#PrairiePlaces, Through Your Eyes

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes,
but in having new eyes.”

Marcel Proust

The Upper Midwest gets a bad rap. It’s called flyover country, as if this hardscrabble, ever-evolving, vibrantly beautiful place is just some barren hinterland that travelers can nap through without missing a thing.

Frost in St. John, North Dakota
Photo by Peggy Langan

National media outlets fact-check their stories but still say “Pierre, North Dakota” and spell “Bismarck” incorrectly over and over again. Just yesterday morning, a national news outlet reported on the snowfall in Grand Forks and Devils Lake, which (according to their map) have apparently migrated across the border to Minnesota.

People say they love Minneapolis/St. Paul, Chicago and Madison, but there’s just not anything else worth seeing in the Midwest.

A prairie sunset
Photo by Laura Beth Rotenberger of Mrs. Laura Beth

We know better. We know that this place is complex and frustrating and surprisingly, unrelentingly beautiful. But unless you take time to really see and explore the Upper Midwest — or to let someone show you — you might never know it.

That’s why I’m proud to bring you the first collaborative #PrairiePlaces post. These stories feature the Upper Midwest through the eyes of people like you, Prairie Style File readers who live here and are inspired by the world around them.

Fire escapes in downtown Fargo
Photo by Erin Sparks

Their #PrairiePlaces are urban and rural, pastoral and gritty and just as diverse and unique as they are.

This is their North Dakota.

Roadside Sunflowers
Photo by Wendy Gabriel of My Green Side

So why the hashtag? And why North Dakota?

Most of these photos were shared on social media so that everybody — not just Prairie Style File followers — could experience a part of their world. And many of the first photos showcased North Dakota locations, so it just seemed like a logical place to start.

Bra garlands for Bras on Broadway at Fargo’s Hotel Donaldson
Photo by Christopher A. Smith

There are more #PrairiePlaces posts planned and I’d love for your Midwestern experience to be part of them.

If you want to show us all the Midwest looks like through your eyes, tag your photos #PrairiePlaces and #PrairiePeople on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

You could be featured in the Prairie Places Photo Gallery and inspire a post on Prairie Style File just like this one.

Fall colors
Photo by Amanda Hofland of Notes from a Newlywed

A post about Minnesota #PrairiePlaces and the #PrairiePeople of the Upper Midwest will be coming soon, followed by some more North Dakota stories. The states, provinces and regions I cover next will be heavily influenced by your ideas, so show me what you’ve got!

Downtown Fargo rooftops
Photo by Christopher A. Smith

If you’re not really a photographer, that’s okay. We still need your help.

Tell us about your favorite shop, the local mom and pop diner you love or the best place to grab a drink in your city. I want to know where you go hiking, your favorite local attraction and those secret spots that tourists never see.

You can share your travel tips using the #PrairiePeople and #PrairiePlaces hashtags. It’s a fun way to connect with other people and share the places and events that you love. You can even search the hashtags to get ideas for your next trip.

A country snapshot near Lisbon, ND
Photo by Laura Beth Rotenberger of Mrs. Laura Beth

And of course, you can always write your ideas in the comment section below any post or email me at alicia@prairiestylefile.com.

I’m also on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram, so feel free to get in touch with me on whatever platform works for you. Any of these links will take you right to my page.

An alley in downtown Fargo
Photo by Erin Sparks

And I encourage you to follow the photographers featured here. They’re jugging work and friends and family like the rest of us, but they’ve managed to carve out time to explore and to show us a familiar landscape in a new way. I hope their work makes us all feel a little bit more creative.

I can’t wait to see what you all come up with!


This project is supported in part by a grant from the fabulous people at North Dakota Tourism.

2 Replies to “#PrairiePlaces, Through Your Eyes”

    1. Thanks for participating Wendy! I love your work and I’m always happy to help promote talented people like you. Keep tagging those photos #prairiepeople and #prairieplaces — there will be lots more posts on the way.

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