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Red Cloud: Willa Cather's Window to the World

Program Number: 16142RJ
Start and End Dates:
9/15/2014 - 9/19/2014;
Duration: 4 nights
Location: Red Cloud, Nebraska
Price starting at: $598.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Literature; History & Culture
Meals: 11; 4 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 4 Dinners    

Immerse yourself in the world of Pulitzer Prize-winning author Willa Cather. Hosting the nation's largest living memorial to an American author, the Cather Foundation in Red Cloud, Nebraska, opens a rare window into Willa Cather's life, times, history and writings. Analyze the literature of this significant American author as you explore the small Western town that influenced her work. Discuss Cather's short stories and novels with a university professor and premier Cather scholar, and discover destinations related to the pieces you examine.




Highlights

• Enjoy visits to the Willa Cather Memorial Prairie and nearly 20 historic sites around Red Cloud.
• Gain exclusive access to Cather artifacts and nationally designated historical buildings.
• Take in a performance and view the Willa Cather documentary, "The Road is All" at the Red Cloud Opera House.



Activity Particulars

An elevator is available in the Opera House; some stairs on field trips.



Coordinated by The Cather Foundation.




Red Cloud

The town of Red Cloud lies in the Lower Republican River Valley, its downtown a charming parade of Victorian facades giving way to streets of white-frame houses shaded by towering elms and maples. This small-town classic of heartland America is famous as the childhood home and frequent inspiration of Pulitzer Prize-winning author Willa Cather.



Accommodations
Comfortable motel near Opera House; RV park with hook-ups.

Road Scholar Instructors
These instructors are participating on at least one date of this program. Please note that changes may occur.
Tracy Tucker

Tracy Tucker joined the staff of the Willa Cather Foundation in 2012 as education director. She is a graduate of Kansas State University and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with degrees in American literature and creative writing, with a specialization in Great Plains studies. She regularly presents on topics related to literature and the environment, agrarianism, ecocriticism, and environmental ethics, as well as leading the Willa Cather Book Club.
 
Meals and Lodgings
   Green Acres Motel and RV Park
  Red Cloud, Nebraska 4 nights
 Green Acres Motel and RV Park
Type: Motel
  Description: Located exactly one mile from the Cather Foundation in the Red Cloud Opera House. Green Acres is also a stellar RV Park.
  Contact info: N Hwy 281
Red Cloud, NE 68970 USA
phone: 402-746-2201
  Room amenities: Private baths and linen changes daily. Smoking and non-smoking rooms are available. Rooms complete with cable TV, wireless internet, heating and air conditioning, and phone. Hot coffee and microwave are available in the lobby.
  Facility amenities: Green Acres offers a combination of single and double rooms, each featuring a private bathroom. All tub surfaces are covered with no-slip grips to ensure safety. Handicapped rooms are available at a nearby bed and breakfast. Smoking and non-smoking rooms are available.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Additional nights prior: Please call for prices Visit Red Cloud area attractions such as the Starke Round Barn and the Webster County Museum or browse the local shops such as Cather and Company Booksellers and Sweetwater Gallery.
  Check in time: 3:00 PM
  Additional nights after: Please call for prices Visit Red Cloud area attractions such as the Starke Round Barn and the Webster County Museum or browse the local shops such as Cather and Company Booksellers and Sweetwater Gallery.
  Check out time: 11:00 AM


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Check in between 4 and 5 p.m. at the Cather Foundation in the Opera House: 413 N. Webster Street. You will be staying at Green Acres Motel and RV Park that night.
  End of Program:
Your program ends after the morning class session--at noon. You will be staying at Green Acres Motel and RV Park the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required.
  Parking availability:
Free parking is available in front of the Opera House.
Transportation
To Start of Program
  Location:  Red Cloud, Nebraska
  Nearest city or town:  Hastings, NE
  Nearest highway: Intersection of Highways 136 and 281
  Nearest airport:  Eppley Airfield, Omaha NE
  From End of Program
  Location: Red Cloud, Nebraska
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details
 

Omaha International Airport (OMA)

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Car Rentals

 

Travel Time:

 

3 hours and 25 minutes 

 

Distance:

 

206 miles

   

There is no commercial ground transportation available as Red Cloud is a very remote location but very special and relaxing once you arrive. A car rental is required: Avis, Hertz, and Enterprise are available at the airport. Please visit the airport's website for a complete list and information on contacting the rental company that best suits your needs. The airport's website is www.flyoma.com/ If you would prefer to call, the best number for airport information is (402) 661-8017.

 

Lincoln Nebraska (LNK)

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Car Rentals

 

Travel Time:

 

2 Hours 25 Minutes 

 

Distance:

 

145 miles

   

There is no commercial transportation available as Red Cloud is remote. Car rental is available at the airport: Avis 1-800-331-1212 Budget 1-800-527-0700 Hertz 1-800-654-3131 National 1-800-227-7368 Alamo 1-800-462-5266 Enterprise 1-800-261-7331

 
Driving Directions
  Central NE Regional Airport - Grand Island, NE 1. Head north on Fairchild Ln toward Sky Park Rd 0.2 mi 2. Take the 3rd left onto Sky Park Rd 459 ft 3. Take the 1st right onto E Abbott Rd/Co Rd 39 1.0 mi 4. Take the 2nd left onto St Paul Rd 1.0 mi 5. Turn right onto E Airport Rd/Co Rd 37 1.0 mi 6. Continue straight onto US-281 S 28.5 mi 7. Turn right onto W J St 0.5 mi 8. Turn left onto US-281 S/S Baltimore Ave Continue to follow US-281 S 38.5 mi 70.8 mi total Willa Cather Foundation 413 N Webster Street Red Cloud, NE 68970
  Eppley Airport - Omaha, NE 1. Head northwest on Terminal Dr toward Abbott Dr 0.5 mi 2. Take the 1st right onto Abbott Dr 0.3 mi 3. Slight left at Storz Expy 2.3 mi 4. Merge onto US-75 S via the ramp on the left to I-480 3.2 mi 5. Merge onto I-480 S 1.9 mi 6. Take exit 452C-451 to merge onto I-80 W toward Lincoln/42nd St 140 mi 7. Take exit 312 to merge onto S US-281/US-34 toward Hastings 18.3 mi 8. Turn right at W J St/US-281/US-34/US-6 0.5 mi 9. Turn left at S Baltimore Ave/US-281 Continue to follow US-281 Destination will be on the right 38.5 mi 206 mi total Willa Cather Foundation 413 N Webster Street Red Cloud, NE 68970
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


Daily Schedule

Day 1: Check-in, Orientation and Mixer
(Monday, September 15)
   
 Arrive To: 4-5:00: Registration at the Cather Center, Red Cloud Opera House.
 Dinner: 5:00: Introductions and dinner in the Opera House Gallery.
 Evening: 7:00: After-dinner orientation.
   
Accommodations: Green Acres Motel and RV Park
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: My Antonia, and the Town Tour
(Tuesday, September 16)
   
 Breakfast: 8:00: Start the morning with a lovely breakfast in the Opera House Gallery.
 Morning: 9:00: Town tour of Cather related sites.
 Lunch: Picnic lunch at the Burlington Depot.
 Afternoon: 1:00: Course 1: My Antonia
 Dinner: 6:00: Dinner in the Opera House Gallery.
 Evening: 7:00: Entertainment: Willa Cather documentary "The Road is All" in the Opera House.
   
Accommodations: Green Acres Motel and RV Park
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: "Old Mrs. Harris," "Neighbor Rosicky," "A Wagner Matinee" and the Cather Country Tour
(Wednesday, September 17)
   
 Breakfast: 8:00: Breakfast in the Opera House Gallery.
 Morning: 9:00: Country tour of Cather related sites.
 Lunch: Lunch at one of the country tour sites.
 Afternoon: 1:00: Course 2: The Short Stories of Willa Cather
 Dinner: 5:45: Dinner in the Opera House Gallery.
 Evening: 7:00: Reading - The Selected Letters of Willa Cather
   
Accommodations: Green Acres Motel and RV Park
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Sapphira and the Slave Girl, Prairie, Banquet and Opera House performance
(Thursday, September 18)
   
 Breakfast: 8:00: Breakfast in the Opera House Gallery.
 Morning: 8:30: Course 3: Sapphira and the Slave Girl
 Lunch: Lunch in the Opera House Gallery.
 Afternoon: Guided prairie hike (for those who wish) or free time for those who would like to explore the town of Red Cloud on their own.
 Dinner: 6:00: Special last dinner in the Opera House Gallery.
 Evening: An evening of special entertainment.
   
Accommodations: Green Acres Motel and RV Park
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Cather Prairie and Farewells
(Friday, September 19)
   
 Breakfast: 8:00: Breakfast in the Opera House Gallery.
 Morning: 8:30: Course 4: The Archive
 Lunch: 12:00: Farewell
   
Meals Included: Breakfast

Free Time Opportunities
 
  Red Cloud, Nebraska Willa Cather Memorial Prairie
The Cather Foundation acquired the 608-acre Willa Cather Memorial Prairie in the spring of 2006 in order to restore and conserve the rare native grasses, plant life, and wildlife of its delicate ecology.

Noticeable changes since the acquisition include the removal of over 1300 non-native trees that inhibit the growth of indigenous plants such as the purple prairie clover, purple coneflower, big bluestem, and more. Cather’s beloved, native cottonwoods remain.

The area is classified as loess, mixed-grass prairie, which marks several transition points that create a unique location—one that brings together species at the southern edge of their range as well as those at the northern edge of their range. We estimate 250 (or more) reliant plant species, including the rare Fremont's evening primrose and Fendler's aster—both of which are potential candidates for "threatened" status by the Nebraska Natural Heritage Program.

We are trying to return this land to its pre-1900 conditions, a time before overgrazing, farming, and the encroachment of man and foreign plant species.

This restoration and conservation process is integral in fostering the mission statement of the Cather Foundation. The preservation of the Prairie is part of a holistic approach to the study of America’s art, history, and culture through the works of Willa Cather, who was a great champion of prairie lands. As John Bergson observes in O Pioneers!, “the land wanted to be left alone, to preserve its own fierce strength, its peculiar, savage kind of beauty, its uninterrupted mournfulness;” we strive to be a part of the land’s struggle back to itself.

The Willa Cather Memorial Prairie is home to a variety of beautiful bird species, and is recognized as a Nebraska Bird Site by the Nebraska Teaming with Wildlife Coalition. On the Prairie, bird watchers can view meadowlarks, upland pulvers, blue birds, assorted sparrows, grouse, turkeys, orchard orioles, and more. For additional information, visit www.nebraskabirdingtrails.com

  Webster County Museum
Located 6 blocks west of downtown Red Cloud, on Highway 136, the Webster County Museum is housed in a beautiful 1909 classic revival style brick mansion. The rich heritage of the early settlers of the county during the 1800s and early 1900s are depicted throughout the 4 floors.

A 1904 Rumley steam engine and a 1910 Case threshing machine, along with many other early day farming machinery are available for viewing.

  Stuhr Museum
Visit Stuhr Museum's living historic community. Nearly one hundred historical interpreters from four different states make the town their home for the summer, and show visitors what day-to-day living at the turn of the century was really like. Step into 1897 and watch villagers cook, do laundry, prepare for celebrations, play, and more. You'll also enjoy the Native American lodge and artifacts. For additional information, visit www.stuhrmuseum.org
  Cather Thematic District
Visit this website for a variety of interesting sites in and surrounding Red Cloud and Catherland. For additional information, visit www.nebraskahistory.org/histpres/nebraska/webster.htm
  Red Cloud Recreation
Visit Red Cloud for its esteemed, state-rated, 9-hole golf course, fishing, swimming, canoeing, and more. See the city's website for more information. For additional information, visit www.redcloudnebraska.com/index.htm
  Geographical Center of the United States
The geographic center of the 48 continental states is located just outside of Lebanon, KS. A stone podium and flagpole mark the site, which sits near a quiet farm. Here you'll find a nice picnic table for lunch or relaxation, and a small, charming chapel.
  Starke Round Barn
The Starke Round Barn located four miles east of Red Cloud is a cornucopia of significance. First the size of the barn makes it unique. At just under 40,000 square feet on 3 levels, it is believed to be the world’s largest true round bank barn. Built in 1902-03 it is representative of a type of barn that was most popular early in the 20th century. Although many round barns were built during this time, most have already succumbed to neglect and obsolescence. And no record exists of a barn similar in size to the Starke Round Barn. The barn represents an important era in Nebraska history. At the time the barn was built, agriculture was powered by horses, mules and men, but it was soon to change to mechanical power. Therefore, the barn is a symbol of a traditional way of life that has since given way to our modern way of life.
  Hastings Museum
The Hastings Museum brings to life the natural and cultural history of Hastings, Adams County, and the Great Plains of Nebraska. Founded by Albert Brooking in 1927, the museum connects Nebraska to the world and universe through educational programs, exhibits and films, and features the J.M. McDonald Planetarium, the hands-on Groundwater Discovery Adventure, and the Lied Super Screen Theatre, many species of animals set in their natural habitats including the world’s largest display of Whooping cranes, and chronicles the history of the early inhabitants of the Nebraska plains. For additional information, visit www.hastingsmuseum.org
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List


Collected Stories of Willa Cather


Author: Willa Cather


Description: Willa Cather's short fiction features some of her most poignant and memorable scenes. We will specifically read "Old Mrs. Harris," "Neighbor Rosicky," and "A Wagner Matinee," though other stories will almost certainly come up in our discussions. The Collected Stories take us from the Nebraska prairies to the High Plains of the West and back to the East Coast of Cather's later life.



My Antonia


Author: Willa Cather


Description: In this symphonically powerful and magnificently observed novel, Willa Cather created one of the most winning heroines in American fiction, a woman whose robust high spirits and calm, undemonstrative strength make her emblematic of the virtues Cather most admired in her country.



Sapphira and the Slave Girl


Author: Willa Cather


Description: In her final novel, Willa Cather departed from her usual Great Plains settings to plumb the turbulent relationships between slaves and their owners in the antebellum South. Sapphira and the Slave Girl is set in Virginia just before the Civil War. Sapphira is a slave owner who feels she has come down in the world and channels her resentments into jealousy of her beautiful mulatto slave, Nancy. Sapphira’s daughter Rachel, an abolitionist, opposes her mother’s increasingly shocking attempts to persecute Nancy. The struggles of these three strong-willed women provide rich material for Cather’s narrative art and psychological insight





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