Posts Tagged ‘families’

Bradshaw Couple and South Dakota Woman Win Grand Prizes in Nebraska Passport Program

Saturday, October 29th, 2011

Bradshaw Couple and South Dakota Woman

Win Grand Prizes in Nebraska Passport Program


OMAHA, NEB. (Oct. 20, 2011)—Craig and Sarah Eberle of Bradshaw, Neb., and Rhonda Tomlinson of Hot Springs, S.D., are grand-prize winners in the 2011 Nebraska Passport program. The Eberles and Tomlinson will receive an Apple® iPad™ valued at $800, in addition to prizes they earned while participating in the program, sponsored by the Nebraska Department of Economic Development’s (DED) Travel and Tourism Division.


Originally only one iPad™ was to be given away, but the overwhelming success of the program led the Division to extend the drawing to one Nebraska and one out-of-state entrant, according to Kathy McKillip, Travel and Tourism Division interim director. The program will continue in 2012.


The passport featured 33 attractions across the state and gave travelers the opportunity to win prizes while they explored Nebraska’s natural beauty and history.


Travelers’ souvenir passports were stamped at participating Nebraska attractions. They submitted tear-out sheets to Nebraska Tourism for prizes corresponding with the number of stamps obtained:

  • 11 stamps — Nebraska Passport T-shirt
  • 22 stamps — 25 GROW Nebraska gift card
  • 33 stamps — Bushnell binocular digital camera


For every 11 stamps submitted, participants received one entry into the grand-prize drawing. They also could submit a blog entry to for an extra entry in the drawing.


“Great for travelers and the state alike, this program helps travelers plan their vacations and encourages them to explore areas of Nebraska that may be unfamiliar to them,” McKillip said.


Overall, 308 travelers, including families, from 11 states submitted stamps for prizes and were entered into the grand-prize drawing. Of those entries, 75 went to all 33 participating stops and received all three prizes, 41 traveled to 22 or more stops, and 192 entries traveled to 11 or more stops.

Bed and breakfast offers guests a taste of farm living

Saturday, June 4th, 2011
Wednesday May 25, 2011
Bed and breakfast offers guests a taste of farm living
VIDEO: Ponderosa Lodge Farm and Bed and Breakfast in Lookout, WV offers a way for people to get back to nature, relax and learn about self sufficiency.
Daily Mail Staff

Craig Cunningham
Intern Rhianna Twomey, 18, of Portland, Maine, leads the way down the stairs to a rabbit hutch at the Ponderosa Lodge Farm Bed and Breakfast in Lookout, Fayette County. Twomey is followed by intern Emily Landis, 25, of Washington, D.C. Another intern, Sydney Cole, 20, of Portland, Maine, awaits the pair at the bottom of the stairs.

LOOKOUT – Guests at the Ponderosa Lodge, Farm and Bed and Breakfast can certainly take advantage of the serene mountain retreat to rest and relax, but the Fayette County lodge offers much more than picturesque vistas.

Guests can peruse the farm, work in the multitude of gardens or even help feed and water animals.

Ken Toney and his wife, Jorene Soto, moved to the lodge from the Washington, D.C., area in May 2005 hoping to find a place where they could escape the hectic pace of city life. And that’s what they found in the hills outside Fayetteville along U.S. 60.

The couple immediately fell in love with the 40-year-old lodge that had previously served as a bed and breakfast as well as a zoo in the 1970s, Toney said. And instead of using the place as a retreat for themselves exclusively, they decided to invite others to enjoy it.

“We bought this place to run as a bed and breakfast,” Toney said. “We always had the goal to turn it into a farm and group retreat.”

They wasted no time in attracting guests who wanted a little taste of what it’s like to live on a working West Virginia farm. The first patrons stayed at the lodge a couple of weeks after the couple arrived.

They rent the entire facility rather than by the room. Organizations such as church groups and corporations often rent the lodge for group retreats as do families wanting to secure the place for reunions, Toney said.

The lodge has 10 bedrooms and can sleep 32. A “great hall” where friends and family can gather is also available in the 10,000-square-foot facility.

A full kitchen is available, Toney said. Guests may do their own cooking or hire the couple to prepare meals.

The lodge has modern amenities such as wireless Internet service and cable television, and a nearby tower provides cell phone service to the area, Toney said. However, guests rarely spend their time hanging around the lodge using their computers or watching television.

That is because there is so much to do outside. The lodge sits on 16 acres of land just off the Midland Trail.

There is a large garden and smaller herb garden on the lodge grounds. Another large garden is about six miles down the road.

There are also fruit trees, strawberry beds and blackberry, raspberry and blueberry bushes. Animals such as goats, cattle and even turkeys can also be found.

“Most people come for the farm,” Toney said. “They want to get back to nature.”

And so far the educational experience offered at the lodge has generated a lot of interest, Toney said.

People staying at the lodge often work in the garden or help Toney take care of the animals, he said. They also like to walk through the woods or just sit on the porch and take in the sights.

“This is a safe place for parents to bring their kids and sit on the porch and watch them look at the animals or walk through the garden,” Toney said. “It’s very relaxing.”

Guests also can learn to garden or can vegetables, Toney said. Produce raised on the farm feeds guests and Toney’s family, he said. The produce is raised organically and the meat served on his table comes from the animals on his land.

Be a featured attraction in the 2011 Nebraska Passport Program

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

To:         Nebraska Travel and Tourism Industry

From:    Christian Hornbaker, Director, Department of Economic Development Travel & Tourism Division

Re:         Be a featured attraction in the 2011 Nebraska Passport Program

Those of you who attended the recent Nebraska Travel and Tourism Conference heard about the tremendous success of the 2010 Nebraska’s Byways Passport Program. In fact, the program was so well received that the DED Travel and Tourism Division is bringing it back in 2011 and opening it up to attractions across the entire state, not just the Byways.

For those unfamiliar with the program, the 2010 Nebraska’s Byways Passport Program encouraged travelers to visit attractions along the state’s nine scenic and historic routes. Participants could earn prizes by collecting stamps at designated stops.

The program received overwhelming support from visitors and the industry. According to a recent follow-up survey, the program dramatically increased visitor traffic to participating attractions.

Visitors said they traveled to places they wouldn’t have otherwise because of the Passport Program. Participants came from 18 states, and 120 travelers (with families in tow) went to all 27 stops, which involved traveling nearly 1,882 miles. In addition, the media attention attracted made it one of our most successful programs.

Every effort will be made to spread the stops across the state. To meet that goal, we are now accepting applications for featured attractions in the 2011 program. Previous passport stops are welcome to apply. We expect a large number of applications, so don’t be discouraged if you aren’t selected. We will encourage each location to promote the surrounding area and increase awareness of what else there is to see and do nearby.

To be considered as a featured destination in the 2011 Nebraska Passport Program, please use the application below. All applications are due by 5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 19.

Please email your completed application to Public Relations Coordinator Shannon Peterson at If you prefer to have the application in a Word document, send Shannon an email requesting the form.

All applicants will be notified as to whether or not they are selected for the program as soon as the selection process is complete. By submitting an application you agree to:

•             Have your attraction staffed by a person who can stamp passports during your listed business hours as well as highlight things to do in your area.

•             Positively promote the program by displaying materials—such as posters and passports—at your attraction.

•             Purchase the program membership for $100 if selected as a featured attraction. The fee includes the two stamps required to participate and marketing materials to promote your attraction and the program.


Name of attraction:


Mailing address:




Scheduled hours of operation for 2011:

Contact person’s name:

Contact person’s email:

If your attraction is closed (for whatever reason) is there an alternate location where tourists can go to get their passports stamped?

What will your attraction add to the Passport Program?

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