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Category Archives: History

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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Flood update from North Dakota Tourism

There is an emergency in Minot, North Dakota right now, along with several communities along the Souris River – for travel information, contact the Minot Convention and Visitors BureauStatewide flood information is available along with travel information from North Dakota’s travel counselors [1-800-435-5663].

Actor Josh Duhamel offers support for his hometown

Concern and support for Minot has been flowing in faster than the Souris, including from Transformers 3 Actor Josh Duhamel who called Minot this morning from Moscow (where he is promoting the new movie).  He also told Entertainment Tonight about how people can donate to the Red Cross efforts in Minot.  How very cool and respectable that this Hollywood Star has such deep North Dakota roots.  Be sure follow Duhamel on Facebook and Twitter.  Watch his call-in with this YouTube clip and his ET interview.

I also found the words written on the Visit Minot blog yesterday to be provoking and inspirational:

Minot is facing one of the most devastating floods the city has ever seen …  The community has come together to help family, friends, neighbors, coworkers, and in some cases perfect strangers … We know there is going to be along road ahead of us … But there is no doubt we will make it through this … All it will take is a little Magic.

For travelers wondering about Minot here’s a snapshot of closures:

Additional flood news

While the Souris River makes national headlines in Minot, the Missouri River continues to create additional news throughout the country.  Here in North Dakota, the water level along the Missouri River is stable.  Our friends in Williston report that the swollen river has given Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site a historically authentic experience – as it would have appeared during the times of fur trade.  All visitor experiences are open in Williston.

Lake Sakakawea is certainly at an all-time height.  Water temperatures are rising and reports are trickling in that the walleye bite is warming up as well.  All resorts, campgrounds and boat ramps are open on the big lake.  Check road reports for closures and construction news.

In Washburn, the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center is open, but there are no tours at historic Fort Mandan.  And across the river near Stanton, Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site is also open.

Bismarck-Mandan does have closures at campgrounds and marinas.  There are some road closures and traffic limitations.  Visitors should know that all shopping, dining and most attractions are open including Raging Rivers Waterpark, the Heritage Center, Custer House at Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park and many more.  Softball players and their families coming to the Capitol City this weekend for the McQuade’s tournament will have only a few road construction detours to worry about.  The Bismarck Marathon, which will take place September 17, will have a new route.

While there is a no-wake zone along the Missouri River to the headwaters of Lake Oahe (just south of Bismarck-Mandan), fishing continues with many access points in this giant lake.

Along the Little Missouri River – all visitor centers and scenic drives in both the North Unit and South Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park are open (and spectacular).  Campgrounds have re-opened in the park and in Medora – where the famed Medora Musical and Pitchfork Fondue are being offered nightly (through September 10) and all visitor services are open.  Bully Pulpit Golf Course has 9 holes open and playable.

And in Devils Lake, there is some road construction and road closures due to the mystifying lake – Fort Totten State Historic Site is open, Sullys Hill National Game Preserve is open upon appointment, the Spirit Lake Casino is open as well as all visitor services in Devils Lake and numerous boat ramps.  Don’t forget to visit the Lake Region Heritage Center Museum – it’s a gem!

While news in Minot, Bismarck, Medora and other cities flood-affected have created a lot of concern – we’d like to also note that adventurous, fun and memorable experiences await you throughout North Dakota.  We have thousands of events, historical sites, museums, nature areas and so much more.  A favorite of mine – the F-M RedHawks are at home in Fargo this weekend.  Our guests love North Dakota – read their stories at www.RULegendary.com – and then come back and share your own!

 

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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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A cultural vacation

Sometimes when people travel, you’ll hear them talk about immersing themselves in the culture.  Or that they might even be taking a cultural vacation.  In fact, one of the top travel trends in the U.S. is “history and culture” vacations.  But what does that mean?  And could you even be doing it without knowing?

The types of cultural experiences found in North Dakota vary.  Our Culture & Heritage Trail Guide is a free publication dedicated to five themes found in a North Dakota vacation experience.  You can request this publication online or by calling 1-800-435-5663.  The themes you’ll read about include:

  • Arts & Entertainment
  • Wildlife & Wonders
  • Heritage & Heroes
  • The Lewis & Clark Trail
  • Ranches, Farms & Gardens

The types of culture found in North Dakota is far ranging and includes celebrations of immigrant cultures, like the Ukrainian Festival in Dickinson (July 22-24), the Deuce of August Icelandic Celebration in Mountain (July 29-31) and North America’s largest Scandinavian Festival, Norsk Hostfest in Minot (September 27-October 1).

There are celebrations of western culture, like the  Taylor Horsefest (July 29-30), the Wild West Shootouts at the Frontier Village in Jamestown and Tatanka Festival (July 7-10) and the popular Medora Musical (nightly June 10-September 10).

You can also explore Native American culture at the Northern Great Plains Culture Fest (July 30-31) and the magnificent UTTC International Powwow (September 8-11).

And if you’re looking for history, you’ve visited the right place.  North Dakota is where legends were made and you can follow the Trail of Lewis & Clark, visit Theodore Roosevelt’s cabin in a national park named for him, see the home of Sakakawea, the fort of General Custer, the headdress of Sitting Bull, a museum dedicated to Roger Maris and even the birthplace of Lawrence Welk.

You are invited to visit, explore and enjoy North Dakota’s history and culture.  From one of the oldest standing structures built by immigrants to a botanical garden commemorating international peace – there’s a diverse and fun trail waiting for you in North Dakota.

 
 

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