McCook, Barnett Park

36 Hours Project

Inviting visitors to spend 36 Hours in rural Nebraska

You can do and see a lot in 36 hours, especially in rural Nebraska.

That’s the premise behind Nebraska Rural Living’s latest project, a web site and marketing campaign encouraging city dwellers to visit southwest Nebraska to experience nature, recreation, art, history, delicious food and low-density living.

“Spending 36 hours in this area is an exotic and unique experience for people more accustomed to large cities,” said Betty Sayers, Nebraska Rural Living founder and 36 Hours project leader.

Nebraska Rural Living’s 36 Hours highlights the small town charms and amenities of Arapahoe, Cambridge and McCook. In these small communities, visitors can delight in historic trails, art, bicycling and walking trails, golf courses, lakes, rivers and streams, scenic outlooks, birding, camping and boating, historic buildings and unique restaurants.

Extending the reach of rural living

Nebraska Rural Living was founded on the idea of marketing the very real benefits of rural life. The site has been sharing rural success stories, essays and Rural Foodie adventures with readers for more than a decade. But now Nebraska Rural Living is branching out into a multi-media project to entice urban visitors to spend a weekend in rural Nebraska.

McCook, Norris Ave.

The 36 Hours project was modeled after the New York Times 36-Hour weekly travel feature that tells readers “what to do when you’ve got 36 hours to get to know a city.” Major world cities like Chicago, Dubai and Mexico City have been featured in the Times articles throughout the years.

Thanks to a grant from the Nebraska Department of Tourism and matching dollars from the three Nebraska communities, 36 Hours is now in rural Nebraska.

Just like the New York Times features, the 36 Hours project features a video showing the historic downtowns, lush green golf courses, lakes and other amenities in the three featured Nebraska communities, along with many suggestions on how to design 36 hours of fun.

Whether visitors are seeking an easy family weekend getaway or a quiet relaxed setting to renew and refresh, the site offers adventures for all ages. Ad campaigns have begun in magazines and through social media. The focus is on exposing those in larger cities to the tourism, treasures and treats hidden in rural Nebraska.

“We want to introduce 36 Hours tourists to our small towns and the benefits of low-density living,” Sayers said. She explains low-density living as having fewer people and more miles between people.   “We believe that small means delicious, sparkly, adventurous and far from normal.”

360° view in 36 hours

Sayers and videographer Kim Woods explored the area from all angles to give visitors an inside look at what makes these communities so inviting for a weekend trip. Swoop over a lake, get up close and personal with a bronze buffalo, or stroll along Main Street. Nothing is overlooked.

filming 36 hours project
filming 36 hours project

Visitors can tailor their experiences to their interests and spend the night camping, or stay in a hunting lodge, bed-and-breakfast or motel.

The web site lists specific restaurants that visitors might enjoy, such as the restored and historic Cunningham’s Feed Bakery Grill and Bar in Arapahoe, the quaint and welcoming Shirley K’s in Cambridge and the well-known Sehnerts Bakery and Bieroc Café in downtown McCook.

In addition to providing ideas for activities, 36 Hours includes easy-to-follow maps with GPS coordinates for families who have never traveled in the rural west.  Take a look. You’ll be surprised at how much you can find in 36 hours.

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Nebraska Rural Living

Nebraska Rural Living’s mission is to market the very real benefits of a rural lifestyle. We highlight the amenities of rural communities and spotlight successful entrepreneurs, who make good livings, free of the stress of urban environments.

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