Barbecue, Boats and Water Lilies: Kayaking White Bear Lake

I’m addicted to paddling. I’ve away from the water for a bit. But I think I’m back for good this time.

I learned how to canoe in the murky waters of the Sheyenne River at camp near Cooperstown, North Dakota. My first real wilderness experience was a multi-day camping excursion to The Boundary Waters in Minnesota, where beginners like me just hopped into canoes with the experienced paddlers and we spent all day on the water.

I remember swimming in icy lakes and wood smoke in my hair. I ate better on that trip than I had in …

Continue reading

Weird and Wonderful Roadside Attractions On The Way To Medora, North Dakota

A lot happens on the road to Medora, North Dakota. As you drive west on I-94, a subtle shift begins. The horizon looks endless. The terrain changes. But mentality of the world around you changes too.

“Here’s the boundary between east and west,” said John Steinbeck when describing how it felt to cross the Missouri River. “On the Bismarck side it is eastern landscape, eastern grass, with the look and smell of eastern America. Across the Missouri on the Mandan side it is pure west with brown grass and water scoring and small outcrops. The two sides …

Continue reading

Dancing In The Streets: Marketfest in White Bear Lake

I have a soft spot for summer street festivals. And Marketfest in White Bear Lake, Minnesota is an especially good one.

It’s totally free and boasts a huge number of participating businesses and vendors (the website says over 130!), lots of street food, games and activities for kids, live music and a chance to get outdoors and enjoy a summer night in downtown White Bear Lake.

It happens every Thursday from mid-June through the end of July (which is impressive in and of itself) from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., rain or shine. This year the party …

Continue reading

Smart Wardrobe Solutions From The Dakota Chappy Pop-Up Shop

#PrairiePeople, meet Tori Srey, a fashion designer, personal stylist and North Dakota trendsetter. I met Tori through her work with Dakota Chappy, one of my favorite boutiques in Minot. You can find her creations at Tori Dany Designs and her collaborations with Dakota Chappy here.

If you can’t make it to the Dakota Chappy shop in Minot, but you can get to Bismarck this coming weekend, you’re in luck. I’ll let Tori tell you about what’s going on.

And if you’re going to be in Bismarck this Friday, maybe I’ll see you around! I’ll be staying the night with …

Continue reading

Canoeing The Mississippi River With Clear Waters Outfitting

If I can canoe the Mississippi River, you can too.

I’m not an expert by any means. I just love being out on the water. Water puts me in a mellow, almost trance-like state, whether I’m swimming or paddling or just sitting on the shore. And if you know me in real life, you’ll know that I’m not often like that. So when we had a chance to get on the Mississippi River with Clear Waters Outfitting Company in Clearwater, Minnesota, I was all in.

I was in, even though Derrick and I hadn’t actually canoed together before. (We’ve kayaked in …

Continue reading

The Medora, North Dakota Road Trip Giveaway

Happy Tuesday, #PrairiePeople!

By the time you read this, I’ll already be on the road to White Bear Lake, Minnesota, as part of my #PrairiePlaces summer road trip. And I wanted to give you a chance to win a road trip prize package of your own!

I’m headed to Medora, North Dakota later this month with my friend Naomi and my little guy for what is sure to be the zaniest mash-up of a kid trip/girls’ weekend ever.(I predict E will just flirt relentlessly with his “Auntie Noh-mi” the entire time.) I have instructions just to shut up …

Continue reading

A Summer Stroll Through Clemens and Munsinger Gardens in St. Cloud

I have driven by St. Cloud at least 100 times in my life — maybe more.

For those of us who take I-94 into “The Cities” (We never call the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro “The Twin Cities”.), St. Cloud is the almost-there mile marker, the spot where my mom would turn around in her seat and say “Only about an hour more!”

This weekend, I finally pulled off interstate and checked out what the city had to offer.

The most interesting cities capitalize on what makes them unique and don’t worry too much about comparing themselves to others. St. …

Continue reading

20 Things To See In North Dakota…And Why Lists Never Tell The Whole Story

I love being a travel writer. I am profoundly, almost stupidly grateful that I get to do this for a living.

I was filling up travel journals, taking hundreds of photos and chatting with locals long before I ever realized it was actually a job. It was a huge relief to create something useful with that information, instead of just terrifying my family and friends with the promise (or threat!) of looking at 1,200 photos of my trip to Japan.

Roberts Street Studio (and a mural by artist Paul Ide) in downtown Fargo

I’ve gotten better at editing since …

Continue reading

Hiking, Books and Brunch in Red Wing

You can have all kinds of strange adventures if you just say yes. And once you say yes, you never know what you’ll find…or what you’ll find fascinating.

That’s what my day trip to Red Wing, Minnesota taught me last weekend. I was in the area for TBEX North America, a travel blogger’s conference and Explore Minnesota sponsored this and a number of other press trips to help us get to know the state.

I’d never been to Red Wing (it’s a little embarrassing to realize how many places in my home state I’ve never seen), so …

Continue reading

Bikes and Beer at Minnehaha Park

The only thing better than exploring a beautiful park in an awesome city is exploring a beautiful park in an awesome city where I can get a beer, a gorgeous meal and people watch at the same time.

So Minnehaha Falls Regional Park in Minneapolis is a triple win for me. It’s somehow both a busy, bustling place with a lot to experience and a soothing urban oasis in the middle of the city.

Minnehaha Falls, the park’s 53 foot waterfall, is a star attraction. And rightfully so — it’s gorgeous. But there’s a lot more to …

Continue reading