Category Archives: Scenic Drives

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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Planning for Sturgis? Take a route north.

Tucked away in the west-central town of Golden Valley lies a golden attraction.  From the outside, it’s “just” a garage.  Inside, a Harley-Davidson / classic-auto-lover’s paradise!

Owner John Lindemann is a collector of classic, authentic Harley-Davidson motorcycles.  His collection includes more than 40 cycles and 10 autos.  He competes in classic shows and opens his garage to enthusiasts who share his passion for powered-history.  This attraction is one that’s only open by-appointment or by-luck.  John will give tours personally, and says it’s best to call him a couple of hours before you may be traveling through:  (701) 983-4231.


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Paradise – Lake Sakakawea

Overlooking Hazen Bay

Overlooking Hazen Bay

The marina at Sakakawea State Park

The marina at Sakakawea State Park

Our staff just took a tour around Lake Sakakawea.  The big lake is up 24-feet this summer, thanks to a wet winter, spring and good snowpack/run-off from the mountains.  All that water has re-invigorated the resorts, parks and marinas around the lake.  We had the opportunity to tour some interesting and unique attractions … more on them in the coming weeks.  This is share of some of the campgrounds and water-access points on the southeast side.  Lake Sakakawea has more shoreline than the state of California has coast.  Seriously.  It’s that big.  There’s something like 50 places to launch a boat, and some of the houseboats, yachts and sailboats in the marinas are drool-worthy.

Overlooking Beulah Bay

Overlooking Beulah Bay The marina at Sakakawea State Park

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Posted by on June 26, 2009 in Fishing, Scenery, Scenic Drives


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