Whenever I do work with a brand I try to ensure that I share why I have an affinity for that brand, or what is my story with that brand or why it intrigues me. I feel it is an important part of building trust in the community that has grown around Misadventures with Andi.
When it comes to North Dakota my interest is about filling a gap, several of them actually, so let’s start with the why.
I had a really wonderful childhood. Being a military family, we lived all over the country and the world. Wherever we lived my parents did an amazing job of taking my sister and me everywhere. Museums, state parks, monuments, sporting events (especially baseball), rodeos, state fairs, you name it. I feel so blessed to have had this opportunity as a child and it definitely shaped my interests today.
The one dark mark on my family’s record is road-trips. Given all the places we visited, we drove a lot. And we often drove between the places we were stationed at. But for my Dad, we were going between Point A and Point B, as fast as humanly possible!
When I met Mr. Misadventures we would pack up the car and just go, with no plan in place. When we lived in France we would pick a national highway or department road and say, “let’s go find out what’s there!” Or when we drove back from Paris (a five-hour trip from where we lived) we would try to take different routes home to find new hidden treasures.
We drive all over California and really had an amazing time on our 10-day road trip through the Southwest.
But I digress. Back to my parents.
When I was 15 my Dad got re-assigned from the Pentagon to Ft. Lewis, Washington, so the family packed up our house and headed west. We made it from Point A to Point B in three days. It was a blur.
I only remember one thing about that entire trip.
Bismarck, North Dakota.
That trip was thirty years ago and I still remember that we stopped in Bismarck, North Dakota. I don’t remember anything else, but I remember that!
Why? I am not sure, but I know that is something I want to investigate!
Of late, Mr. Misadventures and I have felt crowded. The San Francisco Bay Area is jam-packed with people, with cars, with buildings. We went to New York City recently and we felt even worse.
Time to escape.
We have our eye on getting out of the massive urban cities for a little relief. I have been researching places to do another road-trip and North Dakota has all the essential ingredients to make the perfect Misadventures family road-trip. National and state parks are always favorites of ours and Theodore Roosevelt National Park looks like one for the wishlist.
First off from a photography perspective, The Badlands, the wide-open spaces and fields of green, the massive state parks and wildlife are exactly the kind of subject matter that Mr. Misadventures loves to capture. We could drive for days, stopping for sunrise and sunset photo shoots and scouting in between. The hubby would be in photo heaven.
I have been ogling images from photographers who have spent time in North Dakota, like Rikk Flohr whose photo of Saint Ann’s of Hebron has us wanting to hit the road and capture this church asap! Or photos from Renae Mitchell somewhere in Western North Dakota whose storm photos have me wishing for rain when I visit!
The landscapes are just gorgeous!
And the wildflowers!
And the animals!
Being the Francophile I am, my North Dakota wish list includes a visit to Chateau de Mores State Historic Site in Medora. The Marquis de Mores built this chateau in 1883. It was meant to be a hunting lodge and summer home for the Mores family, but they barely used the property. The marquis set up a cattle operation, but after three years, he left and returned to France, even though a whole town had been built to support the enterprise – fascinating! And a great photo subject, the story reminds me a lot of Bodie, I love historical spots with odd stories.
What would be really odd if I wrote about a road trip (or any kind of trip!) and didn’t mention food. I have been looking into the types of cuisine that North Dakota is known for and they have a fabulous mix of German, Russian and Nordic culture that looks to offer a wide range of delicious home-style cooking.
There’s Butterball Soup which soup of Russian-German origin with little bread dumplings in chick broth – you know how I LOVE dumplings! Also lots of dishes I have never heard but now dying to try, like German-Russian-Dakota Knefla, a concoction of dough and potatoes; Scandinavian Lefse which looks like crepes; or Fleischkuechle which are fried dumplings (more dumplings) with seasoned ground beef.
And don’t even get me started on dessert! There are Vanille Kipferl (German Christmas) cookies and Apple Kuchen, the German version of apple pie, oh yes! I bet I can find an iced lemon cake to surpass the one that sticks in my head from my childhood, made by a German neighbor when we lived in Fort Know, Kentucky. I am still on the search!
And along with all this delicious food is wine! There are wineries in every state of the Union and North Dakota has dozens of them (find them on the ND tourism site) open for wine tasting and purchase – perfect for roadside picnics (only one glass!) and evening meals in the hotel. I love beer just as much. Thankfully I don’t have to choose because there is a Beer and Wine Trail! Thirty-six places to visit between all those sunrises and sunsets – I am on it!
I hope my own research and road-trip plans have also got you thinking about North Dakota. It is beautiful, affordable, uncrowded and ripe for making your own adventure!
Bismarck here I come, I have plans for you! How about you? Have you been to North Dakota? Do you have plans to visit one day?