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Category Archives: Attractions

Welcome to North Dakota!

Two-hundred-seven (207) years ago today, the Lewis and Clark Expedition crossed into what is now North Dakota.  During their time, it was known as the Upper Missouri, or the Great Bend of the Missouri, or Upper Louisiana.   For Lewis and Clark, North Dakota was the transition zone between the familiar and the unfamiliar, between lands that had already been mapped, named and described and terra incognita.

They hadn’t originally planned to winter with the 4,500 Mandan and Hidatsa Indians of the Knife River earthlodge villages.  Clark planned to get as far as the “Rock mountains” before winter and Lewis expressed uncertainty about where they would stop.  But when the captains began to notice ice forming on their rowing oars and experienced their first northern plains snowfall on October 21, 1804, they realized that they must soon establish winter quarters.  Five days later, they made their first substantial contact with the Mandan Indians, who had a reputation for being friendly to visitors.  And they ended up staying 197 days on that outward journey.

North Dakota continues to have a welcoming and friendly reputation.  In fact, Cambridge University called North Dakota the most friendly state to visit.  And here, the Lewis & Clark story can be discovered by modern explorers.

A reconstructed Fort Mandan is a full-size replica refurbished in the era.  (The original fort burned down sometime before the expedition’s return voyage in 1806.)

At Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site, Stanton, visitors can step into a reconstructed earthlodge, walk to the Sakakawea Village site, and in the modern visitors center, view traditional clothing, tools, art and more.

The Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center in Washburn is the comprehensive stop to learn, see and experience the Corps of Discovery.  These sites are open year-round and winter events at Fort Mandan mean you can step back into the period when Lewis and Clark walked the same trails.

Details of the Lewis and Clark Expedition in North Dakota can be found in the book, A Vast and Open Plain, written by Clay Jenkinson.

 
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Posted by on October 14, 2011 in Attractions, History

 

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The final five

Roger Maris hit  home run #57 fifty-years-ago today.

Visitors to the Roger Maris Museum at West Acres Shopping Center in Fargo can see the ball – which was thrown by Detroit Pitcher Frank Larry and hit out of Tiger Stadium.  Fifty-seven home runs in a single season is a feat still only achieved by 10 MLB hitters since 1921 (Baseball Almanac).

Fifty-years since 61 culminated with these last five:

  • September 16 – Game 151 vs. Detroit
  • September 17 – Game 152 vs. Detroit – off pitcher Terry Fox
  • September 20 – Game 155 vs. Baltimore – off pitcher Milt Pappas
  • September 26 – Game 159 vs. Baltimore – off pitcher Jack Fisher
  • October 1 – Game 163 vs. Boston – off pitcher Tracy Stallard

    Roger Maris hits historic home run 61

You can learn more about Maris’ historic season online.  The Roger Maris Museum is free and features his Sultan of Swat crowns, autographed balls, jerseys, a replica of his Yankees locker and a video highlighting his career.

To experience baseball in Maris’s hometown of Fargo – where he also started his baseball career – check out the FM RedHawks.

 
 

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Strike gold at JunkFest in Carrington

Vacation gold.  That’s what many travelers to North Dakota tell us they’ve found along their journey.  Visitors write and tell us about the friendly people, the beautiful scenery, the adventures, the great food and the lasting memories.

Vacation memories truly are treasures – and if you’re looking to combine the two, journey to Carrington on September 17 for Autumn JunkFest – an event known for turning memories into treasures.  Visitors find antiques and “junk” refurbished and repurposed for home and garden.  There is also a popular Flea Market.

The Carrington area has great attractions and lodging options for more vacation memories.  Consider a tour of historic Putnam House – a 4,300 square foot home built in 1907 and featuring family history and museum collections.

Dakota Sun Gardens Winery of Carrington offers garden tours and wine tasting.

In nearby Jamestown, visitors can delight in pioneer history at the Frontier Village and the National Buffalo Museum.  The museum cares for a live buffalo herd with three very rare albino bison.

And in nearby Cooperstown, tour the Ronald Reagan Minuteman Missile State Historic Site.  The reality of the Cold War is best experienced with a trip underground to see mission control.

These attractions recently partnered with North Dakota Tourism in a sweepstakes promoted by Country Living magazine.  The winner, Amy Pater, will also be treated to a stay in a luxury cabin at Lakeview Meadow resort in Jamestown, two nights at the Carrington Inn and Suites and dining extras!

Interesting history – found through treasures, experiences and travel – can make your trip to North Dakota golden.  For more visitor stories, be sure to visit www.RUlegendary.com.

 

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Exploring Western North Dakota

What do you get when you take a beautifully rugged landscape dotted with oil wells and intersected by scoria roads, an old train-tunnel-turned-walking-path, forts and other interesting attractions and some unique shopping?

I introduce you to the western edge of North Dakota.  Beauty, history and fun combined!

Take for instance, Beach – just a mile from the Montana border – where you’ll find Prairie Fire Pottery offering tours and handmade, unique pottery every day.  If the shop isn’t open – just call the phone number on the door!  Now that’s North Dakota hospitality.

A bit north, west of Cartwright, North Dakota, is the Fairview Bridge – a 1,320 foot structure spanning the Yellowstone River.  It leads to the only tunnel in the state – a 1,458 foot long tunnel built mostly by hand in 1912 and 1913.  It’s very cool to walk through but you won’t find me there on Halloween!

A bit north are the fascinating and well-interpreted stops of Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site and Fort Buford State Historic Site near Williston.  Fort Union was the most important trading post on the upper Missouri from 1828-1867.  Fort Buford is where Sitting Bull surrendered in 1881.  Much more area history is found at the Missouri-Yellowstone Interpretive Confluence Center – a place to explore history, genealogy, art and more.

Just east of that western border is Theodore Roosevelt National Park – a wealth of wildlife viewing, natural beauty, horseback riding and hiking trails and undisturbed campgrounds.  Make this area part of your vacation plans!

 
 

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Huge Icelandic festival this weekend and lots to do in NE North Dakota

This weekend is the 112th annual Deuce of August Icelandic celebration in Mountain, North Dakota.  If you aren’t familiar with Mountain, it’s a town of 130 people that more than quadruples in size with this celebration of Icelandic heritage and culture.  Always held the weekend before the first Monday in August, it coordinates with the Islendingadagurinn – the Manitoba Icelandic celebration in the town of Gimli.

The town of Mountain is one of the oldest Icelandic settlements in the U.S.  The Vikur Lutheran Church, established in 1880, is known as the oldest Icelandic church in all of North America.

Events start tomorrow and take place throughout the weekend.  More than 300 visitors from Iceland will be attending this year including a choir group which will be performing.

Free genealogy research is another perk offered to guests – including more than just family trees for participants; sagas and stories of ancestors are shared.

While you’re in the area, also consider visiting Icelandic State Park and other nearby attractions include the Pembina State Museum, the Gingras Trading Post State Historic Site, and the Rendezvous Region Scenic Backway through the Pembina Gorge.

The Frostfire Summer Theatre performance of Big River is also taking place this weekend and is a short drive from Mountain.  Watch the story of Huck Finn come to life on a beautiful outdoor stage.

 
 

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Devils Lake – worth every moment

Last week, some co-workers and I had the opportunity to spend two days in Devils Lake and in short: those two days went far too fast.  We had an exclusive aerial tour of the lake, visited Sullys Hill, the Fort Totten State Historic Site, Spirit Lake Casino and the Lake Region Heritage Center.  We ate well (thank you Woodland Resort), slept well (thank you Fireside Inn) did a bit of shopping and got to go FISHING.

Our fabulous guides, Suzie and Katie from the Devils Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau, asked each person in our group what their favorite thing was on the trip and they heard all experiences echoed back.  Devils Lake has a reputation for being one of the best walleye, pike and perch fisheries in the U.S.  It has a mystique, being one of the largest natural lakes in the nation that in the last 20 years has risen nearly 30-feet and is now a 3,810 square-mile basin.  Although known for fish and water – Devils Lake has many cool visitor experiences.

We did not have the time to get everywhere, nor did we have a lot of time to spend at each location.  But what we got to do was fun!  Here’s a glimpse at our experiences:

  1. Sullys Hill National Game Preserve is a birders paradise with numerous viewing stations and opportunity for photography.  Portions of the auto tour are currently closed due to the high water, but trails are open including a 2,000-foot wheelchair accessible trail.  The new visitors center is currently open by appointment.  Just call ahead to make arrangements.
  2. Fort Totten State Historic Site was a military post, a boarding school, a Native American health care facility and a reservation school and visitors can explore the grounds and all of those unique stories.  A beautiful new exhibit in the visitors center has recently opened.
  3. The Lake Region Heritage Center is a gem – there’s a perfectly preserved federal courtroom, a U.S. marshall’s office complete with “holding cell,” a reassembled rural church, a barbershop, a dentist office, displays of Native American culture and much more.  When visiting “Lil’s room” be sure to ask about the ghost story!!
  4. The fishing!!!  Seven of us split up between two boats and two top-secret locations.  In our 3 hours on the water we caught two limits of walleyes and caught-released countless northern pike.  Our guide, Jason Mitchell, had to practically force us off the water.  Check out these “smiles”!

There is road construction on several routes in and around Devils Lake.  Visitors should be prepared for delays and are welcome to check road reports with the Dept. of TransportationGrahams Island State Park is open for camping, but the road to Grahams Island may be subject to closing.  Visitors are reminded just to plan ahead as to not let anything disrupt an awesome experience.

 

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Wondering about flooding in North Dakota? We’ve got the answers

The Medora Musical opens its season June 10 and will be performed nightly through September 10.

Accessible, affordable golf. Great fishing. First-class historical forts and attractions. Awesome Badlands and wildlife. Fun cities. Wild rodeos and events.  North Dakota has it and rest assured – it’s open for the summer!

As seen in the U.S. and around the world this year, Mother Nature has been unleashing some wacky weather.  Some of that has affected North Dakota due to heavy rains and mountain snowpack melt-off.  The state has been experiencing flooding in a few areas of the state and the North Dakota Tourism Division wants to make sure you have the most current information available when planning your trip or traveling our great state.

First of all – here are some go-to resources to help with your planning and navigation:

  1. The North Dakota Tourism Division website – where you can check out press releases with travel updates.
  2. The ND Dept. of Transportation – which has highway maps showing any affected travel routes.
  3. The ND Parks and Recreation Dept. – which monitors camp sites, trails and more.
  4. Our mobile site – which can help with some on-the-go contact information.

Here’s a quick update on some of the places we’re being most frequently asked about:

  • Bismarck – most attractions and golf courses are open. Raging Rivers Waterpark opens June 18 and the Super Slide Amusement Park has reopened. 
  • Devils Lake – the fishing is awesome. Road construction is taking place so just be prepared for delays.  Sullys Hill is open by appointment.  Fort Totten State Historical site is open and has new displays in the visitor center.
  • Lake Sakakawea – all resorts are open along with the state parks. Boat ramps are available.
  • Minot – the zoo is temporarily closed but most visitor services are open.
  • Theodore Roosevelt National Park and Medora – all visitor centers are open, scenic drives are open, the Chateau de Mores is open, Roosevelt’s Maltese Cross Cabin is open with daily tours, and Bully Pulpit Golf Course has opened nine holes.  The Medora Musical is running nightly through September 10. The Juniper Campground in Theodore Roosevelt NP has reopened, trail rides are being provided and ranger programs are offered daily.  There are still some campgrounds were clean-up efforts are going on and a portion of the Maah Daah Hey trail is closed.
  • Washburn – Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site and the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center are open. Fort Mandan is inaccessible at the moment.

For a full listing, please see our latest press release.

It’s also been reported that Amtrak has restored service in North Dakota.

We want you to fully enjoy your North Dakota vacation.  So please just plan ahead, be prepared and have a great time! Then be sure to tell us about it at www.RULegendary.com – we’re giving away weekly prizes to hear your vacation stories (and see the pictures and videos too).

 

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North Dakota Travel Updates

Don't let Mother Nature mess with your vacation plans. Events like the Fargo Ribfest are coming soon and most attractions are OPEN!

It’s the season of Legendary fun!  Whether you’re seeking to follow the footsteps of North Dakota legends like Theodore Roosevelt or Lewis and Clark, or blaze your own trail of discovery North Dakota has so much to discover.  As you’re planning, we’d like to share a variety of updates and travel resources.  Unfortunately, North Dakota has also been affected by some of the severe weather impacting the U.S.  Rest assured, there’s plenty to see, do and explore and our fabulous travel counselors can help answer any questions you may have during your planning and traveling.

Theodore Roosevelt National Park and Medora

Theodore Roosevelt National Park is open for visitors at both the North Unit (near Watford City) and the South Unit (Medora).  Campgrounds are closed, but will be reopened as soon as waters from the Little Missouri River (nicknamed the Little Muddy) recede.

The Chateau de Mores State Historic Site will reopen for the season on June 1.  Bully Pulpit Golf Course is currently closed but workers are quickly cleaning the course.  All other Medora attractions are open.  The Medora Musical will open as scheduled June 10.

Missouri River and Bismarck-Mandan

Due to unprecedented record and late snowfall in the Rocky Mountains, record inflows of water have raised Lake Sakakawea resulting in extreme releases from the Garrison Dam and into the Missouri River.  Fishermen are still getting out on the river and need to be aware of the no-wake zone from the Garrison Dam to the McLean Bottoms/headwaters of Lake Oahe.

In Bismarck-Mandan, there are closures at the Dakota Zoo, Riverwood Golf Course, the Lewis & Clark Riverboat, boat ramps and recreational trails.  You can find information at the Bismarck Parks and Recreation office and get information on other attractions, events and lodging at the Bismarck Mandan Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Minot

Scandinavian Heritage Park in Minot

Record rainfall amounts have caused flooding along the Souris River and into Minot.  The Minot Convention and Visitors Bureau is working hard to assist travelers and the Minot community.  The Roosevelt Park Zoo is temporarily closed; most visitor services remain open.  Please call ahead to verify your travel plans at this time.

Statewide Information

If camping is part of your travel plan, the North Dakota Parks and Recreation Department is keeping tabs on affected state parks, trails and campgrounds.  Likewise, the North Dakota Department of Transportation has travel maps to help guide you.

The message:  Please just plan ahead to make sure your vacation goes off without a hitch!  We hope your North Dakota trip is a great adventure for all the right reasons! For updates on travel information AND fun events – be sure to “like” Travel North Dakota on facebook and @TravelND on twitter

 

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It’s like a frequent flyer program just for private pilots

Visiting by land, air and sea takes on another new meaning here in North Dakota.  There is a new passport program, created specifically for pilots exploring North Dakota by air (and the 89 public airports).  The “Create a Flying Legacy in North Dakota” passport program invites pilots to visit North Dakota’s airports, air museums and also participate in FAA safety seminars.  Plus, there are rewards.  Each time you visit a North Dakota airport or air museum, have your passport stamped.  With the proper number of stamps, you can earn a polo shirt, flight bag and a leather flight jacket.

The Flying Legacy passports are free and available from the North Dakota Aeronautics Commission and are located at most of North Dakota’s airports (along with the passport stamp) in the Arrival and Departure Building next to the visitors log.  Or call or email the Aeronautics Commission to receive one.

North Dakota has wonderful scenery to entice the traveler-pilot, along with an average 300 VFR days per year.  There are a number of aviator must-sees including museums, historic sites and air force bases.  You can even connect the Lewis and Clark Trail through airports and nearby attractions.  See a list of these attractions at NDtourism.com.

 
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Posted by on May 31, 2011 in Attractions, Just for Fun

 

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Memorial Day Weekend Travel Updates

Kicking off your summer with a Memorial Day Weekend vacation?  North Dakota Tourism invites you to have some Legendary fun!  As you’re planning, we’d like to share a variety of updates and travel resources.  Certain parts of the state are experiencing the joys of Mother Nature – but rest assured, there’s plenty to see, do and explore.

Theodore Roosevelt National Park and Medora

Theodore Roosevelt National Park is open for visitors at both the North Unit (near Watford City) and the South Unit (Medora).  Campgrounds are closed, but will be reopened as soon as waters from the Little Missouri River (nicknamed the Little Muddy) recede.

Record water levels in Medora are currently affecting access to Bully Pulpit Golf Course and the Chateau de Mores State Historic Site.  Please call ahead to check the status of attractions in Medora as you’re planning your trip.  The Medora Musical will open as scheduled June 10.

Missouri River and Bismarck-Mandan

Due to unprecedented record and late snowfall in the Rocky Mountains, record inflows of water have raised Lake Sakakawea resulting in extreme releases from the Garrison Dam and into the Missouri River.  Fishermen are still getting out on the river and just need to be aware of the no-wake zone from the Garrison Dam to the McLean Bottoms/headwaters of Lake Oahe.

In Bismarck-Mandan, there are closures at the Dakota Zoo, Riverwood Golf Course, the Lewis & Clark Riverboat, boat ramps and recreational trails.  You can find information at the Bismarck Parks and Recreation office and get information on other attractions, events and lodging at the Bismarck Mandan Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Statewide Information

If camping is part of your travel plan, the North Dakota Parks and Recreation Department is keeping tabs on affected state parks, trails and campgrounds.  Likewise, the North Dakota Department of Transportation has travel maps to help guide you.

The message:  Please just plan ahead to make sure your vacation goes off without a hitch!  We hope your North Dakota trip is a great adventure for all the right reasons!  For example, consider some of the FUN to be had this weekend:

For updates on travel information AND fun events – be sure to “like” Travel North Dakota on facebook and @TravelND on twitter.

 

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