…it’s hard to even begin to describe what you’re missing.

In spite of the fact that Nebraska manages to pop up in just about every “Best Places” list that comes out, my home state is still one of the best kept secrets in the United States. Think I’m exaggerating? Take a look for yourself.

Lincoln, Nebraska ranked #3 on the list of the 6 Best Cities for Starting Over in 2012 http://finance.yahoo.com/news/6-best-cities-for-starting-over-in-2012.html

Lincoln, Nebraska ranked #22 on a list of America’s 50 Best Cities http://images.businessweek.com/slideshows/20110920/america-s-50-best-cities/slides/30

Lincoln, Nebraska ranked one of the 10 Best Places to Retire and one of the 10 Best Places to Launch a Second Career by US News and World Report http://money.usnews.com/money/retirement/articles/2011/10/17/the-10-best-places-to-retire-in-2012?PageNr=2

Lincoln, Nebraska ranked #3 on the list of 10 Best Cities for Babies by Parents Magazine http://www.parents.com/parenting/money/buy-a-house/the-10-best-cities-for-babies/?page=4

Lincoln, Nebraska, ranked #1 Healthiest City in 2008 by WebMD http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/news/20081117/healthiest-us-city-lincoln-neb

Lincoln Nebraska is one of the Top 10 Cities to Buy a Home in 2011 http://abcnews.go.com/Business/ConsumerNews/real-estate-best-cities-buy-home-2011/story?id=12761929#.Tv1RhZg3R5h

Lincoln, Nebraska ranked #19 on the 2011 Best Cities to Live in For Families by Parenting.com http://www.parenting.com/article/2011-best-cities-to-live

According to a recent Gallup Poll, Lincoln ranked #2 on the 10 Happiest Cities in the US in 2011 http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505123_162-41142308/the-10-happiest-and-saddest-cities-in-the-us/

Lincoln, Nebraska ranked #4 on a list of 100 Best Places to Raise Kids http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/33385798/ns/today-parenting_and_family/t/best-places-raise-kids/#.Tv1TVZg3R5g

Lincoln, Nebraska ranked #3 on Allstate’s list of Safest Driving Cities in the US http://news.yahoo.com/lincoln-neb-named-third-safest-driving-city-united-200600540.html

And here is a list of a few other recent rankings… http://www.lnkup.org/resources/dyn/files/218955zd7526e5/_fn/Rankings.pdf

All those awards, and that’s just Lincoln. Travel outside the capital city limits and you’ll find the rest of the state to be just as inviting. In fact, in 2009, Nebraska was named the #1 Happiest State in the US. http://www.mainstreet.com/article/moneyinvesting/news/happiness-index-nebraska-nabs-top-spot

There’s just something about Nebraska.

Yes, I’m standing on a bit of a soapbox tonight and bragging up my home state. I’m sorry, but I can’t help it. On days like these, I’m just really proud of where I’m from.

See, it was a little thing that got me started today. Steven and I were up in the office this afternoon, getting some work done while Cadence was napping. I’m finally hitting the home stretch with the wedding photos I’ve been working on, and Steven was doing some work on his old computer.

Then, the doorbell rang. Steven headed downstairs to answer it.

I couldn’t really make out what anyone was saying, but there was a 5 or 10 minute conversation before Steven closed the door and came back upstairs carrying this little gift back and card…

A couple named Rob and Tammy stopped by to drop it off. They live just a couple doors down, and wanted to welcome us to the neighborhood.

At that point, I was kicking myself for not going downstairs to greet them, but when the doorbell rang, I’d assumed it was just the UPS or FedEx man dropping off a package or something. I’ll have to stroll down to introduce myself to Rob and Tammy, and to thank them for the sweet note and the bag full of goodies they delivered today.

We have officially lived in our new house for a month, and we have been greeted by and talked to three of our new neighbors.

I love that.

In a world that is becoming increasingly isolated, it is nice to move to a new place and immediately start connecting with other people in the community. That’s one of the things I love most about Nebraskans–we enjoy getting to know each other. We will strike up conversations with strangers in line at the grocery store. We will wave to people we don’t even know when we’re driving down the highway. We will invite someone in for a cup of coffee and think nothing of spending an hour or two lost in good conversation. While the rest of the world is always hurrying, hurrying, hurrying to get onto the next thing, we would rather take the time to enjoy the moment, and the good company.

So tonight, you’ll just have to indulge me as I dedicate this blog to the place that I believe should grace the top spot on every list of Best Places, because there is no place like Nebraska. And there are no better people than the ones that call Nebraska home.

About the Author Lori Romano

I am a writer, photographer, wife, mother, dog owner, half-assed housekeeper and a self-proclaimed coffee and chocolate addict. One day, I will write a book.

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