By: Caylie Egger

A girl’s weekend is always a good idea! Whether you’re looking for a relaxing or eventful weekend, the Norfolk Area has a lot to offer. Take this guide to help you plan the perfect weekend that you won’t forget!

Where to stay?

Norfolk has a wide selection of hotels with a variety of amenities. Divot’s Lodge and Suites offers beautiful, countryside views and includes Norfolk’s only brewery. Experience their new Roof Top Terrace with tasty food, happy hour, and an outdoor patio with tabletop fireplaces. Spend a day relaxing by the pool and playing a game of miniature golf or sand volleyball. Don’t forget to pamper yourself at their new, full-service spa.

For a more inner-city hotel, I recommend the newly remodeled Holiday Inn Express. This updated hotel is a short drive to anywhere in Norfolk and has an excellent, hot breakfast. Next door is the Hampton Inn. The Hampton Inn is highly rated because of their helpful staff and comfortable beds. Down the street is Rodeway Inn which is walking distance to Big Red Keno and Buffalo Wild Wings. Not only is the location convenient, they are also praised for their clean rooms and friendly staff.

Where to eat?

Brunch is a must for the perfect girl’s weekend. Enjoy a roof top brunch at White Mulberry Bakery with homemade pastries and brewed coffee. Another local favorite is Black Cow Fat Pig. They offer a fantastic brunch with a variety of drinks including bottomless Bloody Mary’s. For a more city feel, try the Downtown Coffee Company. Their menu offers a variety of different sandwiches, pastries, and specialty coffee.

The best part of downtown Norfolk on the RiverPoint is that there’s a variety of locally owned restaurants. Napolis has the best Italian food that pairs great with their tasteful wine. Your girls will feel like they took a quick trip to Italy!  

You can never go wrong with margaritas from Leon’s. This authentic Mexican restaurant is best known for their happy hour and food. The atmosphere is the perfect way to start your night out.

What to do?

After grabbing a bite, take a stroll through downtown Norfolk on the RiverPoint where you can find clothing boutiques and our famous Magnolia’s. There’s no disappointment when it comes to shopping downtown because there’s a variety of styles and the customer service is phenomenal.

Is your group more artsy? Revitalized studio and Creatively Fired offer events or classes that make for a relaxing evening. Each studio has projects they specialize in from pottery to canvas painting. Book these classes in advance so you are guaranteed a spot! Did I mention that you can enjoy a few drinks while you create?

Nightlife

The O is the newest addition to Norfolk’s nightlife. Their rustic touch, fun games, and outdoor bar make it easy to have an entertaining night with the girls. Mel’s Lounge is another enjoyable bar that locals love. Their unique, signature drinks are delicious and popular.

Head back to downtown Norfolk for the Harbor Bar and 5th Street Tavern. Both bars are known for their creative décor and swanky vibes. I recommend these bars to any group who is looking for a quieter, laid-back night.

South of Omaha Avenue is the well-known Hank and Snooks Mint Bar. Get a shuffleboard game or a round of pool started after getting a drink. A fun tradition here is signing a dollar bill and hang it above the bar.

There’s so much to do in the town of Norfolk and, as you can see, it makes for a perfect weekend getaway with the girls. To see more of what is going on around the area, visit www.visitnorfolkne.com.

There are so many things to be grateful for when living in a growing community that still offers a lot of small-town living. There are signs of growth, diversity, and a feeling of home for those that live and visit here. This is a community in which people still say, “Hello” and wave to their neighbors and strangers alike. It’s also a place where people still grow a lot of their own food and share it with others. If you don’t have a neighbor or coworker with a garden large enough to feed the neighborhood, there’s no need to feel left out! This is a tasty time of year for many because there are fresh produce stands and markets throughout the community.

Walz Sweet Corn is grown local, just a couple miles west of Battle Creek. It began as a fun project nearly 8 years ago. It was started by the Walz family so they could teach their son about sales skills. They succeeded! The people they sell it to really took to the sweetness of their corn, so the family continues planting and selling. They plant a couple acres each year and pick the corn each day they set up their stand. That is the definition of FRESH! You can find the sign outside of Tilly’s on a variety of summer days. They sell their fresh picked, locally grown corn for only $6.00 a dozen.

Clinch Produce is locally grown at their family owned acreage in Madison. They are set up in the KFC Parking Lot and on East 275 in Norfolk. If you’re looking for Sweet Corn, Cantaloupe, Watermelon, Tomatoes, Cucumbers, and/or Onions stop and smell the freshness of their products. There is also a pride that comes from raising this produce. When you stop by either one of the stands any of the family members standing by will happily tell you about the work it takes to grow these farm fresh favorites to take to your table.

Kuper Farms is a small Country Market with locally raised meat and produce for sale. This small little market does not limit its variety of items on its shelves because of the stores size. There is a large variety of items to choose from. Kuper Farms makes bringing the farm to the table easy and convenient. Kuper Farms is also open all year round. It is located at 401 W. Omaha Avenue.  Here are the hours you can stop by to check out the day’s fresh cuts of meat, local grown produce, along with homemade soaps. Stop in Tuesday-Friday from 10:00am- 6:00pm and on Saturday from 10:00am- 4:00 pm.

The Farmers Market brings in garden enthusiast and crafters from all around the community. The number of places and times you can find The Farmer’s Market has increased to keep up with demand.  Norfolk Farmers Market is open 4:30- 6:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays at First Baptist Church and Saturday from 9 a.m. till 12 p.m. at The Sunset Plaza. This is a great place to gather and meet new people to share in stories, recipes, and gardening tips. You will also be able to find crafts from local artist and fresh homemade baked goods. As the market continues to grow so will the items that you can find there. If you’re interested in becoming one of the unique vendors at The Farmer’s Market, then message them on their Facebook Page: Norfolk Farmer’s Market.

The growing and sharing of produce has gone on for hundreds of years. It’s a way to show kindness to strangers and neighbors. It may never be admitted, but it’s also how farmers and garden enthusiast show off their harvest. Farming and gardening are a large part of our community that continues to be carried on from generation to generation. As our community continues to grow, it continues to take its small-town values and living with it.

The Madison County Fair is only once a year, but it leaves those that attend with memories that will last a lifetime. The sounds, the lights, the smells of the food vendors are all things that people look forward to and remember all year long. As you walk through the gates you will see people from all over the county and state with smiles and cotton candy mustaches. There are so many things that make The Madison County Fair the spectacular event that it is.

Each year D.C. Lynch puts together an assortment of rides and vendors for all aged fair enthusiast. There are some people that enjoy rides like the Zipper as they get tossed and turned in all directions and others enjoy the simplicity and romance of the Ferris Wheel. Not many kids can go passed the rides without reaching for their inner dare devil, wanting the thrill and excitement of the speed and lights. For the less adventurous there is a lot of joy brought upon by a funnel cake and walk through the midway. The carnival runs each day from 6p.m. to 11p.m. with the cost of wristbands being $25.00. Not a bad price for a night full of fun.

The food brought by local vendors, churches, and 4H groups is nothing to ignore. Even if you try, your nose won’t let you. The smells that come from the food vendors are almost intoxicating. Walking tacos, food on a stick, nachos and everything you can dream of cheating on your diet with is available at The Madison County Fair. Take a friend so you can try their food too. Here’s a list of this years vendors so you can make your list of “good eats.”

FOOD VENDORS

Chuck Wagon – Dippin Dots – Eat My Bloomers – Gators & Taters – Goody’s Grille – Hall Family Foods – Jim’s Kettlecorn – JoJo’s Gelato

Knights of Columbus –  Leon Mexican Restaurant – Madison Post Prom – Pizza Point Concessions – Smokin Like Ya Like It

– Taylor Made Catering – Trinity Lutheran Church – Vogel’s Street Treats

4-H

4H Exhibits are more than just crafts, flowers, and animals. The exhibitors that bring items in for judging have worked hard for months to make sure everything is just perfect. The livestock you see is raised, groomed, and trained by 4Hers from around the county. It’s a lot of work to get the exhibits ready so make sure to applaud exhibitors as they hold on proudly to their blue and purple ribbons. The crafts, photography, and homemade creations are each exhibitor’s own art pieces brought out to show fair goers. 4Hers take a lot of pride in their work and it shows. Their exhibits are a very special part of the fair whether it moos, can be worn, or was grown in the garden it was definitely brought to you with heart and pride. 

RODEO

“It’s cowboy hats, It’s spurs, and latigo It’s the ropes and the reins” Don’t forget to grab your boots and hats to head to Midstates Champion Rodeo. This will take place on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday starting at 7:30p.m. The rodeo is just as much a part of the fair as funnel cakes and Ferris Wheels. There’s never a dull moment! Be part of the crowd to cheer on those that ride and clown around in the dirt. 

MUSIC

This years line up of music will not disappoint. Two young and upcoming artist have been added to the line up of entertainment. Brett Young will start you off on Saturday July 12th. You can expect to hear some of his popular hits such as “In Case You Didn’t Know” and “Mercy.” He has a lot of feel good music for you to enjoy. The fun will keep going on Sunday July 13th with Chris Janson. Be ready for a real show when you get your tickets for this one! You can bring your lawn chairs but you’ll probably use your dancing shoes more. Money can’t buy happiness but it can buy you a ticket to see Chris Janson in concert which is pretty much the same thing. 

Make sure you don’t miss a minute of The Best Week in July!

CLICK HERE FOR A COMPLETE DAILY FAIR SCHEDULE