Visiting Nebraska City and Plattsmouth | October 4, 2020
With this being our first autumn in four years, we were eager to get out and participate in some of the typical fall festivities as soon as October rolled around. We decided to drive down to Arbor Day Farm in Nebraska City on a Sunday afternoon so that we could combine ‘fall festivities’ with some historic sites, hiking, letterboxing, and a courthouse — basically all we need to have a good time.
We arrived at Arbor Day Farm and almost immediately began to question our choice to come here. It was crowded with people, not exactly ideal with a pandemic still going on. The main attraction here is the tree adventure, which requires reservations made in advance which we hadn’t planned to do. We wandered around a bit and realized that everything besides parking and walking around cost money…and that’s when we realized that maybe we don’t actually like fall festivities like this. Whoops.
Oh well, at least parking was free. We ended up following a trail into the woods and away from the crowds. Curtis attempted a letterbox, then we walked to the Lied Lodge (a large hotel on the property). We then exited the park and walked up the road to Arbor Lodge State Historical Park.
Arbor Lodge State Historic Park was once the home of the Morton family. Nebraska is known as the home of Arbor day, and this is where it all started. In 1872, J. Sterling and Caroline Morton came up with the idea of Arbor Day as a way to encourage others to plant a tree, and that year on the first Arbor Day over 1 million trees were planted. This historic park serves to celebrate and commemorate that with its large arboretum, gardens, and mansion filled with artifacts from the Morton family.
We didn’t take a tour of the mansion today, we simply just wandered around and enjoyed the property and mansion views. The mansion reminded me of visiting other historic sites in the Northeast, such as the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller NHS in Vermont or the Vanderbilt NHS in New York.
Afterwards, we returned to our car and continued on our day’s adventure. Next up, we drove to the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Trails and visitor’s center off of NE-2 right on the Missouri River. Curtis had found this site thanks to letterboxing, and while the letterboxes proved to be missing we still enjoyed walking through the woods.
Our last stop of the day was in Plattsmouth to see the Cass County Courthouse. We took a stroll around the town and really liked what we saw. Back when I was looking at all our housing options, I remember looking at this area a lot and thinking we’d enjoy this smaller town. We’re happy with where we ended up, but in the hypothetical “What if we lived here long term” game, Plattsmouth would be one of our top picks for living outside the greater Omaha area.