Sunday, September 29, 2019

Bismarck, ND


September – a great time to visit Bismarck, ND



Why now? Festivals, rummage sales, running races, parades, and a powwow! Weather tends to fluctuate from the 50’s to the 90’s, so dress in layers.

The first weekend after Labor Day is always Powwow AND rummage sale weekend. The three-day powwow is held at the United Tribes Technical College. This year was especially exciting because it was the 50th year of the Powwow! With tribes from all over the world, it was really something to see. We had never watched the Grand Entry and it was amazing - each dancer was basically dancing the same steps, but with his or her own style.


Solar powered lighting!

The Downtowners Association hosts the Street Fair the second weekend after Labor Day, Friday and Saturday. The event is small enough to not be overwhelming, but large enough to spend several hours browsing local artisans’ booths and tasting local flavors.




Fruit Danish from the Brick Oven Bakery

The Autumnfest Parade usually falls on Street Fair weekend or the weekend after. It starts and ends at the Capitol grounds. The other big event that usually falls on the third weekend in September is the Bismarck Marathon - a healthy way to raise money for local charities!

The Bismarck-Mandan Symphony Orchestra holds their first concert of the season in September. Concerts are held at the historic Belle Mehus auditorium. This year the headliner of the concert was Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue!



What a great time to visit!


Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Mott; Elgin; New Leipzig; Carson & St. Anthony, ND



Ahhh… sunflower season… we almost missed it this year!

We had missed the sunflowers in Bismarck, so we set out in search of sunflower fields that were at their peak. According to the North Dakota Tourism website, there are several places to visit for prime sunflower viewing. We checked out the Sunflower Map and realized that the peak sunflowers closest to us (at this late date) were north of Mott, ND. So away we went!




The route we chose was I-94 W to ND-8 S, so we could get there fast, then take a more leisurely route home. Several sunflower fields lined the highway - but their heads were so heavy with seeds, they were past their prime. We kept going to 53rd St. and there they were - the bright yellow fields we had been yearning for! Don't worry - we followed the advice from ND Tourism and stayed out of the fields!




Mott, ND

We drove on to Mott and discovered the best of Mott (in our opinion) - the park and the murals. Along Brown St., there are two murals and a lovely little memorial park where the Hotel Brown was located before it burned down in 1989. Our biggest mistake in Mott was not trying the door at The Tilted Tulip flower and coffee shop - we learned later that they had been open!




















Elgin, ND

The Sippin' Chicken was a happy surprise. They had previously shared space in the Green Stem Floral and Gift Shop. Just three weeks ago they reopened in the old Farmers State Bank. The bank vault is one of the loveliest storage rooms we've ever seen!






Well, we grabbed a few tasty coffees (and some cherry pie) and sat down to play Tic Tac Toe… we also learned a little about the town from owner Shawna Ottmar. She was excited to share that several of the business owners in Elgin are sprucing up their shops. We will definitely come back this fall for Oktoberfest! Ottmar told us to call ahead for one of her massive caramel rolls if we visit on a Friday.

We found out from Ottmar that New Leipzig had a great little restaurant called the Let's Eat Cafe. So we turned around and drove the 5 miles back to New Leipzig.

New Leipzig, ND





The charming Let's Eat Cafe just opened in September 2017. OMG! Good thing we backtracked… the Knoephla Soup and Frybread Tacos hit the spot! If we hadn’t just purchased coffee, we would have tried the coffee, as there was quite a selection. Another must visit if passing through the area - now that we are following Let’s Eat Cafe on Facebook, we are drooling over the donuts and daily specials!




Carson, ND

This town reminded us of Medora, with the weathered brown siding and shingles. We were interested in checking out the Nerds Bar Bowling and Rec, but it is no longer open. However, a nice little bar, with a small arcade area is located in the same space - Rock Ridge Bar.

Our favorite part of Carson was the interesting sidewalk art… 😁



St. Anthony, ND

By the time we left Carson, we were a little tired, so we were just going to race home. But we just couldn't resist stopping at Rusty's Saloon & Grill in St. Anthony. Beautiful wood bar, antler chandelier, lovely bathrooms, and the fleischkuechle and fries were a tasty early, shareable supper.

Sunday, August 4, 2019

New Salem, ND

Morton County Fair


Well... if you haven't been to a county fair, you should try it!

Local music, animals, and usually some kind of FREE food - what's not to like?

So, MOST of the fairs we have attended, have some kind of free food, whether it is samples, candy, ice cream, wine or beer tasting; but Morton County Fair hosted a FREE Hamburger Lunch! AND it was good! The burgers were juicy and the beans tasty. We also got chips, lemonade, and ice cream. The tables were a little tight... due to the crazy lighting storm, but everyone was pleasant despite the cramped space. The lights went out at least four times, but The Little Bluestems siblings band kept right on playing - what troopers!




Highlights of the fair:





The goats and pigs - they were friendly and entertaining! The pigs were so curious, they wandered over and looked deep into our eyes, as if to say, "You don't really want to eat bacon, sausage, and pork chops anymore, do you?"



The 4H projects - the variety of categories was amazing - from growing plants, to building chairs, to needlework, canning, cake decorating, engineering projects, and last but not least - flower arranging. Our favorite entry was The Potato Masher potato launcher!



The music - we heard some great toe tapping, polka, bluegrass, and original country. Musical acts included: Marv & The Moonlighters, Clyde Bauman aka Mylo Hatzenbuhler, The Little Bluestems, and Carrie Cunningham.


The only things we missed out on were the beer garden and tractor pull - both were canceled due to the weather. Once the sun came out, we did catch the Kiddie Tractor Pull, which was super cute! If you have never seen one, the child pedals a tractor pulling a trailer with weights on it - talk about a workout!


All this, with the grand Salem Sue overlooking the events. Well... so long til next year, Morton County Fair. Thanks for the fun!







Saturday, August 3, 2019

Strasburg, ND - Welk Homestead State Historic Site


Ever heard of Lawrence Welk or Strasburg, ND? No, well you are missing out!





Ever since flying by the Welk Homestead sign last fall, we knew we had to make an actual visit. I mean, Lawrence Welk is North Dakota's golden boy - a North Dakota Music Hall of Fame Inductee. With his Germans from Russia heritage and work ethic, he made it to the big time with his bands and the Lawrence Welk Show.

We began our journey by traveling south on US 83, down the two lane highway through the fields of wheat, corn, and other crops we couldn't identify. As we neared Linton and Strasburg, we began to see lovely rolling hills. The Welk Homestead was easy to find as it has the state historic site sign AND another larger sign.

The small sod house sits next to the summer kitchen, the blacksmith, the livery stable, the red painted barn - and most importantly - the privy! We ran into a nephew of Lawrence, who showed us the children's table in the Summer Kitchen, that his grandfather built, and where his mom played the organ. While touring the sod house, we learned Lawrence convinced his father to buy a $400 accordion for him in exchange for several more years work on the farm.

Our visit coincided with an annual event - Welk Homestead State Historic Site - Music at the Homestead - FREE music, kuchen, and black smith demonstrations. It was fun listening to the local musicians during the Accordion Jam Session. They played classics like Du Du Liegst Mir Im Herzen.

Even more interesting than the music, were the two blacksmiths demonstrating their craft! This entertaining duo will be at the upcoming Corn Feed/Harvest Festival (this event has two names!) at Buckstop Junction in Bismarck, ND and the Annual Braddock Threshing Bee in Braddock, ND. The most interesting event was the blacksmith demonstration. One of the gentleman demonstrated how to make wall hook with a decorative heart.







Before AND after heading to the Welk Homestead, we ate at The Grille and Lounge, nine miles to the north, in Linton, ND. Yum! The breakfast - Farmer's Omelet, eggs, and caramel roll was the perfect start to our trip. We looked longingly at the homemade pies... and couldn't resist returning to sample some! After seeing the size of the slices, we could have shared... but who would want to share something so tasty?












Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Medora, ND





What a great day to be heading west! The clouds and colors were amazing!

First stop Hidden Springs Java for an iced coffee, the White Chocolate Frappe with an extra shot of espresso was perfect for a pre-park pick-me-up!

Hidden Springs Java

Theodore Roosevelt National Park - South Unit

Theodore Roosevelt National Park - South Unit

Theodore Roosevelt National Park Visitors Center - a great place to learn more about Theodore Roosevelt AND about programs and safety (including Road Conditions) in the park. Our Interpreter was awesome - he practically bounced out of his chair to share stories!

Wildlife! 

Bison by the Old East Entrance Trail

Picnic with the Prairie Dogs!





First museum - Chateau de Morse Interpretive Center - living history at its best. We love when Interpreters get into character! During the living history performance, we learned about the Marquis de Morse and how he named the town Medora for his wife, the marquise. Medora was an excellent huntress and horseback rider.

Rough Riders Hotel

Rough Riders Hotel - expensive AND worth the splurge. AC, central location, comfy bed, nice shower, Theodore Roosevelt teddy bear, and book on Medora history - what more could you want? 


Check out the room… our own Teddy!

And the shower… with the Elkhorn and Chimney Butte Ranch branding iron signs! 

Around town…

Gotta Find the Theodore Roosevelt Statue!


If you think this museum is just about cowboys, you would be wrong! True, the second level is dedicated to the Cowboy Hall of Fame inductees – which include several cowgirls, but the main level includes North Dakota, American Indian and the importance of the horse, and Rodeo history. Many of the components are interactive and children’s admission is FREE on Wednesdays and Sundays.

Little Missouri Saloon & Dining

Found a great spot with a view for dinner - Little Missouri Saloon & Dining. Head upstairs to the second floor balcony for the view! 


Medora Musical - a must see if you like country music and want to learn more about the history of Medora - plus most shops and some restaurants close before the musical starts at 7:30 pm.

Burning Hills Amphitheatre

Dinner is pretty spendy but breakfast is reasonably priced at the Rough Rider Theodore’s Dining Room. Service was quick and the food was tasty! Lemon Ricotta Pancakes and the Farmers Bowl… yum!

Breakfast at Theodore's Dining Room

Favorite stores...

Best stores for history bluffs and book lovers? Western Edge Books, Artwork, Music





Roosevelt's Outpost


If you are looking for outdoor gear, books, postcards, AND information about Theodore Roosevelt, then this is the store for you! 

Joe Farris General Store
Joe Farris General Store

We could have spent way more time at the general store looking at the color by sticker books, cool socks, books, t-shirts, wooly slippers, souvenirs, post cards, quotes, AND learning about the town from the knowledgeable staff, but we were getting hungry!  


Favorite place to hang out?

The Town Square Patio, sitting under the LARGE umbrellas, listening to FREE music, and grabbing a Maltese Burger and fries. Yum!

Town Square Patio

Maltese Burger

Tips:

If you need a doctor… go to Dickinson!

Musical Parking tip - book the $5 shuttle in advance, it fills up. If you are like us, terrified of waiting in line, leave a little early and watch the fireworks from the top. 

Medora Bathroom tip - go to the museums! They all have nice bathrooms! There are public restrooms in downtown Medora, but we never had to use them because we stayed downtown and went to museums and one bar/restaurant. 


The only doctor in town... is a chiropractor!

Freebies: 

Live Music at the Town Square Patio - FREE daily performances

Harold Schafer Heritage Center - FREE ADMISSION to the museum and art gallery dedicated to Harold's legacy and the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation. Harold purchased and rebuilt most of Medora and made it what it is today.

Where is the children’s park with the most spectacular backdrop? Medora Children’s Park – on the corner of Broadway and 5th Street!

If you know a fourth grader – check out the Every Kid in a Park program. Fourth graders who participate earn a FREE year long National Park Pass.



More photos of Medora and the Theodore Roosevelt National Park:














Bismarck, ND

September – a great time to visit Bismarck, ND Why now? Festivals, rummage sales, running races, parades, and a powwow! Weather tends to flu...