Indian Cave, Arbor State Park, Brownville … we done ‘em all

What a lovely fall weekend for a no-hustle, no-hassle motor tour to check out the spectacular fall colors of Indian Cave State Park. Good Wife Norma and I loaded her sister Ruth and husband Jim in the Burb and headed out Saturday morning.

But not before an errand or two (actually, three) at Lincoln en route.

Not to worry. We arrived in plenty of time to see the spectacular ‘color’ of the thick forest of hardwoods hard by the bank of the Missouri River at Indian Cave. That singular color? Green. Wall to wall green. Predictably, I had us there way too early. No worries. Mostly, this time I wanted to scout the place out for a proper expedition with one or more semi-serious photographer buddies later anyway. If not this year, certainly next.

We partook of a lovely lunch at a unique sandwich emporium (everything homemade and delicious) run by wonderfully friendly Mennonite ladies in Auburn, which is also where we stayed Saturday night at the Auburn Inn motel. That evening, after touring the park, we dined at the Arbor Inn, also in Auburn. It’s a classy old Victorian Mansion with a lounge below; but ask to be seated on the upper level. The food’s great anywhere, but above in the former residence rooms is where the house’s history, class and style shine brightest. Great atmosphere up there.

Sunday brunch was very enjoyable at Timbers, the beautiful restaurant you will find within the log walls of the impressive Lied Lodge in Nebraska City. Again, highly recommended.

Ben Cornwell is the card-carrying Master Blacksmith plying his trade in the accompanying living history photo. Don’t miss the shower of sparks cascading from his near-molten work as he shapes it with his clanging hammer. What a talented and amiable fellow.

The photo gallery includes the J. Sterling Morton mansion, the regal structure that presides over Arbor State Park at Nebraska City. My fellow adventurers are seen in a photo to offer a sense of how massive the home really is. The inside, replete with docents in period attire to answer you every question, is breathtaking and not to be missed.

The raised, wooden walkway you see in the gallery serves as the elevated path to historic Indian Cave itself, its entrance visible in the rear. There are a few flights of stairs to climb that I am confident would not have bothered you one bit, but on day that found all four of us crippled up to some degree, we deferred.

All and all, it was a casual little road trip in great company and perfect that we all enjoyed.

Mose says, “Check it out.”

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