With the Thanksgiving break approaching, it is time to make the annual trek home to Blair, Nebraska. A small town not unlike Maryville, Missouri, and is a little gem hidden amongst a circle of hills in western Nebraska.
Like most small towns, it has a general atmosphere of home and truly is a place where almost everyone knows your name. Which also results in you running into at least one person you know when you go to the store.
Blair was platted in 1869 when the Sioux City and Pacific Railroad was extended to that point. It was named for railroad magnate John Insley Blair, who was credited with bringing the railroad to town. Within the town’s first year, Blair was designated county seat and was incorporated as a city in 1872.
This gives any visitor a glimpse into the history of the railroad in the historical sites located throughout the town. These range from the brick roads on South Street to the historical buildings that comprise downtown. It is a town that has thrived off of its history and it provides visitors with that history every chance they get.
While a small town, Blair still has the typical stores like Wal-Mart and Pizza Hut.
It is home to a number of unique family run businesses as well. One of those businesses is Hoshi Palate an Asian fusion restaurant located in the heart of downtown Blair. The restaurant is one of many unique businesses in Blair which range from sushi restaurants to craft stores with puns for names like Tighe it with a Bow.
This is a great place to visit if you are wanting to support small family-run businesses and spur the local economy. While there is a decent amount of shops to visit, there is not much to do unless you want to walk around Wal-Mart for a couple of hours.
While there is not much to do in terms of activities, the one thing that puts Blair above places like Omaha, Nebraska, is its connection to nature and the Missouri River.
Blair hosts the state arboretum and is home to a number of parks that are designed for just about anyone. One of the highlights is Black Elk Neihardt Park which is named for Black Elk and John Neihardt respectively. It sits atop the tallest hill in the town.
While this small town is nice to visit, it is not a place I want to stay for a long time. It lacks the necessary things to make people want to stay. It is a great place to live and raise a family, but it is not conducive for a single person to effectively maintain an effective social life and have enough opportunities for employment and growth in an industry.
I love to visit Blair and see my family, but at the same time I am just as happy to leave it all behind and come back here to Maryville where I have so many opportunities to expand and experience new things. While going home is nice, growing up in the same town for 21 years has made it impossible to find anything new to do in my free time.
So overall great place to visit, but not a great place to stay for an extended time. Go for the food, small businesses and nature but leave for the fun stuff in the bigger cities.