Spring and Summer always bring a special sort of joy when they arrive–after all, I set sail and drove from Pennsylvania to North Dakota during the first week of June. That was over three years ago now, and I’ve turned over a lot of rocks here.
*Insert obligatory “every place is what you make of it” and “it’s change a lot” statements here.* Yes, it’s rough. The snow is beautiful but you will learn what it is like to have your eyeball liquid start to insta-freeze in sub-zero weather. the snow isn’t even warm enough to make snow balls. It’ll just blow away in a sad, Avenger’s Infinity War style mist.
But let’s talk about what you can do, while you are stuck here.
1) Visit Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Yes, it’s a boring, and long 3+ drive, but the Badlands are an amazing landscape. Get used to driving–you’ll need to do it a lot to not go insane.
2) Visit the Scandinavian Heritage Center (in the warm months). It’s kind of weird, but it’s a nice walk.
3) Get a Hot Roast Beef at Charlie’s. They’re amazing. Get the fries smothered in gravy.
4) Frequent the few non-chain restaurants the town has to offer. Including Charlie’s (obviously), Cookies For You, Souris River Brewing, The Starving Rooster (their brunch is the best I’ve had), and Ebeneezer’s.
5) Drive to Winnipeg. It’s five miserable hours, but they are absolutely worth it.
6) Keep an eye on Garrison. Dickens Festival was the most fun we had during the winter in a while. Ye Olde Malt Shoppe is probably the only thing on Main Street that ever appears open, but their Ice Cream (where ever they’re getting it from), food, and deserts are worth the drive. The small town feel of the place will make you feel at home.
7) The North Dakota State Fair is obvious–but you should still go. This is the brightest, most exciting thing to happen every year at Minot. The foot-long corndogs are the best you’ll have all year.
8) Go to the State Museum in Bismarck. If youre an unaccompanied grown-up, check out Laughing Sun Brewery and Fireflour Pizzeria. Few restaurants have blown my mind there and I think the scene is worse than Minot. #changemymind?
9) Try Knoephla.
10) Attend every “stupid” event at the State Fair Center. The Big One Arts and Crafts Fair, Flea Markets, Car Shows, Gun Shows, and during the warm months, Dirt Track Racing happens weekly.
11) When you officially run out of things to do in Minot, (weather permitting) get in your car and drive.
Seriously. If you don’t learn to love Minot itself, learn to drive and enjoy driving. I’ve had the pleasure of stopping in a lot of strange towns, but it was here that my love for Minneapolis, Minnesota was born. Believe it or not, I didn’t know what the Twin Cities were for years (hangs head in shame). Every long weekend can be an opportunity to discover a place! It was three years ago I first set foot in Rapid City…and now, it will be home.
Enjoy silence. Darkness, the stars. I have seen the Northern Lights nearly a dozen times–simply by learning to sit, watch, and wait. See Orion in his full form, and enjoy a view much of the country doesn’t get. It may sound strange to you now, but at least I can tell you that life in Minot can be…peaceful.
Did I forget anything obvious?