North Dakota

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More Than Cold

Sep 16, 2000 (Updated Mar 20, 2001)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:low crime rate, historical sites, outdoors activities and more

Cons:mosquitos in summer, long winters

The Bottom Line: I would highly recommend a trip or visit to North Dakota to anyone who has never experienced real winter weather.

Review Topic:  Sights & AttractionsReview Topic:  Sights & Attractions "Oh, it's soooooooooooo cold," was the same remark I heard over and over again when I told anyone that I was moving to North Dakota.

There has to be more to North Dakota than its fame for cold weather, I thought.

After my first week as a resident of Grand Forks, North Dakota, I've already discovered many more admirable qualities of this state than the fact that it gets very cold in the winter.

First off, at the time when the centennial edition of the book "North Dakota" was printed, North Dakota had the lowest crime rate of any state in the United States. If it's not still the lowest, it surely must rank as one of the states with low crime in comparison to others and that is a big, big plus in my book for its effect on quality of life.

How much nicer it is not to worry constantly about being assaulted or having one's property stolen than living in say Houston, Tx. My cousin, a native Houstonite, is afraid to stop in at a convenience store at night, calling them "shooting galleries".

I've been told that North Dakotans are extremely friendly people. I really haven't had enough time here yet to make a judgment but I have noticed the large number of blonds. I had the chance to do a little people watching yesterday at Target in Grand Forks and noticed that probably 80 percent were fair haired blonds, 10 percent were native Americans and a mix for the other 10 percent.

North Dakota was intensively settled by immigrants and its ethnic heritage still seems to be a lively part of the state. According to the book "North Dakota", in 1889, when North Dakota became a state, nearly half the population was foreign born. Norwegian, German-Russian, Canadian, German and Swedish were all large groups of settlers.

After watching the movie "Fargo" about four times before my move here, I had one burning question about the people of my new state:

"Do they all talk so funny?"

"Oh, Yah"

Not really. At this point I've not heard anyone that has the heavy accent of the heroine law enforcement officer of the movie. However, I have heard slight accents reminiscent of the movie but nothing like the Hollywood version.

One point, as a native North Dakotan pointed out to me....Although the movie story begins in Fargo, the majority of the movie takes place in Minnesota, so it's not truly representative of this state.

Oh well, it was better than nothing for learning about what real winter weather is like.

An American history buff, such as myself, will find North Dakota a fascinating place. Lewis & Clark--Fur Trade--Plains Indian Tribes--Steamboating--Missouri River--Dakota Territory.............these are all terms that I've read about and now will have the opportunity to research even further.

My daughter, grandson and I arrived in my new home state in the wee hours of September 6. Her new car recorded the outside temperature as 67 degrees, what a relief from the triple digit temperatures I had just left in Oklahoma, where I had been staying with another daughter.

I look forward to the definite seasons of North Dakota--the wonderful Indian summer days of fall that I've experienced so far; even the new experience of real winters; the welcoming of spring and the outdoor activities of summer. Every season has its magic moments and the cycle of seasons gives one's life a natural rhythm that can be very satisfying.

Growing up as an Army brat, I acquired an adventurous spirit about living in new places and a philosophy that every place has its benefits and attributes. I've found that it's up to me to seek out the good qualities in every place. They're there if one only looks and is open to the unfamiliar.

So, what do I want to see and do that might be attractive to other visitors to North Dakota? I hope to visit much of the state but know that most of my exploration will probably be in the vicinity where I live--Grand Forks in the north eastern region of the state.

In this area alone there's a wide range of sites to see. The University of North Dakota is said to contain a large variety of cultural activities. I live on the Grand Forks Air Base and look forward to touring the base and learning abut its role in our country's defense.

My daughter and her husband are sports oriented and we are all looking forward to enjoying the many outdoor activities available in this region. Turtle River State Park is nearby, offering forested nature trails, trail riding, skiing and snowmobile trails.

To begin my history exploration, I plan to start with the Kittson trading post, built about 1851, and said to be one of the oldest buildings in the state. The trading post alongside the Pembina museum was the first in North Dakota, established in 1797.

During the coming year and a half of my residency here, I plan to write many more epinions on attractions and sites in North Dakota. Please join me in my explorations and maybe you too will be encouraged to visit this state and learn that it's much more than just cold.

UPDATE 3/21/01
It's the first day of spring and I plan to get a t-shirt that reads "I Survived My First North Dakota Winter!"

Now I know why people talk about the cold here--because it IS unbelievably cold. One old codger, a life-long resident, told me that the mean temperature in Grand Forks is colder than anywhere else in the United States. I haven't verified that claim but accept that it could be true. He said this was a fact that the local chamber doesn't talk about much.

This past winter was relatively mild with no extremely heavy snows or blizzards that closed everything down for several days. In addition, there were no temperatures of below thirty degrees (that's without wind chill.) However, weeks on end of below zero temperatures and snow that stayed from election day and is still on the ground, but melting, by almost Easter has been plenty cold for this native Texas gal.

However, even with these "mittens required" temperatures, I've still enjoyed North Dakota. In fact, I would recommend North Dakota to anyone who has never experienced a real winter. Snow mobiles, cross country skiing and hockey are just a few of the benefits. What's most outstanding is the quality of life--low crime rate and the family-oriented environment.

Recommend this product? Yes

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