When it comes to tourism and travel, Nebraska doesn't get a whole lotta love. It's one of those states people often drive through to get somewhere else. It's a drive by state.
Native Nebraskan Gretchen M. Garrison wants to change that.
I met Gretchen last year on one of the trips that inspired this website, and I was impressed with her passion for her home. With the exception of four years away at college, she's lived her entire life in the Cornhusker state, and in 2013, she began purposefully writing about its people and places on her blog, Odyssey Through Nebraska.
Now she's poured her love of Nebraska into her new book, Detour Nebraska Historic Destinations & Natural Wonders.
For many, Nebraska is the flat prairie seen from the interstate. Yet with the Sandhills, bluffs and river valleys, the state has an abundance of riches. The heritage of early settlers is evident. Fort Kearny and Chimney Rock were pioneer harbors. The Fur Trade Museum and the Homestead Monument of America tell of those who came to make a life. Carhenge is a nationally known treasure. The Joslyn Art Museum features world-class art, and the Nebraska National Forest is the largest hand-planted forest in the nation. Native Nebraskan Gretchen Garrison details the places and people that make the Cornhusker State unique.
Both the book and Gretchen's website break the state into seven distinct regions. Not only does it make the wealth of material easier to digest, it illustrates that Nebraska is different from one side to the other. There are gems sprinkled throughout each section:
- Museum of American Speed, a collection encompassing 150,000 square feet in Lincoln. Metro Region
- An outpost of the Underground Railroad in Nebraska City. Pioneer Region
- Unearthing rhinos and camels at the Ashfall Fossil Beds near Royal. Lewis & Clark Region
- The largest hand-planted forest in the United States. Sandhills Region
- Seeing how the pioneers live at the Stuhr Museum* in Grand Island. Frontier Trails
- The world's largest rail yard in North Platte. Prairie Lakes
- A replica of Stonehenge made out of cars. Panhandle
*I've been to this museum, and it is definitely worth visiting!
These are just a few of the many places that make Nebraska unique. Throughout, Gretchen not only shares places to go, she shares each places past, what makes each unique, and why it should be on your itinerary. Detour Nebraska is particularly suited for travelers who want to learn more about the history of a place, and there's an appendix listing Nebraska Historical Museums and Societies. Art fans will appreciate the Art Across Nebraska appendix. And if you want to learn more about the places included, a third appendix lists websites.
Next time you're looking for a new place to visit, or you're thinking about driving through the Cornhusker state on your way to somewhere else, stop. Pick up a copy of Detour Nebraska, and discover just how much there is to love.
Detour Nebraska is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and at several local bookstores in Nebraska. Visit odysseythroughnebraska.com to find out where you can pick up your copy.
I was honored that Gretchen asked me to review her book, and I received a complimentary copy for this purpose. Lucky for me, I now have this great resource at my fingertips when I plan next year's big road trip!