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There’s a new blog in town

Hi readers!

Thanks for visiting our blog and I hope it was an interesting article that brought you here. I’m writing to let you know that North Dakota Tourism has launched a new website at http://www.NDtourism.com and with the new site there’s a new blog! You are invited to visit the blog at: http://www.ndtourism.com/blog.

Heather

 
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Posted by on July 19, 2013 in North Dakota Buzz

 

Happy Ag Day!

I’ve just learned that its Ag Day 2013 which has inspired me to get back to blogging. I’m sorry for the long lag!

Being a North Dakotan who was raised rural, I often forget that others don’t have a familiarity with the beauty of agriculture and the enormity of farm production. I’m from the Red River Valley, an area known for its fertile farm lands. To me, there’s nothing more beautiful than miles of plush, green fields, for as far as the eye can see. Visitors to North Dakota frequently call the Tourism Division and ask about the types of crops they’re seeing in the state. Whether its fields of blooming purple flowers (flax), small yellow flowers (canola) or those photogenic sunflowers, we love to help our visitors learn more about the scenery they’ll find here.

sunflowers

Agriculture is North Dakota’s #1 industry. According to research at North Dakota State University, it contributed $7.8 billion to the state’s economy in 2011. And North Dakota leads the nation in production of sunflowers, barley, dry edible beans, pinto beans, canola, flaxseed, honey, lentils, dry edible peas, durum wheat and spring wheat.

So I’m sharing a bit about North Dakota’s agriculture today and there are three tourism-related spins that I want to put on this #1 industry: 1) how to enjoy the beauty; 2) how to enjoy the production; and 3) how to learn more and experience agriculture.

Enjoy the Beauty

Knee high by the 4th of July? This is my family, in the Red River Valley, late June, 2012.

Knee high by the 4th of July? This is my family, in the Red River Valley, late June, 2012.

Agriculture, including ranching, is everywhere in North Dakota, covering approximately 39.2 million acres. Any spring, summer or fall trip through the state and you’re guaranteed to see the land in some phase of production. Most spring planting occurs in April and May, with harvest spanning a wide time frame, depending on the crop. Harvest takes place anywhere between July and November. Visitors can journey throughout North Dakota and also make stops at specific farms and gardens, such as Dakota Sun Gardens near Carrington and Black Leg Ranch near Bismarck – where you can even saddle up for your tour. Photo opportunities are plentiful!

Enjoy the Production

THIS is where agriculture gets yummy! Consider for a moment the Red Barn and Berry Farm near Kindred. Here you can pick raspberries and even nibble as you go – without fear of being weighed on your way out! Farmer’s Markets can be found in cities large-and-small, like the Town Square Farmers Market in Grand Forks – taking place Saturdays mid-June through September. And check out the North Dakota products marketed by Pride of Dakota! You’ll find everything from delicious Dakota Growers Pasta to lotions made of honey.

Learn More

harvest07-5Agriculture in North Dakota has history. Visitors can relive farming on the prairie at Bonanzaville in West Fargo or experience what a northern “plantation” was like at the Bagg Bonanza Farm near Mooreton. And if ranching is more your interest, there’s no better place than the North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame in Medora. Not just a hall of honorees! This museum celebrates western heritage and culture.

Interested in the scientific side of agriculture? Visit the Langdon Research Extension Center or the North Central Research Extension Center of Minot and see how tests are being done to maintain and improve the industry.

If you really want to get your hands dirty, North Dakota has opportunities for that too! GardenDwellers Farm of Esmond has classes, events and “group play” in production of herbs. Sheer sheep and spin your own wool at Wooly Girls, near Wales. Get your feet dirty at the Red Trail Vineyard Harvest Festival and Grape Stomp.

 

Celebrate Ag

Milking a cow at the North Dakota State Fair

Milking a cow at the North Dakota State Fair

Okay … I’m going to throw in a fourth way to enjoy agriculture in North Dakota and that’s in celebration. Here you can find festivals for rhubarb, chokecherries, apples, sauerkraut, lefse, ribs, turkeys, watermelon, sunflowers, corn, potatoes and even lobster. The North Dakota State Fair has competitive exhibiting (and great entertainment). There’s also a huge annual event called the Big Iron Farm Show that draws more than 80,000 people.

 

Agriculture and tourism blend together brilliantly in North Dakota. In fact, we have an AgriTourism program helping connect travelers to all these ways to experience the industry and helping producers expand their businesses by offering tourism components. Learn more online.

 

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Happy New Year! What are your vacation resolutions?

This is the time of year that’s full of vows for self improvement. I admit that I’m doing it. And if you’re making resolutions too here’s one to add to the list: Resolve to use your vacation time this year on actual vacations. In 2011, about 57% of working Americans had unused vacation time at the end of the year and most of them left an average of 11 days unused. (CNN Money) But research is showing that if you want to stay healthy – take a vacation!

www.LuvND.comLast November, the North Dakota Ambassador program launched a lighthearted “bucket list” of fun things to see and do in North Dakota – it’s called “123 Ways to Luv ND“. This list was inspired by people, places, activities and accolades that North Dakotans love about the state. I personally think it’s also a fun way to inspire visiting North Dakota! Here you can get a taste of a few submitted favorites with the opportunity to learn more.

The “123 Ways to Luv ND” promotion also has me personally thinking about my North Dakota bucket list for 2013. While I have some personal favorites that I try to make it to each year (UND hockey being one of them and the Medora Musical), my family does try to make to different parts of the state and experience new things. Here are a few that I’m hoping to have on the calendar:

  1. Camp on Lake Sakakawea … but I’d “settle” for fishing the lake and staying at Riverdale High Lodge too. :)
  2. Run events at the Fargo Marathon and Bismarck Marathon. And maybe the Uff Da Mud Run in Grand Forks!
  3. Visit the Coteau des Prairie Lodge south of Rutland in the summer and see how far I can see from the “perch.”
  4. In high school, I was a tour guide at the Bagg Bonanza Farm near Mooreton and I really want to bring the family for the first time and see how much the more this National Historic Site has been preserved.

My husband says that he would add to the list:

  1. Stay at Woodland’s Resort and fish Devils Lake.
  2. Do some ice fishing.
  3. Coyote hunting.

(I think he may have a one-track mind.)

So … what’s on your vacation-resolution list for 2013?!?

 
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Posted by on January 8, 2013 in Just for Fun

 

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Sportsmen’s Homecoming in Harvey, North Dakota

By Bob & Ginny Riege

Traditions are something that Harvey, North Dakota has to offer especially when it comes to hunting in the fall. Harvey, North Dakota has hunting rooted in the traditional family methods and it is carried on from generation to generation.

The click of a receiver on a prized shotgun will bring back memories of the cackle of the rooster pheasant or the feeder call of the mallard duck, but Harvey, North Dakota has more than that to offer.  Harvey allows us to enjoy home cooked meals with pumpkin pie and dogs curled by the fire.  Harvey, North Dakota reminds us of days gone by, but instills in us memories of putting on hunting boots, wool clothes and fleece lined slippers, and reflections of Mom and Dad.

Image if you would the following scenario; The pickup truck rolls along a gravel road early in the morning and crunches to a stop in a farmyard surrounded by corn, soybean fields and slough grass.  The hunters crawl out of their vehicle and shake hands, greeting people with hugs and smiles.  The wafting smell of fresh baked bread and coffee pours from the farmhouse with the help of the screen door.   The newly arrived hunters quickly unpack some items and allow their stiff-legged dogs to run free in the yard.  The talk that filters from the group mentions such things as posting, pushing and what other areas look like.  Jim asks “What is the ditch like down at dead end?” and Kirk asks, “Where do you want me to go?”  It is a “homecoming” the beginning of many days when friends and families reunite.

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Tim and Melanie Nelson pose with their four Labs along with a harvested pheasant while hunting the Lonetree WMA in Harvey, ND. Photo submitted by Ginny Riege

Throughout the area around Harvey, North Dakota there are places that hold pheasants in huntible numbers.  There are private lands with scattered potholes and sloughs or woody draws that provide good places to hunt. These prairie potholes provide an excellent sportsmen’s paradise with a plethora of ducks and geese.

Public lands, (Lonetree Wildlife Management Area 25,730 acres) whether game production areas or waterfowl production areas, which are managed by the state or federal government, are also excellent spots for hunters to look for a few roosters, sharp tailed grouse, or Hungarian partridge.  In fact, a hunter would be hard pressed to hunt this entire WMA in a lifetime.

In North Dakota, the weather is usually mild until mid-November, so pheasants have no reason to seek the shelter of heavy cover.  They can be found anywhere.  A patch of grass around a dam, in the middle of a plowed field, or a few cedar trees on a grassy hillside are all it takes to hold roosters.

In the middle-season the birds are where most hunters would expect them.  The thicker, deeper and more tangled the vegetation, the better the pheasants like it.  Trees, because they break the wind are often essential ingredients of late season pheasant cover.  In treeless areas, birds gather in cattail sloughs or brush draws in the vicinity of food.  In this thick cover, a dog is a great help. You may wish to switch to a heavier shell, something like the Remington # 4 shot size to catch a few more roosters that have been educated by hunters before you.

Harvey, ND is also more than hunting or fishing, it is an experience in realty.  Where else could you witness, in the clearing, where the farm once was, a 12 point buck waiting for the wind to still so he can go on feeding in the quiet and keep a watch out for any predators.  As the day folds into late afternoon we all like to find a spot that we can watch the migrating flocks of waterfowl and delight in the beauty of the setting sun.  Or the vivid image of a young white Lab dog staring into a little tuff of grass and watching two big rooster pheasants cackle and claw their way into the bright blue sky of November.

“God doesn’t count the hours man spends afield with friends,” or “The thing we build that lasts longest is memory.”  All we ever need to do to hear the sounds of geese is to listen.  All we ever need to do to see the point and hear the flush is to close our eyes.

All in all, Harvey, North Dakota is truly a paradise, not only for the pheasant hunter but also the waterfowler, deer hunter and turkey hunter.  Let us not overlook another important area that North Dakota abounds with and that is fishing.  The Upper Missouri river and Lake Sakakawea and Lake Oahe are some of the top walleye, northern, bass, and Chinook salmon waters here in the Midwest.  So next time you think you might like to try another hunting or fishing area take a look at this paradise.

The pickup truck is filled with stiff-legged hunters and bone tired dogs.  The “homecoming” is complete for another year, but the memories of the rise of the two young rooster pheasants on the edge of the field and the smell of roasting turkey dinner with soft homemade baked bread linger a long time with each hunter.  Dakota Homecoming isn’t about footballs, or family reunions but about getting out of the office or school and enjoying what nature has to offer in all her splendor and beauty.

 
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Posted by on November 20, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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See the Heritage Center now to prepare for seeing it again

The North Dakota Heritage Center – the state’s largest museum and headquarters of the State Historical Society of ND – is undergoing a massive expansion, one that will double the space for exhibits and provide needed archival and exhibit preparation space – including space used for fossil-prep by paleontologists. But this kind of project takes time.  The expansion began in 2011 and the first exhibits will arrive in the spring of 2013.  The project is expected to be completed in 2014 and we’ll celebrate with a grand re-opening and North Dakota’s 125th birthday.

While the Heritage Center, located in Bismarck, enters its next phase of expansion, the Main Gallery needs to be closed. But not before a Last Hurrah! October 11-14, a celebration of the past – and the future – will take place.  The weekend will include Tipi stories, presentations, Native American dancers and singers, mask making and other projects for children – and more!

The Heritage Center store is relocating but will remain open and staff will be on-hand to answer questions about the expansion and exhibits. If you’re wondering what happens to the exhibits and archives, we learned that they will be moved into spaces for both safety and refurbishing. This includes Dakota the mummified dinosaur, which will be back on display in the expanded Heritage Center.

History buffs can still get their fix in North Dakota! Learn about 56 historic sites maintained in the state along with any upcoming events at http://www.history.nd.gov

 
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Posted by on October 1, 2012 in Attractions, Family Fun, History

 

Last Minute Vacation Planning

As the summer is winding down and students are gearing up to go back to school, you may find yourself wanting to go on one last vacation before summer is over. Since North Dakota has a lot to offer, you are in luck because there are still a ton of fun things going on! Check out upcoming events in North Dakota:

Grand Forks is having their annual Rollin’ on the River event August 24-25! The weekend kicks off on Friday with a Keep the Ball Rollin’ Golf Tournament at King’s Walk Golf Course and Rockin’ Rollin’ Rally & Feast in Lincoln Drive Park at 5 p.m. On Saturday, the Rollin’ on the River inline skating marathon takes place on the city streets of Grand Forks, with the Alerus Center as the starting point at 7:30 a.m. You can also enjoy an evening of great blues music in the heart of beautiful downtown Grand Forks at the Blues on the Red Music Fest event. Top musicians from around the country will provide the free entertainment, while vendors sell such delicious cuisine.

Check out central North Dakota and see all the fun things going on. In Minot, the North Dakota State Fairgrounds play host to Motor Magic, Labor Day weekend in Minot. The largest motorsports event in the Upper Midwest, Motor Magic provides entertainment for auto enthusiasts of all ages. Nodak Speedway races and drag racing on the Magic City International Dragway kick off the motor mayhem. Motor Magic continues with more to see and do Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

If you want to head to the Bismarck-Mandan area, Mandan is hosting its annual Wild West Grillfest! Celebrate Mandan’s farming and ranching heritage with a grilling competition, beer gardens, a variety of live entertainment all day, inflatable games, hayrides, art and craft vendor booths, Pride of Dakota tent and dance Friday night on August 17-18. There will be live music by The Roosters on Friday and Dirty Word on Saturday.

Or you can head west to Medora to see all the funs things they have to offer. The Medora Musical is a great show that goes through September 8. Stop in for a great meal at the Pitchfork Steak Fondue or maybe play a round of golf on the world renowned Bully Pulpit.  Maybe you just want to do a little hiking; well Theodore Roosevelt National Park is a great place to explore with the whole family or as private getaway!

For more events and attractions, go to the North Dakota Tourism website. Who knows what kind of adventure is out there for you!

 
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Posted by on August 10, 2012 in Entertainment, Events, Family Fun

 

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A family weekend in Medora

Last weekend was a rare summer weekend that was open on our calendar and so we packed the bags and tent and headed to Medora for a camping overnight and adventure. This marked the first time my girls have ever camped and they were bursting with excitement. On Saturday morning, the first word that either of them said was “camping.”

Setting up camp with a view of TR National Park

We made a reservation at the Medora campground and had a site near the Little Missouri River with a view of the buttes of Theodore Roosevelt National Park.  Here we made a little lunch (there is a partial burn ban in place) before heading into the town of Medora for some shopping. A pair of cowboy boots and a cap-gun later we were in swimsuits and heading to the City pool.  At just $3.00 per person for the day this heated pool was a great place to be on a 90-degree day.  From the pool we also ventured to the new Family Fun Center.  $8.00 per person equals two-days of unlimited use of the inflatable water slide, rock climbing wall and bungee-jump-trampoline.  I lost track of the number of items we went down the slide. My daughters are 4 and 5 1/2 and they had no problems making the stairs and no fears heading down the slide. But I will say that my children have a bit of fearlessness in them. Case in point, the rock climbing wall. The website doesn’t say exactly how tall this wall is but in my perspective as their mom – my daughter was hanging 1,900 feet off the ground. The staff were friendly and thorough and safety was never a question for me.

Both girls said that their favorite activity though was the trampoline bungee-jump.

   

Saturday evening was perfectly picturesque – which also describes what a lot of people were doing following the famous Pitchfork Steak Fondue. If you haven’t yet experienced a pitchfork steak fondue, it’s literally hundreds of ribeye steaks, speared on pitchforks and fondued! (I should have warned the cook that I was going to take his picture.)

And what can I say about the Medora Musical?! It is one of the best shows I’ve seen performed at the stunning Burning Hills Amphitheater. The new cast had perfect harmonies, the music was a great blend of modern country, gospel, patriotism and classic themes, the script was fresh and the fiddler is awesome.

Camping was a success.  There was a rain shower that went through and yes, it was a little warm and stuffy. Plus, the sunrise was at 5:30 a.m. and I think my daughters were up shortly after that! But nothing can compare to seeing them wake in that golden light and look out on the Badlands with such joy.

 

 

 

 

Sunday morning we took a drive through the South Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park where we were very soon greeted by buffalo who had taken over a prairie dog town. Just another mile into the park, more buffalo greeted us – including a pair who walked right along our pickup.

 

We took a hike along the Wind Canyon Trail – which was great for the ages of my daughters. It has a great view of the Little Missouri.

 

 

And finally, off into the distance, we saw a herd of wild horses that made my youngest daughter smile like this.

It was an excellent weekend and even though we go to Medora almost annually there are always new things to try and new experiences to share. (This year we didn’t pack the golf clubs for Bully Pulpit, which my hubby only mentioned once or twice.)

If you have favorite vacation stories and pictures, please share them with us on our Facebook page!

 
 

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