Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Burwell and the Calamus Outfitters

I almost started this blog post by saying how pleasantly surprised with what a wonderful small town and beautiful part of Nebraska Burwell is, but that would be completely wrong! We knew it was going to be wonderful and beautiful, we just needed to get out there and experience it!
This little town of about 2,000 people in Garfield County boasts the largest rodeo in the state of Nebraska. Nebraska's Big Rodeo began in 1921 when town fathers made a concerted effort to use their annual celebration to be a catalyst for the growth and development of the region, to put Burwell "on the map". They succeeded, and their spirit of entrepreneurship can still be seen in this wonderful rural community.

We were fortunate enough to have the Sandstone Grill as the headquarters for our Nebraska Travel Association meeting in Burwell, which was the underlying reason for our visit. Owners Tammy Schmaljohn and Tenise Jarecke have created a cozy and comfortable yet amazingly sophisticated eatery out of an old building on Burwell's central square. As you can see from the menu below, if you have a perception of food on the great plains being nothing but "meat and taters", you are mistaken - pleasantly so, yet still mistaken!
Not only is it deliciously prepared, but it is beautifully presented.
The main course showed an equal amount of care and professionalism in its preparation and presentation. I should have eaten before I started this blog post... now I'm starving, and Burwell is a long way away!
Our trip to Burwell wasn't all about food and business, it was also about fun! You should know that about me by now - I never miss a chance to have some fun! So we all loaded up on the bus and headed out for adventure.

Burwell is just a few short miles from the Calamus Reservoir, which is fed by the Calamus river. The combination of the two make for some great water fun in the middle of Nebraska. You do remember me telling you that Nebraska has more miles of shoreline than any other state in the union, don't you? We know how to have water fun!

Even though it was an overcast drizzly day, it was warm, and the weather didn't dampen our spirits at all. We had three activities to choose from, tanking, horseback riding and a nature safari. The Mister and I joined our friends in a tank on the Calamus River. Before the end of our trip, the wind died down and the sun came out and our earlier discomfort was well worth it.
Back at the lodge of the Calamus Outfitters, we bought souvenirs of our trip and joined our friends in regaling each other with tales of our adventures. As you can see, regardless of your interest (as long as it has something to do with enjoying the outdoors!), the Calamus Outfitters will be able to show you a good time. Even if you just want to relax and spend some time enjoying nature on your own, you can do that too. Should the weather threaten, the huge barn is always there to keep you and your party warm and dry, while watching the weather systems roll across the valley. Right now you're probably thinking that the tourism industry in Nebraska is in deep trouble with this motley crew representing it. Let me tell you though - the friends you see here are some of the savvyist, most intelligent, hard working and dedicated tourism professionals you will find anywhere! We're not in it for nothing though - we know how to have a good time when we all get together.
Following an afternoon of adventure, we were all ready for a hearty meal, and the Calamus Outfitters didn't disappoint. We were treated to their signature "pitchfork steak" dinner.
Complete with all the fixin's of course!
The problem with these gatherings is that too many of our colleagues are too busy to take the time to join us, and that they are too short! We did get an educational workshop in (presented by one of Nebraska's best Economic Development Directors, Caleb Pollard of Ord) and of course the business meeting of NETA in which we importantly approved the annual budget (see boss, I was working!). Most of all we got to see and appreciate a beautiful area of Nebraska and network with our colleagues in the industry. Overall extremely successful!

Thanks for stopping by. The coffee is always on.

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