Central Nebraska B & B offers rural experience

MINDEN, Neb.- You can get away from it all at a unique bed and breakfast near Minden.

It's called "Burchell's White Hill Farmhouse Inn." There is no white hill. Owner Linda Ard says it's really named after Sarah White, who may have built the original house back in 1886. So the name of the bed and breakfast honors her. "And my grandfather named the property White Hill Farm," Ard said. "Burchell is my maiden name, and the family owns land around the area, and this is the family's ancestral home. My dad grew up here, and he was born in the house."

Linda and her husband Bob worked as college professors for many years in Texas. She worked in the area of education, and he worked in the hospitality department. That knowledge is now coming in handy as owners of a bed and breakfast. They decided to move back to Nebraska, and they ended up buying the house. They first built a restaurant inside the barn, and then they took on the remodeling on the house.

"At first we were going to just do a bed and breakfast, but friends encouraged us to put in a commercial kitchen, so we put the commercial kitchen in the restaurant. We have a special event room there. So we can do a wedding for maybe 180 people. The kitchen is well-designed," Ard said. "We have found we can handle one wedding a month in the summer, and we love producer meetings." Ard says people also come to stay at the bed and breakfast during the Sandhill crane migration.

Ard says the family ties to the house and property are important. "It's also a way to educate people about agriculture. People from Connecticut might not necessarily know a lot about agriculture, and they'll ask questions. I feel that I'm sort of an ambassador about agriculture, and that's good, because that's one of our goals, is to share the rich, warm, friendly environment in Nebraska."