July 6, 2014

Visiting the Off-Road Avenues of Nebraska with Writing Talent:

Nebraska is Plains, that’s true.  It’s also hills and bluffs, rivers, freshwater ponds, all surrounded by communities full of great people.  With a new tourism slogan, “Nebraska Nice,” our state wishes to promote those things that bring the good life to, well, the good life of our state.  Going off the main interstate system is the easiest way to find our gems of ‘Nice.’
Along with the classic Nebraska Huskers, the new PBA in Lincoln and the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska has a lot to offer as far as tourism.  We also have ingenuity and historical writing talent.  Willa Cather is just one of a long list of authors who loved and lived here.  And, in this present day, we offer more.  

We begin our tour this year in Gage County with G. K. Fralin.
Author G.K. Fralin,  http://www.gkfralinbooks.blogspot.com, shares her inspiration.
The fact that we are away from the interstate allows people traveling along the two lane highways  to come close to historic sites, modern recreation, restaurants and architecture from years when beauty was as important as utility. 

Along Hwy 77 south of Lincoln, Nebraska the traveler sees signs leading to recreational lakes. In fact there are many natural lakes that are part of the Corps lakes, originally maintained by the army corps of engineers. All offer unique recreational and sightseeing opportunities.  Towns of Beatrice, Blue Springs and Wymore find parks like Chautauqua and Arbor State Park. Wymore is also the home of the Welsh Heritage Center.  Continuing on south from Wymore and turning west, watch for signs to Big Indian Lake with areas for camping, archery, boating, and easy to reach beach and swimming areas.

Starting from Tecumseh enjoy the scenery of well kempt farms and pasture lands. Watch for a sign on the south announcing Rockford Lake, popular with campers, boaters and fishing enthusiasts.
Passing through Beatrice, travelers can turn onto West Hwy 4 and visit the Homestead National Monument where they’re entertained with a real pioneer cabin.

 Heading back to Beatrice, visit the Catholic, Methodist and Presbyterian churches with some of the most beautiful architecture of late nineteenth and early twentieth century, all of which are popular for weddings.
Many historic and attractive places invite the traveler to stop in and take a look. Towns like Cortland, Adams, Pickrell and Odell just start the list. 
While traveling Southeast Nebraska, don’t miss the scenic drives in the counties of Jefferson, Saline, Johnson, Nemaha, Richardson and Pawnee. Traveling off interstate affords the opportunity to maximize the experience of Southeast Nebraska. 

Travel northeasterly to Author, Annette Snyder’s small town home of Brainard, Nebraska and find that it lends plenty of inspiration for her novels and essays.

One spring day not long ago, she was driving somewhere and saw horses tethered to the band pavilion in the city park.  The horsemen, across the street at the local cafĂ©, rode in to grab a bite.  Where else but in a small, country town can you see that?  

And she’s seen cattle drives.  More prevalent when she was a kid living on the south edge of Brainard and farmers would drive their herd past her parent’s house in route to another pasture.  Occasionally she’d see that awesome cow parade now, as an adult. Sometimes, she only sees hints of such rallies on her weight maintenance walks around the section, deep divots in the gravel in hoof shapes, and she smiles.  Is it weird that she feels fortunate to see something so basic to country living?  

 Annette also enjoys the relationships reaped from living in a place where most peoplespent their entire lives.  They all know each other, maybe not well, but enough to greet a quick hello as they pass on the street and that happens every day.  A fast trip to the post office to grab the mail can take up to half an hour with a visit the postmaster and whoever happens to be there at the time.   If Annette drops in the local tavern for one quick glass of wine?  By the visiting with the owner, the bartenders, the farmer who just baled first cut alfalfa for the year or the man who owns that lovely property with the pond just outside of town, one of many places, it could be hours before she gets back home.  The Husker Bar is more than that.  It’s a local gathering place for anyone who wants to learn the newest in town—it’s like having a community center open sixteen hours a day.  If  help is needed  moving a piece of furniture or leaving a message for -insert name here-that’s one of the several businesses to search.  
Annette lives next door to an aunt, and a family who attended the same high school.  Her kids attended the same school, as did and her mom and her grandpa.  She also lives half a mile from her childhood home, a place her parents still reside.  From Brainard, she’s fortunate to live within an hour any direction from any of her four kids.  

Annette admits she misses the bigger cities.  The traffic, the noise, the few minute distance to movie theaters and fast food. Those conveniences were lost when she moved a twelve mile distance away from a grocery store.  Many times she considered moving back to the hustle and bustle but, doing that would lose the short drive to the children and small town atmosphere.  Besides, her house, the one purchased from her Great-Grandfather’s estate for $9000 twenty five years ago, is now from the wreck it was almost to the point she wants.  She’d have to start all over with a new house and someone else would live in her work of art.  Annette doubts she could seriously consider giving that up.  

Those are the cool, small town things that lend inspiration to Annette’s writing work. 
You can find everything on about that right here on this blog using the tabs or visit her website http://annettesnyder.atspace.com maintained by another aunt, thank you very much, who lives ten minutes away.  
Just for commenting on this post this week, visit Annette's site, pick a novel you'd like to read.  At the end of the week, Annette draws a name and contacts you! 
Then head southeast to Lincoln and visit Author, James Buehler’s world.
James says, ‘One of my favorite views of Lincoln is the drive down I-180 coming off I-80. You first see the Capitol building towering above the skyline. Then, one by one, Memorial Stadium, Haymarket Park, and the new centerpiece: Pinnacle Bank Arena all blend into view. It is an impressive site highlighting the entertainment Lincoln has to offer downtown. Combine these with many fabulous eating establishments, and any visitor will leave with warm memories and happy, smiling faces.’

James is currently working on part two of his five part Swords of B'ajj fantasy epic due out this fall. When Michele Wolfe is kidnapped, her brother Steve must use Pathfinder's ability to track her life essence before sacrificing their friend, Erin McNamara, to the villainous group led by Arsenal who needs her to rejoin their boss and take over the world.
While you're waiting for The Swords of B'ajj: Pathfinder, you can find part one, The Swords of B'ajj: Truthseeker, at these retailers:



  1. I'm from Kansas City, and I know Omaha is a super place to visit. The zoo, the horse racing, the Nebraska Furniture Mart. (Well, we have one now, too, but we used to go up there for great prices.) Now I know about other places to visit in Nebraska. Thanks for the overview.

  2. Since I've never been to Nebraska, I found this travelogue of particular interest. Of course, Penny, one of my favorite TV characters, from Big Bang Theory is from Nebraska, but it's good knowing more about your state in reality. Best wishes on the success of your novels.

  3. Ahh! I've been to Nebraska with my husband on two occasions. The people are indeed friendly and welcoming. My hubby hunts out there in November and stays with wonderful families in Fairbury and then Beaver City. Thanks for the trip to other areas in Nebraska. Best of sales!

  4. I've never been, but now I want to go. Thanks for the post, and introduction to Nebraska. It's on my list of places to visit now. Great excerpts, also. I'm going to be adding a few more books to my kindle

  5. Ah, you have my number all right! You showed pictures of parks to camp in, with lakes to fish and swim in! Now I'll have to add Nebraska to my list of states we need to visit if we ever get to retire!

  6. AnonymousJuly 10, 2014

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