Do You Want to Get Paddled + Other Fascinating Messages

Power of Words

I notice words.

As a reader and a writer, this reveal is not too surprising.

I study how words flow together and often applaud an author’s creative genius.

I ponder the intended meaning and am acutely aware of my reaction to the message.

When I pause to capture great messages, it’s usually because they meet a former marketing boss’s dictate: If it doesn’t fit on a matchbook cover, start over.

He exclaimed and fervently believed “Brevity yields reaction.”  Brevity | Definition of Brevity by Merriam-Webster (merriam-webster.com)

Words can be inspirational. Often, they are humorous. Sometimes they invoke sadness or create awareness.

Traveling adds a localism to words.

Localism in Words

Here are words I captured on our travels. Perhaps these 12 messages reflected in photographs will inspire you, or add humor or meaning to your day.

“Um”, long pause, “Where are we again?” On Wharf Street seated at a restaurant patio.

When in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada do as the locals do. Answer, “yes,” and order a beer flight paddle at the Milestones Grill + Bar. milestones (milestonesrestaurants.com)

This provoking question headlined the menu. At our table, it created much laughter and conversation about the double entendre. Clever marketing.

Messages often capture localism.  This sign was seen on Washington Island in Door County, Wisconsin. Many landowners are frustrated with tourists using their property for beach access. This resident expressed his clearly, though a dictionary might’ve been helpful.

This message greeted us as we landed at LAX-Los Angeles International Airport during a renovation period. A great example of regional language. It made us smile! Acting out not tolerated.

How do you interpret this? “Mind your head” can mean make better choices and decisions.  Or, if you’re a tall person, it can mean stoop so you don’t hit your head on the awning of this Antiguan convenience store.

Small in stature, I took it as the former. My 6’3” husband, the latter. Proving words have many meanings, and are often personalized.

Cottonwood Falls in the Flint Hills of Kansas is home to Emma Chase Friday Night Music. This is an open group of musicians & listeners who gather here for free jam sessions/open mikes.  What to See & Do in Kansas Flint Hills – Linda Leier Thomason

This Pier 39 San Francisco, California street sign captures attention. We lived in the coastal city of Charleston, South Carolina for over two decades without seeing similar signage. The community there apparently didn’t have to, or chose not to, regulate streetwear near the water. San Francisco does, and found a creative way to communicate the message.

The placement of this message is intriguing. It hangs inside the Cancun Mexico airport. Perhaps the airport authority has seen and experienced too many unappreciative young adults and teenagers coming through their airport.

Seems the hidden message is “practice gratitude” at all ages, but especially if you are fortunate enough to be on a family vacation in Mexico.

Hung at the Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Grounds in North Sound, Antigua.  Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Grounds , North Sound, Antigua news, scores and venue information | West Indies cricket grounds (windiescricket.com)

The International Cricket Council’s message is relevant in other countries, including the USA.

Would you have guessed this is a souvenir shop in the French Quarter of New Orleans? It is. And, it aptly depicts the lingo and culture of this great city.

Seen at a convenience store off I-80 west of Omaha, Nebraska during a recent election season.

Sometimes the simplest message is the most difficult to implement. I promise.

This heartbreaking question was seen at Pearl Harbor National Memorial in Honolulu, Hawaii Pearl Harbor National Memorial (U.S. National Park Service) (nps.gov)

Found in North Omaha, Nebraska. The visual of the two profiles with sign language between them is as striking as the words on the bench.

Words matter in any format: Print. Photo. Voice. Song.

Here’s one of my favorite songs, “Words,” for you to enjoy!

Bee Gees – Words – YouTube

Words that Matter to You

I have a folder of photographs of fascinating word messages from all over the world. These are 12 of my favorite. Which one made you pause, smile, or some other emotion? Share below.

What word messages have you found and captured in a photo?

How did these inspire or otherwise affect you?

Do Share below.

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©March 2021. Linda Leier Thomason All Rights Reserved.

This means seek permission before using copy or images from this site. Images are available for purchase.

Linda Leier Thomason writes freelance business and travel stories along with feature articles. Her work experience includes a Fortune 500 corporation, federal government, entrepreneurship and small business. Read more about her background and qualifications by clicking on the “Meet Linda” tab above.

10 Unique Churches to See in USA

Churches are often landmarks of fascinating history and awe-inspiring architecture.

Here are 10 such churches in 8 states well worth a visit when in the area.

All photographs were taken by me with one noted exception.

Arizona

Holy Family, Jerome

LOCATION: 101 County Rd, Jerome, AZ 86331

Holy Family Church, Jerome Az | Facebook

Holy Family is the oldest Catholic structure in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix.

Iowa

Sts. Peter & Paul, West Bend

Location 206 1st Ave. NW West Bend, IA 50597
Click for Directions

Sts. Peter & Paul | Five Saints Community

Next door to the Shrine of the Grotto of the Redemption.

Home – The Shrine of the Grotto of the Redemption | West Bend, Iowa (westbendgrotto.com)

World’s largest man-made Grotto and often called “eighth wonder of the world.”

Nebraska

St. Michaels, Tarnov

Location: 309 3rd Street Tarnov, NE

:: Historic St. Michaels Catholic Church in Tarnov, Nebraska ::

First Polish Catholic parish still operating in Nebraska. Opened in 1901.
Tour the museum, grotto and cemetery on the property. Call ahead for personal tour.

Holy Family Shrine, Gretna

LOCATION: 23132 Pflug Road, Gretna, NE 68028

Home Page – Holy Family Shrine

A place of respite and reflection for I-80 travelers near Omaha, NE.

Louisiana

Cathedral-Basilica Saint Louis, New Orleans

Cathedral-Basilica Saint Louis is commonly known as St. Louis Cathedral

LOCATION: 615 Pere Antoine Alley New Orleans, LA 70116

St. Louis Cathedral | New Orleans, LA

Photo taken in October 2016.
Built in 1793. Oldest cathedral in continuous use in the USA.

New York

St. Patrick’s Cathedral, New York City

Location: 460 Madison Ave, New York, 10022, NY

St. Patrick’s Cathedral | New York, NY (saintpatrickscathedral.org)

History & Heritage | St. Patrick’s Cathedral | New York, NY (saintpatrickscathedral.org)

North Dakota

Sts. Peter & Paul, Strasburg

LOCATION: 503 N 2nd St Strasburg, ND  58573-0322

emmonscatholics.org – Emmons County, ND

Built in 1910. German Russian community.

Strasburg is home to bandleader Lawrence Welk. Welk Homestead State Historic Site – State Historical Society of North Dakota (nd.gov)

South Carolina

Saint Mary of the Annunciation, Charleston

LOCATION: 95 Hasell Street Charleston, SC 29401

Saint Mary of the Annunciation – Home (sma.church)

Oldest Catholic parish in southeastern USA and where we married.
Charleston is called the “Holy City” and has array of beautiful churches. Credit: Pat Ring (RIP).

Stella Maris, Sullivan’s Island

LOCATION: 1204 Middle Street Sullivan’s Island, SC 29482
 Stella Maris Catholic Church – Charleston, SC (stellamarischurch.org)

Across the street from Fort Moultrie.
Stella Maris: Church History (catholic-doc.org)

South Dakota

St. Joseph Cathedral, Sioux Falls

Location: 521 North Duluth Avenue Sioux Falls, SD 57104

Cathedral of Saint Joseph | Sioux Falls, SD (stjosephcathedral.net)

History of the Cathedral | Cathedral of Saint Joseph | Sioux Falls, SD (stjosephcathedral.net)

Plan a church tour.

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©March 2021. Linda Leier Thomason All Rights Reserved.

This means seek permission before using copy or images from this site. Images are available for purchase.

Linda Leier Thomason writes freelance business and travel stories along with feature articles. Her work experience includes a Fortune 500 corporation, federal government, entrepreneurship and small business. Read more about her background and qualifications by clicking on the “Meet Linda” tab above.

Explore Columbus, Nebraska Area

The COVID-19 Pandemic cancelled our family’s summer getaways. Therefore, we’ve taken mini Nebraska stay-cations.

For each adventure we choose locations that

  • We have not previously visited.
  • Are considered a day trip from our home base of Omaha, Nebraska.
  • Have a good mix of art, history, dining and parks and recreation.
  • Are surrounded by a nearby cluster of other interesting sites and locations

Recently we chose Columbus, Nebraska.

After reviewing their wonderful Convention and Visitors Bureau’s website http://www.visitcolumbusne.com/, we decided to add two surrounding small towns, Newman Grove and Humphrey, Nebraska and the village of Tarnov to our itinerary that ended in Columbus, Nebraska before returning to Omaha.

For those interested in driving to the locations we’ve visited, here’s an estimated mileage chart.

Distance

Omaha to Newman Grove, Nebraska: 2 hours 2 minutes

Omaha to Humphrey, Nebraska: 1 hour 47 minutes

Omaha to Tarnov, Nebraska: 1 hour 48 minutes

To Columbus, Nebraska from

… Omaha: 1 hours 30 minutes

…Sioux Falls, South Dakota: 3 hours 5 minutes

…Sioux City, Iowa: 2 hours 5 minutes

…Des Moines, Iowa:  3 hours 11 minutes

Stop #1

Newman Grove, Nebraska

City Café https://www.facebook.com/ngcitycafe/

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511 Hale Avenue Newman Grove, Nebraska 68758 402.447.6446     
     Adam and Dawn Witchell, Owners

We’d seen this café and their pies widely touted on Twitter and Facebook. Droves of Omaha citizens were pre-ordering pies driven back and distributed in a local parking lot. We were curious not only about the pies but about the community and the café owners.

After driving through town, we had omelet breakfasts at the City Café around 9:30 AM and finished up our visit with a piece of their famous pie.

If you like pie and road trips, add the City Café to your bucket list.

Here’s the other thing. Your tourist dollar is deeply appreciated in communities such as Newman Grove. And, the service is what you’d expect: top notch.

There are always plenty of freshly baked pies to enjoy at City Café.

Stop #2

Humphrey, Nebraska

Veterans Park https://www.humphreyveteranspark.com/

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Near Humphrey Public School (405 S. 7th Street)

Contact Information: humphreyveteranspark@gmail.com

The purpose of the Veteran’s Park in Humphrey, Nebraska is to recognize servicemen and women across all branches of the United States military for their service and sacrifice to our great nation during times of war and peace.

We’ve visited many veterans’ parks. This park is quite impressive, especially for the size of the community. Add it to your places to visit when in the Columbus, Nebraska area.

A local veteran was there the day we visited making our visit even more meaningful. He provided a lot of insight into the Park and the surrounding communities.

Stop #3

Tarnov, Nebraska

St. Michael’s Catholic Church http://www.tarnov.org/

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is image-25.png
Contact Information: stmichaelstarnov@gmail.com Contact ahead of time for scheduled tour. Free Admission. Good Will Offering Encouraged.

St. Michael’s is the first Polish Catholic parish still operating in Nebraska. Established in 1900. Now listed on National Register of Historic Places.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is image-26.png
http://www.tarnov.org/complex.html 309 3rd Street Tarnov, Nebraska

To date, it’s the most surprising place we have visited in Nebraska.

Not only is the church spectacular but also the museum next door is plump full of pieces that will help you recall days gone by. Each item is well maintained and appropriately displayed in a historical building.

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Museum is housed in former Saint Michael Boarding School Built 1910-1911.

HINT: We contacted the church via email before leaving Omaha asking if the church would be open during our visit. Since it was not, we received a gracious reply that someone could come over and open it and give us a tour of both the church and the museum, if we had time and interest. [We texted an assigned number when leaving Humphrey, NE so the guide could meet us at the church.]

Make time. Judy, our guide, was phenomenal. She’s from the area and a member of the Church. Her heart for her community and for the preservation and maintenance of both the church and the museum shone through during the entire 2-hour visit.

RESEARCH: Fascinating Fact: http://www.nebraskaaircrash.com/events/tarnov.html

NOTE: There are stairs in the museum but a stair chair lift is available on each floor.

Groups can make arrangements to tour the complex and eat lunch and/or dessert on site.

The former rectory now serves as a rental property for short-term guest/visitor stays. http://www.tarnov.org/house.html

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is image-31.png
Contact the church office if you’re interested in arranging a group tour with dessert or lunch and/or overnight lodging. stmichaelstarnov@gmail.com
Be sure to visit the grotto and the cemetery on the grounds before leaving the complex.

Stop #4

Columbus, Nebraska

http://www.visitcolumbusne.com/

Lake North Park-Loup

Before driving into Columbus, we drove through the Lake North Park-Loup. Our intent was to walk the trail; however, the rain storm prevented that.

Contact Information: Two Lakes Trail, Columbus, NE 68601, USA

402.564.3171 / 402.562.5709

Location: 4 miles north of Columbus at US Highway 30 on 18th Avenue. The park is 14 acres with two beaches and two boat ramps adjoining a 200-acre lake. It is popular for boating, water skiing, and fishing. Camping is allowed. Electrical hook-ups and primitive camping are available during the summer. Primitive restrooms are on-site.

Glur’s Tavern

https://www.facebook.com/Glurs-Tavern-114094411990524/

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Location: 2301 11th Street Columbus, Nebraska 68601 402.564.8615

This tavern is a National Historic Site (July 30, 1975). It is the oldest continuously operated tavern west of the Missouri River. Circa 1876.

It is believed that it was patronized by “Buffalo Bill ” Cody during a visit to Columbus, Nebraska.

Hamburgers are the menu item of choice here.

Columbus, Nebraska Historical Mural

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Location: 2524 13th Street Downtown Columbus, Nebraska

Walk across the street to read the placard on the meaning of the mural.

Sit awhile in the park square. Lovely, clean downtown area.

Pawnee Park

http://columbusne.us/Facilities/Facility/Details/4

Pawnee Park is known as the “Picnic Capital of Nebraska.” It contains almost 153 acres adjoining the Loup River and Van Berg Golf Course.

Location: 2001 Higgins Drive Columbus, Nebraska 68601 Southwest of Columbus. South of the viaduct on either side of Highways 81 and 30.

Contact Information: 402.562.4240

Visit in walking shoes. There is a lot to see and do in Pawnee Park. 

Pawnee Park also contains:

  • 1904 Union Pacific Steam Locomotive
  • Quincentenary Belltower
  • Oregon Trail Monument
  • Horseshoe Pits
  • All Weather Running Track
  • Playground
  • Sand Volleyball Courts
  • Tennis Courts Lit Until Midnight
  • Disc Golf
  • Living Tree Museum
  • Rose Garden
  • Skate Park
  • Water Park

Andrew Jackson Higgins National Memorial

LOCATION: In West Pawnee Park.

This sculpture was built from pieces of World Trade Center steel. The large bronzed freedom eagle on top has an 8-foot wing span. The pieces do not touch symbolizing that terrorists cannot destroy freedom.

 The soldiers in front honor the National Guard and Reserves.

1904 Union Pacific Steam Locomotive

https://columbustelegram.com/news/local/union-pacific-no-561-at-pawnee-park-fully-restored/article_1571e4ce-dfd2-53bc-a6bb-c84e3c44a832.html

Plan your weekend Getaway.

Visit Columbus, Nebraska and the surrounding area.

Share this story and start exploring.

© August 2020. Linda Leier Thomason All Rights Reserved.

This means seek permission before using copy or images from this site. Images are available for purchase.

Linda Leier Thomason writes freelance business and travel stories along with feature articles. Her work experience includes a Fortune 500 corporation, federal government, entrepreneurship and small business. Read more about her background and qualifications by clicking on the “Meet Linda” tab above.

Do you have a story idea or interesting person who’d be a great feature?

Share below.

14 Unusual Places To Visit in Nebraska

Our family transferred to Omaha, Nebraska nearly five years ago.

Since then, we’ve explored nearly all of the state, recently guided by the Nebraska Passport program www.nebraskapassport.com.

Here are the top 14 most unique or unusual places we’ve visited with photos I’ve taken.

The real test of an experience is asking oneself if you’d do it again.

In our group, the answer is a resounding, YES. We’d return to all of these spots.

See for yourself. Visit these communities/attractions/places.

PLEASE CONTACT PLACES BEFORE TRAVELING. HOURS MAY BE AFFECTED BY COVID PANDEMIC.

Southeast

Brownville, Nebraska

Check out the historic community of Brownville, founded in 1854.

We discovered a broom maker and a fabulous winery there.
http://www.brownville-ne.com/welcome-1.html

https://www.brownvillehistoricalsociety.org/attendees

Sweet Water Brooms & Engraving

Terry and Renee Vice, Owners

Contact Information: 402-825-3701 Call ahead for an appointment.

https://www.facebook.com/BrownvilleBroomShop/

Whiskey Run Creek Vineyard & Winery

702 Main Street Brownville, Nebraska 68321 Located in 100-year-old renovated barn.

https://whiskeyruncreek.com/ Visit for schedule of events, including wine tastings.

Contact Information: 402.825.4601 Closed Monday and Tuesday

Nebraska wines, samples and gifts available. Be sure to check out the all brick cave.

York, Nebraska

Marble Museum

3120 S Lincoln Avenue York, Nebraska 68467

http://www.leeslegendarymarbles.com/Home.php

Contact Information: 402.362.3320

World’s largest collection of marbles. Free admission. Take time to visit with the owner. Great for all generations/ages.

Columbus, Nebraska

Andrew Jackson Higgins National Memorial

2001 Higgins Drive West Pawnee Park Columbus, Nebraska 68601

Free Admission.

Learn about the contributions Mr. Higgins made to World War II. See the sculpture made from steel remnants of the World Trade Center.

Spectacular site. Great reverence to armed forces members.

Visit in walking shoes. There is a lot to see and do in Pawnee Park. http://columbusne.us/Facilities/Facility/Details/4

South Central

Red Cloud, Nebraska

Home to Willa Cather, Author

Especially fun to visit during a special program or event.  We visited when the Neil Diamond tribute was on stage. https://aneildiamondtribute.com/home/home/

Excellent auditorium. Outstanding performance.

Our group stayed in the Willa Cather second home guest house. Lovely!

Stay: https://www.willacather.org/visit/lodging-cather-second-home-guest-house

https://www.visitredcloud.com/visit/heritage-tourism

https://www.visitredcloud.com/

Contact Information: Contact Jarrod McCartney Director of the Red Cloud Heritage Tourism Development Office to personally plan a visit 402-746-4065 or at jmccartney@redcloudnebraska.com 

Kearney, Nebraska

Museum of Nebraska Art (MONA)

2401 Central Avenue Kearney, Nebraska

https://mona.unk.edu/mona/

Contact Information: 308.865.8441

Free Admission

Southwest

Ogallala, Nebraska

Petrified Wood Gallery

418 East 1st Street Ogallala, Nebraska 69153

http://petrifiedwoodgallery.com/

Hours: Monday-Saturday 8-4        Sunday Closed

Contact Information: 308.284.9996

Free Admission

A showcase of natural history specializing in ancient woods and fossils from around the world plus Native American arrowheads and artifacts — many from within 25 miles of Ogallala.

The collection is a result of the efforts of brothers Howard and Harvey Kenfield who began collecting in the 1950’s.

McCook, Nebraska

Fuller’s Family Restaurant’s Cookie Jar Collection

110 Norris Avenue McCook, Nebraska 69001

https://fullerfamilyrestaurant.com/ So fun to see all of the cookie jars in this family restaurant that’s been serving guests since 1946.

Contact Information: 308.345.7464 althayer@swnebr.net

Paxton, Nebraska

Ole’s Big Game Steakhouse & Lounge

123 N Oak Street Paxton, Nebraska 68155

Contact Information: 308.239.4500 Restaurant            308.239.4719 Office http://www.olesbiggame.com

Walk around the restaurant. There is so much to see. Enjoy your meal.

Omaha

Boys Town, Nebraska

World’s Largest Ball of Stamps

13628 Flanagan Boulevard Boystown, Nebraska 68010

https://www.boystown.org/village/Pages/worlds-largest-stamp-ball.aspx

https://www.boystown.org/village/Pages/default.aspx

Free Admission. It’s in the back of the gift shop in the same building that the public restaurant is in.

One can also tour the campus including the Hall of History, Dowd Chapel and the Father Flanagan Tomb, Garden of the Bible, Father Flanagan House, Chambers Chapel and the gift shop. A restaurant open to the pubic is also available on site.

Sandhills

Ainsworth, Nebraska

Meadville General Store

89235 Meadville Road Ainsworth, Nebraska 69210

Truly one of the most memorable stops on our adventures. The setting, music, dancing and fellowship left a lasting favorable impression: a simplier time.

https://www.facebook.com/Meadville-General-Store-1705441056438957/

Northeast

Pierce, Nebraska

Wragge Dogs at Pierce Locker

117 North Brown Street, Suite 53 Pierce, Nebraska 68767

Contact Information: Call ahead for store hours. 402.329.4365 . This food product can only be found here…in Pierce, NE. Go get some! Pierce is near Norfolk, Nebraska.

Newman Grove, Nebraska

City Café

511 Hale Avenue Newman Grove, Nebraska 68758

https://www.facebook.com/ngcitycafe/ Known for pies, but try out other worthy menu items. The owners have a tremendous social media presence. It’s worth following them but better to support entrepreneurs like them helping build and maintain small rural communities.

Contact Information: ngcitycafe@gmail.com

Hours: 6AM-2PM Tu-Sa & 11-1:30 SU Closed M.

Tarnov, Nebraska

St. Michael’s Catholic Church, Museum & Grotto

http://www.tarnov.org/

Contact Information: stmichaelstarnov@gmail.com Contact ahead of time for scheduled tour.

Free Admission: The Museum next door is a can’t miss stop. The grotto is between the museum and cemetery.

As spectacular as the church itself is, the most surprising find on our Nebraska adventures, to date, was the museum next door to this church. It warehouses a diverse array of all aspects of Polish and rural life.

Contact the church to schedule your private tour. Donations accepted.

Groups can arrange for a tour that includes lunch.

The former rectory is now a visitor rental home. http://www.tarnov.org/house.html

What unusual sites (lesser known) have you visited in Nebraska?

SHARE this post with others wanting to explore Nebraska.

Want to explore more places in Nebraska?

Click on the TRAVEL tab above and then MIDWEST and NEBRASKA for other suggested road trips throughout Nebraska.

Linda Leier Thomason is a former CEO who writes freelance business and travel stories, along with feature articles. Her work experiences include a Fortune 500 corporation, federal government, entrepreneurship and small business. Find out more about Linda by clicking the “Meet Linda” tab above. Interested in working together?

©Copyright. July 2020. Linda Leier Thomason.

This means seek permission before using copy or images from this site. Images are available for purchase.

All Rights Reserved.

Plan a Day Trip to Norfolk, Nebraska

Home of Johnny Carson

Location

Norfolk is a city in Madison County, Nebraska, United States, 113 miles northwest of Omaha and 83 miles west of Sioux City at the intersection of U.S. Routes 81 and 275.

Plan Ahead

What do you enjoy doing?

  • Shopping
  • Outdoor Recreational Activities
  • Dining
  • Arts + Culture
  • Live Music
  • Other?

Decide how you want to spend your day and do some research.

Helpful planning websites.

https://visitnorfolkne.com/ Norfolk Area of Nebraska

https://www.theriverpoint.com/ Downtown Norfolk

https://www.norfolknow.org/ Economic Development Council

https://www.travelnenebraska.com/ Northeast Nebraska

Parks

We made our inaugural visit to Norfolk, Nebraska in late May 2020 during the Covid-19 Pandemic. Public parks were now open, but city park restrooms were not. Museums were closed. Shops were open. Masks were required to enter. Restaurants were open at 50 percent capacity.

Cowboy Trail Head in Ta-Ha-Zouka City Park

2201 S. 13th Street Norfolk, NE

Trailhead is accessible on the SW corner of the park.

Once part of the Chicago & North Western Railroad’s Cowboy Line, this limestone trail covers 321 miles from Norfolk to Chadron.

More Information on Cowboy Trail:

https://bikecowboytrail.com/

https://norfolkne.gov/government/departments/parks-and-recreation/parks/ta-ha-zouka-park/cowboy-trail.html

NOTES:

-We entered the trail shortly after 9AM on a May Saturday. It was well-kept with plenty of scenic resting areas. We walked about 75 minutes and saw four other walkers and one bicycler.

-The Elk Horn River and the birds provide great background music.

-Tree canopies provide lots of shade on the portion of the trail we walked.

-Depending on the length of your walk/ride, it may be helpful to carry:

  • Water
  • Light Snacks
  • Bug Spray
  • Sun Screen
  • Cellular Phone

City Parks

The Visitor Bureau’s website provides accurate descriptions of its parks.

Click: https://visitnorfolkne.com/portfolio-item/parks/

We visited Central Park and Skyview Lake.

Central Park

705 South 6th Street- across the street from Norfolk Junior High School

This park is home to the local WWII Memorial and athletic courts lit so citizens can play at night.

We were the only park visitors on a late Saturday morning.

Skyview Park

1900 West Maple Avenue in NW part of Norfolk

This park was busy with guests participating in all sorts of recreational activity while also practicing social distancing. They were kayaking, walking, running, eating picnic lunches and enjoying the picturesque views.

This park has a two-mile trail around the lake and offers Music in the Park on its bandstand.

It has a cross country course and well-manicured disc golf course: No one was playing golf during our visit.

NOTE: Help keep our parks clean. Remember to pick up your trash. There was a good bit of trash in the parking lot during our visit. Garbage containers are provided throughout the park.

Johnny Carson

Johnny was born on October 23, 1925 in Corning, Iowa. Although born in Iowa, Johnny moved to Norfolk, NE at age eight and always considered it his hometown.

Johnny is rightfully recognized as a national icon and hometown hero in Norfolk.

Johnny Carson Mural Downtown Norfolk, NE. Thank you to life-long citizen who left the coffee shop to take this photo for us. Super hospitality!

One can drive by his boyhood home at 306 S. 13th Street and visit a mural depicting his career milestones in downtown Norfolk at 3rd and Norfolk Avenue.

The Elkhorn Valley Museum featuring a Johnny Carson Gallery was closed due to the pandemic during our visit. https://elkhornvalleymuseum.org/

Dining

Norfolk has an abundance of outstanding dining options from family to elegant dining.

Check them out at https://visitnorfolkne.com/home/restaurants-nightlife/

After strolling the entire well-maintained and aesthetically-appointed downtown area, we chose lunch from the District Table & Tap. It’s located across the street from the Johnny Carson mural.

The patio was open. The décor alone is worth a visit. Look at the walls. Great design work. Clean, well-appointed restrooms.

We’d enjoy a return visit when live music is playing.

Side Trip to Pierce, Nebraska

Willow Creek State Recreation Area

54876 852 Road Pierce, NE

The recreation area is located on the 700-acre Willow Creek Reservoir, approximately 1.5 miles southwest of Pierce, or about 15 miles northwest of Norfolk.

As fans of state parks and recreation areas, we couldn’t leave the area without a visit here.

It did not disappoint. Guests were fishing, boating, bicycling, walking, riding horses and enjoying their campsites on our Saturday afternoon visit.

The scenery is beautiful and well worth a visit.

NOTE: Signage is small and limited. There is an entrance fee or a state park pass is needed to enter.

Wragge Dogs at Pierce Locker

117 North Brown Street, Suite 53 Pierce, NE

402.329.4365

On this trip we missed the opportunity to taste Wragge Dogs.

We could not find store hours anywhere online but packed a cooler and ice hopeful we’d bring some Wragge Dogs back to Omaha with us.

We were disappointed to find the Locker closed when we arrived around 2 PM Saturday.

We look forward to getting a taste of Wragge Dogs, one day soon.

J’s Place Ice Cream, Hamburgers & More

https://piercejsplace.com/

323 East Main Street

Pierce, NE

402.329.6797

What a great end to our day in the Norfolk Area.

A delicious ice cream treat served by friendly, efficient staff in a very clean environment with ample outdoor seating.

There’s a whole big world out there.

Just 2 hours north of Omaha, NE and we felt a world away.

SHARE this post with someone you want to explore the Norfolk, NE greater area with. Have fun.

Let me know what to see & experience on our return visits. Thanks.

©May 2020. Linda Leier Thomason All Rights Reserved.

This means seek permission before using copy or images from this site. Images are available for purchase.

Linda Leier Thomason writes freelance business and travel stories along with feature articles. Her work experience includes a Fortune 500 corporation, federal government, entrepreneurship and small business. Read more about her background and qualifications by clicking on the “Meet Linda” tab above.

Do you have a story idea or interesting person who’d be a great feature? SHARE details below.

Kansas City Must-See Attractions in One Day

Union Station https://www.unionstation.org/

Kansas City

https://www.visitkc.com/

What do you think of when you hear this city’s name?

Is it?

Is it time to re-visit Kansas City?

Here’s a one-day itinerary.

Start your visit in the Historic Entertainment District of 18th & Vine https://www.18vinekc.com/

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Walk the streets. Admire the murals and sculpture. Visit the shops, restaurants and museums.

American Jazz Museum

The Jazz & Baseball Museums are adjoined. Tickets for one or both are purchased inside. Plan at least an hour in each museum. Each has a gift shop. A coat room and clean restrooms are available.

The American Jazz Museum https://americanjazzmuseum.org/ showcases the sights and sounds of jazz through interactive exhibits and films, the Changing Gallery exhibit space, Horace M. Peterson III Visitors Center, Blue Room jazz club and Gem Theater.

Check the event calendar. You may want to return in the evening to listen to top rated jazz musicians. https://americanjazzmuseum.org/event/

1616 East 18th Street Kansas City, MO 64108
Hands-On Exhibits

Negro Leagues Baseball Museum

https://nlbm.com/ 1616 East 18th Street, Kansas City, MO 64108

The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum (NLBM) https://nlbm.co is a privately funded, not-for-profit organization dedicated to preserving and celebrating the rich history of African-American baseball and its profound impact on the social advancement of America. In 2006, the United States Congress designated the NLBM as “America’s National Negro Leagues Baseball Museum.”

Because the Kansas City Monarchs were the most successful team in the Negro League, it’s fitting that this museum, honoring Hall of Fame legends like Satchel Paige and Jackie Robinson, would be located here.

Lunch

Ask the museum staff for lunch recommendations. We enjoyed a delicious home cooked meal at Smaxx-a very short walk from the museums. https://www.facebook.com/1827SMAXX/

1827 Vine Street Kansas City, MO 64108

Historic River Market

The River Market is https://kcrivermarket.com/ an officially designated “Historical District”. Major attractions to the River Market include the City Market and the Arabia Steamboat Museum.

The City Market’s Farmers’ Market https://thecitymarketkc.org/ is the largest farmers’ market in the region bringing “Farm to Table” right to the heart of the city with fresh produce and goods on Saturday and Sunday. 

The Arabia Steamboat Museum https://www.1856.com/ displays thousands of artifacts from a steamboat and its cargo that sunk nearby in 1856 and was recovered in 1987-88. The market and museum are among Kansas City’s most popular tourist attractions. [Take some coins. Make a wish.]

Dessert (beignets) at the Market https://www.beignetkc.com/

Jazz in the Afternoon

Green Lady Lounge https://greenladylounge.com/ features Kansas City Jazz musicians in the rich Kansas City tradition. Free of televisions so one can focus on music, atmosphere and conversation.  

Open every day of the year 4pm to 3am Sunday thru Friday and 2pm to 3am every Saturday. No cover charge. Open seating.

It doesn’t look like much from the outside. Go inside. It’s very dark and vintage. Sit near the back if you’re with a group and want to visit.

1809 Grand Blvd (between E 18th & 19th St), Kansas City, MO

Kansas City jazz is a style of jazz that developed in Kansas City, Missouri during the 1920s and 1930s, which marked the transition from the structured big band style to the musical improvisation style of Bebop.

The hard-swinging, bluesy transition style is bracketed by Count Basie who in 1929 signed with the Bennie Moten’s Kansas City Orchestra and Kansas City native Charlie Parker https://www.biography.com/musician/charlie-parker who ushered in the Bebop style in America. “While New Orleans was the birthplace of jazz, America’s music grew up in Kansas City”.

Kansas City is known as one of the most popular “cradles of jazz”.

World War I Museum & Overlook

Opened to the public as the Liberty Memorial museum in 1926, it was designated in 2004 by the United States Congress as America’s official museum dedicated to World War I.

The Museum https://www.theworldwar.org/ tells the story of the Great War and related global events from their origins before 1914 through the 1918 armistice and 1919 Paris Peace Conference.

National WWI Museum and Memorial is America’s only museum dedicated to sharing the stories of the Great War through the eyes of those who lived it.

2 Memorial Drive Kansas City, MO 64108

Even if you don’t go inside the National World War I Museum, it’s still worth a visit to the grounds. From the base of the Liberty Memorial, you’ll be treated to one of the best views of Kansas City. [The photo at the top of this story was taken from there, looking down at Union Station.]

Q39 Dinner

There are lots of barbeque choices in Kansas City. We often choose Q39 https://q39kc.com/. We’ve never been disappointed.

There you have it. A full day of memorable activities in Kansas City.

Share this with those you want to visit KSC with this weekend.

Of course, there’s more to see & do in KSC. What’s your favorite? Let me know so it can be added to our next visit. Thank you.

©February 2020. Linda Leier Thomason All Rights Reserved. This means seek permission before using copy or images from this site. Images are available for purchase.

Linda Leier Thomason writes freelance business and travel stories along with feature articles. Her work experience includes a Fortune 500 corporation, federal government, entrepreneurship and small business. Read more about her background and qualifications by clicking on the “Meet Linda” tab above.

Retreat to Camp Verde, AZ in the Winter

Relaxed & Quiet Small Town

Winter Retreat

I retreated to Camp Verde, Arizona http://www.campverde.az.gov February 2019-one of the snowiest months in Nebraska history. Of course, I had no way of knowing Omaha would top their February record with 27 inches of snow. But I did know that if I was going to find a writer’s retreat in 2019 a warm climate in February sounded like a great plan.

Phoenix and the surrounding area, like Mesa, is popular with Midwestern snowbirds. I’ve visited many times for business and leisure. I enjoy the area but not necessarily the winter congestion.

I was fleeing Nebraska alone and sought an area that was easy to navigate and gave a ‘safe’ vibe.

Lengthy Housing Search

I began searching online in August 2018 for a one-month rental in the greater Phoenix area. That was the equivalent of hunting for gold in an Iowa corn field during July. It didn’t exist. Nearly all accommodations required a 3-month commitment. I had only 30 days.

I widened my geographic search and thus my month long stay in a ranch house rented through http://www.VRBO.com. The property was in the city limits despite being surrounded by what Midwesterners call farms and ranches.

The place seemed ideally suited to a solo female traveler seeking a quiet writer’s retreat for the month. It’s also perfect for a couple exploring Arizona together.

Camp Verde has a number of lodging options: vacation rentals, campgrounds, and hotels.

Camp Verde, Arizona

Explore Downtown Camp Verde. Walk. Shop. Dine.

Camp Verde was an unknown community to me. I wasn’t quite sure what I’d be driving into about an hour south of Flagstaff. Upon arrival, I found the community was a perfect blend of urban and rural with endless outdoor natural areas, along with multiple historical sites. There was a grocery store, enough dining options, a post office, a drug store, unique attractions and more. It intrigued me. I’d made a great choice.

Its location is a very comfortable drive to many towns like Cottonwood https://visitcottonwoodaz.org/, Prescott http://www.visit-prescott.com/, Jerome http://azjerome.com/jerome/, Sedona https://visitsedona.com/ and Payson https://www.paysonrimcountry.com/.

Click on this link for a great map of Camp Verde and other information. https://heartofcampverde.com

Get to Know Camp Verde

  • Population 11,239 (2017)
  • Median age: 45
  • Located in the Verde River Valley. Referred to as “the valley” by residents.
  • The incorporated town is 46.2 square miles.
  • Downtown is one mile off I-17.
  • Surrounded by Prescott National Forest.
  • Four-season climate (It snows here. Melts quickly.)
  • Dark sky community https://www.darksky.org/our-work/conservation/idsp/communities/
  • Businesses of every type exist to make your stay complete. Visit https://visitcampverde.com/

I immersed myself quickly into the community and enjoyed every day, even the colder, snowy ones. (Winter 2019 in Arizona was also record setting for snow and rain.)

I committed to writing up to six hours a day, volunteered and extensively explored the area while shopping local.

I met many local residents and thoroughly enjoyed the community.

Phoenix to Camp Verde

Several guests visited. Each arrived at the Phoenix airport and shuttled north. The van conveniently stops at the Camp Verde exit off I-17. https://groometransportation.com/arizona

Friendly, Outgoing Neighbors

Most Popular Neighbor in Camp Verde, Arizona

Plan Your Winter Getaway to Camp Verde.

Share this with others considering an Arizona trip.

Have a question or need more tips? Contact me below.

©November 2019. Linda Leier Thomason All Rights Reserved. This means seek permission before using copy or images from this site. Images are available for purchase.

Linda Leier Thomason writes freelance business and travel stories along with feature articles. Her work experience includes a Fortune 500 corporation, federal government, entrepreneurship and small business. Read more about her background and qualifications by clicking on the “Meet Linda” tab above.

Where to Eat, Stay & Play in West Central Iowa

Travel West Central Iowa

West Central Iowa Fall 2019

Seeking a Midwest day trip or overnight stay?

Check out West Central Iowa locations.

This Iowa Tourism website is fantastic for trip planning. https://www.traveliowa.com/regions/west-central/9/

Click on the West Central Region and scroll near the bottom. Find all of the towns in the region with links.

Our October 12-13, 2019 Itinerary

Plan your own getaway or follow the itinerary we created and used.

Shelby, Iowa https://www.shelbyia.com

On a recent weekend, we left Omaha on a Saturday morning and drove to Shelby, Iowa.

It’s known for having the World’s Largest Corn Stalk (as seen from I-80) but on October 12, 2019 it also had a craft and vendor show.

We shopped local and enjoyed meeting and admiring the work of the talented crafters including, B&3 Boutique https://b-3-boutique-by-beth.myshopify.com/ as well as https://www.facebook.com/countrycreations3592/.

Laura S. Fell of Chalk Couture is an independent designer and chalk teacher. Find her work on Facebook at The Chalking Teacher 402.660.3468.

Stephanie McDonald’s work was simply beautiful. Her business is Papaya’s Rustic Designs. Reach her at 712.307.0256 or stepharkfeld@gmail.com.

Work of Stephanie McDonald of Papaya’s Rustic Designs

What is a fall festival without locally baked goods? The cinnamon and caramel rolls looked tempting. They didn’t disappoint.

Avoca, Iowa  http://www.cityofavoca.com

Our first stop was at the ever-popular Volkswagen Beetle Spider at 649 South Chestnut Street.

Spider Car in Avoca, Iowa

You have to get out and take a photograph there, of course.

Library

We ventured downtown on the cold, blustery morning. We admired the Eagle of Honor Tribute and visited the Avoca Public Library. There’s a wonderful interactive music station outdoors.

Apples were being given away in the library foyer by generous local homeowners. We bought nearly-new hard covered books at the book sale. We believe in supporting local libraries.

We also picked up a copy of the “Western Iowa Visitors Guide for 2019-20” at the library.

Octagon

It led us to the Octagon Building in Graceland Cemetery. This building (1875) is on the National Register for Historic Places and was a gathering place for mourners during inclement weather. The deceased could also be kept there if the ground was too frozen to permit burial.

Avoca, IA: Graceland Cemetery Octagon Building

The Cemetery itself is a picturesque location with unforgettable vistas and headstones.

Walnut, Iowa   https://walnutiowa.org/

Walnut is known as Iowa’s Antique City.

The brick streets are lined with historic buildings filled with antique and specialty shops.

Two of our favorites were Forget Me Nots Gifts Treasures and Décor www.facebook.com/ForgetMeNotsIA and Plum Krazy. https://www.facebook.com/Plum-Krazy-Vintage-More-380801965592190/

Sadly, there are no restaurants in Walnut.

Lunch

Based on multiple referrals, we drove back to Avoca and lunched at the Embers Restaurant. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Embers/117491594943683

 The food was plentiful, delicious and quite reasonably priced.

Check the Avoca business directory (Restaurants) for a list of dining choices. http://www.cityofavoca.com/business-directory.php

Carson, Iowa https://www.carsongov.com

The drive from Avoca to Carson, Iowa in the fall is beautiful.

Carson is only 21 miles east of Council Bluffs, Iowa but yet seems so far away: rural, pastural setting.

Drive through the town. Get out and walk.

Be sure to see the West Nishnabotna River area.

Lodging

We stayed at the Country Vineyard Retreat with Paula as our Superhost (Airbnb).

The rural property was 5 miles east of Carson off Highway 92.

Carson, Iowa lodging view

The space is large, well-appointed and ideal for anyone wanting or needing a break from city life or a long day on the road.

Part of lodging interior.

Guests are encouraged to walk the property and to enjoy the vineyard views.

Macedonia, Iowa  https://www.macedoniaiowa.com/

We drove to Macedonia after watching the Iowa State Cyclones football team defeat West Virginia.

What an awesome community.

The town’s Main Street is lined with iron railings. Each tells the story of an event, family or organization with special ties to Macedonia.

Macedonia, IA Main Street iron railings

The Grist Mill McCready Theatre is where the Fine Arts Council hosts performances. Check their Facebook page and website for performances. http://www.gristmillfinearts.com/

The Stemple Bird Museum (tours available by appointment) is at 311 Main Street and houses over 300 mounted displays.

Painted Camel Gallery on Main Street http://potterybythecreek.com/index.php is open Saturdays from 10 AM – 4 PM or by appointment. Call 712.486.2324. It’s houses hand-crafted pottery, paintings, jewelry, wooden furniture, woven rugs and so much more.

Dinner

The Back Forty Restaurant and Bar http://www.backfortybarandgrill.com/ also on Main Street was referred by nearly everyone from whom we sought a dinner recommendation.

Saturday is steak special night. The prime rib, according to my husband, was great.

The place was full of diners of all ages enjoying one another’s company and watching football and volleyball games on one of many TVs throughout the space.

The service is quick and grateful.

Well-Rested Conclusion

On the commute back to Omaha via Highway 92, I asked my husband, Ken, if he felt rested. His response, “I feel like I’ve been gone for more than a day.”

That’s what a getaway to West Central Iowa can do for you.

Husband, Ken, at lodging location

Plan your trip today.

Share this with your fellow travelers. Thank you!

©October 2019. Linda Leier Thomason All Rights Reserved. This means seek permission before using copy or images from this site. Images are available for purchase.

Linda Leier Thomason writes freelance business and travel stories along with feature articles. Her work experience includes a Fortune 500 corporation, federal government, entrepreneurship and small business. Read more about her background and qualifications by clicking on the “Meet Linda” tab above.

Would you like Linda to visit and write a feature story on your community? Nominate it in the comment section below.

Who Wouldn’t Want to Do This in Southeast Nebraska?

Southeast Nebraska is a land of plenty with something for everyone. This area-one hour south of Omaha-is filled with history, unique festivals and events, and picturesque landscapes.

Here’s an overview of 4 communities we recently visited.

Website links are provided to help you plan your own adventure.

Brownville

Brownville (pop. 132)-a quaint village on the Missouri River-is on the National Register of Historic Places. Put on your walking shoes and check out the museums, the riverfront, the theatre and the concert series. Take a dinner cruise. Shop Memorial Day weekend and each fall at the Annual Brownville Flea Market. Stay overnight-perhaps at the River Inn Resort.

There’s plenty to see and explore.

60th Annual Flea Market

Helpful Hint: Call ahead if there’s a particular business or museum you’d like to visit. Most weren’t open during website-posted store hours on our Easter weekend visit. Brownville is an event-based community. Plan ahead if you are visiting during an event. Lodging sells out.

Sweetwater Brooms & Engraving- Broom Maker

Brooms made by hand-last a lifetime.

Whiskey Run Creek Vineyard & Winery

Every once in a while one encounters someone who leaves a forever positive impression. Matthew Heskett did just that. Matt is a sixth-generation farmer and son of proprietors, Ron and Sherry. He’s a 20-something entrepreneur with some of the savviest customer service skills we’ve encountered in Nebraska. He knew his community and his industry like a seasoned pro. Matt is an outstanding ambassador for both his business and Southeast Nebraska. Go meet him at the winery.

We toured the historic 1866 cave (year-round 55 degree temperature) and the 100-year old barn. Inside we sampled wines, checked out the gift shop and viewed the event location upstairs. Matt even showed us the production facility and explained the construction where a distillery is being added. We will return for more award-winning wine and old-fashioned hospitality.

Helpful Hint: Friday nights May through August they host live musical performances. Weddings can be held on location by the gazebo and waterfall.

Auburn

We drove a short distance on Highway 36 west to Auburn for lunch since none of Brownville’s restaurants were open. Two restaurants were consistently recommended: Hickory Road BBQ and El-Portal Mexican Restaurant.

We chose the former. The food quality and service were both outstanding.

Peru

This town of just over 800 is home to Nebraska’s first college (1867). Back then it was known as the teacher’s training school. Today Peru State College has around 2400 students.

Walk the historic, picturesque campus. Be sure to see the Little Red Schoolhouse

Drive to the Mt. Vernon Cemetery and see the historical grave markers. This hilltop location is also a Tri-State Observation Area (Iowa, Nebraska and Missouri).

Pack the bicycles and ride the Steamboat Trace Trail (found at north end of 5th street) between Brownville and Nebraska City. You can also hike it and enjoy birding along the way.

Stop in for a meal, a cool drink and a game of pool while in Peru.

Peru boasts a number of attractive city parks, including Sid Brown Memorial Park. Young children enjoy the splash pad during warm summer months.

A boat ramp to the Missouri River is accessible at 5th and Olive Street. The Peru Bottoms Wildlife Management Area (The Bottoms) is along the route, and beyond, and is available for hunting, fishing and birding.

Lied Lodge at Arbor Day Farm in Nebraska City

Nebraska is the proud home of Arbor Day. Founded in 1972 by J. Sterling Morton (whose son founded Morton Salt Company), Arbor Day encourages citizens worldwide to plant trees.

The 140-room, award-winning Lodge at Arbor Day Farm in Nebraska City is a sought-after gathering place for those who care deeply about the natural world and its future. It features the Timber Dining Room, a spa, sauna, exercise room, Olympic-sized pool, bar and conference center.

Like most lodging facilities, it is only as good as the guests staying there. During our rainy, holiday weekend stay, families crammed the pool with over-sized floats, leaving little room to enjoy the facilities in the naturally peaceful setting. Floors outside the pool area were wet and slippery. Under-aged, unsupervised guests occupied the sauna. (Safety concerns were reported to front desk staff.)

Helpful Hint: Stay mid-week or on a non-holiday weekend if you are seeking a peaceful retreat.

Visit the Arbor Day Farm website for things to do and trails to walk.

Get a ticket to the Tree Adventure. Educational and fun for all ages.

 

Walk the trails; listen to the forest

Include Indian Cave State Park on your list of things to do in Southeast Nebraska. The park has 3000+ acres and is southeast of Nemaha, along the Missouri River. Check out the large sandstone cave in the park.

Get out and explore Southeast Nebraska. visitsoutheastnebraska.org

Create your own family memories and enjoy all that Nebraska offers.

 

Linda Leier Thomason is the founder and former CEO of  a Charleston, SC based event production and publication corporation. Today, she resides in Omaha, NE  where she writes about her undercover visits to towns and communities, among other things. To learn more about Linda, click on the “Meet Linda” tab above.

Contact me to have your town or community featured.

©Copyright. April 2017. Linda Leier Thomason

All Rights Reserved.

 

 

 

 

Insider Tips for 1st Time Visitors to New York City

Make the most of your time in New York City & beyond.

New York City on a rainy June 2019 Day

NYC and I have been acquainted through business plenty of times, pre 911. I always dreaded the trip. Rush in. Frantic pace while there. Rush out. It was a “time is money” approach to life and “only the strong survive” culture and mentality.

Honestly, I never thirsted to return. Then I did. June 2019. This time as a tourist. What a difference time and purpose make.

As Frankie from Small Bus Tours NYC said, “New York City grew up post 911. It had to. We needed visitors to come back to sustain us. We needed to also start working with one another and treating people right.”

The other major difference on this visit. I never felt unsafe walking in NYC. Police presence was everywhere.

1st Time Visitor Tips

Plan Ahead. There are endless things to see and do in NYC. Make a list of Must-See Attractions and Must-Do Activities. For instance, Statue of Liberty, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Ground Zero 911-Memorial, Wall Street, Broadway, Times Square, Central Park, Staten Island, Brooklyn Bridge, etc.

Prioritize what you’d like your experience to include. Look at maps before arriving. It helps when navigating when there.

Select lodging based on your Must-See and Must-Do List. Choose a central location.

Book a Small Bus Tour NYC in advance. This tour gives a great overview of NYC, including history and other “gems.” https://www.smallbustoursnyc.com/.

In 6 hours (8:30 AM and 2:30 PM departures from Times Square) you will hear about and see most NYC highlights, including a ferry ride past the Statue of Liberty to Staten Island.

Make a list of places to return to after your Small Bus Tour. Seek restaurant recommendations from the Small Bus Tours guide and driver-NYC residents.

Pack walking shoes. NYC, especially Manhattan, is best experienced on foot. You can, and should, take the subway but plan on walking-a lot. NOTE: The subway system is much cleaner and more efficient than I ever recall. It is heavily patrolled. http://web.mta.info/maps/submap.html Download this subway map to your phone.

Buy theatre tickets in advance. You can visit TKTS https://www.tdf.org/nyc/7/TKTS-ticket-booths while in NYC and get significant discounts on the day of the show. Here’s the downside. You may not see the show you really want. You will spend precious time waiting in a line.

Restrooms can be challenging to locate. Download an app like “Where is Public Toilet.” It comes in handy in NYC.

Check the forecast. Pack what’s needed for it. Rain coats and umbrellas or winter boots and parkas? Be prepared.

Avoid overscheduling. There is so much activity in the City that strolling the streets will offer plenty of entertainment.

For instance, Bryant Park https://bryantpark.org/ near Grand Central Station https://www.grandcentralterminal.com/ offers games, musical entertainment, plays, yoga, etc.

Same goes for Central Park. http://www.centralparknyc.org/

Consider staying outside the City. For example, the Metro North Line (Regional train) stops in Port Chester and Rye, NY-both towns have hotels with complimentary shuttle service to the train. If you crave a less active (noisy) evening, this option may be ideal for you. You can ride the train into the City daily and yet enjoy a peaceful, natural setting each evening.

Rideshare.  Download the Uber and/or Lyft apps before arriving. As always, follow all the safety precautions on their apps.

NOTE: Rideshare rates are flat fees. The clock on a taxi stuck in traffic keeps ticking, unless you hop in a flat rate fee-based taxi. Be aware of the fee/rate structure when deciding how to get around.

Airport

LaGuardia Airport https://laguardiaairport.com/

This airport is undergoing a major renovation. Visiting the website prior to arrival is wise. It is the closest airport to Manhattan.

If you are using Uber/Lyft to get to your destination, follow the signage to the rideshare area. You will be instructed to wait in areas marked A-D.

The wait time can be long (ours was nearly 40 minutes due to traffic congestion).

Once in the vehicle, getting out of the airport can also be quite long (ours was over 30 minutes).

Our ride to the Grand Hyatt from the airport was a flat rate of $53, mid weekday morning.

Our return Uber ride to LaGuardia Airport Concourse D from Rye, NY was fantastic. Less time. Less cost.

Lodging

Grand Hyatt New York https://www.hyatt.com/en-US/hotel/new-york/grand-hyatt-new-york/nycgh

We chose this property based on our must-see and must-do list. In addition, we were taking the train north to Rye, NY after our city visit. Grand Central Station is next door. The convenience of getting to the train with luggage was worth it.

We had a Grand Central Station room view.

Yes, street noise can still be heard from the 25th floor. However, it also provided a realistic view of NYC. NOTE: If noise is an issue for you, request an inside room. Or, download a bed time fan app. It covers outside noise quite well. https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.ellisapps.bedtimefan&hl=en

Grand Central Station

This is a stop on the Small Bus Tours route and it is worth exploring on your own afterwards. The architecture and history of the building are worth a spot on your itinerary, even if you’re not taking the train.

Theatre

Beautiful-the Carole King Musical https://beautifulonbroadway.com/

Stephen Sondheim Theatre

Outstanding production. The theatre was a very comfortable walking distance from the Grand Hyatt.

Take a light jacket. The theatre can be quite cool.

Food and beverage are available for purchase.

Central Park

Central Park Carriage Ride

We strolled from our hotel to Central Park, stopping multi times to view interesting attractions like Rockefeller Center. https://www.rockefellercenter.com/directions/

Our day in the Park was truly a trip highlight. We had no agenda. Just comfortable walking shoes and refillable water containers.

You can be spontaneous like we were, or plan your “can’t miss stops” in the Park. Check out the Central Park Website http://www.centralparknyc.org/

Highlights included:

  • Listening to the vast variety of musicians busking in the Park.
  • Watching the many talented athletes playing a variety of sports.
  • Picnicking on a park bench.
  • Enjoying remote sailboats on lake.
  • NOTE: We’d been advised against a carriage ride due to their limited route around the park. We followed the advice.

Dining in NYC

Food was not our top priority on this visit. Of course, we had a slice of New York style pizza. It was delicious! The following were referred us by multiple local residents.

Food Court in Grand Central Station https://www.grandcentralterminal.com/dining-concourse/

Urban Space https://www.urbanspacenyc.com/urbanspace-vanderbilt/

Ray’s Pizza https://www.orderfamousoriginalrayspizza.com/

Juniors for Cheesecake https://www.juniorscheesecake.com/

Applejack Diner http://www.applejackdiner.com/ Open 24 hours. Great service. Try to get an outdoor table. Right next door is a pizza by the slice restaurant that does a tremendous amount of walk-out business.

Rye, NY

Getting There

We took the Metro North Line http://www.mta.info/mnr

Metro North Line

Lodging

We stayed at the Hilton Westchester. It is a full-service hotel on immaculately maintained grounds. https://www3.hilton.com/en/hotels/new-york/hilton-westchester-RYEHIHH/index.html

The hotel offers complimentary shuttle service to the surrounding area and train stations, as well as to the Westchester, NY airport.

Hilton Westchester Outdoor Space

Dining

Bar Taco Located in Port Chester-a short Uber ride from the Westchester Hilton Great food. Great service. Can be quite crowded. https://bartaco.com/location/port-chester/

View Outside Bar Taco

Rye Grill & Bar https://www.ryegrill.com/ in Rye. Complimentary shuttle from Hilton. Nice menu selections. Plenty of covered outdoor seating.

The Pub. Check out this gem in downtown Rye. Cold beverages. Fun staff. Interactive locals.

What to Do

We took the hotel shuttle into Rye and wandered the streets of this small town. There are plenty of dining and shopping choices, including a great local grocery market.

Stop in at the library https://www.ryelibrary.org/

Visit the city website https://www.townofryeny.com/ for other things to do.

Consider touring the Sculpture Garden at the PepsiCo Headquarters. https://www.pepsico.com/sculpture-gardens

Enjoy your visit to New York City and beyond.

SHARE this post with all those planning a trip or those wishing to visit NYC.

©July 2019. Linda Leier Thomason All Rights Reserved. This means seek permission before using copy or images from this site. Images are available for purchase.

Linda Leier Thomason writes freelance business and travel stories along with feature articles. Her work experience includes a Fortune 500 corporation, federal government, entrepreneurship and small business. Read more about her background and qualifications by clicking on the “Meet Linda” tab above.

Would you like Linda to visit and write a feature story on your community? Nominate it here.