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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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Congrats FSN Fan Zone winners

Congratulations to the winners of four North Dakota vacation prizes! These lucky ones entered through the Fox Sports North Fan Zone during an online promotion leading up to the University of North Dakota vs. University of Minnesota men’s hockey series last weekend.

Garth Bowen of Cedar Rapids, Iowa has won a Medora prize package featuring two nights of lodging at the Rough Riders Hotel, two lower-level seating tickets to the legendary Medora Musical, dinner for two at the famed outdoor Pitchfork Steak Fondue, and two rounds of golf with a cart at Bully Pulpit.

 

 

 

Patrick Zalusky of New Brighton, Minn. has won a two-night stay at the Fireside Inn and Suites in Devils Lake, two-days guided fishing with Bry’s Guide Service,  dining and gaming vouchers from Spirit Lake Casino and $50 in Devils Lake Cash.

Mike Siebert of Oakdale, Minn. has won a two-night stay at Woodland Resort on Devils Lake, two-days guided fishing with Mitchell Guide Service, dining and gaming vouchers from Spirit Lake Casino, and $50 in Devils Lake Cash.

And Carmine D’Amato from Sheboyhan, Wis. won a Grand Forks prize package featuring two nights of lodging in a jacuzzi suite at the Canad Inns, a $100 gift card to the Toasted Frog, $50 gift card to the Blue Moose, $250 shopping spree and two tickets to each University of North Dakota men’s hockey games vs. Mankato State, March 2 and 3.

Governor Dalrymple Predicts Score … Again

About a year ago, North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple was interviewed live by Fox Sports North Host Marney Gellner pre-game to a University of North Dakota vs. U of Minnesota men’s hockey game.  At the end of that interview, Marney asked the Governor if he wanted to predict the score of the game.  To which he offered: North Dakota, 4, Minnesota, 1.  He was right!  Two-plus hours later that’s what the score ended up.

Fast forward one year to last Friday night.  Marney Gellner and Governor Dalrymple were back at the FSN pre-game desk in Grand Forks’ Ralph Engelstad Arena.  Marney recalled the Governor’s accurate prediction and asked him for another.  This time he did a bit of a Carnac impression and guessed: North Dakota, 2, Minnesota, 1. Once again – the Gov was right on.  No word yet on if the Governor’s office is receiving requests for lottery numbers and other predictions but I do think I see a standing pre-game question from FSN in the future.

 

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Tune into FSN on Friday night

This weekend, the University of North Dakota men’s hockey team will face their rivals at the University of Minnesota and North Dakota Tourism is proud to once again be a sponsor of the series with Fox Sports North.  The Friday night game will be aired by FSN in North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, South Dakota and Iowa and starts with the pre-game show at 6:30 p.m.

During Friday’s pre-game show, two legendary North Dakotans take center stage as FSN host Marney Gellner interviews 13-year Minnesota Vikings tight end Jim Kleinsasser.  Gellner, a native of Minot, and Kleinsasser from Carrington, talk about some of their favorite North Dakota places.

Starting this weekend, four fabulous North Dakota prize packages will also be open for entries at the Fox Sports North Fan Zone.  Enter to win:

Winners will be announced during the UND vs. UMN men’s hockey game on January 14, 2012.

 
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Posted by on November 2, 2011 in Events, Family Fun

 

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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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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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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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