North Dakota full of fun things to see and do in the summer

Summer travel season is in full swing in North Dakota and I was able to enjoy events from east to west and points in between last week.

In Grand Forks, the weather was perfect for downtown shopping and a pizza on the rooftop of Rhombus Guys.  And the new Panera Bread restaurant also lived up to its reputation and surely warranted a review from Herald columnist Marilyn Hagerty.

 Fargo’s Broadway Avenue was buzzing with activity with the first Cruisin’ Broadway of the season.  Show-worthy cars of all makes and vintages lined the streets as families strolled and seniors relaxed in chairs taking in all the sights and sounds.  The drive down Broadway took about 40 minutes but was filled with plenty of classic cars and people to watch and great aromas wafting from all the downtown eateries. The event returns on July 3. Ribfest brought people to the Fargodome where they enjoyed kids’ activities, bands and, of course, great ribs.

Friday’s big announcement in Medora was the return of Kat Perkins to the Burning Hills Amphitheater on August 22. It is fitting that her first North Dakota concert after “The Voice” be a return to the stage where she began performing.  Meanwhile, opening night of the Medora Musical was amazing. The vocals were extremely strong and the show was exceptional, especially considering it was the first night.  Visitors will enjoy a great blend of Medora’s standard song, dance and costumes along with more contemporary pieces.  The three Burning Hills Singers from North Dakota each had a fan section which added to the fun.  Kudos to the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation for creating a brand new Badlands Pizza and Saloon with rustic, yet upscale, food and furnishings.  Passersby may not even realize the building is new construction as it fits on the historic corner like it always has.

The Maah Daah Hey Trail expansion dedication on Saturday was blessed with perfect weather.  This 45-mile extension from Sully Creek State Park to the Burning Coal Vein Campground was completed with the help of many entities and volunteers. The trail, now 140 miles, offers some of the most scenic remote wilderness in the region and gives us all an opportunity to unplug, listen, breathe deep and re-charge.

As I ventured out for a morning hike, I was reminded that Medora is in the heart of ranch country in North Dakota. For 15 minutes the only vehicles I saw were pickups pulling gooseneck horse and cattle trailers.  Many were participating in the rodeo for sure, but others moving cattle to the lush green pastures that abound in the Badlands. A stop at the newly designed Cowboy Hall of Fame tells those stories and is a must-see.

Finally, the bite on Lake Audubon was coming on strong before thunderstorms chased us off the lake Sunday.  The upside was I got to enjoy a burger and salad at the newly remodeled Totten Trail, which beats the hot dogs we were planning on grilling. Summer is never long enough, so pack it in. You may be a bit tired Monday morning but the memories are always worth it!