With lofty views of the gurgling Platte River, the Peter Kiewit Lodge Restaurant whips up a variety of Southwestern dishes to satisfy visitors at the Eugene T. Mahoney State Park. The menu offers a selection to make any picnic basket-intoxicated bear salivate. Appetizers such as the beef or chicken-stuffed quesadillas ($6.45) and buffalo shrimp kebabs ($7.95) serve as ideal warm-ups for entrees, including a marinated whiskey steak sandwich ($7.95) or a sautéed flounder ($11.95). Diners can wash down all scintillating tastes with a wide selection of beer and non-alcoholic beverages. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner buffets are served seven days a week beginning Memorial Day through Labor Day ($8.25-$12.95, depending on the meal and the day), and Sunday's are buffet-only, with no menu service available.
At Metamorphosis Belly Dance, women of all ages, shapes, and moveabilities undulate to the soulful rhythms of belly dance. Slide into a skirt and a coin hip scarf and shimmy to the intoxicating music during your four-pack of beginners' classes, which meet once a week and teach both Oriental and tribal styles of dance. Unlike jelly dancing, belly dancing increases muscle tone, betters your sense of balance, and brings about the calm, meditative state necessary to gyrate as if the world isn’t about to get sucked into the sun.
Caribbean decor fuses with New England charm at Front Porch Bed and Breakfast, a 30-minute jaunt from two bustling Nebraskan hubs, Lincoln and Omaha. Funky tropical houseplants, palm tree-infused artwork, and bright colors add playful pop to the three guest bedrooms, whose private bathrooms house cavernous whirlpool tubs. The innkeepers combat hunger by crafting generous breakfast spreads to greet every sunrise and by stocking their in-house coffee bar with complimentary snacks and beverages throughout the day.
A mere block away from the bed-and-breakfast sits Ashland’s main street—a shop-lined thoroughfare suited for daytime strolls. Exploratory missions into nearby Mahoney State Park unearth riotous foliage sprawled across 690 acres bordering the Platte River, as well as basketball, softball and tennis courts. Additionally, the award-winning 18-hole golf courses in Iron Horse and Quarry Oaks aid patrons perfecting their swings and golf cart ghostriding. For cultural kicks, the Air and Space Museum showcases historic aircraft, and area vineyards offer tours and tastings of local wines.
The history of Heartland Café’s building reads like a whirlwind tour through the American psyche. Built in 1919, it's alternately housed a dental office, beauty salon, dance hall, soda fountain, hardware store, and pharmacy. You half expect to find a young George Bailey working behind the counter. Nearly 100 years after the final brick was laid, Heartland Café adds modern flair with a smattering of red vinyl and wooden chairs that flank square and round tables. Books tuck into shelving units, and vintage photographs hang on exposed brick walls to give the place a splash of nostalgia. It is an eclectic aesthetic that parallels its eclectic menu—diners can expect to find elk patties, pigs in a blanket, and turkey sandwiches bedecked with cranberry cream cheese sharing page space. And for cafe purists, classic omelets and chicken wraps also star on the menu. During the summer months, Heartland Café spills into the outdoors with a Summer Concert Series playing the likes of Lionel Young and Personics.