800’s converge. Inside the monument’s great log lobby, visitors ride a two-story escalator up to cutting-edge interactive exhibits and dioramas that tell the story of the Platte River Valley’s enormous impact on our country’s westward expansion.

Learn more about the Great Platte River Road Archway Monument including admission prices and hours at www.archway.org. There’s ample parking for RVs and free overnight dry camping.

Massive crane migration

If you travel to the Great Platte River Road Archway Monument during March and April, you’ll be treated to the world’s largest concentration of sandhill cranes and other migratory birds. On their way from Mexico, Texas and New Mexico to Canada and the Arctic Circle, an estimated half-million cranes spend nearly a month along the Platte River, resting, feeding and socializing. Nearly 80 percent of the world’s sandhill crane population makes a stop in Nebraska.

Ahhh…grapes?

In Nebraska? Yes! In the mid-1980’s, commercial grape growing made a comeback in this state. And today you can discover numerous wineries and vineyards scattered along several of the byways.

Spend a pleasant afternoon touring the vineyards, tasting a variety of award-winning wines, and purchasing a bottle or two of your favorite selections at their gift shops. Whether you prefer red or white, semi-sweet or dry, you are sure to have a wonderful time.

For more information or for a list of wineries in the area you can visit, log on to www.VisitNebraska.org or www.nebraska wines.com.

 

 

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