Thursday, July 10, 2008

Tour North Dakota

The North Dakota tourism packet I requested didn't arrive with a single book for the state. Instead, I received small booklets or brochures for various towns.

First is Bismarck-Mandan. Things that I would like to visit there include:
  • Gateway to Science Center. I'm a sucker for this type of hands-on museum. Yeah, I'm too old for these and I know all the science, but the little experiments and games are fun.

  • Raging Rivers Water Park. I love water slides (not that you'll see me on one anytime soon), and go karts.

Sadly, that's all that caught my eye there. Next was the town of Medora. They are "famous" for the Medora Musical in a "comfortable 2,852 seat outdoor amphitheatre" (family joke reference where the joke quote is '2000 comfortable sports seats' in reference to the 'Unto These Hills' outdoor drama that us kids found boring beyond tears). Yeah, won't be buying tickets for that in this lifetime.

Nearby, however, is the Theodore Roosevelt National Park which promises 110 square miles of breathtaking vistas in the savagely beautiful N.D. Badlands. Sign me up. They have a 36-mile scenic loop drive that sounds perfect.

Moving on. There was a brochure about some scenic byways and backways, but none of them really caught my eye. Finally, the International Peace Garden might be worth a look.

Anyone been to North Dakota? Have any suggestions for tourism that you enjoyed?


Wade said...

Hi Lynellen,

I'm originally from ND and now work in Medora. You're right about Theodore Roosevelt National Park - it's beautiful. You'll see bison, wild horses, prairie dogs, deer, etc. If you enjoy the outdoors, I would suggest hiking - there are some great trails - or you can pick out a badlands butte and just hike across the rugged badlands.

If you're into mountain biking, the Maah Daah Hey Trail has been named one of the top single-track trails in the country. It's about 100 miles long and starts just south of Medora and winds through the badlands up near the North Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Even if you're not up for the whole trail, you can enjoy an afternoon of mountain biking right near Medora.

You mentioned the Medora Musical. It's actually a great show. We describe it as a western musical variety show. It's new every year but always includes new and old style country music, a gospel section, clog dancing, a portion dedicated to Theodore Roosevelt, nationally-known variety acts, and a patriotic finale. Each summer about 100,000 people see the Medora Musical. I performed in the show for 7 years, so if you have any specific questions I'd be happy to answer them for you.

For dining, you need to try the Pitchfork Steak Fondue. It takes place right before the Medora Musical. The Food Network did a story on it a few years back - truly a unique dining experience! Ribeye steaks are fondued on pitchforks. They are served with a complete buffet and you enjoy your steak overlooking the badlands.

If you like history, there are a number of great museums - the Chateau de Mores State Historic Site (they have a traveling Smithsonian Exhibit for much of the summer), the North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame, Theodore Roosevelt Museum in Theodore Roosevelt National Park (along with Theodore Roosevelt's original Maltese Cross Ranch Cabin - he had two cattle ranches near Medora), just to name a few.

If you golf, plan to golf the Bully Pulpit Golf Course - named "America's Best New Affordable Public Course" by Golf Digest a couple years ago. Plus, you can golf the Links of ND up by Williston, Hawktree Golf Club near Bismarck, and Bully Pulpit in Medora for one low price.

Horseback riding is also a popular activity for our visitors.

Let me know your interests and I could point you to other great attractions around the state, too.

Let me know how I can help.

Happy Trails,

P.S. - I found your blog through Google Alert - in case you're wondering.

Wade - Marketing Director for the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation

Lynellen said...

See, now THIS is awesome. Tiny state like N.D. pays someone to market their tourism, and that person is tech saavy AND has a great spiel (hopefully cut and paste) that he can put into blog comments. Very smart technique that I suppose the more famous state don't have to employ, but gold stars to North Dakota for hiring this guy.