Monday, June 02, 2008

Day 1: Lincoln, NE

For a short weekend trip in celebration of our 15th wedding anniversary, L and I decided to make a short weekend trip to Lincoln. Yes, Nebraska.

We both too Friday off, and headed out that morning, taking our time, since it is only a little over three hours away by car.

We arrived around lunchtime, and dined at a place called Buzzard Billy's, a Cajun place. My shrimp po-boy was very good, as was the locally brewed brown ale.

We drove up early so we could go to the National Museum of Roller Skating, which is not open on the weekends. This museum was pretty small, and was kind of funny. There was some interesting stuff there, but I don't think I could recommend going to Lincoln just to see it. Some of the really old skates were fun to see, and some of the costumes from the 70s were a riot.

The funniest thing was that the building had a bunch of people working in cubicles for the National Roller Skating Association. I saw at least 12 people working there. Is this organization so huge that it needs a staff of this size? I guess so, but I thought it was pretty funny.

After the museum we strolled around the Haymarket District in Lincoln. This is nice historic district with some old commercial buildings.

I really like the old painted signs.

It was L's idea to take this picture of the three signs, and it is one of the best pictures of the whole trip, I think.

After shopping for a while we had a light snack/early supper at a local brewpub,

and headed to the motel to check in and crash.

Day 2: Cigars and baseball and quilts.

Today, after braving the annoying crowd at the free breakfast, we headed out. There was a little league baseball tournament in town, and our hotel was full of young (junior high age) baseball players and their families. The kids were, on the whole, well-behaved; it was the parents who were the annoying ones, really.

Our destination was the farmer's market held in the Haymarket District just south of the University of Nebraska's main campus.

The market was crowded and pretty cool. It was more like a craft market than a farmer's market, really, but I bet this changes as it gets later in the year. The guy at Bad Robot (great store, check it out) said that the market would expand onto another street the next weekend.

The booths here were the usual kind of thing, with a couple of exceptions. First, the longest line I saw there was for a woman selling egg rolls. The line was long enough when we first got there that we didn't want to stand in it. I did later when I noticed it was shorter. They were OK egg rolls, but not worth the line, to be honest. Another lady was selling Taiwanese-style noodles, but by the time we went back to get some (we weren't hungry at all) they were gone. That made me very sad, because I am certain that they were delicious, and taught me a lesson I will try not to forget.

There was some other neat stuff there, too, like a train.

And this amazing brick train mural.

After touring the farmer's market for a while we split up. L went to the International Quilt Study Center & Museum, which she could not say enough great things about. This place is the main reason we came to Lincoln, and after hearing her talk about it I wished that I had gone too. She could not say enough great things about it, and we are planning to return when the revolving exhibit changes in the fall.

I walked all over downtown Lincoln looking for a place where I could drink beer and smoke a cigar at the same time. I was at first going to go to the famous Zoo Bar, which we had been to when in Lincoln before. However, it being Saturday around noon, Zoo Bar was closed, so I hiked all over downtown looking for a place, eventually ending up back at Haymarket at a place called Brewski's. I got a nice seat on the large covered porch and settled in. After a while, just enough time to have a couple of beers and smoke my cigar, L joined me.

After chilling at the hotel for a while, we went out to see the Lincoln Saltdogs play the Wichita Wingnuts (has there ever been a more appropriate name?). It was a great little ball park, and we were able to walk up and get tickets ($11.25 each) on the first row right behind home plate. We were no more than 10 to 15 meters away form the batters. It was cool. I forgot the camera, though, so there are no pictures.

Day 3: The long route home

After sleeping in, we packed to leave for home. On the way out of town we stopped at the promising-looking Hi-Way Diner, which we had seen before. After some slow service we got our food, which was good.

We had decided to take the scenic route home, and headed south to Beatrice, NE (stress the second syllable to see Homestead National Monument. We weren't really sure what to expect here, but it is very nice. One of the buildings is new and very cool.

The displays in this building, as well as the short documentary film they show, were very well done.

L took the car from this building to the other, and I walked the short (.4 mile) trail to the other building.
The tall grass prairie.

A panorama of the homestead.

A little log cabin that had been moved from another location in the same county.

Here's a detail of the end cuts used, as this can be regionally diagnostic. Homestead is an excellent monument, and you can get a good overview and history of the entire homesteading process.

We continued to take the scenic route home, heading down state highways on the way back. The area around Atichison, KS was really beautiful, I must say. Beautiful rolling hills, some nice woods, and close to the river. This must be an excellent place to live if you have a job nearby. It's too far to drive into KC, though. We made an uneventful trip home. We were smart enough to come back on Sunday, so we still had Memorial Day off to recuperate.