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.

All You Need to Plan a Reunion in Winterset, Iowa

The Thomason extended family decided to plan a 2019 family reunion.

As with most families with members living in multiple states, it can be somewhat difficult to gather often. Yet there is the desire to connect in person.

3 Generations of Thomason Family

Share this Post with Others Planning Reunions.

6 factors in choosing a reunion location

  • Short travel distance for matriarch, aka Granny
  • Easy travel for airline commuters
  • Comfortable, well-appointed, and affordable lodging
  • Great dining and shopping choices
  • Availability of a professional photographer for family photos
  • Entertainment & Recreation

Winterset, Iowa–Chosen Reunion Location

Winterset, Iowa was chosen as the ideal location. It is great for families of all sizes. There is plenty to see and do in Madison County and businesses and attractions are well accustomed to working with and welcoming visitors and guests from all over the world.

In addition, their Chamber and Welcome Center has a fantastic website.

More information. http://www.madisoncounty.com/

Winterset is approximately
• 37 miles from Des Moines, Iowa
• 125 miles from Omaha, Nebraska
• 180 miles from Kansas City, Kansas
• 270 miles from Sioux Falls, South Dakota

LODGING

Check the Chamber’s website http://www.madisoncounty.com/ for accommodations of all types and price ranges.

Our group booked all of the rooms at Heavenly Habitat Bed & Breakfast. http://www.heavenlyhabitat.net/. It was perfect in every way. We gathered often to share meals, play board games, watch NBA finals games and enjoy one another’s company.

Steve and Nancy Fauser are exceptional inn keepers. Each breakfast was better than the next. Come with a hearty appetite. Microwaves and refrigerators are available on site.

Street View of Heavenly Habitat
Breakfast Area on Main Floor
What is a reunion without Frisbee and Corn Hole? Grassy area across from B&B.

Dining

Winterset has plenty of great dining options for all budgets and appetites. Check out the Chamber website to plan your meals and make advance reservations. http://www.madisoncounty.com/dining/.

Northside Café Salmon Dinner

Our group dined here & would gladly return to

What to Do at Your Reunion

Check the Events tab to plan reunion activities. http://www.madisoncounty.com/

50th Annual Madison County Covered Bridge Festival is October 12-13, 2019.

Bridges of Madison County

1 of 6 bridges visited. http://www.madisoncounty.com/the-covered-bridges/

Aquatic Center

Visit https://wedesignpools.com/portfolio/winterset-aquatic-center/. We did not have time to use this facility. We did drive by and families of all ages were using it.

First Friday Night Concert Series

Photography Session

Hiring a professional photographer to capture family photographs was important to this group. We hired http://teddiyaeger.com/. She was professional, prompt and experienced. She provided expert advice on location and attire and was a pure joy to work with.

Parks & Recreation

There is plenty of green space in Madison County, including in Winterset Iowa. Check out the multitude of recreational opportunities http://www.madisoncounty.com/recreation/

Shopping

The historic square in downtown Winterset is known for great shopping http://www.madisoncounty.com/shopping/ and our group made an economic impact during our visit.

One of our favorite spots was Pine Creek, Ltd. https://www.facebook.com/Pine-Creek-Ltd-435798216503689/

Another favorite was http://www.1stavenuecollective.com/. It’s an artisan market in the former Madison County jail.

Attractions

I posted a feature on Madison County in the Fall of 2018. Check out the attractions information on it, including mention of wineries. http://www.lindaleierthomason.com/2018/09/11/9-reasons-madison-county-iowa-is-worth-visiting/

http://www.madisoncounty.com/wineries-spirits/

Start planning your reunion today. SHARE this post with others attending.

This post was not sponsored.

©Copyright. June 2019. Linda Leier Thomason
All Rights Reserved. This means seek permission prior to using any images or copy on this site. All are copyright protected. Images are available for sale.

Linda Leier Thomason writes freelance business and travel stories, along with feature articles. Her work experiences include 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 write a feature story on your community? Nominate it here.

Don’t Miss These 5 Sites in Downtown Omaha

Downtown Omaha is an ideal location to explore on a Sunday afternoon.

There’s

  • Plentiful parking (free)
  • Great signage-attraction name and distance by # of blocks
  • Free public art, including dancing fountains
  • Low volume traffic
  • Sidewalk musicians in the Old Market
  • Excellent brunch and lunch spots

Park. Walk. Explore these 5 locations.

We did recently, in this order, stopping for a beverage in the Capitol District while watching several innings of the Big 10 College Baseball Playoff. We can testify to the delicious ice cream cones from Dolci in the Old Market.

Pioneer Courage Park

Address: 1601 Dodge Street

Pioneer Courage Park, in combination with Spirit of Nebraska’s Wilderness, consists of over 100 individual bronze pieces and covers six city blocks in downtown Omaha.

This Omaha attraction is the combination of two sculpture parks which have come together to form the LARGEST bronze sculpture in the world.

Pioneer Courage Park: Tribute to settlers

More Information

https://www.firstnationalcampus.com/fnc/html/en/sculpture_park/pioneer.html

Spirit of Nebraska’s Wilderness

Address: 1400 Capitol Avenue

Spirit of Nebraska’s Wilderness Sculpture

More Information

https://www.visitomaha.com/listings/first-nationals-spirit-of-nebraskas-wilderness-and-pioneer-courage-park/57322/

Capitol District

Address: 225 North 12th Street

Restaurants, Bars, Entertainment, Lodging + Living in the Capitol District

More Information

Old Market

Address: 1100 Howard Street

More Information

https://oldmarket.com/

Fairmont Mercantile

Address: 1209 Jackson Street

Filled with nostalgic, vintage treasures, including candy, music, pinball machines and so much more.

SHARE this post with your walking partner.

Plan a trip to downtown Omaha.

©Copyright. May 2019. Linda Leier Thomason
All Rights Reserved. This means seek permission prior to using any images or copy on this site. All are copyright protected. Images are available for sale.

Linda Leier Thomason writes freelance business and travel stories, along with feature articles. Her work experiences include 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.

Nominate a location for a feature story.

Reuben Sandwiches & Art Shops in Omaha

Omaha has plenty to offer even when the weather turns foul in late April.

We trekked to the https://www.blackstonedistrict.com/ Blackstone District of Omaha to enjoy a legendary Reuben Sandwich at Crescent Moon before attending the Spring Open House at the Hot Shops Art Center.

Legend of the Reuben Sandwich

Legend has it the Reuben sandwich was created in the 1920s in Omaha, Nebraska. It was there that Bernard Schimmel ran the kitchen at the Blackstone Hotel (today known as Blackstone Center), which his father owned and where he would also enjoy a weekly poker game with friends.

As this legend goes, one of the players—local grocery store owner Reuben Kulafofsky—requested a sandwich with corned beef and sauerkraut. Schimmel, who was a European-trained chef, put his own spin on it by draining the sauerkraut, mixing it with Thousand Island dressing, then layering it with Swiss and homemade corned beef on dark rye bread. He then grilled it.

Crescent Moon Restaurant

3578 Farnam Street. Founded in 1996, Crescent Moon names its Reuben for the Blackstone Hotel which is just a few steps away and is credited with the creation of the Reuben sandwich. The Crescent Reuben was awarded Omaha’s Best Reuben by the Omaha World Herald-Omaha’s newspaper.

Man v. Food

On April 25, 2019 the TV show Man v Food (The Travel Channel) a reality TV series about America’s iconic dishes and food challenges filmed an episode there, featuring all items Reuben.

Staff expects the episode to air in late 2019.

Craft beers are generously featured on the menu. The restaurant also offers Sunday brunch.

Hot Shops Art Center

Information

  • 1301 Nicholas Street (near TD Ameritrade Baseball Park)
  • Hosts Spring + Fall Open Houses for the Public.
  • See 80+ artists in 54 studio spaces.
  • www.hotshopsartcenter.com
  • Check website for demonstration schedules, artist studio locations, parking instructions, etc.
  • Shops are open at other times (9AM-6PM and 11AM-5PM) but all artists may not be in their studios.
  • Restrooms are on each floor.
  • Refreshments can be purchased during the Open House.
  • Classes are available.
  • Not necessarily kid-friendly. Lots of breakables and stairs to climb.

Recommend Something

Do you have an activity, place or event I should visit?

Nominate it here.

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No services or fees were provided by either location for this post.

©Copyright. April 2019. Linda Leier Thomason
All Rights Reserved. This means seek permission prior to using any images or copy on this site. All are copyright protected and images are available for sale.

Linda Leier Thomason writes freelance business and travel stories, along with feature articles. Her work experiences include a Fortune 500 corporation, federal government, entrepreneurship and small business.
She specializes in undercover studies of communities wishing to attract visitors for economic impact. Read more about her background and qualifications by clicking on the “Meet Linda” tab above.
Want an advertorial written on your business?
Would you like to have your community promoted?

Arbor Day’s Origins in Nebraska + Ways to Celebrate

Located in Nebraska City, Nebraska

What is Arbor Day?

Arbor Day is a holiday dedicated to the planting and conservation or preservation of trees.

It is celebrated the last Friday of each April.

Origin

The first American Arbor Day was celebrated on April 10, 1872 in Nebraska City, Nebraska. On this day, over a million trees were planted in the area.

It was initiated by Secretary of Agriculture and newspaper publisher, Julius Sterling Morton.

Arbor Day became an official holiday in 1885.

Arbor Day eventually spread to all 50 states and other countries, including Australia, Brazil and Canada.

Importance of Trees

Trees are an important part of every community. They

  • Create peaceful, aesthetic environments
  • Clean our air + provide oxygen
  • Provide shade and cool our streets + cities
  • Control erosion and provide windbreaks
  • Serve as historic landmarks, especially older trees like the Angel Oak Tree on Johns Island in South Carolina www.angeloaktree.com
  • Supply wildlife habitat
  • Produce nourishment
  • Serve as building supplies

Wildlife Habitat as seen at Magnolia Plantation & Gardens, Charleston, SC

More Information

www.arborday.org

Log on at www.arbordayfarm.org. Plan a visit.

Ways to Celebrate Arbor Day

  • Plant a tree
  • Read books about trees
  • Attend a workshop or class on how to maintain yard trees
  • Create a neighborhood scavenger hunt to find, for instance, the tree with the largest circumference, the oldest tree, etc.
  • Learn tree species. In Omaha, one can get educated at the OPPD Arboretum at 108th and Blondo. Visit www.oppd.com website for more information
  • Clean up a park
  • Start a recycling program at work
  • Commit to using earth-friendly products
  • Learn about trees in other parts of the country or world
Palmetto Trees on the Charleston, SC Waterfront
Tree Variety at Mt. Rainier, Washington
Door County, Wisconsin

©Copyright. April 2019. Linda Leier Thomason
All Rights Reserved. This means seek permission prior to using any images or copy on this site. All are copyright protected and images are available for sale.


Linda Leier Thomason writes freelance business and travel stories, along with feature articles. Her work experiences include a Fortune 500 corporation, federal government, entrepreneurship and small business.


She specializes in undercover studies of communities wishing to attract visitors for economic impact. Read more about her background and qualifications by clicking on the “Meet Linda” tab above.


Want an advertorial written on your business?
Would you like to have your community promoted?

Need her to ghost write website copy, a report or speech for you?
Contact her by completing this form.

What to Do in Omaha on a Saturday Morning

Joslyn Art Museum

Joslyn Art Museum

Helpful Facts

  • Address: 2200 Dodge Street
  • 402.342.3300
  • www.joslyn.org–Check Calendar of Events for docent guided tours & special exhibits, classes and performances ($)
  • Opens 10 AM
  • Closed Monday
  • FREE General Admission
  • Café Durham located in the Museum’s Atrium
  • Hitchcock Museum Shop on main floor
  • Sculpture Garden & Discovery Garden: exterior of Museum
  • Free parking in lot northeast of the Museum
  • Well-marked drop-off location for those with limited mobility

NOTES

  • The docent-guided building tour (check calendar of events for dates and times) is well worth a visitor’s time. It lasts about an hour. One learns the history of the building’s art deco design while special features, often missed by visitors, are pointed out.
  • Arts Works-A Place for Curiosity-on the lower level isn’t just for children. It’s a hands-on art studio for all ages. It will delight you and perhaps introduce you to more current ways of creating art.
  • Read photography rules at www.joslyn.org.
  • Do not sit on or climb on outdoor sculptures or displays.
  • Block out at least 3 hours (more if take a guided building tour) to view the exhibits and wander the outdoor gardens.
Create your own masterpiece & then Email it

A Gift to Omaha Citizens


Joslyn Art Museum was a generous gift to the people of Omaha from Sarah H. Joslyn (1851–1940) in memory of her husband, George A. Joslyn (1848–1916).

George & Sarah Joslyn

Lunch

Amsterdam Falafel + Kabob

  • 620 North 50th Street
  • Located in Omaha’s Dundee neighborhood
  • 402.504.3223
  • Find them on Facebook
  • Limited indoor seating
  • Outdoor seating available
  • Falafel is a Middle Eastern dish of spiced mashed chick peas, ground into a paste, formed into balls or fritters and then deep fried.
  • Kabob is roasted or grilled meat on a skewer.
  • Beverages for purchase.


Kabob Meat on Lettuce with Herb Dressing

Recommend Something

Do you have an activity, place or event I should visit?

Nominate it here.

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No services or fees were provided by either location for this post.

©Copyright. April 2019. Linda Leier Thomason
All Rights Reserved. This means seek permission prior to using any images or copy on this site. All are copyright protected and images are available for sale.

Linda Leier Thomason writes freelance business and travel stories, along with feature articles. Her work experiences include a Fortune 500 corporation, federal government, entrepreneurship and small business.
She specializes in undercover studies of communities wishing to attract visitors for economic impact. Read more about her background and qualifications by clicking on the “Meet Linda” tab above.
Want an advertorial written on your business?
Would you like to have your community promoted?

Nominate it above.

Win Sandhill Cranes Migration VIP Trip

A Sandhill Crane is silhouetted against the night sky as it fly’s beneath a brilliant moon. Taken by get away prize winner March 2019, www.willfields.com.

Let’s Congratulate the Winner–Will Fields

Contest Now Closed

Contest Dates: Oct. 1-Oct. 31, 2018

Trip Date: February 28, 2019

The annual Sandhill Crane migration is one of the world’s greatest natural spectacles.

Mid-February through mid-April, more than half a million Sandhill Cranes congregate along Nebraska’s Platte River during their annual migration. They rest and prepare for nesting after leaving their winter homes in Mexico and the Southwest. Their final destinations are way north in Canada, Alaska and Siberia.

World-Wide Visitors

Thousands of visitors come from all over the world to greet and observe this natural wonder.
They visit the Crane Trust Nature & Visitor Center at Exit 305 off Interstate 80
near Woodriver, Nebraska.

Win Overnight (2/28/19) VIP Experience

You can be 1 of the lucky ones viewing this natural wonder.

One winner and a guest will receive

• Two guided crane viewing experiences (dawn and sunset) inside the private, heated Pietrok Family VIP Blind on the largest Sandhill Crane roost on the Platte River. Experts provide valuable insights into the science and the mystery of the crane migration and Platte River ecosystem.
• Overnight accommodations at Crane Trust Legacy Cottages (private bedroom and bathroom). There is a kitchenette with a dining table and television in the common area and a covered patio overlooking the vast historic prairie where genetically-pure American bison roam.
• Food and drink at the evening’s Welcome Reception, Dinner after the sunset viewing and Breakfast after the dawn viewing.

Enter to Win

Contest Fine Print

  •  The Experience is  Thursday, Feb. 28, 2019. No exception. Do not enter if you cannot travel to Wood River (outside of Grand Island, NE) and spend the evening of 2.28.19.
  • Transportation to and from Wood River, Nebraska is not included.
  • You must be able to navigate up to ¼ mile of uneven terrain to reach the bird blind.
  • All other expenses not mentioned above are winner’s responsibility.
  • Prize value is $500.00.
  • Winner agrees to share at least 3 photographic images with www.lindaleierthomason.com by March 5, 2019 to use at her discretion.
  • Winner Notification: Winner will be chosen at random. Winner will be notified via email. Response must be received in 24 hours. If none, another winner will be randomly chosen.
  • Prize is non-transferable. No cash redemption or substitution will be allowed.
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Tips to Enhance Your Sandhill Cranes Viewing Experience

  • I’ve witnessed the Sandhill Crane migration twice. Once, mid-day in the fields surrounding the Nature Center. And, in 2018 I had the pleasure of staying overnight for a VIP Experience.
  • My best advice is
    • Dress in layers. It can be both wet and cool. Fingerless gloves are helpful if you plan to take a lot of photographs.
    • Pack boots.
    • Bring your camera charger and take a back-up battery.
    • Have binoculars? Pack ’em. There are some in the Blind but not enough for all.
    • If you’re interested in getting great photographic images, keep in mind the type of lighting you will be shooting in (dusk and dawn) and that birds do not sit and pose for you. You must remain in the bird blind with your group the entire time. Most cranes are across the river from where you will be standing.
    • Plan to arrive well before the check-in time. Stop at the Nature Center. Watch the videos. View the artwork. Shop at the Gift Shop. Walk the trail behind the Center. See the buffalo up close and personal. Eat at the café inside the Center. Speak to the well-trained volunteers about where to see the Sandhill Cranes in the fields after the VIP Experience concludes.
    • Do a bit of online research before arriving.
    • Ask the professionals all of your questions. They are informative and eager to share their knowledge and experiences.
    • If you have dietary restrictions for the VIP Experience meals, please inform the staff well before arrival.
    • Get to know the other guests. All share a common interest.

LOCATION

The Crane Trust Nature and Visitor Center
Address: 9325 South Alda Road
Wood River, NE 68883
Exit 305 towards Alda
Phone: (308) 382-1820
Hours: Monday – Saturday
9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
(Hours change during migration season and holidays)

SHARE this post with others who’d appreciate this natural wonder.

This experience was provided with generosity from The Crane Trust.

©Copyright. October 2018. Linda Leier Thomason
All Rights Reserved. This means seek permission prior to using any images on this site. All are copyright protected and available for sale.

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.
She specializes in undercover studies of communities wishing to attract visitors for economic impact.

Contact her by completing this form.

.

 

 

9 Reasons Madison County Iowa is Worth Visiting

Madison County’s Abundant Appeal

Community Visit Exceeds Expectations

Background

I’m excited before each community visit/study I do.

I’ve completed dozens of these, mostly undercover, in conjunction with organizations like Convention and Visitor Bureaus (CVB), economic development groups, Chamber of Commerce’s, etc.

Yet, I still get butterflies as I drive into the city limits for the first time. Never fails. Happens each visit.

Before leaving, I research attractions, events, and historical facts and map out and schedule my time. Hard work ensues to put variety into my agendas: Culture, art, history, parks and recreation, lodging, dining, retail and more.

I develop a perspective from online information about what makes the community tick.

Afterall, what a community shares online becomes that community’s brand. The marketing affects perception.

Once there, I test these pre-conceived notions and hypotheses.
Most of the time, I’m pretty spot on.

I’m delighted when a community wildly exceeds my expectations. And, I’m truly disappointed for communities that aren’t living up to their potential. Madison County Iowa exceeds all expectations, including mine.

PLAN a visit. ENJOY all it offers.

Winterset, Iowa

Population 5000+-Madison County’s County Seat.


Winterset is approximately
• 37 miles from Des Moines, Iowa
• 125 miles from Omaha, Nebraska
• 180 miles from Kansas City, Kansas
• 270 miles from Sioux Falls, South Dakota

The Bridges of Madison County

Hogback Covered Bridge

Holliwell Covered Bridge

I’ve been wanting to visit Madison County, Iowa since watching the 1995 “Bridges of Madison County” movie starring Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep. (Available on Amazon Prime Video.)

What I learned during my 30-hour visit is that Madison County is a whole lot more than covered bridges, though these are spectacular and are worth the trip alone.

Bridge Names (Pick up a map in the Welcome Center)

  1. Roseman Covered Bridge-featured in movie + most popular bridge; gift shop on site
  2. Cedar Covered Bridge– on novel cover + arsonist destroyed it in 2017
  3. Holliwell Covered Bridge-featured in movie + longest of 6 remaining bridges
  4. Imes Covered Bridge (1870)-oldest and in St. Charles, Iowa
  5. Hogback Covered Bridge (1884)-spans 97 feet over the North River
  6. Cutler-Donahoe Covered Bridge (1870)located in Winterset’s City Park

Madison County is well prepared for the many who visit this area. It’s true. Most come because of the Bridges and John Wayne. Once there, however, visitors discover the depth of offerings and attractions in the County and stay longer or plan a return visit.

I traveled throughout Madison County during my 30 hour stay. I didn’t see everything. Though I saw a lot. It was a beautiful late summer day filled with plentiful sunshine.

I visited each attraction and location below.

Let me know what else to see and do after you visit.

SHARE this with your travel companions to Madison County, Iowa.

9 Reasons Why You Deserve to Visit Madison County, Iowa

1. Chamber & Welcome Center Information

Log on to the Chambers website www.madisoncounty.com  for self-guided ½ day and full day itineraries, along with photos, links and other helpful information.

Call the Center. 515.462.1185. A friendly voice and a well-informed person will answer your questions, every time.

Their website is so well done. It should serve as a benchmark for other similar organizations.

The Welcome Center itself is a destination for tourists.

Location:73 Jefferson Street on the Courthouse Square. [Courthouse open during the week. Built in 1876 and is a designated historic district by the National Park Service.]

Pick up maps and brochures. Restrooms and retail items are available. Be sure to place a pin on their map of your hometown.

2. Community Pride

When every person one meets in a new community speaks to you in a manner that shows pride in their community and appreciation for your visit (I don’t identify I’m doing a study/story on the area.), you know you’ve found a place you want to return to or maybe even call home. But it’s more than that. The sense of Madison County community pride shows up in other ways too, like:

• Well maintained streets and roads
• Bountiful flower baskets hanging from street poles
• Interaction of citizens-people greeting 1 another by name + being good neighbors and citizens
• Residences and yards well-kept
• Lack of litter and graffiti
• Well-marked services provided (Fire, police, hospital, schools, pools, recreational fields, etc.)

While some take this list for granted, these are hallmarks of community pride. It shows citizens working and cooperating to make their hometown shine not only for visitors but also for themselves.

3.  Ease of Getting Around

Visiting Madison County attractions is done with great ease. Signs are put in all the right places. Some might think this happens everywhere.

It doesn’t.

I’ve been to those places where finding major attractions is more like a scavenger hunt than a nice drive on a scenic byway.

I’d researched addresses and picked up a map at the Welcome Center but I found the road signs were so abundant that I didn’t need to rely on my GPS or any other tools to get around.

Great signage makes driving on gravel county roads and in unfamiliar places so much more enjoyable. It is a stress-free experience.

For a unique experience, follow the recently designated 82-mile-plus Covered Bridges Scenic Byway featuring the iconic and internationally known covered bridges along with scenic natural areas, historical sites, Winterset’s Courthouse Square and Commercial district, the John Wayne Museum and Birthplace, and many other unique destinations.

4. Appreciation of History & Ancestry

$ The Madison County Historical Complex

www.historyonthehill.com

Location: 815 South 2nd Avenue Winterset, Iowa is one of the finest museums I’ve visited in the Midwest.

It has 14 buildings on 18 acres on the south edge of Winterset.
Each building is filled with mostly donated items in outstanding condition. A genealogy research library is also on site. Picnic at one of the shaded tables. Restrooms are inside the Museum building.
Buildings include a law office, several school houses, a post office, a mercantile, a blacksmith shop, a 3-hole privy, an agricultural building, and more. Collections include early farm machinery and tools, barbed wire, quilts, Native American artifacts, and so much more.

Plan accordingly. I could’ve spent at least ½ of a day there taking time to fully appreciate the items and the meticulously kept grounds.

Be sure to take a guided tour of the 1856 Bevington-Kaser House restored and furnished in Victorian richness.

Appreciate the quality of the woodwork and the finishes. There are no roped off areas, allowing visitors to get up close to all items.

$ John Wayne Museum

www.johnwaynebirthplace.museuem

Location: 205 South John Wayne Drive Winterset, Iowa
13-pound Marion Robert Morrison (today known as John Wayne) was born in Winterset, Iowa on May 26, 1907.
Visit his birthplace-a modest 4- room home & the 6100 square foot John Wayne Birthplace Museum next door. It is the only museum in the world dedicated to this Hollywood legend.

The Museum contains a movie theatre as well as a collection of artifacts and memorabilia from John Wayne’s career.

A well-appointed gift shop and restrooms are inside the Museum.

George Washington Carver Memorial Park

Location: Narrow green space west of the fire station on Court Avenue in Winterset, Iowa. It is across the street from Monumental Park-a tribute to fallen soldiers and those who fought in the Civil War.

Mr. Carver, a world-famous scientist, artist and humanitarian, lived in Madison County in the 1800s. He once worked at a hotel that stood on the spot of today’s memorial.

$ Iowa Quilt Museum

www.iowaquiltmuseum.org

Location: 68 East Court Avenue Winterset, Iowa
• Opened May 2016
• Offers 3-4 changing exhibits per year
• Official home to the Quilts of Valor Project
• Retail items are available for sale in the lobby
• Vote for your favorite quilt

$ Iowa Theater

Location: 121 North John Wayne Drive Winterset, Iowa
Built in approximately 1899, the historic Iowa Theater was re-opened in May 2017 after undergoing a complete renovation. It is owned and operated by a mother/daughter team with years of entrepreneurial and creative experiences.
It shows “second run” movies-movies shown 4 to 6 weeks after they hit theaters in big cities. The concession counter has the traditional theater treats like buttered popcorn, soda and candy but it also offers locally produced wines, craft beer and locally roasted coffee. Notice the hardwood staircases on each side leading to the reopened balcony.
It is home to The Winterset Stage, which produces 3 live stage productions each year.
Keeping with the historical theme, The Theater presents classic American films on Wednesday nights. Check the website for shows and times.

Red Delicious Apple

A monument to the Delicious Apple is seen in Winterset’s City Park. Jesse Hiatt, a farmer in East Peru, discovered an unusual seedling in his apple orchard in 1872. He nurtured the tree and originally named its first fruit, “Hawkeye.”

When judged in the 1893 Missouri State Fair, a judge proclaimed it “delicious” and the name stuck.

A poster of it hangs in The Bakery Unlimited (established in 1984) located at 119 John Wayne Drive in Winterset-known for their apple fritters made exclusively with Delicious Apples.

Clark Tower 

Location: In City Park at the corner of 9th and South Street in Winterset.

The tower is accessible by car or foot (no RVs or buses). Follow signs in park-two mile round trip.
• Built in 1926 to honor the county’s first pioneer family
• Constructed from limestone
• 25-feet high
• Stunning views of the Middle River Valley

5. Green Spaces

Madison County is blessed with abundant green spaces including densely wooded river valleys, majestic limestone bluffs and gently rolling grasslands. It has 4 unique river systems that meander through the County from west to east – North River, Middle River, Grand River and Clanton Creek.

Fishing, hunting and biking opportunities are plentiful in Madison County. Here are two I visited.


City Park

Location: SE edge of Winterset at the corner of 9th & South Street
• 76 acres
• English hedge maze-find the hidden sundial
• Rotary bocce court
• Home to the Cutler-Donahoe Covered Bridge
• Hike or walk to Clark Tower
• Camping, picnic areas and playgrounds

Pammel State Park

Location: 4 miles SW of Winterset. From Winterset go West on State Highway 92 for 1 mile, turn South on County Highway P68 for 3 miles
• 351 acres
• Canoe access +  Hiking trails +  Nature Center
• Campsites, yurts and a lodge

6. Wineries

Several wineries craft fine wines in Madison County using Iowa grapes.

I was invited to watch grapes being harvested (September 2018) at the Covered Bridge vineyard. Volunteers assist in the harvest and are treated to a cookout and wine tasting afterwards. Again showing the sense of community pride and cooperation in Madison County.

Covered Bridges Winery www.coveredbridgeswinery.com planted their first vineyard in 2004. Their production facility and tasting room is located off Highway 169 at 2207 170th Trail north of Winterset.
Visit this website for more information on Madison County Wineries and a Cidery. http://www.madisoncounty.com/wineries-spirits/

7. Repurposing

Repurposing is more than a trendy fad in Madison County. Along with retail stores like Angel Wings and CT you will find a church that’s been converted into bed and breakfast and a county jail converted into a handcrafted artisan market.

Heavenly Habitat B&B

www.heavenlyhabitat.net

Located at 218 South 2nd Avenue in Winterset
• Established in 2009 and built in a former church and fellowship hall

It has  3 spacious guest rooms with private bathrooms

  •  Free WiFi and common area access with a great room, deck, shared kitchen and dining room

1st Avenue Collective

www.1stavenuecollective.com

Location: 220 North 1st Avenue in Winterset
• Inside former Madison County Jail
• Original features and fixtures of the jail have been preserved, adding to the unique style of the store
• Filled with handcrafted artisan products made by local and regional artists-unique gifts for all occasions
• Offers nice selection of local Iowa wines
• Jewelry making classes available

8. Events

Winterset is known for annual events and festivals.

Visit the Madison County Chamber website for a complete list. http://www.madisoncounty.com
The day I visited (Sept. 8, 2018) there was a morning Farmer’s Market and an evening Classic Car Show.

Their most popular event is the Madison County Covered Bridge Festival
• Held 2nd full weekend each October
• Celebrating the County’s history, heritage and culture, and its world-famous covered bridges
• Guided bridge tours are available through the local Rotary club
• Civil War reenactors tell the stories of Madison County from the 1800s and early 1900s, including tales of the Underground Railroad, the Civil War, George Washington Carver, Susan B. Anthony, and others
Visit www.madisoncounty.com/covered-bridge-festival for complete information

9. Food

Winterset businesses and residents are well prepared for visitors, including with their dining options.
One of the most popular choices is the Northside Café where Clint Eastwood had lunch in “The Bridges of Madison County.” In fact, the stool where he sat is marked.

In addition to being known for this, Northside Café is legendary for its pork tenderloin and hot roast beef sandwiches along with their desserts.

Visit www.madisoncounty.com/dining for more options.

PLAN a visit to Madison County, Iowa. Let the merchants and B&B owners know you used this post to plan.

SHARE this post with others you’d like to meet for a great weekend in Madison County.

This visit was completed with the cooperation of the Madison County, Iowa Chamber & Welcome Center.

©Copyright. September 2018. Linda Leier Thomason
All Rights Reserved. This means seek permission prior to using any images on this site. All are copyright protected and available for sale.

A special thank you to my husband, Ken, who did all the driving, as usual, for this visit.

More images are found on my Facebook and Instagram pages.

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.
She specializes in undercover studies of communities wishing to attract visitors for economic impact.
Find out more about Linda by clicking the “Meet Linda” tab above. Interested in working together? Complete this form.

20 Free Natural Attractions in Charleston, South Carolina

Planning to Visit Charleston, South Carolina?

Read & Share with Fellow Travelers

Charleston has plenty of opportunities to get up close and personal with nature.

Here’s a list of 20 locations to explore. Keep in mind this list is not all inclusive. It contains some of my favorite views/places in the Lowcountry.

I lived and worked in Charleston for over two decades and visit often, including each of these locations, again in July 2018.

Charleston Peninsula

Brittlebank Park
LOCATION
185 Lockwood Drive, Charleston, SC 29403
Family-friendly park along the Ashley River near the Charleston Riverdogs Baseball Stadium and The Citadel. It’s a great place to relax, watch the sunset and/or fish. There is plenty of free parking (Paid parking, if a baseball game scheduled.) and park benches inviting one to sit and enjoy the surroundings. Stroll out on the fishing pier. Take in the surroundings and scents.

The Citadel The Military College of South Carolina 
LOCATION
171 Moultrie Street Charleston, SC 29409
The Citadel welcomes tour groups and offers cadet-led tours for groups of ten or more after 2 p.m. on most weekdays. The campus is open all year; however, no cadet-led tours are available on big weekends or during exams, holidays or breaks.
While on campus, visit the Summerall Chapel. Drive around the neighborhood, especially the area between The Citadel and Lowndes Grove Plantation.

Hampton Park
LOCATION
30 Mary Murray Drive Charleston, SC 29403 (next to The Citadel)
Restrooms and on-site parking. Great for picnics (tables scattered throughout the park-many under large oak trees), running, walking/strolling, dog walking. Use the physical fitness trail. The horticulture and landscaping make this a great park for events, including weddings.

 

Colonial Lake 

LOCATION
0 Rutledge Boulevard, Charleston, SC 29401
Colonial Lake is a tidal pond in Charleston, South Carolina with wide walkways around it. The area is used as a park. For many years the lake was known as the Rutledge Street Pond; some residents still call it “The Pond.” It acquired the name Colonial Lake in 1881, in honor of the “Colonial Commons” established in 1768. Great for walking, jogging or strolling.

Washington Square

LOCATION
80 Broad Street Charleston, SC 29401 (Corner of Broad and Meeting Streets)
Washington Square is a greenspace in downtown Charleston, South Carolina. It is located behind city hall at the corner of Meeting Street and Broad Street in the Charleston Historic District. It was known as City Hall Park until October 10, 1881, when it was renamed in honor of George Washington. Stop in to view the monuments, florals, benches and ironwork while getting some much-needed shade.

Joe Riley Waterfront Park
LOCATION
1 Vendue Range Concord Street Charleston, SC 29401
Provides visitors with picturesque harbor views, great breezes, wide sidewalks for strolling, wooden swings and plenty of space to walk out and watch water vessels. Children often splash in the fountains. Great place to rest after walking downtown Charleston.

 

Battery & White Point Garden

LOCATION
2 Murray Boulevard, Charleston, SC 29401
Ideal for history and horticulture buffs alike. Park. Get out and walk. Take in the architectural and water views, including Fort Sumter. Pause by the monuments and Civil War cannons to absorb the depth of history. If you’re lucky, you’ll see a wedding ceremony in the gazebo.

Folly Beach

Morris Island Lighthouse
LOCATION
The Morris Island Lighthouse can best be seen from the northeast end of Folly Beach. Take East Ashley Street until it ends. There is a parking lot there and then it is about a 1/4 mile walk to the beach.
Built in 1767 at the southern entrance to Charleston, the original tower was destroyed during the Civil War. The new tower, built in 1876, stands 161 ft. with 201 steps leading to its top. The beacon was extinguished in 1962.

The red and white striped tower is visible from James Island as well as Folly Beach.

The lighthouse was named to the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.The lighthouse is unusual in that it now stands several hundred feet offshore.

West of the Ashley (River)

Ripley’s Marina
LOCATION
56 Ashley Point Drive, Charleston, SC 29407
Ripley Light Marina Drystack is located just across the Ashley River from Downtown Charleston and has been in operation since 1988. The marina is situated on Hwy 61, adjacent to the California Dreaming restaurant and just blocks from the James Island Connector.
Park. Walk toward California Dreaming. Take in the views.

Old St. Andrew’s Parish Church Historic Highway 61
LOCATION
2604 Ashley River Road, Charleston, SC 29414
Read the history of the Church here before visiting. The grounds are immaculate. The graveyard was founded in 1706. The Tea Room is open annually in March; timed in conjunction with Azalea blooms.

 

 

West Ashley Park
LOCATION
3601 Mary Ader Drive, Charleston, SC 29414
The park has a variety of sports facilities, plus a few hiking and boardwalks through the surrounding woods and wetlands. Several ponds can be seen along the way. One can play disc golf here and participate in, or watch, a multitude of city sponsored sporting events at this location. Children enjoy the playground equipment. Restrooms available.

$ Magnolia Plantation & Gardens
LOCATION
3550 Ashley River Road, Charleston, SC 29414
Founded in 1676, this is America’s last large-scale romantic-style garden. The garden has been owned by the same family for more than three centuries.

 

HINTS

  •  Wear closed toe shoes to safely and comfortably walk all the trails.
  •  Summer months can be painfully hot. Drink plenty of fluids.
  • View the video near the entrance prior to walking the property.
  • Take the Nature Train tour  to see the entire property. Start the day early. Take breaks. There are plenty of benches to rest and enjoy the views. Beverages are for sale in the gift shop and at the concession stand.
  • Block out at least 4 hours or take advantage of the next day free admission to explore the Plantation fully.
  • Check Groupon for admission tickets.
  • If able, climb to the top of the tower for priceless views. Take binoculars.
  • Be quiet. Hear nature’s sounds.
  • Obey the rules. There are alligators on the property-their property.

$ Drayton Hall and $ Middleton Place are also nearby on scenic, historical byway Highway 61 (Ashley River Road) and worth exploring.

John’s Island

Bohicket Marina & Marketplace https://bohicket.com/
LOCATION
1880 Andell Bluff Boulevard John’s Island, SC 29455
Nestled between the sea islands of Kiawah and Seabrook, this marina is home to 200 wet slips, 90 dry storage slips, and a quaint market with restaurants, shops, and offices.

One can leisurely stroll the boardwalk, watch boats come and go and quietly view wetlands and nature without noisy crowds.

The drive out on the oak-tree canopied-two-lane Main Road is picturesque and quaint.

Angel Oak Tree
LOCATION
3688 Angel Oak Road, John’s Island, SC 29455
Estimated to be between 300-400 years old, the tree towers 65 feet high and has a circumference of 25.5 feet. Its area of shade is 17,000 square feet and its largest limb has a circumference of 11.5 feet, and a length of 89 feet.
A gift shop, restrooms and picnic tables are on-site. Access is on a dirt road. Often crowded during peak tourist season, somewhat obstructing impact of tree’s magnitude.

Connecting Charleston and Mt. Pleasant

Arthur Ravenel Bridge
The Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge is a cable-stayed bridge over the Cooper River, connecting downtown Charleston to Mount Pleasant. The eight-lane bridge satisfied the capacity of U.S. Route 17 when it opened in 2005 to replace two obsolete cantilever truss bridges: Grace and Pearman.
The bridge has a main span of 1,546 feet, the third longest among cable-stayed bridges in the Western Hemisphere. It was built using the design-build method and was designed by Parsons Brinckerhoff.
You can walk or run the 2.5-mile pedestrian path.  Parking is available both on the Mt. Pleasant and the Charleston sides. View the sunset from the Bridge. Stop and look for dolphins from Charleston’s highest peak.

Check out the annual Cooper River Bridge Run here. www.bridgerun.com

Sullivan’s Island

Waterway Behind Fort Moultrie Visitor’s Center

LOCATION
1214 Middle Street Sullivan’s Island, SC 29482
Visit the Fort and Center but don’t leave the parking lot without walking back to the dock to check out the waterway and bridge views. If you’re lucky you’ll see wildlife, kayakers and other natural wonders.

 

 

Station 22 or 26 on Sullivan’s Island Beach

One of the least crowded Lowcountry beaches. Please review City rules before packing up your family and pet to spend a day on Sullivan’s Island. If you do, prime beach front locations exist between Stations 22 and 26.

While on Sullivan’s Island, be sure to pause in your day and visit Stella Maris Catholic Church at 1204 Middle Street on the Island.

North Charleston

Greater Charleston Navy Base Memorial at Riverfront Park
LOCATION
1001 Everglades Avenue North Charleston, SC 29405
Riverfront Park is located on the former Charleston Naval Base-accessible from I-526 and I-26. Enter the Base by the McMillan Avenue gate or the Virginia Avenue gate and turn on to Hobson Avenue. Ample parking. Indoor restrooms. Shaded areas. Seating benches. Fishing docks. Well-kept paths.
Enjoy views of the Cooper River, Noisette Creek and a meadow. The park is adjacent to historic homes once occupied by Naval base officers. It is home to the Greater Charleston Navy Base Memorial and the North Charleston Annual Sculpture Competition and Exhibition.

 

Butterfly Garden in Historic Park Circle
LOCATION
4800 Park Circle, North Charleston, SC 29405
Next to the Felix C. Davis Community Center
Sit and enjoy nature, especially in the spring and fall when butterflies are plentiful. A disc golf course is also on the grounds as is a playground.

Ready to plan your trip to Charleston? Start here.

SHARE with others planning a Charleston excursion.

What questions do you have? Ask below.

©Copyright. August 2018. Linda Leier Thomason
All Rights Reserved.

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.

You will most often find her outdoors enjoying natural settings, wherever she’s at.

Find out more about Linda by clicking the “Meet Linda” tab above. Interested in working together? Complete this form.