Today’s blog is written by Michaela Schell, a local writer and business professional.
If you are looking for an afternoon outdoors, Grand Forks is a city filled with parks and activities to soak up the sunshine this spring. One of my favorites, happens to be just a short trip outside the city.
A quick 20 minute drive west on Highway 2 will take you to Turtle River State Park (TRSP). It is 784 acres of wooded quiet just north of the highway. Our family frequently visits for lunch picnics and short afternoon hikes along the Turtle River. I have also enjoyed camping, mountain biking, and snowshoeing throughout the park.
Entering the park requires a small $5 daily fee or full year pass for $25. This year pass also allows entrance into any North Dakota State Park. This fee covers access for all trails, facilities, and amenities of the park.
Turtle River State Park is an easy weekend getaway for those of us who live in the Grand Forks area and a great place to stay for visitors. It has primitive camping areas, RV campgrounds with electric hookups, and cabins for rent plus bathroom and shower faciltieis for those who plan to stay a few days.
One of the best things about the park in the spring and summer is the continual activities that go on throughout the park. Every Saturday night TRSP hosts an evening presentation in their ampitheater that combines nature education and fun. They also have a Sunday morning “Coffee with a Naturalist” program and various activities for kids on a weekly basis. And make sure to check out all the information and displays in TRSP’s new constructed Visitor Center. You can find a complete list of all activities and events on the park’s calendar.
If you want a quick day trip, one of the best things int he park to enjoy is the system of trails for hiking and mountain biking. These trailes take you down into valleys through forests of trees and up onto hilltops and plateaus for beautiful looks over the park. Every time I have spent even just 20 minutes of walking a trail, I have always come across a deer or two and many other types of wildlife. It makes for a fun little nature walk with kids, and many of the paths are wide enough to accommodate a jogging stroller capable of a little off-roading (a map of the trails can be found online).
Another fun activitiey for families is a little shore fishing. The Turtle River is stocked with rainbow trout and has many areas of flat shoreline to cast a line from. Visitors can even borrow fishing gear from the park’s Visitor Center.
With spring finally here, so many of us are anxious to soak up every bit of the outdoors we can. A short afternoon trip to Turtle River State Park, with flowers blooming and trees budding, has just the perfect amount of nature, peace and quiet, and activity to quench your thirst for the beautiful outdoors!
Extreme North Dakota Racing, or ENDracing for short is now in its fifth year of putting on crazy, fun, and sometimes really really hard athletic events right here in this great state of ours. 2013 will involve a dozen events including family friendly adventure races, a marathon swim, a 24 hour adventure race (the hardest race in North Dakota), and halloween themed mountain bike/trail running. But ENDracing doesn’t wait until the snow melts to give you a reason to train – we’re starting things off right in the middle of deep winter with the BeMobile Iceman Triathlon, coming your way on Feb. 23rd.
Co-organized by ENDracing and the Greater Grand Forks Young Professionals, the race is a standard winter triathlon – classic cross country skiing, biking, and running – with a couple of fun and adventurous twists. To begin with some portion of each leg will take racers ‘off the beaten track’. And to end with? Well, we’ve added a final fourth leg – sledding – to make sure that no matter how tired participants might be approaching the finish, they’ll finish smiling.
The event is head-quartered at the Lincoln Park warming house and the course showcases stunningly beautiful terrain within the Greenway that even local Grand Cities Residents might be surprised to discover in existence. A heated finish line tent, fabulous post race grub courtesy of the artisan chefs at Dakota Harvest Bakery, a great Iceman Buff for all racers, and awesome prizes of great cold weather gear you might actually use from Due North by Surefoot and Talus Outdoor Technologies further make the event one of the best values you’ll ever find.
Participants can choose between the challenge of racing as a “Yeti” or “Yetiess” (solo) or as part of a relay team. Relay team racers each only complete one leg of the race but rejoin after the run leg for some exciting ‘team sledding’. Each leg is short enough (3 mile ski, 7.5 mile bike, 3 mile run) that the relay category helps make the race more accessible for recreational athletes or those just looking for a bit less of a hardcore experience.
The event attracts racers from throughout North Dakota, Minnesota, and southern Manitoba. It is generously supported by many local businesses and organizations including BeMobile Verizon Wireless, Due North by Surefoot, Dakota Harvest Bakery, the Ski and Bike shop, Greater Grand Forks Special Events, and The Greater Grand Forks Convention and Visitors Bureau. Proceeds from the event support Ground UP adventures, a local non-profit dedicated to bringing adventure based activities to the regions youth.
For more information about the event or to register, go to www.endracing.com/end-it.
The Greater Grand Forks Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) wants to assist visitors in every way we can, so we are starting a new addition to our blog. We are asking members of our team as well as other members of the community to share with us their Five Favorites in the Forks. That way visitors can hear what the locals enjoy with some special hints. Today Nicole, who is the Sales & Services Coordinator at the CVB, is sharing her five picks for shopping, dining and things to do…
1. Lincoln Drive Park - I have three kids, so outside play and activities are important to my family. Lincoln Drive Park coves 120 acres and park amenities include 4 shelters, park activities building, outdoor pleasure skating rink, 10 horseshoe courts, playground, restrooms, biking/walking trails, cross-country skiing groomed trails, boat launch, disc golf, dog park, sledding hill and sand volleyball court. Lincoln Drive Park is the location for many festivals including: Family Fun Night (July), Tour the Trails Bike Rally (September), Trail Trek 5k Family Run/Walk (September), Veteran’s Day X-Country Race (November), Christmas in the Park (Lions Club Tour of Lights – Nov/Dec) and Greenway Ski Days (February).
3. Adley Anne’s - With three young kids, I am always looking for cute and unique items that are reasonably priced, and Adley Anne’s gives me just that. They also provide great items for the mom-to-be in a funky shop downtown Grand Forks.
4. Farmer’s Market - With the summer wrapping up and heading in to a beautiful fall, we only have one Saturday left of Farmer’s Market in Town Square to grab all the produce, yummy homemade baked goods, jewelry and crafts.
5. Long Island Tea on the deck of the Blue Moose - when my husband and I get a quick break from chasing the kids, we like to kick back and relax with a tea and some fabulous appetizers at the Blue Moose.
The Greater Grand Forks Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) wants to assist visitors in every way we can, so we are starting a new addition to our blog. We are asking members of our team as well as other members of the community to share with us their Five Favorites in the Forks. That way visitors can hear what the locals enjoy with some special hints. We are starting with Shelley who is the Communications Coordinator at the CVB. She is sharing her five picks for shopping, dining and things to do…
- Little Bangkok – Lunch and dinner at Little Bangkok is always a great experience with a variety of Thai and Japanese dishes on the menu including an array of fresh sushi creations. Shelley’s faves include the DeMers Avenue (sushi roll), Drunken Noodles (entree) and Vinho Verde (wine).
- Macy’s – Shelley is always on the lookout for a deal in the coolest trends, and she finds them at Macy’s in the Columbia Mall. She also recommends using the 10% off International Visitor Pass that can be found on the Deals & Discounts section of our website.
- University of North Dakota Women’s Basketball and Volleyball – There is nothing like UND sports. While we know hockey has a huge following, Shelley recommends checking out Women’s Basketball and Volleyball. These teams never disappoint in their home arena of the Betty Engelstad Center and tix are always reasonably priced.
- Walking and jogging the Greenway – Shelley prefers to stroll the Greenway near downtown Grand Forks and East Grand Forks because it easy to stop in a bakery like Dakota Harvest Bakers, get a coffee at Urban Stampede and even do a little shopping at Kittson & 3rd, but the Greenway offers 2,200 acres lining the Red River and Red Lake River in Grand Forks and East Grand Forks with many options. There are kinds of recreational, cultural, historical and natural resource opportunities. Not only can you walk and jog, but you can use the Greenway for rollerblading, biking, canoeing, kayaking, fishing and even golf.
- River Cinema 15 in East Grand Forks is a favorite stop for Shelley after dinner at Little Bangkok. They offer the newest releases in auditoriums with stadium seating, rocker seats, DTS digital sound and 3D digital movies.
What do you think of Shelley’s faves? Do you have any suggestions to add?
Weather predictions for this week in Greater Grand Forks are good with beautiful fall temperatures and sunny skies, so I highly recommend you get out and enjoy some of the recreational opportunities offered here including our gorgeous and fun parks.
Japanese Garden – This lovely garden, located in Sertoma Park, was a gift from the residents of Awano Japan to commemorate the flood of 1997. Its natural look features the beauty of rocks, water, hills, trees as well as the three granite Japanese-style lanterns.
Ali’s Boundless Playground – Local teen Ali Karpenko was born with spina bifida, and her dream of a community playground for children with and without disabilities was realized in 2009 in Sertoma Park. Here every child can play side by side at his or her own ability level.
Greenway – The Greenway is 2,200 acres of natural space lining the Red River and Red Lake River as they flow through Grand Forks and East Grand Forks. The picturesque urban space offers countless recreational, cultural, historical and natural experiences.
These recreational areas give you just a taste of what is available in Greater Grand Forks. There are so many specialty parks available year-round for a variety of activities including basketball, cross-country skiing, frisbee golf, hockey, skating, pools, spray parks, sand volleyball, soccer, softball/baseball, tennis and skateboarding. More information can be found online.
There is more good news…Sherlock Forest Playground is already being rebuilt by volunteers from the area after a spring fire. If you are interested in getting involved, “Like” them on Facebook.
You can find out more about our parks, recreation, events and everything Greater Grand Forks on our website. You may also follow us on Twitter and/or “Like” us on Facebook, as we do a number of prize giveaways!
I have already been enjoying the outdoors with my family! How do you plan to enjoy the season?
It has been a busy summer in the Grand Cities; school has started and the UND students have all moved back, and we are on the heels of a fabulous Grand Forks weekend with the first-ever Rollin’ on the River Inline Marathon (the Convention & Visitors Bureau was the presenting sponsor by the way) and a record breaking attendance for the last of the 2011 three-part music series, Blues on the Red. It may have some asking what do we do now? The answer is PLENTY! I am going to just give you a brief taste of some of the great events coming up (details and more events can be found on our Calendar of Events) in September:
-UND Football season opener vs. Drake September 1 at the Alerus Center (don’t miss tailgating, as the presenting sponsor, the Convention & Visitors Bureau is giving away a great prize package)
-Outdoor Farmer’s Market in Town Square through September 24
-Choice Financial 10K Fun Run/Walk Setember 10
-Tour de Forks Bike Ride & Walk in Lincoln Drive Park on September 11
-AudioBody at the Chester Fritz on September 11
-Art & Wine in Downtown on September 17 (and October 15)
-4th Annual Fall Frolic Run in Riverside Park on September 17
-Potato Bowl Week (there will be a blog later highlighting activities) September 19-24
-UND Women’s Hockey vs. Manitoba September 23 & 24 at Ralph Engelstad Arena
-Grand Forks Women’s Show at the Alerus Center on October 1
In addition to checking our calendar (there is an RSS feed by the way), don’t forget to “Like” us on Facebook and/or follow @visitgrandforks on Twitter. Not only do we provide the latest updates on things to do, but we have a number of contests with great prizes!
Have a fabulous Labor Day Weekend and a warm welcome to all our Canadian friends that will be visiting for Canadian Labour Day Weekend!
I absolutely love the 22 acres of Greenway (along the Red River) in Grand Forks and East Grand Forks! I spent a lot of time biking it this weekend. My daughter kept saying things like “isn’t it beautiful here?”, “we should spend all day on the Greenway” and “can we build a house on the Greenway?”. Once I explained we couldn’t build a house on the Greenway, she was OK, but she still wanted to spend all day there.
It is so great to know in any season the Greenway is available for use by visitors and residents alike at absolutely no charge. The biking is always fun on the trails, and you can also roller blade (get in training for the first-ever Rollin’ on the River Inline Marathon), run, walk, etc. in the summer. The Greenway features several parks, campground, two golf courses, three disc golf courses, more than 20 miles of multi purpose trails, shore bank fishing sites, canoeing, dog park and more.
There are a number of businesses that have equipment available for rent to use on the Greenway, but I do think we need to figure out a way to have bike rentals available on site, so visitors can check out this great amenity even when not prepared. Maybe that is something for our team to pursue.
Would you like a bike rental available on site? What do you love about the Greenway?
It looks like our hot streak is going to continue in the Grand Cities this week with temps hitting the upper 80s and 90s!Â While we should be extra careful when venturing out, but we we can still enjoy the summer and all the fun offered in Greater Grand Forks.Â I like to make lists, so I have my list of inexpensive activitess to tackle with my family this week including:
Turtle River State Park is located just 22 miles west of Grand Forks, and if your family likes fishing, nature trails or just enjoying the outdoors, this is the place for you.Â I plan to grab a group of little ones and make it out for one of our “nature walks” this week!
Riverside Park Swimming Pool is a very inexpensive way to spend a hot summer day.Â Adults get in for only $3.25 and children 5-16 get in for $2.75.Â Kids 4 and under are $1.50.Â They have a snack area, water slide, kiddy pool and diving boards as well as a friendly life guard staff.Â Make sure to have some time set aside if you are bringing the family, as I know my kids never want to leave!
University Park Splash Park in beautiful University Park is fun for the whole family and free!Â There are shelters, gardens and a playground there as well, so we will definitely need to pack a picnic.
I hope one evening this week to make it over to the Keg’s Drive In.Â There is nothing better in the summer than enjoying a one-of-a-kind “Joe” along with a cherry-lime Coke at the Keg’s.Â My daughter loves the “Joes” because they are “sloppy” and “awesome”!
Saturday projections are a little cooler for heading to the Farmer’s Market in Town Square.Â Since we are getting more into summer, there will be more fresh produce from local farmers.
Local blues favorite, PeatMoss, will open the Blues on the Red show for Big George Jackson on Saturday when Blues on the Red kicks off at 6 p.m.Â This is a great family or adult event in Town Square.Â It is free and all you need to do is bring a lawn chair.Â The only negative I have heard about Blues on the Red, is that people don’t want it to end!
I feel very lucky to live a safe community that offers so many cost-effective options for families in the summer.Â I actually check the calendar of events every day to check out our options.
We would love to hear from you what your favorite activities are in the summer?Â We want to expose our hidden gems.
This is going to be a great week in the Grand Cities!Â I am looking forward to enjoying all that the town has to offer in the summer.Â This is just a sample of my plans for the week…
Tonight I have a meeting, but it won’t be without fun and great food, as it is taking place at the new restaurant, Jake’s.Â Since I have only been there once, I am really excited to check out some of their food especially the Red Pepper Lavosh.
On Tuesday I will grab the family and head over to the ND Museum of Art for the third installment of the 2011 Concerts in the Garden music series.Â The Boston-based band and critically acclaimed, David Wax Museum, will headline while local artist, Xavier Pastrano, will open the show at 6 p.m.Â Tickets are $5 in advance or $8 at the door, and there is great food including burgers and brats available in the museum’s garden.Â With a weather prediction of mostly sunny and 75 degrees what more could we need?
Since there is another good weather prediction for Wednesday, my husband and I plan to meet friends on the rooftop of Rhombus for what has been voted the people’s chocie for best pizza four years in a row in Grand Forks.
The kids of summer are back, and the Summer for Performing Arts (SPA) productions do not disappoint again this year!Â On Thursday, “All Together Now: A SPA Revue” will debut at the Empire Arts Center.Â It is so amazing to me the talent the kids and teachers in our community have.
I am staying in town this weekend, so I am going to have to check out the Friday Night Races at River Cities Speedway.Â Local fan favorite, Mark Dobmeier, is the son of one of my co-workers, so we need to get out and cheer him on.Â We will have friends visiting from Minneapolis who also want to see what the excitement is all about.
I am really looking forward to Saturday!Â It will be my first time this year to check out the Farmer’s Market.Â I just love going downtown Saturday mornings and walking around the market, listening to the entertainment and checking out some of the shops downtown.Â It should be a hot one on Saturday, but I am thinking we can ride our bikes on the Greenway in the morning to get downtown.
Saturday afternoon I will be at the second Art & Wine Walk of the year!Â I absolutely love this event!Â It is great to be downtown sampling wine and looking at all kinds of fabulous art!Â There isn’t anything much better than a day with wine and shopping!Â I also love the champagne reception at the Empire Arts Center.Â This week there will be entertainment in addition to the prizes, champagne and fruit and cheese!
While I may be a little tired by the time Sunday hits, I still want to get out and enjoy some summer activity.Â I think I may grab the family for another bike ride on the Greenway with a stop at Lincoln Drive Park for a picnic.Â Then I think we may hit the pool at Riverside or one of the splash parks at University Park or Elks Park.Â The kids will be in heaven!
Now I realize it is my job to promote Greater GrandForks, but I certainly couldn’t do that and enjoy it as much as I do without all these great options!
What are your plans for the week?Â Do you have a favorite spot to go?