Hidden Gems: More than one treasure in Tekamah

Summit Lake State Recreation Area near Tekamah, Neb., features swimming, fishing and boating.

Who knew that a town of about 1,800 has so many hidden gems?

Three people emailed to describe three separate places in or just outside Tekamah, Neb.

Omahan Jackie Mahr describes as “a diva’s delight” a cluster of businesses run from the Master’s Hand Candle Co. & Gift Shop building.

Jerry Freeman of Omaha is a fan of Summit Lake State Recreation Area, about 7 miles southwest of Tekamah.

And Tekamah resident Noretta Glup touts the Burt County Museum’s E.W. Bryant House, which is on the National Register of Historic Places.

The 1890 Queen Anne-style house built by Edward and Rose Bryant was in the Bryant family until 2011, when the house was given to the museum. Rose Folsom Bryant was the granddaughter of Tekamah’s founder, Benjamin Folsom.

All four floors of the home are filled with possessions from several generations of Bryants — “dishes, clothing, absolutely everything in this house. It’s a wonderful treasure,” said Glup, who is director of Bryant House.

It is open for guided tours from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesdays through Fridays and by appointment. To make one, call 402-808-4266. Tours are free, but donations are accepted.

Bryant House will host a Quilt Turning and Show from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 28. Turnings will be at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. in each of the bedrooms, Glup said. Admission that day will be $10.

The quilts, which date from the 1800s, are from the Bryants’ personal collection as well as the museum’s collection.

Mahr’s “diva’s delight” is run by Susie Robison of Tekamah, daughter Nicole Lyon of Lincoln and son Caleb Wissmann of Tekamah.

“We started making candles in our home” in 2000, Robison said. When business outgrew the space, she bought a 10,000-square-foot building a mile south of Tekamah on U.S. Highway 75.

The building now holds the family’s businesses: Master’s Hand Candle Co. & Gift Shop, Tekamah Floral, Serendipity Chocolate Factory, a tea room, craft area and antiques room. The building is open 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays.

“We’re just having a ball,” Robison said.

The tea room is open by group reservation only and serves a three-course meal plus beverage for $10.99. For reservations, call 402-374-2003.

The gift shop sells “girly-girl stuff,” she said.

Candles are poured from autumn through spring, but milk, dark and white chocolate candy is made year-round. Robison makes 5 pounds of sea salt caramels every three to four days.

“I think we’re getting famous for our sea salt caramels. It’s been a really fun adventure,” she said.

So popular are the caramels, she said, that even long-haul truckers park their semis along the highway, run in to buy candy and run back to their trucks.

Some customers stop for chocolate, then head to the nearby Silver Hills Vineyard & Winery or Big Cottonwood Vineyards and Winery to pair chocolate and wine, Robison said.

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