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Category Archives: TRNP / Badlands

Guest Blog : Undiscovered Travels in North Dakota – A Memeorable RV Experience

This guest blog comes from our friends at El Monte RV Rentals who invite others to explore North Dakota as they did.

Here’s a great way to produce an eyebrow-arching reaction from your friends: tell them that you’re going to take a trip to North Dakota this year. That’s right, North Dakota – home state of bubbly bandleader Lawrence Welk, zen coaching great Phil Jackson and peppery actress Angie Dickinson, to name just a few famous North Dakotans. Those who think the only thing to do in North Dakota is shovel snow 10 months out of the year would be very surprised to find out just how much fun you can have in our 39th state. And because so many still think this way, you’re not going to find the usual suffocating crowds and long lines that plague so many of the country’s top destinations. So pack your bags, rent an RV and get ready for a memorable and truly relaxing vacation.

Begin your trip in the eastern part of the state with a stop at the Prairie Rose Carousel in Wahpeton, open Memorial Day through Labor Day. Even people without kids will marvel at seeing this fully restored 1926 Spillman model featuring 20 intricately painted wooden horses, two chariots and a calliope – it’s one of only 150 working carousels left in the country. And should you fancy a ride, it’s just $1.50.

From there, it’s a short drive to Bonanzaville in West Fargo. Learn about prairie life in the 1800’s as you stroll through more than 40 restored vintage buildings, including homes, schools, stores, depots and banks. On-site museum collections feature tractors, buggies, medical equipment and aircraft, including a C-47 that was used during the D-Day invasion.

To see an amazing collection of vintage aircraft that still fly, check out the nearby Fargo Air Museum, which features the F4-U Corsair, L 39 Jet, TBM Avenger, P 51 Mustang, Fairchild PT-19A, L 19 Bird dog, Bell Helicopter and “Duggy – the Smile in the Sky” DC 3.

courtesy of National Scenic Byways OnlineNext, drive north to Dunseith to visit the International Peace Garden located on the US-Canadian border. Constructed in 1932 as a symbol of friendship between the two countries, the 2339-acre Peace Garden offers vibrant displays of over 150,000 flowers including an 18-foot floral clock. It’s open year-round but the best views are when the park is at full bloom mid-July through August. Take time to park at one of the campgrounds to hike the surrounding Turtle Mountain forests and do some serious bird watching.

courtesy of National Scenic Byways OnlineAlso worth a stop is nearby Lake Metigoshe State Park, where you can enjoy acres of pristine wilderness, a crisp mountain lake and hike the 3-mile Old Oak Trail, the state’s first Recreation Trail. Here you can experience the rugged beauty of nature while you unplug from life’s day-to-day distractions.

After a day or two of true R&R, you’ll be ready to head back south to Bismarck, the state capital and home to a number of can’t miss historical attractions. The North Dakota Heritage Center museum is open year-round, and documents the entire history of the land from its formation and pre-historic dinosaurs to the western expansion era, Indian encounters and industrial age growth. You can also learn about the U.S.S. North Dakota and other nautical interests in the Hall of Honors section of the Museum.

Credit: U.S. Geological Survey, Department of the InteriorFamed explorers Lewis and Clark travelled the Missouri River (which is actually longer than the Mississippi) through this part of North Dakota with Indian guide Sakakawea, and their adventures are highlighted at the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center next to Fort Mandan, just a short drive from Bismarck. You can try on a buffalo robe, learn about the fur trade and view breathtaking watercolors by Karl Bodmer, regarded as one of the best eyewitness illustrators of Upper Midwest Indian Cultures.

In addition to Fort Mandan, Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park located on the west side of the Missouri boasts an impressive array of historical attractions, including reconstructed Indian earth lodges and General George Custer’s last Calvary post and reconstructed home. It was from this fort that he rode out to meet his fate at the hands of Sioux and Cheyenne warriors.

by Mary Brazell, courtesy of National Park Service

The western part of North Dakota is where you’ll find Theodore Roosevelt National Park, a panoramic tribute to our 26th President’s fervent belief in conservation, located near the town of Medora. You can read about the former president’s adventures in his own words and explore his Maltese Cross and Elkhorn ranches, surrounded by the austere beauty of the western badlands. Gain a unique perspective of the area from a saddle –guided horseback tours are available at Peaceful Valley Ranch within the Park.

Wrap up your tour by taking in a performance of the Medora Musical – a rollicking family-friendly entertainment adventure with singing, dancing and even live horses in a show that reflects upon the time Roosevelt spent in the area. The show is performed nightly during the summer months, and includes a mix of modern country, gospel and patriotic songs.

Amusing, restful, historic and panoramic – all very suitable words you can use to describe your journey through the quietly remarkable state of North Dakota.

Joe Laing is the Marketing Director for El Monte RV Rentals.  You can see more great RV vacation ideas in their Monty’s Musings RV Travel Blog and be sure to check out their Camping Pictures

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Celebrate National Park Week in North Dakota

Springtime is upon us and Theodore Roosevelt National Park is the perfect place to shake off the winter doldrums with National Park Week, April 16 – 24. Visits to the park during this annual celebration will be free.

The focus of this year’s National Park Week is Healthy Parks, Healthy People, highlighting the connection between human and environmental health and the vital role America’s national parks play in both. “Theodore Roosevelt National Park is an excellent place to enjoy the outdoors after a long winter,” said Superintendent Valerie Naylor. “Whether you prefer a short hike, an overnight trip into the backcountry, watching returning migratory birds, or viewing newborn bison and feral horses, the park offers opportunities for just about everyone to explore and discover.”

Kids and their families are invited to “Calling All Rangers,” an interactive program about national parks and the rangers who work in them, to be presented on both Saturdays, April 16 & 23 at 2 p.m. MDT in the South Unit Visitor Center. Children who attend will become National Park Junior Rangers. A variety of national park movies will be shown in the North and South Unit Visitor Centers on both weekends: at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. MST in the South Unit and at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. CDT in the North Unit. Films will also be shown upon request Monday through Friday of National Park Week.

 
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Posted by on April 15, 2011 in Attractions, Events, TRNP / Badlands

 

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Lots of Theodore Roosevelt related news

This weekend, enjoy free entrance and camping at Theodore Roosevelt National Park (entrances in Medora and near Watford City).  The scenic drives are open, weather permitting, and backcountry skiing and snowshoeing is permitted.

January 15 is Winter Fun Day at the Chateau de Mores in Medora.  Bring sleds, skis, snowshoes and enjoy activities with hot chocolate and cookies to be served.  There will be a fire pit bonfire on the patio and all activities are free including admission to the Chateau de Mores and its interpretive center. 

Theodore Roosevelt Documentary to Air

“Theodore Roosevelt: A Cowboy’s Ride to the White House” will run on 175 Public Broadcast stations over the next few months.  The documentary details Roosevelt’s life as a cowboy and his time in the Badlands of North Dakota, which he said was responsible for him becoming president.  For more information and copies of the film visit www.dorganfilms.com.

 
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Posted by on January 14, 2011 in History, TRNP / Badlands, Winter Fun

 

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Count some birds this weekend at TR Nat’l Park

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, photo by Scott Thomas

Volunteers are needed for the annual Audubon Christmas Bird Counts in Theodore Roosevelt National Park. The event is free and open to the public. The Medora bird count will take place on Sunday, Dec. 19 beginning at 8 a.m. MST in the South Unit Visitor Center. The North Unit bird count will begin Dec. 20 at 9 a.m. CST in the North Unit Visitor Center. Participants can drive, walk, ski or snowshoe to best cover their assigned areas. You don’t have to be a bird expert to make a difference.

 
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Posted by on December 17, 2010 in Birding, TRNP / Badlands, Winter Fun

 

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Last Minute Labor Day

Are you geared up and ready to go this weekend? With plenty of fun outdoor activities to enjoy in North Dakota, I thought I would key you in on some tidbits about this festive weekend.

Medora?

If you have not been out to Medora this summer yet, now is the absolute time! The ‘Best Show In The West,’ the Medora Musical puts on their final performance of the summer on Sept. 5. A musical tribute to the late Wade Westin will  also be held September 5 at 2 p.m., MDT at the Burning Hills Amphitheatre . The event features various artists, including Clyde Bauman, Jessie Veeder and cast members of the Medora Musical. Greg Hager will perform on the Chateau de Mores Interpretive Center patio during the afternoon on September 4.

Recreation?

Getting out to Medora also means a great weekend of scenery and recreation at the beautiful Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Since it sounds like it will be a weekend full of wonderful weather, hiking, biking, canoeing, or whatever your favorite recreational activity might be, North Dakota has you covered! Whether you want to stay close to home or take a great road trip North Dakota has many great state and national parks located across the state with fantastic trails and rivers.

Great Entertainment?

Friday Night Races is happening tonight in Grand Forks, if you haven’t gone yet, you dont’ want to miss out on this excitement!

Motor Magic is out at the North Dakota State Fair Grounds through the whole weekend, and one weekend only! They will kick off the motor mayhem along with enduro race, demolition derby, motorcycle poker run, auto cross and an auto classic car display.

-These are just a few events that are happening in North Dakota this Labor Day weekend, so if you are in need of some last minute planning  our website is your key for activities, attractions, accommodations and events! www.Ndtourism.com

 

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“Wow”- Enough Said

I had the great pleasure of spending time in Medora this weekend. Being an eastern North Dakota gal, I was a little timid when entering this “western Disney land,” but within an hour I was ready to strap some boots on and buy myself a cowboy hat! I had the best time immersing myself into the incredible history of Medora and walking through this small town full of excitement and wonder. Bright, smiling faces as you pass through and stop into shops was what made my day while strolling through with my grandmother. The one thing I had to do was go check out the newly renovated Rough Rider Hotel. My jaw instantly dropped as I enter the beautiful lobby that is contemporary with a twist of history and a whole wall of books for guests to enjoy. I start chatting with the front desk wonderful individuals that have had the greatest compliments since they opened at the beginning of the summer. Although they were completely booked up because there was a wedding reception taking place that night, my grandmother and I got a quick sneak peek into one of the rooms. The “ahhs” and “wows” were endless from us, the smell of everything brand new and colors that were so comforting. The best came last as I entered the bathroom and saw the huge tiled shower with the biggest shower head I’ve ever seen. I still cannot keep saying “wow,” we were so very impressed with the entire atmosphere. Interesting enough, when I was talking with the front desk staff they had said that most of the time what they hear from guests is “wow,” and now I realize why. Find your “wow”  in Medora.

The Rough Rider will be open all year-long, so book a night or hold an event at any time in this gorgeous new facility and enjoy the beauty of the Badlands backdrop in Medora.

 

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Blogging about a blog

I am curious if anyone else has been keeping up with Cross Country with Courtney blog at KFYRTV?! She started in early July and is a spunky, enthusiastic traveler who has taken it upon herself to find out what is so Legendary about North Dakota. She has had some exciting adventures thus far, visiting sites such as the capital, fairs, Fort Lincoln, On- A- Slant Mandan Indian Village, TR National Park and more. So get out there and visit her blog to find out all the hot spots you don’t want to miss out of in Legendary North Dakota! Thank you Courtney and we look forward to more stories of your travels here.

 

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