Omaha North Hills Pottery Tour

Pottery Tour-1st Weekend in October, Every Year

SAVE THE DATES

Saturday, October 5, 10am – 7pm & Sunday, October 6, 10am – 5pm

Click the bold green live link below to find everything you need to know for the 2017 Omaha North Hills Pottery Tour.

2019 Omaha North Hills Pottery Tour

Below is a review of the 2016 experience.

enzosA funny thing happened on the way to Enzo’s. We discovered a whole new side of Omaha and ditched our previously made weekend plans. It was our first time dining in historic Florence Omaha since relocating 15 months ago. We were eager to experience both the community and the food. Neither disappointed. The restaurant was brimming with people, conversation and aromas, reminding me of Sunday afternoons in the homes of Italian friends. The tiramisu alone will draw us back, often.

Exit 13 off 680 in Northeast Omaha is familiar to us; we take it every time we fly out of Eppley Airfield. But like many, in our hurriedness, we never paid attention to the exit surroundings. That is, until Friday night. 101Pottery Tour yard signs were well posted. Some were placed near a historical looking brown building right under the Morman Bridge one crosses to enter Nebraska from Iowa.

Parks

Saturday morning we headed north off Exit 13 on John Pershing Drive. Surprise! We drove past a Coast Guard station. The Coast Guard was familiar in our former home, Charleston, South Carolina, but a bit of a surprise here. We drove through N.P. Dodge Memorial Park  and explored Hummel Park . Wow! Omaha has done a great job of preserving and using green space.

Florence Mill

Florence MillWe headed back to that brown building: Florence Mill to discover it’s on the National Register of Historic Places. The first Saturday in October it’s a stop on the Omaha North Hills Pottery Tour. Visitors were purchasing pumpkins, having lunch and viewing the work of five artists including, Susan McGilvrey. Susan explained not only the building’s history but also the pottery tour to us. (Thank you, Susan!) We were hooked. Having visited Seagrove, North Carolina’s 365-day pottery show multiple times, there was no way we’d miss this self-guided tour of four stops and 19 clay artists. Off we went.

Dennison Pottery

Dennison Pottery was our second stop on the Tour.  The road there was new d0to us, but clearly not to others. Vehicles lined both sides of the gravel path. Walking up to the shop, one heard jazz sounds by Dan Livingston and the buzz of conversation. Five artists displayed their wares while guests lingered over complimentary soup, wine, and baked goods. Benches and a fire pit invited all to stay, mingle and connect. It was clear many there frequent often. We’d have stayed longer, but there were two more stops on the tour. It was just that welcoming.

Too Far North Wine

Travis Hinton Too Far North Wine in Fort Calhoun, NE was our next stop. One couldn’t miss the location with the well-placed signs and the overflowing crowd loitering outside the store’s entrance. Inside was stuffed with patrons at the wine bar, making the space tight and warm. Travis Hinton and Eric Knoche were busily explaining and selling their wares, but not too busy to engage in meaningful conversation with patrons, including us.

Detour

ccAs an aside, we curiously entered Cure Cooking next door to the wine shop. What a fascinating find! Chad was giving demonstrations and answering questions about upcoming classes. This business is another great example of people pursuing their passion and building a business around it. We wish he and his business much success!

Big Table Studios

bt1The tour ended near Herman, NE at Big Table Studios in the rolling hills above the Missouri River Valley. The farmstead was packed with guests enjoying complimentary pizza, sweets and beverages while visiting and shopping on a cloudy October afternoon. Seven artists displayed their varied outstanding work. Liz Vercruysse‘s  seed pod pieces hanging from trees captured our immediate attention. I wish I’d have met her, or any of the other artists on site.

On the journey back we marveled at how letting go of previously made weekend plans turned the first weekend in October into one of our favorite since relocating. Yes, we will do this  pottery tour again. And, we’ve already invited others to join us on the journey. Will we meet you on the tour?

Comment & Mark Your 2018 Calendar

abaHave you explored the area off Exit 13 on 680? What else should we see and do?

Comment below about your impressions of the pottery tour.

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? Complete this form below.

Share this story with others so they can put the Omaha North Hills Pottery Tour on their annual calendar.

©Copyright. October 2016. Linda Leier Thomason

All Rights Reserved.

Sioux City Stinks: That’s What You Think

 4 Hours Changed My Opinion

snarkyCan I be snarky?
Since relocating to the Midwest seven years ago and commuting regularly between our first home in Sioux Falls, SD and our new home in Omaha, NE, we’ve skirted by Sioux City, Iowa on I-29 endless times. It was hard to do more than just get through there. Roadway construction is ever-present. It used to smell. Then it flooded. More recently the city decided to pick a fight with SD about using speed cameras to capture South Dakotans in a hurry to get past Sioux City. It was hard to love Sioux City, almost impossible to stop.
That all changed recently when our son, who’s attending USD in Vermillion, SD, suggested we meet in Sioux City rather than drive the additional 40 miles to his doorstep. If you read my January post (Parenting tab) “I Spent New Year’s Eve with a New Man”, you’d understand his suggestion. I’m no dummy. I knew it was more about protecting his personal space than saving us an additional 80 miles. But, that’s okay. We were gathering as a family, and that was the point.
Our meeting was decided rather quickly. None of us relished sitting in a chain restaurant looking at one another for half a day, so I did what I do for most family outings. I logged on to the Convention & Visitor’s Bureau (CVB) website. If you’re unfamiliar with CVBs, you’re missing out on the best local information in any community-large or small. And, much to my surprise, Sioux City appeared rather diverse and quite appealing, at least as portrayed on the CVB website. I was a bit stunned. I was curious.
I went through the “What to Do” and “Attractions” tabs and felt a bit of remorse for neglecting Sioux City all these years, and let’s be quite honest, for also saying some less than flattering things about it. I take it all back. Every single word, well, except the part about the city bullying SD for speeder revenue.

We had a half day to enjoy one another’s company in Sioux City.

Here’s what we did.
4 Hours + 4 Attractions
1.  Trinity Heights
maryThe city was hosting the NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball tournament, thus we avoided the more familiar attractions along I-29. And because it’s Lenten season, we started our day at Trinity Heights, which opens at 9am.
Breathtakingly peaceful is the best descriptor of this place. We were the only visitors, except for flocks of returning birds who serenaded us on this crisp, cool Saturday morning. Though Catholic in theology, this location clearly appeals to all. The grounds are immaculate, the statues massive and outdoor Cathedral areas inviting. Surprisingly, many Sioux City residents we met were unfamiliar with this peaceful place. Admission is free and donations accepted. There also is an adoration chapel onsite.
2. Billy Boy Drive Thru
Billy BoyThis much beloved local hamburger joint did not disappoint. Filled with character and what appeared to be a recent remodel, the half-century old restaurant offers great food at a very fair price. What did not go unnoticed was the Dairy Queen right next door to this locally owned place that had a line of cars in the drive thru all during the lunch hour. There’s a reason it’s been around for over 50 years. Try it out.  Get in line. You’ll be able to read the menu choices easily from the massive menu board. Inside dining is available. Check out the wash basin in the restroom. Super cool!
3.Dorothy Pecaut Nature Center
musicCommuning with nature is my idea of perfection; this despite severe allergies to most insects and plants. So severe indeed that I carry an EpiPen® and visit emergency rooms regularly for allergic reactions. Undeterred by warnings, I never miss visiting natural settings in new locations. And, I’d never miss the chance to stop here again. All of their well-designed marketing materials feature children interacting with the exhibits and enjoying the grounds. We all are considered legal adults yet each of us maximized every moment here. The interactive exhibits are the best I’ve seen. They’re well-designed and constructed and educate in a fun way. We swung on the wooden swing, tried to assemble the tree trunk puzzle, studied turtle anatomy, peered through binoculars and learned much about Loess Hills. We even presented a wind song chimes concert in the play area out back. Admission is free. Go. Be a kid again. Commune with nature. Learn something new.
4. Riverside Park
gameWe passed this park on the way to lunch and decided to stop in after the Nature Center and before leaving town. On such a beautiful early March Saturday, it was well used, but we still found enough space to enjoy a competitive game of Bocce . We also threw football and Frisbee and ended our day with the traditional UNO match, despite the impending rainstorm and increasing winds. Admission is free. This park is easily accessible from I-29.

We’re likely to visit these attractions during our next gathering in Sioux City:

Sioux City Arts Center
Latham Park
Sioux City Public Museum
Sioux City Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center

Fourth Street Historic District

Log on to The Sioux City Convention & Visitors Bureau site. Plan your day or weekend there. Share what you did by listing it in the box below. I’ll add it to our next visit.

Share this article with anyone planning a trip, especially a day trip from South Dakota, Iowa or Nebraska. They will thank you, as do I.

©Copyright. March 2016. Linda Leier Thomason

All Rights Reserved.

 

 

 

5 Ways Kearney, NE Stole My Heart

I strolled downtown Kearney, Nebraska’s Central Avenue (The Bricks) under the moonlight of a chilly November Friday night feeling like I just happened upon a movie set. It was stunningly still and camera-ready perfect. Nearly all the angle parking spaces were full. Soft rock music streamed from mounted street corner speakers and store front windows were impressively designed-a lost art, but not here. friday night kearney collagePassersby hurried along as crisp leaves swirled over the clean sidewalks illuminated by business signs. The brick roadway made me momentarily listen for sounds of an approaching horse-drawn carriage from foregone days. I’d been told any community west of Omaha was like the “Old West.” Was it? Arriving still savoring the flavors and aromas of dinner at top-rated locally owned family Thai restaurantSuwanneeacross from the picturesque campus of the University of Nebraska-Kearney, I wasn’t expecting to be so captivated by this community of 30,000. But with each block walked, I began thinking, I could see myself stopping, playing and staying here. www.visitkearney.org The housing alone, many with wrap-around front porches, made me homesick for the decades I lived between Georgia and South Carolina-the only thing missing was the moss draping off the expansive front yard maple trees fully swathed in golden-colored leaves.kearney house
Kearney isn’t the “Old West.” Rather it’s a progressive, growing community with offerings to satisfy all. More publicly known as the “Sandhill Crane Capital of the World,” its soul is so much larger and deeper, though that title, in itself, is quite honorable and everyone, once in their lifetime, should experience the migration of the sandhill cranes

5 Reasons I Lost My Heart to Kearney, NE

  1. Hospitality. Without exception, all employees were genuinely hospitable-welcoming me like a member of their extended family; a rare find in today’s service economy. From Brent at the front desk of the newly renovated Best Western Suites and Hotel to handlebar-moustached waiter, Austin, at Suwannee to Bryce, House Manager at The historic World Theatre, to Marilyn Hadley, assisting at the register during the Kaleidoscope of Art-a Benefit Gift Boutique for the Museum of Nebraska Art to Amy at Skeeter Barnes restauranteach was an outstanding ambassador for Kearney, Nebraska. I left desiring to know their life stories, as they lifted my experience at their respective establishments.
  2. Well-Blended. It’s true, having a college in a town adds a certain flavor to the community. But rarely have I seen college, the arts, business, parks and recreation; and new development blended theatre collageso well. After strolling downtown Kearney and enjoying a cocktail at Cunningham’s Journal, I watched 12 short films as part of the Local Filmmakers Showcase presented by Filmstreams in the 1927 historic Masonic Temple Building now housing The World Theatre. The surroundings alone awakened my senses and flashed me back to days in Charleston, South Carolina and Atlanta, Georgia enjoying similar outings. But, I was in Kearney, Nebraska. Having one’s expectations exceeded never tires.
  3. Education. Kearney has to be one of the best communities around for educating unsuspecting visitors. The college is obvious, but spend a couple of hours inside the uniquely engineered structure, The Archway, crossing over 308 feet and 30 feet above busy Interstate 80 and leave as a well-schooled student on the history of western edu collageexpansion in the United States. Exhibits are viewed with volume controlled headsets and include narrations on trailways, railways and highways. One can even glance at the fast-moving I-80 traffic below the archway. Nearby is the Nebraska Fire Fighter’s Museum & Education Center. Filled with firefighting heritage and history and ever-changing exhibits, this museum also honors all EMS and fire providers and memorializes those who made the ultimate sacrifice in a quiet, well-appointed location behind the museum. The value a community places on education is often seen in its library. On an early Saturday afternoon, the Kearney Library was filled with citizens of all ages: reading, working on computers or being assisted by friendly, capable librarians. Well done, Kearney. Well done.
  4. Appealing Green Spaces. Kearney boasts four beautiful golf courses and 14 parks. A drive around the city reveals meticulously well-maintained green spaces being enjoyed by people of all ages and fitness levels.park collage Yanney Park is a first-class donor driven park in southwest Kearney near the Kearney Regional Medical Center. With the mission of “developing the finest family park between Omaha and Denver,” Yanney Heritage Park includes a Tower, labyrinth, a splash and playground, a Garden, an Amphitheater, a Bridge, a Senior Activity Center and so much more. For a community of this size, Yanney Park is a major “Wow” factor-one to be greatly applauded.
  5. Hub and Spoke. Within a short drive of Kearney, one can easily visit fort collageother attractions and return to the hub city of Kearney for the night. Case in point: Fort Kearney State Historical Park & Fort Kearney State Recreational Area are six miles southeast of Kearney on Highway 50A.The Rowe Sanctuary & The Iain Nicolson Audubon Center is also nearby. All worth visits.

Like most cities, Kearney has plenty of excellent lodging, restaurants and shopping-much of it near I-80. It takes a bit of work to discover the soul of a community and lose your heart to it. I did in Kearney, Nebraska and I suspect you will as well on your next visit.

Stop. Play. Stay. ™ www.visitkearney.org

You will not be disappointed.

©Copyright. November 2015. Linda Leier Thomason

All Rights Reserved.

Done in cooperation with Kearney Visitors Bureau.

Nominate your community for a visit and review by contacting me.

Have you visited Kearney, NE? What sites were your favorite? Share. Comment.

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? Complete this form below.