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Lights, Snow, Action!

The sparkle of the season will soon surround us as the first of winter’s snowfalls cover the ground and reflect the twinkling of holiday lights. There are great options to enjoy light tours in North Dakota. Pack up the family and a thermos of hot chocolate!  And for a truly memorable experience, consider a horse-drawn sleigh ride – available from the Dakota Carriage Company in Fargo.

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Posted by on December 1, 2011 in Events, Winter Fun

 

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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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I love winter!

Sundogs photographed at the University of Mary, Bismarck - photo by Erica Hager

The headline is 100% completely true in my case. Winter is my favorite season. I love the snow. I love the sparkle. I love the cold. “What?!!” you ask, “You love cold?” Yes – I love the cold. North Dakota was making some headlines this week for being colder than some places in Antarctica. Here in Bismarck this morning it was -25°. (As I write this at noon, it’s already warmed up to 11°. A 30/40/50-degree temperature shift is not uncommon here.)

You might wonder how anyone could love the cold. This morning on my way to a workshop, I drove over the Missouri River.  The River hasn’t completely iced over, so a thick fog was rising from the open water (which was obviously warmer than the air temperature). That fog is cool. The crispness of the air – literally cool. It makes your senses alert, and you hear how loud the crunch of footsteps become. There’s a sharpness to your breath. The air is so clean that the sun dogs around the sun seem to make it twice as bright.

Without winter there wouldn’t be snowmobiling, sledding, outdoor skating rinks, ice fishing, snowkiting, cross-country skiing, snowboarding, dog sledding and much more. What’s your favorite winter activity? Where do you find the beauty of this season?

 
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Posted by on January 19, 2011 in Winter Fun

 

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See you next year!

Zoo Year's Eve Run in Bismarck, photo by the Bismarck Tribune

While you’re planning ways to celebrate the New Year, all of us at North Dakota Tourism would like to wish you a very Happy New Year and invite you to celebrate your new year in North Dakota style!  Vacationers will find North Dakota to be a very active state – some of our top activities include hiking, mountain biking, kayaking, fishing, hunting, bird watching and wildlife viewing.  New Years Eve, you can join the Zoo Year’s Eve fun run at Dakota Zoo in Bismarck.  OR, join the New Year’s Day 5K in Fargo on January 1.

If a weekend jog isn’t in the plans, maybe snowmobile or cross-country ski trails fit-the-bill?  There are also four recreational (downhill) ski areas in North Dakota.  We provide a weekly winter activities report for the latest on trail and snow conditions!

Have fun this new year and all year in North Dakota!

 
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Posted by on December 29, 2010 in Events, Winter Fun

 

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