Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer, Grand Island, Nebraska. Building designed by Edward Durell Stone. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I'm not sure what it is about Grand Island that fascinates me so much. It's kind of like right in the center of the country. The true center of the contiguous states lies about 100 miles south, but Grand Island kind of seems like the center. Grand Island is about half-way across the state of Nebraska on Interstate 80. If you're crossing the country on I-80 you go right past Grand Island and there's a good chance you might even stop to eat or fill up with gas. Or you might stay there like we did.
We weren't just passing through, but we were working there. When I was with the World of Fantasy Players we played Grand Island every year. We would also play a few of the surrounding towns and always have at least one day off while we were there so we used Grand Island as a home base. It was a welcome respite from our typical one-nighter schedule.
Every year we would visit the Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer. The museum is a beautiful facility with a fine collection of artifacts and exhibits depicting pioneer life. There is a recreation of a railroad village and other outdoor exhibits. When we used to visit they had a steam train that would take visitors around the sizable grounds, but apparently the train is no longer operational which is too bad since that was one of the highlights as far as I was concerned.
One year we went to the horse races and bet on horses. I've not had much experience with betting on horses--in fact I believe this is the only time I've done it. We had a grand time at the horse race in Grand Island.
As was often the case in our repeat yearly visits to towns, I had certain places where I looked forward to eating. In Grand Island I always made at least one visit to Runza Burger. Runza is a regional fast food restaurant where the specialty is a stuffed pastry filled with ground beef, onions, and cabbage. The bread was not really like the typical hamburger bun, but the German influenced concoction was so savory that I looked forward to it every year.
If I could I'd go to Grand Island just for the Runza burgers, but another visit to the Stuhr wouldn't be bad either. Grand Island sits there in the middle of the United States hoarding Runzas and Americana. Most Americans probably don't even realize what they're missing.
Have you ever been to Grand Island? Am I overstating its appeal? Have you had a Runza sandwich?
Never been to Nebraska; never had a Runza--but your post has made both very appealing. I love learning about "off the beaten path" foods and places. Thanks, Arlee!ReplyDelete
Never been to Nebraska or had a Runza, but found this post very interesting to read.ReplyDelete
It sounds a really interesting place and it's good to know you had some enjoyable food there. I love learn more about the US.ReplyDelete
I thought Nebraska was land locked?ReplyDelete
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I am very sorry, but I have never heard of let alone been to Grand Island. Sounds like a place I would like to explore however.ReplyDelete
The only place in Nebraska that I have ever been is Omaha but I have to say I had the best steaks of my life there.ReplyDelete
Pam -- I love exploring our own continent and all the diversity it has to offer.ReplyDelete
Yvonne -- Nebraska is not a typical destination for visitors from other countries--in fact not many Americans choose to go there.
Sally -- It's heartland America.
Jane -- The name has something to do with an island in the river I believe. Nebraska is very land-locked.
Gregg-- It's in the center of things. Small town America.
Kathleen-- Omaha is famous for steaks.
But the older I get the more I'm open to new places and trying new things.
Yep, I've been to Nebraska, but not to Grand Island or to the Runza Burger Place. Just to the airport in Omaha. Is that even close? If ever I'm close again, the Stuhr Museum is on the List...afterall, I am from Pioneer Stock...just from a different part of the country.ReplyDelete
Thanks for another Grand Tour!
Sue, CollectInTexas Gal
sounds very interesting and full of great food!ReplyDelete
Never heard of the Runza but it does sound interesting. Your description of Grand Island makes me wish I lived closer so I could plan a quick weekend trip down there. LOL!ReplyDelete
Every place you post about is new to me because I have never been to the States.ReplyDelete
Therefore I read your post with great interest because the differ from travel books.
Yep, I've been there and it is AbSoLutely Fascinating!ReplyDelete
Nebraska has other cool historical spots like Scotts Bluff and Chimney Rock.
That sandwich sounds amazing!ReplyDelete
Oh no! MORE fascinating places to put on my "must go and see one day" list! The list keeps getting longer instead of shorter.ReplyDelete
Cheryl -- We should stay open to trying new things.ReplyDelete
Sue -- The Stuhr Museum has a fine collection.
Lynn -- I won't say that Grand Island is the paragon of fine eating, but I do like Runza.
Sue -- If you lived close to Grand Island you'd either be living on a farm or another small town.
Edi - What I'm writing about probably won't be in many travel guides.
Huntress -- I always liked Scottsbluff as well. Nebraska is not a bad place to visit actually.
Ashley -- I thought it was amazing and it's a pretty popular place.
Trisha -- I hope no one would be disappointed going there on my advisement. It's not Disneyland or Yellowstone, but it's a nice bit of smalltown U.S.A.