Road Trip Guide - Page 35 - Noteworthy nature continued (2)

Road Trip Guide
- Page 35
Noteworthy nature continued (2)
ning a fish dinner with your catch of the day, this is a great chance to pick up something to pair with your meal.

Another fun stop is the Bolo Beer Company in Valentine proper. With a vibe that’s rustic industrial with a side of reclaimed wood, cheap flights and flavors such as cattle baron imperial stout and Sandhills lager, it’s a neat place to hang out with your laptop and bond with the locals. They routinely have food trucks, live tunes and activities in their outdoor patio beer garden. While you are there, pick up a map for the Sandhills Beer Trail, which starts right there in town and loops through the region, stopping at numerous craft breweries.

If you prefer whistle wetting of a more caffeinated nature, there are a couple of coffee shops on Valentine’s main drag near some nifty boutiques, antiquing options and souvenir shops. Auntie D’s is a good option with fun latte flavors and some gift-shopping options on site. You can pick up anything from a jar of homemade pickles to a new scarf or tote bag. Janine’s Emporium has a similar setup with access to coffee, flowers and other goodies.

For coffee you can brew back home, along with books for travelers of all ages to enjoy in the event of a rainy day, Plains Trading Company is worth a stop. I picked up a pound of their Sandhills dark roast as a souvenir, but there are other tasty selections too. Rainy day options aren’t limited just to books, they also have sketch books, puzzles and children’s art kits.

The nearby Cherry Blossom Paperie had a few art journaling supplies to get my mixed-media groove on, including art pencils, ink pads and a few rubber stamps of note. Those who prefer clothing souvenirs may want to check out the Broken Spoke Boutique or Young’s Western Wearhouse. If you still want to squeeze in a little something extra after your morning coffee crawl and shopping session, swing by the town’s visitor center. They have free trail guides, maps, brochures with driving directions for the birding route and other information about how to best use your time in the area.

While there are a number of chain eateries in town, the real name of the vacation game here is spending time in the great outdoors. This means cooler picnics to take along for your tubing or tanking experience, grabbing something at the golf course between rounds, whipping up something easy at the cabin after a day of exploring or packing a few noshables for your overnight telescope adventure.

To that end, we made great use of the IGA across from our hotel. They have great $6 deli meal deals, and plenty of other easy things to munch on as you enjoy your outdoor and scenic driving  adventures.

With everything from a higher-end golf experience with a Wild West vibe and world-class dark sky viewing to outdoor adventure for the average Joe, Nebraska’s northern Sandhills offer a travel-worthy nature getaway with unexpected amenities perks. Whether you’re passing through on a motorcycle, cruising along in your car or road tripping with your family’s recreational camping vehicle, you’ll find plenty here to pass the time.