Saturday, July 28, 2012

Serendipitous Surprises

 Brainstorming interesting things in Nebraska, all we could come up with was "corn." So it was a very pleasant surprise when we discovered the town we spent the night in--Grand Island, Nebraska--was home to a living history pioneer village AND incidentally, the boyhood home of actor Henry Fonda!

The main building of the Stuhr Museum told the story of the pioneer west and was filled with fascinating artifacts.  This washing machine, for example, made me want to go home and kiss my humble Whirlpool!

Outside of the main museum building was a recreation of an 1892 prairie railroad town.

A very cool gift to this town was the 1905 home where Henry Fonda was born:

Peopled with costumed reinactors, we met townspeople such as the village blacksmith,

as well as the tinsmith, the veterinarian, the mercantile owner, the marshal and my favorite, the milliner. Why was the hat maker my favorite? Well, outside of being a very lovely person, she could make some truly bodacious hats.  I fell in love with one and decided that I need to hook up with an Ohio steam-punk group for an excuse to wear it...of course, there is the small issue of the need to make a dress to match (thank goodness for the creative minds at Simplicity patterns!).

Heading to Davenport, Iowa for the night, we decided to have supper in Omaha, Nebraska. The two things we knew about Omaha were: 1), Omaha Steaks and 2). Mutual of Omaha (does anybody remember "Wild Kingdom"?).  We were totally surprised to discover a kitchy, bohemian section of town called "Old Market."  We had an amazing dinner at Jack's Tavern and then checked out the shops, streetside cafes and streetcorner musicians. And of course we were able to top off the night at an Omaha institution-- Ted and Wally's Ice Cream. My evening ended with ice cream dreams in Orange Spice Chocolate and Double Dutch Chocolate.  Redundant?  I think not.

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