If you’re looking for a bed and breakfast in Nebraska, do we have the place for you. On a boomer road trip that took us through western Nebraska for the first time, Alan and I didn’t quite know what to expect. Would we find unique accommodations that are part of the road trip fun or settle for one of the nondescript chain hotels in Scottsbluff?
Discovering a charming bed and breakfast in Nebraska
After a day on the road, what could be more charming than spending two nights in a 100-year-old barn? That’s exactly what Alan and I did when our Midwest road trip stopped in Scottsbluff, Nebraska. But don’t think our stay was drafty or basic. Barn Anew Bed and Breakfast Country Retreat in Gering has been renovated with all the conveniences one would expect in a quality bed and breakfast.
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From the moment we walked through the front door, the renovated barn—and owners Char and Allan Maybee—charmed us. Western artwork and Remington sculptures decorate the front hall, called Statuary Hall. And pieces by Native American artists hang throughout Barn Anew. The Maybees collected most of them during their years teaching on the Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming. Early American antiques accompany the décor, including a player piano.
Alan and I stayed in the Fur Trapper Room, one of four bedrooms on the 2nd floor—all have private baths. Packed with historical treasures and artwork, it was hard to know where to look first. So I sat on the edge of the queen-sized bed for a few minutes just to take it all in.
The second floor also includes The Rendezvous Room, a sitting and dining area for bed and breakfast guests. A balcony offers killer sunrise views of the sandstone rock formations of Scotts Bluff National Monument. And sitting on the balcony watching Scotts Bluff bathed in the reflection of a sunset is a fine way to end the day.
Exploring a Nebraska garden and WWII history
I especially enjoyed exploring the garden at this lovingly restored property. On our spring visit, lush, green growth and colorful spring flowers greeted my strolls. A hammock, benches and a tree swing beckoned me from the garden paths. I didn’t know which one to sit in first. An arbor stands at the edge of the garden. Many couples have said “I do” here, as the garden is a popular wedding venue.
Speaking of romance, check out our favorite romantic bed and breakfasts from around the world.
For those of you who’d like to feel like pioneers, spend the night in one of the Sheep Wagons. You’ll find two of them parked underneath the cottonwood trees in a secluded spot near the garden. A kerosene lamp is provided for a walk in the dark to the very modern outhouse.
The WWII history at Barn Anew fascinated Alan. The building that’s currently used for community events, including fun musical play-alongs, once housed a POW camp for German soldiers. Some of those German prisoners returned to live in Nebraska after the war. You can read about it in Nebraska POW Camps: A History of World War II Prisoners in the Heartland.
Looking for things to do in Scottsbluff
Scotts Bluff National Monument is one of the top places to visit in Nebraska and it’s a very short drive from Barn Anew. For 19th century pioneers traveling the Oregon Trail, the 800 ft. bluffs that rise above the North Platte River served as important landmarks. But they weren’t the first humans to travel near this Nebraska destination. Native Americans knew the bluffs as landmarks, too, and prehistoric animals before them.
Today, the 3,003 acres near Gering are preserved at the Scotts Bluff Monument so that modern day travelers can explore the area. After a visit to the Oregon Trail Museum Visitor Center, hike the trails or drive Summit Road to the top of the bluffs. And, yes, you can still see ruts in the earth caused by wagons traveling the Oregon, California and Mormon trails.
On our visit, it was too windy to even get out of the car, so we admired the bluffs from the car window before continuing to Wildcat Hills Recreation Area. Filled with hiking trails and dirt roads, it’s a fun area to explore or look for wildlife like bighorn sheep, mule deer, white-tailed deer, coyote, bobcats or wild turkey. Unfortunately, we didn’t see any wildlife, although birds flew above us, battling the strong wind.
Exploring Chimney Rock National Historic Site is another thing to do near Scottsbluff. Or go fly fishing. Char and Allan are also horse enthusiasts so they know the best trails n the area. They’ll arrange a morning or afternoon horseback ride for you. As you can see, active boomer travelers will find plenty to do in western Nebraska.
When deciding what to see in the Scottsbluff area, the Maybees offer expert advice, including the Circle Tours that they’ve written. Writers and Oregon Trail historians, Char and Allan know their stuff. They’ve both ridden the Oregon and Santa Fe Trails by horseback. Or ask Allan about jet skiing 5,600 miles from the Gulf of Mexico to the mouth of the Columbia River in Astoria, Oregon. You can even arrange an Oregon Trail tour guided by Allan, and he promises that it won’t be on a jet ski.
Finding restaurants in Scottsbluff
Of course all this exploring is going to make for hungry boomer travelers. We started our day with breakfast at Barn Anew. Alan and I enjoyed sitting around the dining room table chatting with other guests while Allan and Cher served a hot, hearty breakfast complete with homemade chokeberry syrup.
Char recommended dinner at Emporium Restaurant in Scottsbluff. We enjoyed it so much that Alan and I returned for a second night. The Maybees will also arrange dinner at the Scotts Bluff Country Club for their bed and breakfast guests.
And, if you’ve tired of eating meals on the road, purchase food from the grocery store that can be heated in a microwave. The Rendezvous Room at Barn Anew includes a mini refrigerator and microwave for guests to use. So enjoy a hearty lunch while you’re out exploring, then return to the bed and breakfast in time for sunset on the deck accompanied by the snacks you purchased and a glass of wine. After a day spent following in the tracks of the pioneers, it’s a lovely way to end the day in Scottsbluff, Nebraska.
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