A Day in Paradise

Everybody deserves a day in paradise–at least once.

Last weekend my daughter and I headed to Long Pine, Nebraska for a mini vacation in the Sandhills. Tucked away in a wooded valley near the edge of town is a cluster of cabins called Hidden Paradise—a perfect name for this little gem of a community.

creekHidden Paradise is unique in that Long Pine Creek twists and curves among the cabins reminding me of a lazy river at a water park, though this ride was created by God.

When my daughter first asked me to go floating with her, I’ll admit I was a tad nervous since I don’t swim and the resort doesn’t supply life jackets.

“What if I tip over?” I asked her.

“Stand up,” she answered.

Well, all righty then. If the water is shallow, I’m game. I agreed to the float and am so glad I did.

The first morning at the cabin was a bit on the chilly side, but being the brave soul that I am, I agreed to a mid-morning float. (The real reason was I didn’t want to look like a complete weenie in front of my daughter. But I’m sure the ear warmers I wore took care of that. Hey, don’t laugh. I have very sensitive ears. I can’t help it.) Fortunately for both of us, we had the creek to ourselves so no one noticed my fashion faux pas. I hope.

sand-hillsSo anyway, we grabbed our inner tubes and traipsed to the launch area and settled into the chilly water for a relaxing float down the clear, bubbling, sandy bottom creek. We bobbled along with the current, twisting and turning around the curves of the creek, floating beneath foot bridges that linked cabins to properties on the other side. As we floated along I gazed up at the Sandhills and overhanging trees. Decorative flags fluttered from cabin decks and flowering plants graced porch rails. Wild flowers and grasses sprouted along the sandy banks. Aah. A little piece of heaven.

(BTW, since my middle name is not Grace, I did manage to tip myself over getting out of the tube at the end of the float. So as I held my head above the water, I remembered my daughter’s advice and stood up. Hmm, that wasn’t so bad. The water was only knee deep.)

long-pine-creekWe floated a couple of more times that day and by afternoon the day had warmed up nicely. Thankfully we had one nice day on the water since the next day the temps didn’t get out of the 60’s, so we spent time hiking in a nearby park.

Hidden Paradise also boasts a very cool old railroad bridge transformed into a pedestrian bridge which makes an ideal spot to star gaze on clear nights. Though it’s a bit weird walking the bridge in the dark, it is an awesome experience.

railroad-bridgeWe spent our third and final day reading and watching chick flicks. A girl never outgrows George Strait in “Pure Country” or “Anne of Green Gables.”

So, that in a nutshell, is how I spent my days in Paradise, and I can’t wait to go again.

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Shari Barr

Shari Barr lives on a farm in southwest Iowa with her husband and they have a grown son and daughter. Her most recent fiction titles include four "McKenzie" books in the Camp Club Girls series for middle grade girls.

10 thoughts on “A Day in Paradise”

  1. That sounds like so much fun! I’m so glad you have a daughter to do these kinds of things with, ear muffs or not. And I would’ve been right beside you on the ear muffs. We would’ve started a new fashion trend.

    1. Hidden Paradise is the perfect name for this place. You couldn’t find it if you didn’t know it was there.

  2. Ahh, don’t you love this special moments with your daughter! Sounds like a wonderful place to get away.

  3. Looks and sounds absolutely peaceful & restful! The location. The company. There’s nothing like spending time with your daughter, is there? And I love floating – or as we call it – tubing down a creek or river. So very relaxing, and you get to see a side of nature you don’t see from the land.

    1. It was one of the coolest places I’ve ever seen. The people were so friendly and it was such a relaxing time. Sometimes we just need to get away to a place like this.

  4. I’d be sitting on the porch of that cabin reading while you floated by. I’d wave of course, if I could pry my eyes away from the page. And I might chuckle at your earmuffs, but in a friendly you-go-girl-you-fashion-trender-you kind of way. 🙂 Sounds like the perfect getaway.

    1. By afternoon several people were sitting on their decks and porches waving and talking to us, though I’d already packed my ear warmers away by then. (Though they could have been laughing at me behind their curtains earlier in the day.) It was a great getaway, I will admit.

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