Legendary North Dakota

North Dakota
Photo credit: J. Stephen Conn

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.

Some posts on this site contain affiliate links, meaning if you book or buy something through one of these links, I may earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you!). Opinions are always my own and I’ll never promote something I don’t use or believe in.

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!

Fast Family Road Trip

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.

Bismark North Dakota Postcard
Photo credit: Boston Public Library

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.

North Dakota Badlands
Photo credit: Jonathan Miske

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!

North Dakota Landcape
Photo credit: Gabriel Carlson

And the wildflowers!

North Dakota wild flowers
Photo credit: USFWS Mountain Prairie

And the animals!

North Dakota Buffalo
Photo credit: Nic McPhee

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.

 

Apple Kuchen
Apple Kuchen

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?

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92 Comments

  1. Kelly @ TastingPage
    June 8, 2015

    Darn you Andi! You know how many places I have on my Travel wish list? I have to say that North Dakota has not been on this list….until now! I honestly didn’t know all the state had to offer, but beautiful scenery, great looking food AND locally grown wine, North Dakota is now on the list!

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      June 14, 2015

      @Kelly, I know, it is tough reading other blogs, that travel list NEVER gets any shorter, it happens to me all the time!

      Reply
  2. Robin Rue (@massholemommy)
    June 9, 2015

    My husband lived in South Dakota for years when he was stationed there and always said he wanted to make it to ND, but never did. Hopefully someday 🙂

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      June 14, 2015

      @Robin, well he will sort of fill like home. The whole region is absolutely gorgeous!

      Reply
  3. Katie @ Domestiphobia
    June 9, 2015

    Back towards my roots! (MN) There really are some beautiful landscapes up that way.

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      June 14, 2015

      @Katie, incredible! As soon as I showed Mr. Misadventures he started planning!

      Reply
  4. Ourfamilyworld
    June 9, 2015

    I’ve never been to North Dakota. Your pictures are awesome. I would like to visit it one day.

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      June 14, 2015

      @OurFamilyWorld, glad to have inspired you a little!

      Reply
  5. Melissa
    June 9, 2015

    AHHHHHHH I would love to go to one of the Dakotas! It has forever been on my list- with Mount Rushmore and the national forests! I love all things outdoors soooo I am sure that vacation there would be filled with hours of exploration!

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      June 14, 2015

      @Melissa, I couldn’t agree more, it looks like you have big open skies for days!

      Reply
  6. Tamara
    June 9, 2015

    South Dakota has been on my list for the Black Hills and Mt Rushmore but I honestly had no idea what to expect of North Dakota until now.

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      June 14, 2015

      @Tamara, me either and I think it is kind of a hidden gem!

      Reply
  7. Joanie @ Zagleft
    June 9, 2015

    I’ve never been to North Dakota but I’d love to visit one day. Your pictures are beautiful, I’m adding North Dakota to our list of places to visit.

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      June 14, 2015

      @Joanie, so glad I could inspire you to think about checking it out!

      Reply
  8. JoAnn
    June 9, 2015

    Check out the blog and beautiful photos on Facebook at Wild in North Dakota. This is a non profit that promotes the beauty and understanding of the wild horses that call Theodore Roosevelt Park their home.

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      June 14, 2015

      @JoAnn, thanks for the tip, I will definitely check it out. I was just watching a documentary about the wild horses last week, they are SO beautiful and majestic!

      Reply
  9. Jacqui Odell
    June 9, 2015

    I lived in North Dakota for 4 years. It’s a beautiful place and has a lot of great attractions for families!

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      June 14, 2015

      @Jacqui, what was your favorite thing about living there?

      Reply
  10. I think the Dakotas is some of the most beautiful country in the U.S. It’s always been my dream to take a few weeks and just take in all the beauty.

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      June 14, 2015

      @Stacie, I like your style, who needs A week, take several weeks! Go slow and enjoy – that is TOTALLY the way to do it!

      Reply
  11. Yolanda Williams
    June 9, 2015

    I was a military kid, so my parents traveled alot too. So I can relate to this post in many ways. Although, we have never been to SD or ND. It seems like an awesome place.

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      June 14, 2015

      @Yolanda, such a fun way to grow up, I have such a respect and appreciation for the world around me since I got to see a lot of it!

      Reply
  12. Melissa Pezza
    June 9, 2015

    I’ve always wanted to see North Dakota. The landscape is so amazing, and the skies are so beautiful!

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      June 14, 2015

      @Melissa, after my research, I whole-heartedly agree!

      Reply
  13. Wendy
    June 9, 2015

    I am a New England girl but I like to travel the Midwest. It is such a different vibe. The people are very friendly and the natural scenery is fabulous. Have been to a few states but not North Dakota YET!

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      June 14, 2015

      @Wendy, love that vibe too. Kind of relaxed, a desire for a simple life with simple things, I need that reminder from time to time.

      Reply
  14. touristmeetstraveler
    June 9, 2015

    I have never been to North Dakota before, it looks like a beautiful place though! I would love to visit there and see all the scenery!

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      June 14, 2015

      @TouristMeetsTraveler, it is funny how places get on our radar which is why I know I will never stop traveling…too many places to see!

      Reply
  15. Liz Mays
    June 9, 2015

    I think I went to North Dakota as a child a few times. It would be great to make some new memories there though.

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      June 14, 2015

      @Liz, we are in the same boat! Hope you get to make your adult memories, mine definitely include beer and wine, which was not in my early versions 😉

      Reply
  16. Dawn McAlexander
    June 9, 2015

    North Dakota looks really interesting. I have not heard much about it as far as travel goes. But, that doesn’t mean that I don’t want to visit there!

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      June 14, 2015

      @Dawn, I didn’t know there was so much to see there, so now it is on the list of places to go sooner rather than later.

      Reply
  17. Uplifting Families
    June 9, 2015

    I am not sure that I made it all the way to North Dakota but I know my parents took us camping in South Dakota. We saw Mount Rushmore. It was a very neat experience.

    I love the road adventures that my parents took us on growing up. I haven’t been able to recreate it with my kids and it makes me sad.

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      June 14, 2015

      @Christy, I hope you will get to do some road trips, I have so many great memories of them as well!

      Reply
  18. Rebecca Swenor
    June 10, 2015

    North Dakota is one of the places I have always wanted to visit because of it beauty.. I didn’t know about the wineries which would be nice to visit. I would love to try the Butterball soup which sounds so good. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      June 14, 2015

      @Rebecca, the photos all look so beautiful, even the winter shots I’ve seen!

      Reply
  19. Bonnie @ wemake7
    June 10, 2015

    Oh my! I would love to try the version of that German Apple Pie! That looks better then the regular Apple Pie. =)

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      June 14, 2015

      @Bonnie, agree! I would be willing to try one of each in a taste test!

      Reply
  20. lisa @bitesforbabies
    June 10, 2015

    To be honest, I’ve never even heard much about North Dakota, let alone many States (I’m from Canada) but you’ve definitely peaked my interest!

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      June 14, 2015

      @Lisa, depending on where you are in Canada this may not be too far from you. Worth checking out. It’s northernmost border runs along Canada not too, too far from Winnipeg.

      Reply
  21. Mistee Dawn
    June 10, 2015

    It is such a beautiful state! I have a friend that lives there! I cannot wait to visit there again!

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      June 14, 2015

      @Mistee, what did you enjoy most when you visited?

      Reply
  22. Chubskulit Rose
    June 10, 2015

    I have never been there yet but based from photos I have seen online and from your post, it is a beautiful state!

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      June 14, 2015

      @Chubskulit, it is a wonderful place to show children what life outside urban areas is like. So much history there and fun stories to tell to kids.

      Reply
  23. Rosey
    June 10, 2015

    I have not been there. I’m not adverse to going there though, I know there are a lot of things I would enjoy seeing.

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      June 14, 2015

      @Rosey, I believe there is something for everyone there, hope you get a chance to find what inspires you about ND.

      Reply
  24. jen
    June 10, 2015

    My neice lives in South Dakota and I want to visit her so bad. This was a beautiful post, Andi, I really enjoy how genuine you are about being a brand ambassador for North Dakota. You are a consummate professional. Man, we have come so far in our blogging years, my friend. You, especially! Love from Oklahoma, jen

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      June 14, 2015

      @Jen, as always you are an inspiration and my biggest fan. If I am going to put my time and effort to write 500 to 1000 words I want to feel passionate about the story and have an emotional tie, otherwise, why bother? I know you get that!

      Reply
  25. ricci
    June 10, 2015

    First of all your pics are amazing!! I have never been to North Dakota but it’s on my list!! I hope to one day have traveled to all of the 50 states!!

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      June 14, 2015

      @Ricci, that is an excellent goal to have, glad my post inspired you to cross off ND sooner rather than later!

      Reply
  26. Jeanine
    June 10, 2015

    I haven’t ever been to North Dakota. But I sure have heard a lot about it. Sounds like a wonderful place to visit. Peaceful and beautiful too!

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      June 14, 2015

      @Jeanine, sounds like my kind of place these days!

      Reply
  27. Pauline C.
    June 10, 2015

    South Dakota is a nice place to go too. I love the pictures they are full of emotions and life!

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      June 14, 2015

      @Pauline, thanks, I agree it looks pretty incredible!

      Reply
  28. Deborah
    June 10, 2015

    I have never been to North Dakota, but it is definitely on my list. We are planning a trip to South Dakota next summer, and I’m hoping to hit North Dakota as well. I need this post for reference next year!

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      June 14, 2015

      @Deborah, that is a great idea, hit them both in one trip! Glad I could help!

      Reply
  29. CourtneyLynne
    June 10, 2015

    Hehehe I sear the smaller more country places have the best food!!! I’m a foodie so that’s always a plus for me

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      June 14, 2015

      @Courtney, I know that is the best part of exploring back roads!

      Reply
  30. LyndaS
    June 10, 2015

    I love your photos. The wide open spaces in North Dakota are calling to me through them. The German food? Yes, please!

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      June 14, 2015

      @Lynda, glad I could inspire you!

      Reply
  31. The Dakota’s are gorgeous. My dream is to travel the US in an RV. I’ve been putting money away in my savings account for this task.

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      June 14, 2015

      @Chrystal, NF is PERFECT for an RV, my hubby wants to explore the US that way too.

      Reply
  32. Digna
    June 10, 2015

    Have to admit I have never really thought of vacationing in N. Dakota but after seeing that mountain shot alone, I may have to rethink that. Thank you for sharing.

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      June 14, 2015

      @Digna, I can tell you I was in the same boat until I started researching, the skies are just gorgeous!

      Reply
  33. Lisa Bristol
    June 10, 2015

    I would love to go to North Dakota someday. It looks like such a beautiful place . I hope i can get there in the next year or two.

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      June 14, 2015

      @Lisa, I hope so too. Check out their website and get their newsletter, it will help you in your planning, you’ve got plenty of time to plan out!

      Reply
  34. Krystal
    June 10, 2015

    There are some beautiful views in North Dakota. I would love to see some of these in person. Road trip!

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      June 14, 2015

      @Krystal, sounds like a plan!

      Reply
  35. I have never been to North Dakota. You certainly paint a beautiful picture. Being in Los Angles, I’m due for some wide open space!

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      June 14, 2015

      @Camesha, ND has them! Nothing but gorgeous skies and lovely fields and flowers for days!

      Reply
  36. Lisa Rios
    June 11, 2015

    Sounds like a wonderful place for this summer vacation. All these pictures are really amazing. Particularly, the Landscape and Time to Escape photos are so gorgeous. We have never been to north Dakota, but my husband knows a lot about this place and he loves a visit for sure. May be a summer visit is on the cards!

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      June 14, 2015

      @Lisa, the scenery looks amazing, I know my hubby would go crazy taking pictures!

      Reply
  37. I’ve never been to North Dakota before but it sounds like an amazing place to visit! The scenery looks spectacular!

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      June 14, 2015

      @Michelle, you should definitely consider it, after all the research I have done, I can’t wait to get there myself.

      Reply
  38. Murissa
    June 12, 2015

    Wow! I had no idea you’ve lived in so many places.
    My mom tells of stories of my grandpa taking them to Mexico from Merritt, BC. He would drive for days stopping only to sleep. The point was to get there but I like to take my time.
    North Dakota sounds amazing! If you like small towns with lots history and odd stories you might like Grand Forks, not ND, British Columbia. I’ll be writing a post this June as it is where I graduated and wow it’s a unique place.

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      June 14, 2015

      @Murissa, oh can’t wait to read about it!

      Reply
  39. Melody
    June 12, 2015

    These are great photos. I’ve never actually been to North Dakota but just from your trip it seems like a great place to visit.

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      June 14, 2015

      @Melody, thanks! I hope you get a chance to see for yourself some day!

      Reply
  40. You know, I never would have thought that North Dakota would make my travel wish list, but it just did thanks to you! 😉 How beautiful it is there! And the food and wineries too?? Looks like an amazing place to visit. Thanks for sharing, Andi!

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      June 14, 2015

      @Carrie, once I started doing more research I discovered to much to see, particularly if you are a fan of wide open spaces and pristine big country.

      Reply
  41. Gabriel
    June 15, 2015

    I’ve been to Bismark a few times, my ex-wife lived there with my son for a few years, I was surprised at how much there was to do there.

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      June 15, 2015

      @Gabriel, oh what did you like best? Where was your favorite spot to eat out?

      Reply
  42. Lauren
    June 15, 2015

    I never really thought of North Dakota as legendary, but I’ve never been there and I don’t know much about it, sooooo looks like I need to go!

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      June 15, 2015

      @Lauren, you should definitely give it a whirl!

      Reply
  43. @Travelpanties
    June 15, 2015

    I am sad to say I have never been. I definitely plan to check it out soon! It looks like an amazing place to visit! And wow seems like you’ve sure lived in a lot of places!

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      June 15, 2015

      @Katie, Army brat so I was lucky to get around the country and the world. It is how I caught my travel bug.

      Reply
  44. I have yet to venture to North Dakota, but it is one of the places on my must-visit list! Your photos and recommendations are great. I can’t wait to visit!

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      June 15, 2015

      @Ashley, so glad to hear I could inspire you!

      Reply
  45. Wendi Aarons
    June 17, 2015

    Do you know that I was born and raised in North Dakota? Valley City and Jamestown. My great grandparents immigrated there from Norway, and my grandparents and parents were all born and raised there, too.

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      June 17, 2015

      @Wendi, wow! I didn’t know that, do you have fond memories?

      Reply
  46. I grew up in South Dakota and lived in North Dakota for about 10 years in my 20’s, so of course I love this post. 🙂

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      June 17, 2015

      @Brenda, yay, proof that its a good place with good people!

      Reply

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