From an afternoon of downtown shopping to a quiet night out, and from
the variety of parks and recreation areas to the host of historical attractions,
Washington County offers choices to suit almost any desire to find a good
The Main Street area in downtown Blair is pedestrian-friendly and perfect
for an afternoon of window shopping or gift-buying. An assortment of locally
owned specialty shops and eateries provide the perfect match for any need.
Sidewalk sales and annual festivals sponsored by the Blair Area Chamber
of Commerce bring visitors and Blair’s residents together for special
events several times each year and promote a healthy local economy and
an enhanced sense of community.
The Blair Community Arboretum has five sites and is part of the acclaimed
Nebraska Statewide Arboretum. Each site offers a uniquely comprehensive
education in the region’s botanical variety in an idyllic setting.
Picnic areas, trails and playgrounds are among the amenities that make
Blair’s Arboretum sites visitor-friendly. Five other community parks,
meanwhile, ensure that Blair’s residents and visitors are always
near a place where they can enjoy an afternoon outdoors.
The restored Fort Atkinson in Fort Calhoun is also a popular stop for
visitors seeking a peek into the region’s and our nation’s
past. After being abandoned in 1827, the facility fell into disrepair
and, eventually, disappeared completely under crops. A fundraising drive
and restoration movement began in 1961 and toiled for 20 years before
the reconstructed Fort Atkinson finally opened to throngs of curious guests.
The 45,000-square-foot Blair Family YMCA was completed in 2002 and includes
a six-lane swimming pool, an aerobic room, cardiovascular training room,
youth game room and a large gym for any number of sports and group activities.
Since its inception, the YMCA has welcomed 4,800 members.
The DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge, River Wilds Golf Course, Optimist
Boat Ramp, Blair Bowling Center and the Youth Sports Complex on the corner
of 10th and Jackson are among the varied destinations for fun and excitement
in and around Blair.
Also located in Washington County, high on a hill, is the 80-acre Black
Elk-Neihart Park. There are beautiful views of the rolling countryside
and the Missouri River valley. There are hiking trails and picnic areas.
At the highest point in the park is the Tower of the Four Winds. Dedicated
in 1987, the 44-foot tower shows a mosaic design of crossing roads; the
good red road of spiritual understanding, and the hard black road of difficulties
which all people must walk. Black Elk said, “The good road and the
road of difficulties you have made to cross and where they cross –
that place is holy.”
Dining options abound. A varied selection of fast-food restaurants throughout
Washington County are obvious choices for eating on the go, while a diverse
selection of sit-down establishments combine to offer dishes from many
cuisines, allowing Washington County’s residents and visitors the
chance to take in an outstanding meal.