Shop, Sip, Taste & Create at Six Amazing Fall Nebraska Getaways


Unleash your creative potential at a painting party, find that perfect new fall décor or Husker t-shirt and tempt your taste buds with pumpkin ice cream, gourmet burgers or apple-crumble pie at these six amazing GROW Nebraska stores this fall. 

 

The Country Pumpkin, Sutton

Proud member since 2012

Near Sutton, Brett Nannenkamp is ready to serve some pumpkin ice cream to his guests. In tiny Harrisburg, Laura Whelchel prepares old-fashioned pies to serve along with gourmet burgers made with meat fresh from her farm. In Omaha’s Old Market, Jeff Jorgensen will know exactly where Harrisburg is and enjoys visiting with tourists around the state and world in his souvenir shop. And, in Cozad, Kearney and Columbus, creative souls are welcome to unleash their potential or find a new Husker t-shirt, a gift or an accent piece to decorate their homes for fall.

Right off of Highway 6 near Sutton is the quaint Country Pumpkin retail store where guests can browse for fall home décor, purchase the finest quality pumpkins or gourds that are already handpicked or enjoy a delicious scoop of homemade pumpkin ice cream. 

The Country Pumpkin owner BrettBrett Nunnenkamp started growing pumpkins at age 13, expanded his patch as part of his FFA project in high school and continued it with his family’s help while he earned a degree in horticulture from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He now grows more than 60 varieties of pumpkins, squash, gourds and ornamental corn and sells his produce in his rural retail store, The Country Pumpkin. 

 

“We handpick and wash everything for you and put it out for sale in the store,” Brett said. “We cater more to the person who wants to do their own pumpkin decorating but not the picking. We do all the dirty work for them.”

“We handpick and wash everything for you and put it out for sale in the store,” Brett said. “We cater more to the person who wants to do their own pumpkin decorating but not the picking. We do all the dirty work for them.”

In addition to pumpkins, the retail store features baked goods, handmade décor and floral arrangements (made by his mom and grandma). 

The Country Pumpkin Store Interior

But, it’s the pumpkin ice cream that beckons many repeat customers to the farm each year. The ice cream is made from Brett’s Pumpkin Valley Farms puree.  

The Country Pumpkin pumpkin ice-cream“People wait for that,” Brett said of the ice cream. “We already have people who are asking and can’t wait to get the ice cream machine going again so they can have pumpkin ice cream. It’s a nice creamy texture. It’s just the perfect ice cream.” 

The puree is sold frozen at the store and can be used to make pumpkin pie or any recipe that calls for pumpkin. 

 

“We just take the hard work out of it for you,” Brett said.

The puree is not thick and pasty like typical canned pumpkin, he said. It’s more watery, is a bright orange color and is all natural with no added preservatives.

Country Pumpkin is open Sept. 8-Oct. 31 from 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and 11 a.m.-6 p.m. on Sundays.

The Country Pumpkin LLC
(And Pumpkin Valley Farms Frozen Pumpkin Puree)

1968 Hwy 6, Sutton Nebraska

Also, purchase pumpkin puree at GROW’s BuyNebraska.com site and eBay

 

Laura’ Lee’s Double L Country Store and Café, Harrisburg

Proud member since 2012

Laura Lee’s Double L Country Store and Café near Harrisburg is a welcome and unexpected surprise on a stretch of lonely rural highway between Scottsbluff and Kimball.

Laura Lee's Restaurant ExteriorLaura Whelchel opened the store and café three years ago to sell the soaps and lotions she had been making for the past 15 years. She and her husband bought an abandoned restaurant, gutted it and renovated it to what is now Laura’s Lee’s. 

“Being out here in the middle of nowhere, I decided it would be difficult to survive just on selling gifts or food, so we combined them,” Laura said.

Travelers and locals stop to enjoy a delicious farm-to-table meal featuring locally grown beef from Laura’s farm and strawberries and tomatoes grown right outside the café. They can also shop for gifts, including Laura’s homemade baths, soaps and lip balms; dog treats; painted glass products created by a local artist; CDs and books by local residents; antiques; candles; teas and postcards made by a local photographer.

Popular menu items include Thursday’s fried chicken special and the bacon-avocado-jalapeno and whiskey burgers. Every Friday night is wild game night featuring burgers made from bison, elk, white tail deer and wild boars. 

In addition to being farm fresh, Laura bakes mostly from scratch.

“Everything is baked fresh here, including our hamburger buns,” Laura said. 

And, the café is well-known for its delicious pies, including the popular apple crumble pie and other old-fashioned favorites such as butter-milk pie, sour-cream raisin and rhubarb. 

Laura Lee's Famous Pies

The store’s hours change seasonally. Current hours are 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday and 8 a.m.-8 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays.

Laura Lee’s Double L Country Store & Cafe

2213 HWY 71, Harrisburg Nebraska

 

The Rustic Patch, Kearney  

Proud member since 2016

Sonya Griffith is bursting with creativity, and she opened The Rustic Patch in downtown Kearney to share her talents and to foster creative talents in others.

The Rustic patch is a retail store with a warm and cozy atmosphere that specializes in handmade items, including candles, primitives, signs, pillows, quilts, wreaths and other decor. The store currently features fun new fall décor and a new signature Nebraska game day shirt for cheering on the Huskers this season. 

The Rustic Patch Thankful Door Decal

“I usually try to search pretty hard to find something that you can’t find elsewhere in Kearney,” Sonya said of her store’s selections. Her consignors offer custom-made products that can be tailor made for special occasions, such as weddings, anniversaries or proposals. 

The Rustic Patch opened at its current location at 2110 Central Ave. in downtown Kearney just two years ago, but Sonya has been crafting for years. Friends often asked her to replicate or customize items they found at craft shows. So, Sonya had an idea.

“Maybe we should just make a place where girls could come in and paint their own,” Sonya said. “When you go into a craft supply store, it’s a little overwhelming to buy all those supplies that you may never use again.”

Rustic Patch Husker Door HangSo, in addition to the retail store, The Rustic Patch offers painting classes where groups or individuals can paint door hangs and other crafts. 

This fall’s painting classes include creating pumpkins, acorns, helmets and jerseys. Sonya is often busy with private parties, too, for bridal parties or birthdays for girls and women of all ages.

The store is open Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

The Rustic Patch also offers cooking classes featuring local chefs and talent.

The Rustic Patch

2110 Central Ave., Kearney Nebraska

 

Old Market Sundries, Omaha

Proud member Since 2005

When Jeff Jorgensen was researching ideas for a new store in Omaha’s Old Market, he surveyed existing business owners and customers for ideas.

He heard ideas like T-shirts, items made in Nebraska and other gifts. 

Old Market Sun Dries Husker Items

“All of a sudden, we realized they were asking for a hotel gift shop without the hotel,” Jeff said. “Not one of our hotels in downtown Omaha had a gift shop.” 

 So, he opened Old Market Sundries next to his Tannenbaum Christmas Store. Jeff said the definition of sundries is “items too numerous to list.” 

“And, I think that’s a pretty good description of what we have,” he said.

Jeff has been a member of GROW Nebraska since 2005 and has sold items created by other GROW members in his store throughout the years.

Prior to working in retail, Jeff worked for the Nebraska Department of Economic Development for 30 years. He has lived in Scottsbluff, Kearney, Lincoln and Omaha and has traveled to all 93 counties in the state. He now enjoys meeting customers from across the state at his Old Market stores and likes to surprise them with his knowledge of their small towns.

“Everyone from Omaha knows where Orleans is,” he jokes.

Jeff also enjoys meeting visitors from across the country and even the world who come to Omaha for concerts or events at the Century Link center or to visit the Henry Doorly Zoo or attend football, basketball, volleyball or hockey games.

They stop into Old Market Sundries to take home a little of Nebraska, whether it be a T-shirt, a postcard, a candle or something weaved out of wheat. 

Omaha Old market Sundries

“We definitely have the broadest selection of souvenirs for Omaha, Nebraska and even Iowa in the metro area,” he said. “Our prices are fair, so if you want a wide variety of things to look for, this is place.”

 What’s the most popular souvenir?

“People love magnets, ornaments and shot glasses,” Jeff said. “I think it’s because they are small.”  

It would be well worth the stop into Old Market Sundries just to visit with Jeff.

“This store turned out to be a fun hobby, and I should be retiring, but I’m just enjoying myself too much,” he said.

Hours are Monday-Thursday from 11 a.m.-8 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays from 11 a.m.-9 p.m. and Sundays from noon-5 p.m.

Old Market Sundries

506 S. 10th St., Omaha Nebraska

 

Rustic & Red, Cozad

Proud member since 2018

Tammy Paulsen and Cathy Pflaster operated a drive-through video rental service in Cozad for 18 years. 

Rustic & Red Store Owners CozadThen, their kids graduated from high school and moved on, and they had to make a decision: “Are we done, or are we going to go bigger?” 

They decided to go bigger, Cathy said.

Two years ago, they oversaw the construction of a 3,500-square foot barn-style building in downtown Cozad and opened Rustic & Red. Barn wood from a dilapidated barn on the Paulsen farm adorns the exterior. Rocking chairs on the front porch welcome shoppers to sit and rest awhile. And, Douglas Fir wood from the old Sumner-Eddyville-Miller gymnasium was repurposed as a wall on the interior of the store. High ceilings and wooden beams give this Cozad destination a spacious and rustic feel.

Rustic & Red Exterior of Gift Shop in Cozad

They still rent movies, but they now offer so much more.

Rustic and Red’s products include farmhouse style home décor (including Mud Pie dishes and Water Wick candles); women’s clothing (Liverpool, Kut from the Kloth and Tribal), Levi’s jeans, belts, watches and wallets for men; a section of baby and toddler toys and clothes (including Magnolia baby); gift and bridal registry items; specialty foods, dips and sauces; jewelry; essential oils; goat milk lotions; a faith section with journals, crosses and Bibles; and Husker items. 

Rustic & Red Interior of Store

 

On the third Thursday of each month, Rustic and Red hosts Sip and Shop where they have specials, serve food and beverages and often provide entertainment to shoppers for extended hours.

Rustic and Red’s hours are 10 a.m.-6 p.m.-Monday-Saturday (Third Thursday until 7 p.m.) 

Rustic & Red LLC

139 West 8th, Cozad Nebraska

 

Imagine That Scrapbooking and Artzy Haven, Columbus

Proud member since 2018

Kristin Stock has scrapbooked since she was a child. She remembers cutting out newspaper clippings with her grandma and organizing them in books and journals. Later, she took her own photos and continued scrapbooking. Then, her passion got put on the backburner as she helped launch a family business.

But, in 2015, Kathy had serious health issues that required a liver transplant. It caused her to reflect on her passion for creating. And, then the Artzy Haven scrapbook store came up for sale.

“I said you know what, this is a good time,” she said. “It’s time to do something for Kristin – something that I enjoy.” 

She purchased the store to keep it alive for her and for the other customers who frequent the store as a creative outlet.

“That love of preserving things and not to have them sit on a shelf where no one can see them is really important,” Kristin said. “Memories are important.” Artsy Haven Store Owners

Photo courtesy of Columbus Telegram

Imagine That Scrapbooking & Gifts is a craft, gift and scrapbooking supply store that features everything needed to preserve memories. It offers a large workspace that can be rented for creative art or scrapbooking nights. It includes use of a room full of tools and supplies.

The Artzy Haven is where wine and art classes are offered. 

Artzy Haven Interior Store“There’s so many things we can offer for the creative soul,” Kristin said. “Even if you don’t think you are creative, you might be surprised that you really are.” 

Classes offered at business include painting, drawing, mixed media, scrapbooking techniques, card making and Bible journaling.

Kristin explained that Bible journaling is an extension of faith that involves creating art in the margins of a special journaling Bible. 

“It’s taking God’s Word and illustrating it,” she said.

Imagine That Scrapbooking and Artzy Haven’s hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays.

Kristin said that a group of scrap bookers rents the space nearly every Friday night, and if they are there, the store is still open.

She encourages anyone with a creative soul to visit the store.

“It is definitely worth the trip,” she said. “Make a weekend out of it. Maybe plan an event in Artzy Haven with your girlfriends. Come have a nice meal in Columbus and hang out. Spend a whole weekend here.”

 

Artzy Haven LLC DBA Imagine That Scrapbooking & Gifts

1354 27th Ave., Columbus

 


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