Saturday, April 29, 2017

A Request From A Reader -- Hot Spots In North Dakota -- April 29, 2017

Suggestions from readers (to know what this is all about -- see original post).


Readers write:
One sight to see that immediately came to my mind, especially for one  driving through, is a short (30 miles or so) stretch of highway in south west North Dakota - the ENCHANTED HIGHWAY.
My goodness you left out Our Place Cafe Lanes and Lounge in Elgin, ND. You haven't experienced ND if you haven't bowled in a 4 lane alley.
Medora and the small road trip through TR Park, Heritage Center in Bismarck is revamped and very nice to see.
Original Post
 
A reader writes:
Little request, I have a friend who travels America looking at the various hot spots in each state.

He will be traveling through ND on his next leg.

Can you give me a top ten list of things you would recommend to see as someone is driving through.
The biggest problem, of course, is the sheer size of the state. If he/she is coming specifically to North Dakota for a week or two, the items on that list will be far different from a list for someone simply spending a few extra days crossing the state on a cross-country road trip.

I will open this up to readers who can comment anonymously (below) or by e-mail with their thoughts. I don't the eastern half of the state well enough, so I will limit most of the thoughts to the western half of the state, with some exceptions:

Coming from the east on I-94, Fargo is going to be the last huge metropolis one will find in North Dakota. "Hot or not," it might surprise someone from out of state how big this city has become.

Continuing on I-94, going west, crossing the Missouri River at Bismarck/Mandan will be a beautiful, beautiful sight.

At the far west end of I-94, one arrives at the south unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park which is probably the highlight for most folks driving across North Dakota.

That's the south side of the state, from east to west. Hopefully, your friend has time when he/she reaches the west end of I-94 in North Dakota to drive three to five hours north to the Bakken.

The activity has slowed down immensely so the excitement of 2007 - 2012 is no longer there. But prior to reaching the Bakken, one will enter the Badlands and the entrance to the north unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park, off US Highway 85, just south of Watford City.

If the timing is right, one of the best steak dinners can be had in the "bank restaurant" on Main Street in Watford City.  Even if one does not eat there, it is an interesting spot to stop just to see what oil money has brought to this part of the state.

Another 45 minutes north or so and one is in Williston, heart of the Bakken.

If really touring the area, watch for Fort Union and Fort Buford; if time for only one such excursion, Fort Union. Again, we're talking a lot of cross-country driving, even after one arrives in Nroth Dakota.

It's a long scenic drive from Williston to Four Bears Casino, well east of Williston, but the view across the Missouri when one gets there is spectacular.

My best advice: the North Dakota Tourism website.

I'll build on this post over the next few days as thoughts come to mind / readers respond.

Traveling across North Dakota, I would stop at coffee shops or restaurants off the beaten path, outside the "big cities." The wait staff: almost always very, very friendly and once they learn you are from out of state and curious about North Dakota, they might surprise you with their thoughts. "Original North Dakotans" are generally northern European -- German/Scandinavian -- and a bit reserved. After all they've been through the past few years, they may also be a bit skeptical of newcomers and circumspect in their comments.

In Williston, of course, Books on Broadway.

4 comments:

  1. My goodness you left out Our Place Cafe Lanes and Lounge in Elgin ND. You haven't experienced ND if you haven't bowled in a 4 lane alley.

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    1. I knew I was making a mistake opening this to readers. LOL. But, having said that, great suggestion. I've moved your comment up to the main blog so it's searchable. Thank you for taking time to write.

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  2. Medora and the small road trip through TR Park, Heritage Center in Bismarck is revamped and very nice to see.

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    1. Thank you, much appreciated. I always find it amazing, the more I know, the more I learn, the more I travel, the more I appreciate "heritage centers"; roadside historical markers; interpretative centers; etc. And small mom-and-pop cafes off the beaten path.

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