Nebraskaland June 2019

NEBRASKAland Magazine is dedicated to outstanding photography and informative writing with an engaging mix of articles and photos highlighting Nebraska’s outdoor activities, parklands, wildlife, history and people.

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50 Nebraskaland • June 2019 PHOTO COURTESY OF THE NEBRASKA TOURISM COMMISSION MIXED BAG By Jenn Gjerde, Nebraska Tourism Commission VISIT CHERRY COUNTY With more square miles than some small states, Cherry County has plenty to offer, especially for the outdoor enthusiast. Part of Nebraska's luscious Sandhills, this area's landscape and ecological diversity create a nature-filled getaway. Set your sights on a variety of wildlife among the rolling meadows of Valentine National Wildlife Refuge. There are also a variety of local outfitters waiting to help you tube, kayak or canoe down the Niobrara River. The spring-fed, slow moving water will gently carry you past outstanding natural beauty, including the tallest waterfall in Nebraska at Smith Falls State Park. Boating, fishing and water sports are part of the fun on Merritt Reservoir State Recreation Area's 3,000 acres of glistening water. A popular Merritt Reservoir event is the annual Nebraska Star Party. With minimal light pollution, it's an ideal place to view stunning starry nights that can't be seen from in the city. This stargazing extravaganza can be enjoyed with or without a telescope. At Bowring Ranch State Historical Park in nearby Merriman, visitors can learn about ranching, homesteading, geology, wildlife and other topics related to the Sandhills and the Bowring family. When you're ready for some cuisine, take a trip to The Prairie Club Lodge (also a world-renowned golf course) to experience the cuisine of "cow country." Peppermill Restaurant & Lounge is another great option for local favorites made with Nebraska-produced beef. If you are looking for something more casual, carhops serve burgers, sundaes and the like at Frosty Drive-In, so park and revel in the nostalgia. Once you've had your fill of beef, quench your thirst with a Happy Juice IPA from Bolo Beer Co., or try one of the other beers on their menu like the Waggle Scottish Ale. See the vines and taste the wines not too far from Valentine at Niobrara Valley Vineyards. While there, sip on their award-winning Marquette and semi-dry white wine, Boss Cow. In Wild West country get your best cowboy attire at Young's Western Wear. The third generation family-owned and run business provides quality western clothing and gear. If you're looking for some style for the kids and the ladies stop in to Broken Spoke Boutique just up the road. A place with this much excitement will require an overnight stay. Not only is The Prairie Club great for dining and golfing, but it offers a few different lodging styles from a rustic Bunkhouse room, a cabin right on the edge of Snake River Canyon or a room in the main Lodge. Heartland Elk Guest Ranch and Niobrara River Ranch are two unique spots as well, as is the taditional, restful hotel option at The Niobrara Lodge. If you are ready to start planning your trip, more vacation resources are at

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