Pioneers Park

Sweet Tooth? Eat C and L Dairy Sweet.

One of my favorite things to do in Lincoln during the summer is eat ice cream. There are a lot of great places to get ice cream such as the UNL Dairy Store on east campus or just take your pick of several Culver's scattered throughout the city. A new place called Breezy Island Ice in the Railyard has delicious shaved ice; you can even get ice cream at the bottom of the bowl!

But for me, C and L Dairy Sweet takes the cake (or maybe I should say cone). A cherry malt always hits the spot after outdoor activities in Pioneers Park down the road or after eating at Lee’s Chicken across the street. I often see youth sports teams and their families enjoying a tasty treat after playing an evening game.

When I visited C and L today it wasn’t too busy, but on Tuesdays and Wednesdays the parking lot always overflows. There’s a good reason for that. Those are the only two days you can get the special lemon ice cream they make. My family tries to keep an extra quart in the freezer for special occasions, such as birthdays or Saturdays.

This classic old-fashioned outdoor ice cream and grill joint has been at the corner of Coddington and W Van Dorn for over 30 years! Our city has changed and grown around it, but C and L Dairy Sweet has remained one of the tastiest landmarks in the southwest corner of Lincoln.

Photo Credit: Robyn Lee

Things We Love About Lincoln: Pioneers Park

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy downtown Lincoln and think it offers a nice array of restaurants, bars and activity.  I like that it’s compact and you can pretty much walk anywhere you want within the downtown area.  It may not be huge, but there are enough really good spots that I’m happy going back to again and again.  

But what I really love about living in Lincoln is how easy it is to get out in the middle of nowhere, even on the outskirts of the city.  A good example is Pioneers Park.  It has pretty much everything a good park should have--playground area and ballfield, shaded running trails, cool sculptures, lake with ducks, sledding hill, and lots of open grassy space.  It also has things most parks don’t have -- a live herd of buffalo, extensive nature center, giant Indian statue, golf course, outdoor concerts, and a windblown stretch of prairie.  

Briefly put, Pioneers Park and the surrounding area has never let me down.

It also has terrain.  Meaning, you can stand on a hill above the trees and see sunsets, or lie on the grass and see stars.   And it’s a pretty big park, so it’s not too hard to find solitude there, if that’s what you’re looking for.  

For the runners out there, this is a perfect park for you to do that “hilly” run that shows up on your training schedule.  Where else in town can you get in a good scenic six-mile run without backtracking or running in a dizzying circle?  

A quick word of warning about the wildlife--they have been known to roam freely, on occasion. Watch out for frogs during certain parts of the summer.  When they leave their nursery pond and make the arduous trek through the fence and across the road to the swampy area nearby, it takes more than the average defensive driving to avoid them.  I’ve also had a chance encounter with a giant snapping turtle wandering up the hill from his pond.  Rest assured, he will only go to the effort of snapping at you if you get in his face. Fortunately, the buffalo and the elk seem pretty content with their habitat.

If you’re looking for fun stuff to do with a group of friends, there’s that too!  The Pinewood Bowl outdoor concert series has picked up in the last few years, drawing some great bands like Counting Crows, My Morning Jacket, Alice in Chains, and the Lumineers, to name a few.  

The park is quite happily situated across Van Dorn Street from Lee’s Chicken, a fine home-style fried chicken restaurant with lots of country charm (and tasty food!)  During the summer, C and L Dairy Sweet is open on the same intersection, for all your ice cream and slushee needs.  

Briefly put, Pioneers Park and the surrounding area has never let me down.  There is so much more to love about Lincoln, but for anyone else who sometimes feels the need for space, now you know of one really good place to get a lot of it.

Photo Credit: Valerie Jensen

Lincoln, Let's Celebrate Mom


Happy Mother's Day.

Mother's Day is this coming Sunday. In Lincoln, there are a few events this Mother's Day worth mentioning:

  • The Center for People in Need is hosting a special event Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. which will allow low-income children ages 2 to 18 to choose gifts for their mothers. Volunteers will help wrap the gifts and make Mother's Day cards.

  • The Lincoln Children's Zoo is giving mothers free admission or one free train ticket on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. to commemorate their special day.

  • The Pioneers Park Nature Center will host a Mother's Day breakfast and bird walk from 8-10 a.m. Sunday. Afterward, there will be a breakfast of rolls, fruit and beverages. Call 402-471-7895 for more information.


How Exactly Did Mother's Day Begin?

Mother's Day is this Sunday. This popular holiday is celebrated throughout the world, at different times of the year, and in different ways.

The holiday has its early roots in ancient Greece and Rome, where citizens honored the mother goddesses Rhea and Cybele.

Great Britain and other parts of Europe recognized “Mothering Sunday,” where people would return to their 'mother church' during Lent for a special service. Over time, this celebration became more secular, with children presenting their mothers with flowers and various gifts. This tradition faded in popularity, until the advent of the American version of Mother's Day.

The holiday we celebrate today originated with Anna Jarvis, who evolved her mother Ann Reeves Jarvis' 'Mother's Day Work Clubs,' an organization with the goal of teaching mothers to properly care for their children, and 'Mother's Friendship Day,' which organized mothers to promote reconciliation between the North and South during Civil War times.

Anna Jarvis achieved financial backing from department store owner John Wanamaker in 1908 to organize and promote the first Mother's Day celebration at a West Virginia church. On the same day, thousands gathered at Wanamaker’s store in Philadelphia to celebrate this new holiday.

After a tireless letter writing campaign to newspapers and politicians to argue for a special day to honor motherhood, by 1912, many states had adopted Mother's Day as an annual holiday. In 1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed a decree officially declaring Mother's Day the second Sunday in May.

Ironically, as the Mother's Day holiday became more popular, and ultimately more commercialized, Jarvis denounced the holiday and campaigned to have it stricken from the calendar.

As Jarvis' last efforts were not successful, Mother's Day is immensely popular, and is recognized in both secular and religious ways. In the United States, giving mom flowers and gifts, and treating her to a meal are common. In churches, mothers are sometimes recognized with a single flower, and some use it as a time to dedicate children.

Photo Credit: Anne Roberts