Nebraska November 29, 2016
The One Nebraska Town That’s So Perfectly Midwestern
It’s no secret that we’re in love with Nebraska towns. From west to east and north to south, there are just hundreds of places to adore. Recently,
Midwest Living Magazine undertook the nearly-impossible task of choosing the greatest towns in the midwest – and one town in Nebraska was honored with the title of greatest in the state: Nebraska City.
Located in southeastern Nebraska, Nebraska City is one of the oldest towns in the state.
The population is just over 7,200 - small enough that residents know their neighbors. And the people here are every bit as friendly as you would expect in a small midwestern town.
The city is probably best known as the home of Arbor Day, and you can definitely see the influence of that tree-loving history everywhere you go.
Arbor Day Farm is dedicated to the love of trees and the history of Arbor Day, a holiday that originated right here and is now celebrated all around the world.
In addition to a restaurant and sizable shop (including delicious Nebraska wines!), Arbor Day Farms features the super-fun Tree Adventure.
You can walk through the wooded grounds, climb a 50-foot-tall treehouse, and take a wagon ride around the farm to take in the lovely sights.
The mansion at Arbor Lodge Historical State Park was once home to J. Sterling Morton, the Nebraska politician, newspaperman, and nature-lover who established Arbor Day.
You can tour the lavish grounds - including colorful gardens, lovely sculptures, and even a playground for kids - for free. Tours of the home are also available for a fee.
Lied Lodge offers some of the finest accommodations in the area.
The nature-themed hotel and conference center is in an absolutely enchanting setting...
...and the lodge's restaurant overlooks the verdant hazelnut grove.
There are plenty of opportunities to learn about the state's and the region's rich history here.
From the Missouri River Basin Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center...
...which is very highly rated among visitors and chock full of historic (but fun) exhibits...
To the Kregel Windmill Factory Museum...
...To the Mayhew Cabin and John Brown's Cave.
This historic location is recognized as the only known stop on the Underground Railroad in Nebraska.
There are more museums here than you might expect in a town this size.
Besides the Lewis and Clark Center, Mayhew Cabin, Arbor Lodge, and windmill factory museum, Nebraska City is also home to the Civil War Veterans Museum & G.A.R. Memorial Hall, the Museum of Firefighting, the Old Freighter's Museum, River Country Nature Center, the Wildwood Historic Center, the Nelson House, and the Otoe County Museum of Memories. WHEW. It's going to take several visits to see all of that.
The views of the Missouri River from Nebraska City are absolutely stunning.
The river was the very foundation of the town, allowing Nebraska City to spring up as a transportation hub in the 19th century.
The town's classic architecture only adds to its charm and appeal.
The Farmers Bank Building, seen above, dates back to 1886 and has won the President's National Preservation Award.
The public education system is highly rated by parents and students, and the beautiful public library, seen here, gives everyone the opportunity to learn.
Of course, most people know Nebraska City for the annual AppleJack Festival which takes place in September.
The city-wide celebration marks the apple harvest - a big deal in a city with several apple orchards and a whole industry centered on the fruit - and brings everyone out for one final summer party. A carnival, a car show, a craft show, a parade, and tons of other events make the festival one that everyone should attend at least once.
There’s so much more to Nebraska City – including
a beautiful winter lights trolley tour – that will keep you delighted for as long as you choose to visit. Check out the city’s tourism website for more information on all there is to see and do in this perfectly midwestern – and perfectly Nebraskan – town.