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Our Heritage Guest Ranch

Our Heritage Guest Ranch

Jean Norman started Our Heritage Guest Ranch in 1999 and has been operating it since. The property is located on 3,600 acres of land in Crawford, Nebraska, and has a total of 20 beds, all of which are split between two rooms in the cabin, two loft apartments, and three travel trailers. The cabin on the property is open year-round, while the lofts and travel trailers are only open seasonally during the warmer months of the year. Jean notes that the best season of operation for the business is between mid-May to Labor Day. On the property, there are a variety of activities that guests can participate in, such as fossil hunting, stargazing, hiking, and biking, to name a few. The surrounding area has various attractions, namely Fort Robinson, Mount Rushmore, Cascade Falls, Toadstool Geological Park, and Trailside Museum.


Our Heritage Guest Ranch is located in the town of Crawford, Nebraska, and is currently owned by Jean Norman. The ranch is situated on 3,600 acres of land and was homesteaded by Jean's great-grandparents in 1887. On the property, there are multiple different types of accommodations for visitors, including loft apartments in the barn, travel trailers, and the cabin. In total, there are 20 beds on the ranch. The cabin has two bedrooms that each contain queen-size beds, a full kitchen, and a bath. Two units make up the loft in the barn, with the one on the right featuring a bathroom, two full-size beds on the top floor, and a queen-size bed on the bottom, while the left loft has three twin beds on the bottom, two full-size beds on the top floor, and a private bathroom. There is a fully equipped kitchen available to those staying in the barn, as well as in the cabin. The travel trailers were something that Jean added recently since she first started the business. Normally the trailers are placed in a quiet setting on the back side of the ranch buildings. There are a total of three trailers available, each of which has two beds. One has two twin-sized beds, while the other two have two full-sized beds. All of the trailers include a kitchenette and a bathroom. These specific accommodations are not listed on the property's website.

There is "limited internet" access across the property, remarks Jean. Most people who come to stay at Our Heritage Guest Ranch come for the area, says the owner, meaning they usually participate in the activities available on the property or in the surrounding area. Nearby attractions include Fort Robinson, which is 20-minutes away from the ranch and contains what Jean considers a "rich history" and 74 years of official military history.  Such history includes it being the first place that stationed the first African American officer and buffalo soldiers, the location of the Cheyenne outbreak, the death place of Crazy Horse, buffalo soldiers, the practice facility for the Olympic equestrian team in the early 1930s, the station for the first Triple Crown-winning racehorse, and being the provider of ten thousand horses a month to the United States army during the first World War, and 3000 german prisoners, to mention a few. Other notable places include Trailside Museum, Ogalala National Grasslands, Fur Trade Museum, Cascade Falls, Mount Rushmore, Hudson/Meng Bone Bed, Chimney Rock, Agate Fossil Beds, Scott's bluff National Monument, and Toadstool Geologic Park. All of these attractions are within an hour's drive of the ranch.  Restaurants in the surrounding area that Jean recommends patrons visit include The Far West, Tailgate Bar, and the dining offered in Fort Robinson.


Our Heritage Guest Ranch has various activities that patrons can participate in, such as fossil hunting, stargazing, wagon rides, train watching, hiking, limited course activities, and biking; however, visitors have to provide their own bikes. Guests also have the opportunity to participate in "ranch experiences," which include activities such as doing work on the ranch and feeding the animals. The land can also be used as a venue for events such as weddings and family reunions. Jean, the owner of the ranch, hosts art workshops and retreats where she takes the customers out herself onto the ranch to enjoy the scenery and paint. Guests can schedule one of these art events by calling in advance. Jean is also known to occasionally do horsemanship lessons where she teaches people about "the psychology of the horse and its behavior and relate that to human behavior," says the owner. Guests who have previously stayed at the property have been known to leave reviews about their stay at the ranch. One such patron remarked, "Jean Norman not only rides horses, she knows horses and is quick to share that knowledge in a personal and rewarding way. She has a strong love for the land as well as for the horses that live there. She'll go out of her way to share that love, whether it be on foot, by vehicle, or on horseback."

Jean mentions that those who stay at her property either come to fossil hunt or for all of the other activities such as interacting with horses, hiking, and biking, to name a few. The establishment aims to keep the property as natural as possible. A couple of ways that they try to accomplish this include limiting the use of weed spray and keeping all of the cattle grass-fed. Another effort to encourage eco-friendly methods is the health retreats that are hosted by the property, where Jean's son, who is a fitness trainer, comes and teaches "natural ways to heal the body," according to the owner.

Our Heritage Guest Ranch has various policies that it expects all visitors to act in accordance with. Such policies include respecting neighbors and refraining from feeding or "messing with the animals," as mentioned by Jean. People should also ask before petting the horses. All doors and gates should be left as they were found, meaning if one was shut, it should be shut after use. "We just ask that you be respectful of the property. Pick up your trash etc.," says Jean. The owner remarks that there are also "some things that people just need to accept" since they are coming onto a ranch. Examples of such include that the water contains sulfur, which Jean says is relatively healthy for you. It should also be noted that they don't use any chemicals to get rid of the sulfur since those actions would be unhealthy for you, as stated by Jean. Lastly, Jean says at times, the property can smell since there are livestock activities around the buildings. Additionally, Jean has put the land into the Nebraska Land Trust, which is an agricultural/environmental trust that maintains and protects the property by providing standards that both owners and guests must follow. The goal of this trust is to maintain the natural elements of the property and prevent it from being permanently damaged by unnecessary human interference. 

Interaction between staff and guests is based on "what their desires are," says Jean. Overall, the owner's main goal for her visitors is to create a place where they can come and feel "comfortable and satisfied, and I want them to feel at home." Ways that she does this is by providing amenities such as communal kitchens and making them aware of certain aspects of the property, according to the saying "agriculture first," since the animals are dependent on Jean.  

Our Heritage Guest Ranch is open year-round to visitors, although only certain accommodations are available during the relatively colder months. The cabin is only open throughout the whole year, while the travel trailers and lofts are offered seasonally. Throughout her ownership, Jean has noticed that the best season of operation for the guest ranch is between mid-May to Labor Day.


Our Heritage Guest Ranch was homesteaded by the great-grandparents of Jean, the owner of the guest ranch, in 1887 and has remained in the family since. Jean's great-grandfather created a town known as Adelia until it eventually burned down at the turn of the century. Jean says that the land "was always a stopping point because it was along the railroad tracks." People would stop and get needed supplies before journeying on. The land was later homesteaded by Jean's great-grandparents in 1887 while they helped build a nearby rail line and provided food and lodging for workers.

Jean converted the house she was raised in into a bed and breakfast in 1999 and has been the business owner since. During that time, she converted the loft areas of the barn into what they call "apartments." In the early years of the business, Jean noticed that a majority of her patrons would follow her out onto the ranch and watch her day-to-day activities, which in turn paved the way for the business to change from a bed and breakfast into a guest ranch. Another addition that Jean says she has added is "travel trailers" that can be taken out to the pastures on the land and are meant to provide patrons "with a very unique stay."

Future plans for the ranch include the possibility of adding a swimming pool to the land and a restaurant. Another thing in the works for the ranch is that Jean's son, Clayton, is coming on board to run the agricultural side of the business, and helping out with the guest ranch side as well. Jean remarks that Our Heritage Guest Ranch was designated as "a National Natural Landmark," one of the reasons being that the 3,600-acre property includes canyons with several cedar trees beneath a landmark that can be seen for over one hundred miles.

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1041 Toadstool Rd.
Crawford, Nebraska 69339
United States


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Jean Norman

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