Written By: Scott @ County Seat Living

Since I have been back in rural Nebraska, I have forged a unique friendship with quite a character. He’s part rancher and part innkeeper and seems better suited for the cover of a 1960’s Louis L’Amour western novel than rooted in present time. He likes his coffee black, his stories salty and a good spit shine on his cowboy boots. He’s the type of guy that will tell me a dirty joke but quickly remove his hat in the company of a lady. He has colorful stories of growing up on his family’s homestead in Steamboat Springs, Colorado and wild tales of his college days at UCLA. I have no idea of his age and would never ask. He could be a good lookin’ man of eighty or a guy not too much older than my Dad that has been “out ridin’ fences” for too long. There are three things that put a sparkle in his eye when he speaks; his kids, his grand kids, and his hotel. In that order.

Glenn is the proprietor of the Orleans Hotel; one of my favorite places on earth…


When we get together, Glenn does most of the talking and his stories of herding cows in the High Rockies and shootin’ whiskey with cowboys seem like tales you would expect to hear as you huddled around a fire on a cold night of a cattle drive. Keep in mind, I have never been on a cattle drive but if I were to be invited, I would want to hear stories like Glenn tells while eating pork-n-beans out of a blue and white speckled enamel plate. I would also want to sit around a roaring fire while some old guy named Smitty plays “Happy Trails” on a harmonica while I fall asleep counting stars in the wide open prairie sky.

This dreamy expectation is probably why I won’t be invited on a cattle drive. Or why I wouldn’t survive for that matter.

The main thing Glenn and I have in common is our love of the hotel he has been caretaker of for over nine years. There is something about this place that seems magical. Perhaps it’s because the hotel is a sturdy gem that holds court over the quaint village of Orleans, Nebraska….

orleans exterior

Maybe it’s because I had one of the best night’s sleep in a room outfitted with nothing more than an iron frame bed, a chenille comforter and the void of modern technology…

orleans room

Or it could be the simplicity of the hotel blotter that sits stately atop the oak check-in desk that welcomes visitors…

hotel key and blotter

Even with all the old charm of this historic landmark, the thing I love the most about the Orleans Hotel is having the opportunity to sit around with Glenn and discuss the possibilities of the hotel and the town in which it resides. Sometimes we will talk for hours about the prospects and endless opportunities that await a future owner. Together we image a thriving restaurant within the walls of the existing dining hall…

orleans dining

And the “dinging” of the front desk bell as adventure seekers check-in to experience the endless amenities of the Republican River Valley…

hotel bell

There is something truly amazing about having a dialog with an older person in regards to prosperity and revitalization as it relates to rural living. Glenn has a vision for the future of his hotel and the community that could support it. It inspires me. As he is actively searching for the next owner, he welcomes new ideas and creative endeavors.

Once Glenn finds a buyer he will pass his hotel on to a new caretaker. I can envision a new owner breathing  life into this property but I can’t imagine they will be as charming as the current proprietor.

Interested in buying his bed and breakfast? Click here for details!




Scott Rager

Robert Scott Rager is a Nebraska native who returned home to start a boutique business called "County Seat Living". His personal goal for "County Seat" is to translate the lifestyle design he was creating in Los Angeles for the past twelve years and apply it to the sensibility of the Great Plains. Whether he's writing about decorating, homemade ice cream, floral creations, event planning or product design, he wants the personality and style of Nebraska to shine bright.