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A Grand time in Grand Forks!

March 19, 2011 by Hailey Goplen

Blake is on Spring Break this week from NDSU. Unfortunately for me, there is no Spring Break in the “real world”. Deciding I deserved a day off anyway, I took Friday off from work and decided we should adventure to Grand Forks. While this may not seem like the destination vacation for most Fargo natives, Blake and I had yet to visit. In fact, we’ve been so consumed with work and school that we’ve barely had time to visit any places outside of Fargo and Moorhead.

We hopped in the car and headed North. Grand Forks or bust! We were able to meet up with two of Blake’s relatives. A “fousin” we deemed them. “Fake cousins”. (His mother’s, cousin’s, daughters?) Luckily, they were able to give us an exclusive tour of the Grand Forks area. We went by the “Ralph” to purchase some Sioux hockey memorabilia, had some delicious local pizza, and experienced the Grand Forks night life. All in all, we had a fabulous time.

One thing I have come to love about the Midwest is how proud everyone is of their town. I have yet to meet someone that says, “I hate it here and can’t wait to leave.” In fact,  I haven’t even met anyone that wants to leave the state of North Dakota. I think this would surprise most people outside of the state. I think people view North Dakota as a desolate, boring, tundra of a state and couldn’t think why anyone would live here, led alone stay.

I grew up living on both sides of the country. My parents divorced when I was young and I spent summers in Washington State, where my dad lived, and on the East Coast with my mom the rest of the year. When I’m asked where I call home, I shrug. My mom and my high school friends are in Maryland, yet I have no urge to return. I loved going to college in Virginia, and would love to return to the Shenandoah Valley at some point in my life, but thats purely because of the breathtaking beauty and not so much for any other reason. The majority of my family is split between Washington and Oregon, but they are the only reason I would move back, not because I feel like the Pacific Northwest is my home. To me, I crave a sense of “home” more than anything else, and it’s refreshing to come to an area where everyone is content right where they are. Even people who have left North Dakota,  would love to move back  at some point. It is home. Blake’s parents are from North Dakota and while his dad is usually quiet and reserved, you see him light up when he discusses him home state or talks about Bison football.

Home is where the heart is, and for the time being, that means North Dakota for me.


  1. Ernie says:

    I grew up in the Grand Forks area and my wife doesn’t get why I like going back to visit. Most of the time I fo to just relax.

  2. don copely says:

    Grand Forks North Dakota is boring at best! Might I suggest you do much much more traveling! You have two seasons, Spring and Winter! The people there walk, talk, drive and think slow. Small towns (yes grand forks is a small town!), small minds. If you like to live a hum-drum boring life I suggest you stay right where you are…In Grand Forks or Fargo! This way you will not cause traffic jams while trying to keep up with the rest of the world. Sorry, but I’ve been to both Grand Forks and Fargo many times and both are BORING!! I can see why the highschool kids are trying to escape. Oh and you obviouly don’t know what a night life is…Grand Forks dosn’t have much of a night life. Unless you consifer hanging out at the local bar with Ollie a good night! Do the rest of the world a faver and stay put! Its where you belong! Have a nice FROZEN day! :-)

    • Interesting take on things. I’ve seen many other parts of the country, including the busy cities of the East Coast. To me, Fargo and Grand Forks, as well as North Dakota in general, are a refreshing break from the busy lifestyle. I believe the people you meet are what makes a place good or bad, and I feel like this is true for North Dakota. The people in the Midwest are some of the friendliest and most welcoming individuals I have ever come in contact with. For me, I’d take a local bar with some good people over a crowded night club with music so loud you can’t have a conversation any day.

  3. Holly says:

    A friend posted a link on Facebook and I have been enjoying reading your blog. I have to say though, that I would like it if you were a bit more specific when you describe ND. You are only describing the eastern half of the state. The western half is German Russian and has a whole different set of words and foods that help to keep the whole state even more diverse. I have been in ND all of my life, started in a small town of 300 people SW of Bismarck, went to Grand Forks and now live in Fargo. Trust me when I say ND isn’t all lutefisk and ufdah. I hope you get a chance to head out to the beautiful Medora area and see what the westerners from ND call hills. Also, talk to the kids in high school, the majority of them will say they can’t wait to get out of ND. We usually end up staying though because we don’t like the crime and dense populations of more urban areas! Keep up the good work, but try to learn more about the entire state you are blogging about! :)

    • You’re right. I haven’t had a chance to visit much of the Western portion of the state yet. I wanted to take a trip to Medora this summer, but unfortunately we haven’t quite found the time. I heard the Bad Lands are absolutely beautiful. I only got a very quick glimpse of them when we drove through on our way to settling in Fargo last summer. Thanks for the tips and hopefully I can shine a little more light on the other portion of the state soon! Thanks for reading.

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