Twelve years ago, Frank and Amy Faust bought a 6-acre plot of land in the Loess Hills countryside with the intention of building themselves a log cabin. Instead, they found themselves sidetracked by a new dream—starting a winery. At Sugar Clay Winery, the Fausts now produce up to 10,000 gallons of wine each year, yet, as they told KETV-7, they still take the time to cork each bottle by hand. Visitors can introduce themselves to 14 of Sugar Clay’s proprietary varietals in the tasting room, such as the sangria-esque Loess Hills blush or a four-grape ambrosia blanc whose flavors morph from apple to butterscotch and almond with each sip. Outside, shaded decks house guests peering out on views of sloping valleys soundtracked by a chorus of birds hiding among the surrounding cedars. A fire pit warms sippers during crisper nights or on afternoons when a tour group of refrigerators shows up, and live musicians fill the air with notes from dulcimers and acoustic guitars.
The fairways on Table Creek Golf Course's 18 holes bound across the rolling hills of southeast Nebraska for a challenging 6,253-yard pin-hunting exhibition. A relatively short course even when played from the tips, the truncated layout has slick, bent--grass greens, deceptive elevation changes, and flagsticks that covertly shift as players approach the greens. Rippling waters pool and flow throughout the picturesque par 71 course, adding a sense of tranquility and threatening to absorb ill-struck shots. To augment their birdie-garnering form, clubbers can fine-tune their swing at the driving range, recruit the latest course fashions at the pro shop, or learn to cut tender steaks using a divot tool at the cozy clubhouse.
Course at a Glance:
18-hole, par 71 course
Length of 6,253 yards from the farthest tees
Course rating of 71.3 from the farthest tees
Slope rating of 122 from the farthest tees
Three tee options
Throughout Husker Paintball Adventures’ rural backcountry speckled with trees and tangled thickets, paintballers explore six battlefields spread across 20 acres and find refuge behind plastic barriers and stacks of timber. After traipsing through creeks and crouching along the low ridges of shallow gullies, players seal their truces with lunch by bringing their grills for a picnic among the spindly trees and garden of organically grown target symbols. In the interest of sportsmanship and making the hobby accessible to everyone, the staff never pits pros against rookies and enforces a 20-foot shooting rule. Safety is also paramount, so they turn down firing velocity on all paintball markers for groups of younger players.
In a style fitting with their sword-and-shield emblem, the King’s Crossing Vineyard & Winery’s yearly renaissance festival harks back to ye olden days with a weekend of days-of-yore-style entertainment. A Scottish band toots the soundtrack to the festivities as visitors hoist flagons of beer and wine and belly dancers enchant viewers with sultry undulations. With multiple opportunities for guests to demonstrate their feats of strength, the fest hosts an archery tournament and dueling matches fought with swords, maces, and enormous turkey legs. The afternoons are filled with informative demonstrations on renaissance life, performed by actors in full period dress.
The 1.5–2-hour event, which starts at 7 p.m. on a Friday of your choosing, takes place in the wine-tasting room. Set in a French Country House, the tastery features Nebraska vintages from sweet to dry, beer, food, and a wine troll. While sipping sips at the special after-hours event, you'll learn wine lessons from the vineyard's owner's daughter, who is studying to be a sommelier. The unintimidating course includes tips on how to rate, taste, and judge a wine, so you'll leave with the ability to determine if a wine has oaky undertones or hints of tire iron.
Hosted by the Western Iowa Grape Growers Association, the 2011 Loess Hills Fall Wine Festival corrals local vineyards to share the fruits of their labor in a comprehensive tasting paired with a slew of family-friendly festivities. As patrons inhale floral aromas and enjoy the subtleties of local varietals, the festival’s annual grape stomp enlists 100 guests to act out scenes from The Grapes of Wrath barefoot on a stage of vine-ripened fruit. Craft and food vendors are sprinkled throughout the grounds to help patrons cleanse palates, while judges evaluate entries in such categories as best red, best white, and most likely to succeed in staining a cloud costume.