Six Fantastic Holiday Light Shows Not To Be Missed

    Holiday Lights Extravaganza Tour

    Location: New York, NY (Midtown)

    Dates: Tours run now through December 31, 2022

    Details: If you’re planning a trip to the Big Apple this season, book a guided walking tour to ensure you have a front row seat to the incredible displays that light up Midtown. Starting off at Herald Square, the 3–4-hour tour will take you down Fifth Avenue, where you’ll view over-the-top attractions from the high-end retailers before heading to the iconic Rockefeller Center. Adorned with over 30,000 lights and topped with a 9.5-foot-wide Swarovski crystal star, the Christmas Tree is a sight that will put everyone in the holiday spirit. To ensure you’re in the center of the action, book a stay at the Martinique New York on Broadway, conveniently located 3 blocks away from the tour’s meeting point.

    Luminaria Tour with ABQ RIDE

    Location: Albuquerque, New Mexico

    Dates: Entire month of December Details: Luminaria Tour: Take a magical ride with ABQ RIDE on its Luminaria Tour. Enjoy this annual New Mexican tradition without worrying about parking, driving through snow, or traffic delays. The tour, which begins and ends at the Albuquerque Convention Center, takes approximately 45 minutes and travels through Old Town and the nearby neighborhoods.

    The Country Christmas at Ingleside Hotel

    Location: Pewaukee, Wisconsin

    Dates: The Country Christmas Package is available select nights November 25, 2022 – January 1, 2023.

    Details: Nestled in the heart of Southeastern Wisconsin is a holiday destination steeped in festive tradition. Each year, The Ingleside Hotel is transformed into a winter wonderland called Country Christmas. The hotel is home to Wisconsin’s largest drive-through Christmas lights display, with over a million lights along a mile-long trail over 40 acres of woodland. The Ingleside Hotel also features other holiday-themed attractions, such as Christmas wagon rides, a Christmas village and Streets of Bethlehem exhibit where it features nearly life-sized Fontanini nativity characters. The hotel offers a Christmas Getaway package which includes overnight accommodations, tickets to Country Christmas, a large pizza, hot chocolate and cookies. 

    The Tree at Christmas at Union Station (The Durham Museum) 

    Location: Omaha, NE

    Dates: November 24, 2022 – January 8, 2022

    Details: Home to the largest indoor Christmas tree in the region, Christmas at Union Station is back for another year of holiday cheer. The tree serves as the centerpiece of the museum’s Christmas at Union Station celebration. It’s part of a long-standing tradition dating back to the 1930s. Decades ago, Union Pacific would harvest a tree from the pacific northwest and bring it on a train to Union Station, which is now the Durham Museum. It’s a tradition the museum is happy to continue and why Union Pacific workers still harvest the Omaha tree each year. Families come experience the magic of the region’s largest indoor Christmas tree, learn about holiday traditions from Omaha and around the globe.

    Winterlights at Newfields

    Winter Lights Grounds and Gardens Winter 2017

    Location: Indianapolis, IN

    Dates: Open Daily from 5pm to 9pm, November 20, 2022 – January 8, 2023

    Details: Featuring more than one and a half million lights, visitors can experience the warmth and wonder of the holiday season as they explore a world of lights at Newfields. Sip on some hot apple cider or hot cocoa and devour some sweet treats while taking in the dazzling displays. For those interested in an elevated experience, the premier package includes festive blinky lights, holographic glasses, a non-alcoholic drink ticket and a light snack.

    Discovery Park of America’s “Let It Glow” light show

    Location: Union City, TN

    Dates: Open daily 5-9pm, November 11, 2022 – December 30, 2022 (closed Nov. 24 and Dec. 24 & 25)

    Details: See 1+ million bright (holiday) lights synchronized to festive tunes at  Discovery Park of America’s “Let It Glow” light show, the largest light show you’ll find in northwestern Tennessee. Grab some hot cocoa, the kids, and have yourself the perfect festive family night strolling (or driving-thru) 50 acres of the heritage park. With new routes opening this holiday, the family friendly environment is a neat way to experience Christmas light displays near Nashville. 

    Holiday Lights at Conner Prairie

    Location: Fishers, IN

    Dates: Entire Month of December

    Details: Get wrapped up in the warmth of the holidays at Conner Prairie’s A Merry Prairie Holiday, with thousands of sparkling lights, breathtaking rides, and enchanting performances.

    Take a spin on the Holiday Trolley around Carmel’s entertainment districts where you can shop your heart out at the Art & Design District and Carmel City Center

    Cooking the Perfect Omaha Steak

                What other major American city besides Omaha is defined by one specific food? No, we couldn’t think of one either, meaning when it happens, you know it’s got to be the best. And so it is with Omaha and steaks and the company who put them all together–Omaha Steaks. Long known for producing tender, tasty, grain-fed, hand-cut steaks, Omaha Steaks also is a fine purveyor of seafood, pork, lamb, chicken and such starters and sides as Filet Mignon Pastry Bites, Steakhouse Cauliflower Au Gratin and Mini-Lobster Grilled Cheese.

                As a serious carnivore, I was extremely lucky–and enthused–when asked to join a group of food and travel writers in a Zoom tour of the Omaha food scene where city’s famed steaks reign supreme. The webinar, organized by Visit Omaha’s Director of Communications, Tracie McPherson, was also sponsored by Omaha Steaks. Designed to introduce us to the city’s food scene, we met (virtually, of course) three of the city’s best chefs who shared tips and recipes on how to prepare what are considered the best of the best when it comes to quality meat.

                But first a little history.

                During the webinar, we learned that Omaha beef history dates back to 1862 when a Wyoming rancher asked a group of Omaha businessmen to consider creating a stockyard. Though it ended up being a boon for Omaha,  the rancher had a mercenary motive as well.  Western ranchers sending their cattle to the Stockyard Exchange Markets needed a place to feed and water their cattle as they made their way east. Omaha, located right on the banks of the Missouri River, was bountiful in corn and grass making it perfect for plumping up the cattle ensuring a higher price. Besides that, the city also was a growing transportation hub as the Union Pacific Railroad was expanding west making it perfect for a stockyard. So perfect that by 1890, Omaha Union Stockyards were ranked third in the United States for production. By 1910, the operations had 20,000 animals arriving daily. It was more than feeding and watering the cattle on their way to east coast markets, Omaha had become the market.

    Photo courtesy of Visit Omaha.

    And now the chefs and their steak preparation methods.

    We met Chef Nick Strawhecker, owner/chef of Dante, who who trained in Europe and specializes in authentic, wood-fired Neapolitan pizza and rustic Italian cuisine. Cultivating relationships with growers and producers throughout the Midwest, his menu is seasonally driven. He also owns one of the few restaurants in the country that has pizza certified by the Italian Government.

    Photo courtesy of Dante.

    Dante– Chef Nick Strawhecker

    Steak Cut: 20 oz. Bone-in Ribeye

    Steak Preparation

    • Temper steak for about two hours, prefer room temperature
    • Season with fresh cracked black pepper and diamond crystal salt
    • Prepare in a hot cast iron pan with olive oil
    • Placed steak in wood-fired oven
    • Internal temperature of steak should read 115 degrees to 120 degrees (rare to medium rare)
    • Let steak rest then cut across grain

    The steak sandwiches are  served with a variety of condiments like Fresh mushrooms, pickled vegetables, different sauces etc. Very versatile that can feed a crowd.

    Chef Nick’s Tip: At home, the key is a good cast iron skillet that you preheat on a stove, oven or grill.

    Jake Newton photo courtesy of V. Mertz.

    Chef Jake Newton of V. Mertz learned to cook from his mother and after high school, attended Johnson & Wales University in Denver before moving to Europe where he worked and dined in some of the world’s best restaurants. Now he’s head chef for V. Mertz, part of Omaha’s culinary scene for more than 40 years, which is ocated in Omaha’s historic Old Market Entertainment District.

    Steak: Boneless Ribeye

    Courtesy of V. Mertz.

    Steak Preparation

    • Start with a very dry steak by removing all of the moisture
    • Season with a liberal amount of salt and cracked black pepper
    • Sear steak on the hottest service possible to create that crust and caramelization on the steak.
    • Once steak has the nice exterior crust, let it rest for 5-7 minutes, the goal is to cool the external temperature to be less than what you desire the internal temperature.
    • Finish steak in a hot oven (450 degrees) for about 5 minutes (depending on your oven) until you reach desired internal temperature
    • Final resting period is around 15 minutes

    Chef Jake’s Tips: 

    • Use canola oil in pan, it heats nice and hot
    • Move pan to another hot spot to keep the temperature of the pan high

    Kitchen Table

    Colin and Jessica Duggan of Kitchen Table.

    According to our presententer, that Chef Colin Duggan and his wife Jessica, owner of Kitchen Table, make the kind of food that changes the way you eat. Before moving back to Omaha to open their restaurant, the couple spent time in San Francisco perfecting their culinary skills. Kitchen Table’s menu changes almost daily and is full of locally-raised seasonal food. Almost everything, including bread and jam, is made in house. The crew makes a Snack Mix of house bacon, candied nuts, and house popcorn that should come with a warning: highly addictive.

    Steak Cut:  Teres Major (very versatile and large enough to have several servings)

    Made three meals – breakfast, lunch and dinner

    • Trim silverskin of the steak but leave some of the fat
    • Prepare pan with butter and herbs (unintelligible due to connectivity)
    • Season steak with in-house seasonings
    • Use very hot cast iron pan to create sear and crust on steak
    • Breakfast
      • Cook eggs and vegetables on grill. Seasons with oil after cooking to absorb flavor
    • Lunch
      • Steak salad with housemade Greek Goddess dressing and Kitchen Table seasoning
    • Dinner
      • Jerk Spiced steak with marinated tomatoes
      • Same Cooking method for steak
      • Use reductions to accompany steak

    Chef Colin’s Tip:  Season steak up to 12 hours prior to cooking to infuse maximum flavor

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