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7 Most Idyllic Small Towns in North Dakota

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7 Most Idyllic Small Towns in North Dakota


When people picture an idyllic life, they often imagine peacefulness, pleasantness, and simplicity. This can seem like an impossible dream until you cross the border into North Dakota.

This underrated state is known as the Peace Garden State for a very specific reason. It is the place people go to escape the drama of everyday life and simply gaze out over the prairies while taking in the incredible atmosphere.

North Dakota is wild in the best way. You will see bison, wild horses, and prairie dogs. There is more than enough time to explore badlands and endless trails. Drama has no place here, and there is magic, excellent weather, and intriguing history.

If you want to experience a true haven, even if you only visit the Legendary State once in your life, start with the most idyllic small towns.

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Devils Lake

Trees on Devil’s Lake in North Dakota.

Devils Lake may not be the most idyllic name, but this small town of 7,000 is one of the best places in the U.S. to become one with nature.

Here, you can cast a line into the water of Devils Lake and forget about the rest of the world. All you need to do is keep an eye out for northern pike, perch, walleyes, and white bass.

If you travel here during winter, you can ice fish to your heart’s content. You can also take a day or two to swim and relax in the sun or explore some of the fantastic hiking trails in the nearby Grahams Island State Park. It is the perfect place for camping or strolling along the lakeshore.

Cap off your visit by teeing off on a local golf course and enjoying the unparalleled starry night sky that blankets the Devils Lake landscape.

New Town

New Town, North Dakota. In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Town,_North_Dakota By Andrew Filer from Seattle (ex-Minneapolis) - New Town, North Dakota, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=35105465
New Town, North Dakota. In Wikipedia. By Andrew Filer from Seattle (ex-Minneapolis) – New Town, North Dakota, CC BY-SA 2.0, Wikipedia

You will see the stars in New Town, too, as well as calm lakes and rocky shores. New Town embodies the meaning of idyllic living with its oil boom prosperity and scenic location.

New Town still retains its quintessential small-town America look and feel. You will find it on State Highway 23, where Lake Sakakawea crosses the Four Bears Bridge. It is also right at the edge of the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation.

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There is so much beauty to admire in New Town while fishing or boating. Just west of the town, you will find the Crow Flies High State Recreation Area, with its magnificent overlook over the water of the lake.

While you take in this unforgettable scene, you might even catch glimpses of Sanish, a town covered entirely by Lake Sakakawea.

Dickinson

Dickinson, ND USA. Editorial credit: Joni Hanebutt / Shutterstock.com
Dickinson, North Dakota. Editorial credit: Joni Hanebutt / Shutterstock.com

If you are into unforgettable nature scenes and just relaxing in the outdoors, Dickinson should be one of the stops on your North Dakota visit.

Dickinson boasts more residents, with a population of just under 25,000, but the small-town feel is still there. It is also the gateway to the simply wonderful Theodore Roosevelt National Park.

Here, you can explore and contemplate the exact spot where Roosevelt once paced up and down, looking for and finding the inspiration he needed.

You will see the remainder of the enigmatic cultures that once inhabited the badlands, including a bison processing camp and a meticulously placed ring of rocks. These cultures, which include the Blackfeet, Cree, Sioux, and Chippewa, each have their own connection with the badlands.

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Speaking of badlands, Dickinson is also home to the Badlands Dinosaur Museum, which features constantly evolving exhibits.

When you have soaked in as much local history and archaeology as possible, head over to the Old Red Old Ten Scenic Byway that runs between Mandan and Dickinson. This road trip will soothe your soul with the blue skies seeming closer than ever and the wildlife gazing at you curiously as you drive slowly by.

Valley City

Baldhill Dam. Valley City, North Dakota.
Baldhill Dam. Valley City, North Dakota.

Idyllic looks different to different people. While curious wildlife and clear skies are what some yearn for, some just want to enjoy the open road and whatever comes next.

If Valley City happens to be at the end of that open road, you may just find what you are looking for in this legendary town.

Here, you can go on a tour of eight historic bridges and visit the Medicine Wheel Park. The park features a replica of the Native American solar calendar, reflecting Earth’s spinning journey around the sun.

Continue your journey through Valley City by stopping at the Rosebud Visitor Center, which also happens to be the gateway to the Sheyenne River Valley. One of the most incredible exhibits at the visitor center includes an 1881 railcar with original furnishings. The visitor center also brings Valley City’s railroad history to life with other indoor and outdoor displays.

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There is also North Dakota’s only planetarium at Valley City State University, where you will experience the night sky in an entirely new way.

Bottineau

Bottineau, North Dakota. In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bottineau,_North_Dakota By Bobak Ha'Eri - Own work, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6912919
Bottineau, North Dakota. In Wikipedia. By Bobak Ha’Eri – Own work, CC BY 3.0, Wikipedia.

Bottineau may not be all about the stars and planets, but you will find the endearing Tommy Turtle here. While this may sound like a strange attraction for people looking for idyllic surroundings, keep in mind that it is one of the most photographed statues in town, and maybe in North Dakota.

Tommy stands at the entryway to the Turtle Mountains, so even if giant turtle statues are not your thing, these mountains certainly will be. Located just six miles northwest of the town, you will pass farmsteads and gorgeous landscapes on your way. And, if tranquility is what you are after, you will find plenty of that inside the Turtle Mountain State Forest.

If you are up for a little skiing, the Bottineau Winter Park will be right up your alley. Sitting in the Turtle Mountains, this region earned its informal title of ‘most beautiful area in North Dakota.’

Wahpeton

Richland County Courthouse in Wahpeton, North Dakota.
Richland County Courthouse in Wahpeton, North Dakota.

More blissful landscapes await in the beautiful town of Wahpeton. Here, you can visit the Chahinkapa Zoo, which has a massive variety of animal species along the Red River. The infamous Prairie Rose Carousel is also a must-see with its twenty handcrafted wooden horses and two chariots.

You can spend several hours away fishing at the Kidder Recreation Area or test your swing at the Bois de Sioux Golf Course. There is the Richland Couty Historical Museum to explore and the Red Door Art Gallery, both of which form part of the so-called ‘art corridor.’

When you have had your fill of art and history, camp out at the shores of the Red River for a relaxing afternoon of boating and some more fishing.

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Medora

Rough Riders Hotel in the town of Medora, North Dakota. Editorial credit: Michael Gordon / Shutterstock.com
Rough Riders Hotel in the town of Medora, North Dakota. Editorial credit: Michael Gordon / Shutterstock.com

Medora is the last idyllic small town on this list and also the smallest. With 142 residents as of 2024, you do not get much more peaceful than this tiny town.

Medora is small enough to explore with your feet. You can walk just about anywhere, including to the Old Town Hall Theater, where the Teddy Roosevelt statue stands. Roosevelt’s presence is felt everywhere, especially at the Rough Riders Hotel, where you can read more about the connection between Medora and America’s 26th president.

You will not want to stay inside, however, regardless of the weather. There are too many canyons, badland landscapes, and other unforgettable attractions to see. And, if you are looking to immerse yourself in Western culture while on a relaxing vacation, this is where you will find it.

These small towns are the proverbial tip of the iceberg when it comes to living the dream, whether permanently or while on holiday. North Dakota abounds with wildlife, national parks, nightly entertainment, and American history. It appeals no matter what type of idyllic dream you are looking for. So, next time you feel burned out and just need a break, head to the Great American West for a memorable experience.



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Bankruptcies for North Dakota and western Minnesota published May 25, 2024

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Bankruptcies for North Dakota and western Minnesota published May 25, 2024


Filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court

North Dakota

Nathonia Young, formerly known as Nathonia Ruud, and Kasey Young, Grand Forks, Chapter 7

Leon Adam Simon, doing business as HP Coatings & Fabrications, 1601 1/2 S. 12th St., Chapter 13

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Roberta Ann Hoff, also known as Bobbie Hoff, Bismarck, Chapter 7

Chad D. Hove, Jamestown, Chapter 11

Precisionomics, Jamestown, Chapter 11

Minnesota

Bankruptcy filings from the following counties: Becker, Clay, Douglas, Grant, Hubbard, Mahnomen, Norman, Otter Tail, Polk, Traverse, Wadena and Wilkin.

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Jason Conrad Jern, Alexandria, Chapter 13

Larry G. Heitkamp, doing business as Yellow Rose Transportation, Sebeka, Chapter 13

Jessica R. Mancilla, formerly konwn as Jessica R. Sibert, Moorhead, Chapter 7

Tara Rae Starry, New York Mills, Chapter 7

Chapter 7 is a petition to liquidate assets and discharge debts.

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Chapter 11 is a petition for protection from creditors and to reorganize.

Chapter 12 is a petition for family farmers to reorganize.

Chapter 13 is a petition for wage earners to readjust debts.

Our newsroom occasionally reports stories under a byline of “staff.” Often, the “staff” byline is used when rewriting basic news briefs that originate from official sources, such as a city press release about a road closure, and which require little or no reporting. At times, this byline is used when a news story includes numerous authors or when the story is formed by aggregating previously reported news from various sources. If outside sources are used, it is noted within the story.

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Shaw: A June voters guide for North Dakotans

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Shaw: A June voters guide for North Dakotans


There are several Republican primary races where the battles are between normal traditional conservative Republicans and extremists. The most high-profile race is in District 8 in Bismarck. Traditional Republicans Mike Berg and Ken Rensch are taking on extremist Reps. Brandon “George Santos” Prichard and SueAnn Olson.

With his constant blasts of the LGBTQ community and non-Christians, Prichard is a hate-monger and book-banning supporter. Prichard also has fibbed about attending the University of Minnesota Law School. Bismarck and the state of North Dakota would be much better off if Berg and Rensch are nominated.

Twelve-year incumbent Kirsten Baesler is the clear choice to be re-elected as superintendent of public instruction. Baesler has done an excellent job under difficult circumstances. Baesler also has strong public school experience as a former assistant principal in Bismarck and president of the Mandan School Board.

Candidate Jim Bartlett was executive director of the North Dakota Homeschool Association. Nothing wrong with that,

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but homeschooling advocates should not be in charge of our public schools

. Also, it’s alarming to see Bartlett’s push to bring more Christianity into the public schools. That would be unconstitutional. Bartlett’s agenda would be a better fit for the state’s private religious schools.

Candidate Darko Draganic has potential, while candidate Jason Heitkamp is not qualified.

The only legitimate Democratic Party candidate for Congress is Trygve Hammer. He has a passion for improving people’s lives and an impressive military record.

With one exception (Kristin Nelson), the endorsements for the Fargo School Board by the Fargo Education Association are preposterous. The other three FEA-endorsed candidates don’t belong on the board.

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Allie Ollenburger (who led the botched recall effort in 2021)

and Paul Mohror are chaos candidates.

Likely influenced by contentious contract talks, the FEA seems to be primarily motivated by animosity toward the current board and the school district administration. The FEA’s selections are certainly not in the best interests of the school district or the citizens of Fargo. Fortunately, there are five strong candidates running for four open positions on the board. They are Nelson, Seth Holden, John Campbell, Ryan Dodd and Nikkie Gullickson.

Citizens of West Fargo would be well-served by electing Amy Zundel, who just won a YWCA Woman of the Year award, to the city commission. I don’t know if Zundel is a Republican or Democrat, and I don’t care. What I do know is Zundel is smart, determined and friendly.

It’s because of Zundel’s hard work and research that North Dakota’s weak child abuse laws were toughened. As a private citizen, Zundel put in countless hours to protect the state’s children. With that kind of tenacity, she would be a perfect fit for the West Fargo City Commission.

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InForum columnist Jim Shaw is a former WDAY TV reporter and former KVRR TV news director.





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Many Memorial Day weekend crashes happen in rural areas

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Many Memorial Day weekend crashes happen in rural areas


FARGO — Lots of people will be traveling this Memorial Day weekend, espcially on rural roadways.

Elin Nozewski with Jerry Car Insurance says rural areas typically have less street lights and longer roads. As people are celebrating Memorial Day weekend, she says fatal crashes become a little more common.

“About a third of those accidents are caused by people who are driving over the posted speed limit. And the second-highest risk factor is inebriated driving,” said Nozewski.

According to the North Dakota Highway Patrol, for every 100,000 vehicles, 1.7 fatal crashes occur over memorial weekend.

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“It’s a very busy travel weekend. There’s a lot of people in a hurry to get where they want to go. Biggest thing is just to make sure that we plan for that travel and we get there safely,” said Sergeant Adam Malafa with the North Dakota Highway Patrol.

His best tip is to keep distractions to a minimum.

“If you’re the driver, your job is to drive. Not to be, you know, engaged in, you know, whether it’s other conversations or whatever else might be going on in that vehicle,” Malafa said.

When you’re sharing the roads, Malafa says to be mindful of others that aren’t used to the area.

“If they make a lane change that you didn’t expect them to, it’s probably not because they’re trying to be mean it’s probably just because they might not know the road,” Malafa said.

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With the updated “Move Over” law, he says to remember all cars must move into the next lane or slow down, if they see a car on the shoulder with hazard lights on.

“Especially with the construction, we’ve got going on just be patient,” Malafa said.

In North Dakota, if you violate the “move over” law, its a $20 fine.

If you commit a traffic violation when distracted while driving, its a $100 fine.

If you violate the seatbelt law, its a $25 fine with 1 point against your license.

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According to Jerry Car Insurance, the most dangerous times to drive nationwide during the Memorial Day weekend are 11 p.m. on Saturday to 1 a.m. on Sunday. The risk rises again later on Sunday night from 9 p.m. to 10 p.m.

My name is Anne Sara, better known as Sara.
I was born an only child in Port-au-prince, Haiti and moved to the U.S at the age of 2.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is where I was raised.
After graduating with my bachelor degree at Albright College, I moved to Florida to continue my studies.
WDAY is the reason why I moved to North Dakota.





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