When I tell people that I’m from North Dakota, frequently their reaction is like the movie Fargo? Yup, you betcha! Many of them are disappointed to learn that the newer series was not actually filmed in North Dakota’s largest city.
Their next question is usually do you guys really have accents like that? Oh ya, fer sher we do. Year after year, I notice myself having more and more of an accent. I drag out the ‘o’ sound in words like ocean and road. And if you ask me to say, “There’s a boat show at the Fargodome,” I would sound like I truly belong here.
Aside from fame on our televisions and our quirky accents, North Dakota has a ton of legendary reasons why you should stop saving it for last on your quest to hit all 50 states and visit North Dakota now!
Unique and Delicious Food
You’ve probably never heard of knoephla (neff-la) soup. That’s okay you haven’t heard of it. I had never heard of it until my family moved to North Dakota years ago. It’s a cream-based dumpling soup filled with hearty chunks of carrots, celery, potatoes, and bacon.
Everyone here says knoephla is of German origin. I’ve asked plenty of Germans in Germany if they knew what it was. Every single one of them didn’t have a clue what I was talking about.
Even though the soup’s origin is a mystery, I can promise that once you have one bowl, you’ll be hooked on it.
Did you know that North Dakota is at the northernmost part of Tornado Alley? We get tornadoes, the stunning supercell thunderstorms, and lightning storms.
Being that the state is so far north, the storm season starts later in the summer like other places, giving storm chasers the opportunity to chase later in the season or continue their chasing season.
If you’ve never seen a storm on the plains, I promise you, North Dakota is one of the best places to watch them. On the eastern side, the state is mostly covered in flat land. All across the state, trees are sparse and farmsteads are miles apart.
Stars and the Northern Lights
Every time I think about moving away, my mind always jumps to how much I will miss the night sky and the stars.
The night sky in North Dakota is about as good as it gets. On a clear night, I can walk outside and see the Milky Way without straining my eyes.
Other times, I think about how much I’ll miss the northern lights. North Dakota doesn’t get the spectacular overhead shows very often, but a faint green glow can frequently be seen on the northern horizon during the spring, fall, and winter.
When everything does line up just right, no clouds, a new moon, and a decent-sized solar storm, the lack of civilization makes it so that there isn’t a ton of light pollution to hide them.
One of the most beautiful times during the year is the transition from summer to fall when all the sunflowers are in bloom.
As the nation’s largest producer of sunflowers, the state has fields upon fields of the golden yellow flower. If you find the right spot on the western side of the state you’ll be able to see the flowers for miles. You can find them on the eastern side of the state too, just not as many fields.
The trick with sunflowers is being in the right spot at the right time. They bloom fast and last for about a week before they start to wilt.
Sunsets are amazing
When the land is flat and trees are sparse you can see for miles. Being able to see for miles means you can see the horizon and watch the sunset.
Most of the time, the sunsets are amazing and unlike anything you have probably ever seen anywhere else, simply for the fact, you can see the horizon.
North Dakotans are a friendly bunch and take North Dakota Nice to a whole new level. People will frequently sit at a four way stop and wave everyone else on ahead of them even though it is their turn.
If you’re ever lost or run into trouble, don’t be afraid to ask for directions or help. You might also end up in a conversation you weren’t expecting to be in because we are that friendly.
Bison, elk, deer, bald eagles, coyotes, moose, mountain lions, and more can be found roaming the fields here. Thankfully I’ve never seen any wild bison outside Theodore Roosevelt National Park and have never seen a mountain lion.
If you’re a huge Fargo fan, you can stop at the visitors center in Fargo and see the actual wood chipper used as a prop in the movie. They center even provides what I call Fargo Hats to wear as you pose with the famous prop.
If you continue west on I-94 you’ll come across three larger than life animal statues. The first, a giant bison in Jamestown, next a large sandhill crane in Steele, and then a massive cow in New Salem.
You don’t have to be traveling just east and west either. If you head north from Bismarck to Minot, there is an interpretive center dedicated to Lewis and Clark. They even have a large statue of Seaman, Lewis’ Newfoundland dog that accompanied them on the journey.
Epic winter landscapes
Ask any North Dakotan how long winter lasts and they’ll say nine-plus months out of the year. During the winter months, temperatures with wind chill can be brutal.
During February 2019, there was about a week of solid -40F (-40C) weather. The wind chills were in the -60F (-51C) range. For much of the month, it was too cold to snow, but when it did snow, it was a fine powder that can easily be lifted into the air. When the wind roars, as it does so often, the ice crystals can reach staggering heights in the sky. Then the sunlight reflects off these you get a full or partial halo around the sun called a sundog.
When you see a sundog for the first time, you feel like you might have somehow been transported to another planet.
Cold War History
Did you know that if North Dakota would have succeeded from the Union during the Cold War, it would have been the third most powerful nuclear nation in the world?
North Dakota was dotted with nuclear missile silos and even has a pyramid-shaped missile defense system in the northeast corner of the state.
If you feel like you are lacking the winter experience, come to North Dakota! We have plenty of snow to share.
Want to experience one of our epic blizzards that occasionally make national news? You’re welcome to come and stay! They really are something unique. Nowhere else I’ve been has had anything quite like home.
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Have you been to North Dakota? What was your favorite part of the state?