Thursday, July 7, 2016

Rural North Dakota

We've hit the middle of the summer and the virtual tour is still going strong! We hope you've been enjoying all of the cool places that our country has to offer. Today, we're bringing you a post from Erin about North Dakota, which has more to offer than you might think!

I was born and raised in a small town in North Dakota called Leeds, population of about 400. Now, I use the word small and not tiny because there are towns, like York which is about 5 miles away from Leeds, with a population of 23. It’s all relative in rural North Dakota. I grew up on a farm outside of town. I learned how to drive on some of the straightest, flattest roads known to man. A “night out” in high school consisted of driving down bumpy prairie trails blaring music, a pastime my husband and I still indulge in every once in a while.

When I try to describe what it’s like living in rural North Dakota, the first thing I always think of is that it’s easy. Things just seem to move a bit slower around here and I think people worry less, too. My husband and I have lived in our current house for almost 3 years and we have never locked our front door, even when we’re gone for multiple days. I’m not sure I could even find my house key without some serious effort at this point. 

People always ask me about what we do for fun around here. Well specifically where I live, we are about 30 miles from Devils Lake. This is the largest natural body of water in North Dakota and provides lots of recreational activities all year as well as making a huge economic impact on the city of the same name. In the summer time there is boating and swimming and fishing and camping. In the winter time there is ice fishing and snowmobiling and pond hockey.  It's a year round destination!

About 20 minutes from Devils Lake is Sullys Hill National Game Preserve. Sullys Hill is a park that is over 1600 acres and home to a herd of Bison and a herd of Elk. The park boasts some pretty awesome trails and an auto route with some killer views. Especially from the vista where you can see just one portion of the massive Devils Lake. It's a little oasis on the prairie and my husband and I visit multiple times each summer.

Also in the summer time my husband plays softball at least one night a week and multiple weekend tournaments every season and I play on a women’s sand volleyball team every week.  These summer time sports are huge, especially softball. In our state capital of Bismarck, every summer is the largest charity softball tournament in the country. Over 20,000 players and fans descend on the city of 67,000 each and every summer. It’s a weekend long tailgate party studded by 700 softball games. No big deal. ☺

Our state capital building, located in the heart of Bismarck.

I have a friend who tells me she likes to sleep with the window open so she can hear the traffic go by and not feel like she’s alone in the middle of nowhere. Personally, I feel the exact opposite. Wandering aimlessly around my parents’ farm and the neighboring country side either by foot, or bike, or snowmobile or pickup truck to the point where you haven’t seen another living being, besides the local wildlife of course, in hours and hours and hours is how I recharge my batteries and feed my soul. I was raised on fresh air and wide open spaces underneath the biggest, brightest blue skies and I wouldn’t change it for a thing.

And that’s why I love rural North Dakota.

About the Author:
Erin is small town girl from rural North Dakota. After she and her husband spent 18 months living in the suburbs of St Louis, they returned to Erin’s hometown to start their lives together. Erin has worked in hospitality and customer service most of her career, but her true passion is cooking. She started her food blog called Thanks for Cookin’! in the summer of 2015. When she’s not in the kitchen, Erin can be found reading, watching movies with her husband, or walking their dog Stretch. You find can Erin at or on Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter and Facebook.

1 comment:

  1. I, too, was born and raised in North Dakota and currently reside in Florida. I miss the tranquility, bright blue skies (the best anywhere), and the "small town" kindness that remains throughout the state. I love going back to visit family.