Teacher Getaway: Grand Forks Edition

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Earlier this month I had the opportunity to travel to Grand Forks for a teacher conference and my friends at the Greater Grand Forks Convention and Visitors Bureau hosted quite the lovely stay. I was excited to get away for a couple of days because as of September my life will become extremely busy, and to also learn new and innovative forms of education from other educators.

The GGFCVB put us up at Canad Inns Destination Centre Grand Forks and I was shocked by our impressive suite. I have never stayed in such a large suite before and I am forever thankful for their kindness and generosity. Located off of 1-29 on S 42nd Street, Canad Inns feels like home away from home, and in this case, home is Winnipeg. If you’re from Winnipeg, you know that Canad Inns is a popular hotel property with recognizable restaurants attached to it – Tavern United, ‘l Bistro, Aaltos, Garbonzos , and Playmakers (All-American Lounge).

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The suite was spacious, front desk was incredibly attentive, and the snack bar area was filled with snacks to get you through a night in case you forgot to buy something at the grocery store. We highly enjoyed drinks at Tavern United, especially on the patio during a cool breezy night, which was nice from the day before where humidex values topped 100F. I will have to say that I was not impressed with the breakfast buffet at Altos. The pancakes were dry and stale, the homestyle potatoes were fried too long and were dried out, and the only thing I enjoyed was a bowl of cereal. Also, there is no free continental breakfast, so if you’re not willing to pay ($9.99 plus tax) for breakfast, or would like something with more option, there’s great spots around town that you can find through the GGFCVB website.

The night we arrived we enjoyed a wonderful dinner at The Toasted Frog (124 N. 3rd St) with long time friends of my cousin, who also accompanied me on this trip (along with her friend and colleague). Of course we had to get a plate of Cheesy Pickles, a must when you’re there. I followed the appetizer with a delicious wood fired pizza and my first ever Moscow Mule.

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The following day we had the option of a food truck for lunch during the conference. We did not like the chosen selection so we opted for the best pizza in town – Rhombus Guys (312 Kittson Ave). Rhombus seriously has the best pizza in town and I have never been disappointed by their selection. The staff is friendly and will definitely help you out with suggestions if you’re unable to choose a pie on your own. They also have the option to have two pizzas on one pie, if you order the larger size. Please do that, because you will not be disappointed. We went with the Deluxe pizza and asked for half with olives and half without. There were plenty of slices left to take back with us to the hotel and we enjoyed them as a midnight snack. Next time you’re in Grand Forks, I highly recommend you stop by the Kittson location or their brewing company pub at 116 S. 3rd Street.

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That night we had reservations for Sky’s located in historical downtown, in the oldest bank building. I’m a sucker for history and old buildings, plus I absolutely love downtown Grand Forks. I have said many times that it reminds me of The Exchange District here in Winnipeg. I highly suggest you make a reservation because of their popularity, it may be difficult to get a table for walk ins. It’s not a large dining establishment so there are not a lot of tables available.

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We began the evening with a set of cocktails – Raspberry Balsamic Whiskey Smash and Love in the Elevator. Now, to be really honest, my whiskey took a long time to receive (it apparently has a process to make) and the martini my cousin asked for (The Escalator) came back with Love in the Elevator. The server returned with the correct drink, but, my cousin did enjoy the incorrect one. Dinner also took an extremely long time to arrive after the first point of ordering (1 hour). Now, I am not sure how their ticket system works, so I am not going to fault them on that. It wasn’t a busy night, so we were not sure why it took so long for our food to arrive. However, when dinner did arrive it was delicious. I enjoyed the Berbere Spiced Rubbed Roast Chicken which was a take on the Ethiopian Style Butter chicken. It was very delicious and incredibly savoury. My cousin and her colleague split the special of the day which was a salad, and sides of soup. While her friend enjoyed a pasta dish. As the evening wound down, we all indulged in dessert, and incredible views of downtown (see the anchored picture above). The food was excellent and I’m not going to site them for slow service – we all have our days. If this happens to you, just be patient because the food is really good. It gave us the opportunity to chat and unwind, and really enjoy a successful year before going back to school/work next month.

Of course, eating was not the only reason we were there (aside from the conference). We shopped too. Yes, Target and Walmart was on the list and we did find incredible deals, but there’s also a hidden gem that many tourists don’t know about – The Dakota Boys & Girls Ranch Thrift Store, located at 2017 Demers Ave. This is where Target sends all of their out of season clothing and the prices you cannot beat. Last year I purchased a really nice dress top for work for $2.99. Where can you get a deal like that? No where. Seriously, check them out the next time you’re in town. Consignment and second hand stores are my go to’s when I’m short on cash and need a new outfit for work or school.

I also need to give a shout out to Eide Hyundai and the North Dakota State Troopers office. As I arrived in Grand Forks I was involved in a minor collision on the interstate with debris that was in the middle of the road. I received minor damage to the car and Eide made sure that my car had absolutely zero mechanical problems so I could travel home safely. I was really impressed with their service and compassion. Being in a collision when you’re in another country is no fun, it’s scary, and they were able to ease my worries and provide a detailed report to my insurance company. If you need service when you’re in town, or if you live in Grand Forks, please consider them. Thank you to Cameron, Dan, and their crew from the bottom of my heart. Also, thank you to the state trooper to was able to take my report before I left town. He made sure that the report was accurate and that no detail was left out. Plus, thank you to the clerk who just happened to come in during her holidays, received my message, and was able to get me in on such short notice. I appreciate that as well.

Thank you to my friends at the Greater Grand Forks Convention and Visitors Bureau. You made my trip extra special and we were able to unwind and forget about the stress we have been dealing with lately. We laughed more than we have in the last year, and being able to relax (especially in the splash park at the hotel) was top priority for us. Merci.

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