GGFCVB, Travel

A Grand Getaway: Celebrating Success in Grand Forks

Last month, just like the graduates of UND, I surpassed a huge milestone – successfully completing my time spent in university and graduating with a degree in Education. The two years of blood, sweat, and tears flew by so incredibly fast and I knew that I wanted to celebrate in grand style. Thanks to my friends at the Greater Grand Forks Convention and Visitors Bureau, I was able to celebrate that success with my classmate. We would like to extend our congratulations to the graduates of UND – may you revel in your accomplishments, and be proud of your successes. University can be a long and hard road, but in the end… it is completely worth it! You did it!

Grand Forks is the perfect place to celebrate grandly, but on a small intimate scale. With shopping, dining, and beautiful spaces such as downtown; I knew that I wanted to spend my time in one of my favourite cities. Grand Forks has all of my favourite shops and restaurants, and I was excited to have the opportunity to celebrate our accomplishments.

First we started with dinner reservations at Sky’s (322 Demers Avenue) in downtown Grand Forks, just steps away from the Greenway. I have always experienced a lovely meal at Sky’s, and I know it will not disappoint. Drinks and dinner were on tap for the first part of our celebration, and to cap off a lovely Friday evening looking at the setting sun. Seriously, Sky’s has the best vantage point to watch the gorgeous setting North Dakota Sun. Be sure to make reservations as Sky’s can become quite busy on a Friday evening. We were lucky to have secured a Friday evening, as it was UND graduation weekend; every establishment in Grand Forks was busy with reservations!

Earlier that evening, we decided to visit one of my favourite shops downtown – Kittsona Lifestyle. Kittsona is always my first shopping stop when I’m in town, and the girls love their regular Queens! Thanks to a tip from a teacher friend from Fargo, we were on a mission – to find the awesome, and popular, “Teachers Gonna Teach” tee. We were lucky that they had our sizes in store as staff mentioned to us that they’re having a difficult time keeping them on their shelves.

Saturday was our busiest day in Grand Forks – filled with shopping, lunch from Rhombus Pizza (followed by dinner at Rhombus Brewery), dessert from the newest bakery – Paola’s Pastries; ending the evening by taking in the Fire Hall Theater production of Little Shop of Horrors. If you’re looking for dessert to tide you over until dinner, be sure to visit the latest bakery to open in downtown – Paola Pastries (110 N. 3rd Street). Providing customers with signature cakes, cupcakes, and mind-blowing pastries, Paola’s Pastries is definitely your destination to satisfy your sweet tooth. Recommended – Oreo Cupcake or Chocolate Croissant.

Rhombus Guys Pizza (312 Kittson) and the subsequent Rhombus Brewery located around the corner (116 S 3rd Street), are my go to places for incredible pizza and delicious nosh for a relaxing weekend evening. Be sure to stop in at either location, but be sure to stop in at Rhombus Guys Pizza – you will not be disappointed.

Rhombus Guys Brewing Company located downtown, is known for their made onsite crafted brew. The best part is that if you’re unsure about which brew to try, ask for the samplers and the staff will be happy to provide you will small pints of their latest batches. Recommended craft brew – Into the Darkness, especially if it’s on nitro tap. To pair your beer, we cannot stop raving about the Bacon Shells & Beer Cheese or the House Burger. Finish your meal with the tasty two S’mores dessert. Delicious!

I don’t think I could have imagined a better way to celebrate our accomplishment of becoming teachers. We needed that weekend getaway to de-stress, unwind, and have fun. Thanks to the GGFCVB, we could do just that! Celebrate the accomplishments… no matter how small, or how grand!

GGFCVB, Travel

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.

Continue reading “Teacher Getaway: Grand Forks Edition”

GGFCVB, Travel

hiSTORY through art

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I was invited in April by the Greater Grand Forks Convention and Visitors Bureau to visit the the North Dakota Museum of Art and their newest art exhibit. It was a beautiful, and somber reminder, of how one can find their culture after years of oppression.

“In Our Own Words: Native Impressions”, an exhibit at the North Dakota Museum of Art, is a simple exhibit, yet it speaks volumes; displaying Native history from the perspective of Native Americans and their continued experience with the trickle-down effect of colonization within their culture, all while communicating determination to preserve their ways. This exhibit is the work of Daniel Heyman (printmaker), Kim Fink (printmaker), Lucy Ganje (graphic designer), and Leigh Jeanotte (UND Director of American Indian Student Services; member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa).

Continue reading “hiSTORY through art”

GGFCVB

Grand Forks Getaway: Girls Weekend Out

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My life as of late has been extremely busy. From courses, homework, and practicum placement, I’m lucky if I can grab a moment to breathe. Fortunately, when I reached out to my friends at the Greater Grand Forks Convention & Visitors Bureau they were more than happy to host a weekend getaway. The best part of this weekend? Not only did my best friend come with me, there was also a downtown music festival.

We had the most splendid time and boy were we busy! From shopping, to eating, to festival hopping… it truly was a grand time! We ate at Rhombus Guys (BEST PIZZA EVER!!), shopped at Target (oh how I’ve missed you!) and Scheels; roamed around downtown (chocolate was purchased from my favourite shop), and took in some great sights. Grand Forks is a grand place to visit and I highly recommend you spend a weekend away there.

For more details on what we did, please head on over to the Greater Grand Forks Convention & Visitors Bureau blog.

GGFCVB, Reviews, Travel

Grand Forks Getaway: Spring Break Edition

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With just a few short weeks left as a university student before graduating next month, I decided that I needed a break! I knew there was one place I had to runaway to and my friends at the Greater Grand Forks Convention and Visitors Bureau made it happen! They played lovely hosts to an amazing stay and made sure that I experienced comfort and fun!

We arrived in the afternoon last Monday and checked in to the amazing SpringHill Suites by Marriott, located on S42nd Street. From the first night, to the very last, our stay was cozy, comfortable and quite enjoyable. The hotel was booked from the get-go with families on Spring Break (a few from Manitoba), and a convention/meeting; you didn’t have to go far to get a hello or good day from a fellow guest. The front desk staff and housekeeping made sure that we were comfortable throughout the stay and I cannot say enough about the wonderful housekeeping staff… they work extremely hard and sometimes, housekeeping goes unnoticed without recognition; if we needed extra towels or toiletries… they were happy to help us out.

Breakfast was delicious and there was something different each day with the hot items – scrambled eggs, bacon, sausages, biscuits and gravy; along with the pastries, bagels, cold and hot cereals, juice and fruit, there was something for everyone. Freshly brewed coffee (along with hot water for tea) was available all day; a quaint Marketplace was available in the lobby with snacks and microwave dinners if you were feeling peckish for a late night snack, all at a reasonable price. The hotel also features a business center, 24-hour gym room and a pool (set hours). One lovely feature is an outdoor patio with fireplace. While the fireplace does not get turned on until May, the manager was able to turn it on during our stay as Grand Forks experienced lovely weather. Even the day it snowed briefly, was windy and chilly, it was nice to sit by the fire and warm up.

The room was large and well laid out. For those who are always fighting over who gets to use the bathroom, here’s a surprise – the toilet and shower area are separate! This is a great feature for when one requires the other; the shower room has a large mirror where the center is fog free! The view from our suite was amazing – North Dakota sunsets are absolutely gorgeous! I enjoyed looking out the window each night and watching the sun set. The room we stayed in included a mini “bar” area with a microwave and mini fridge, including a “living room” area with a sofa and desk (with wired internet capabilities). I cannot forget to mention how comfy and cozy the beds are! Marriott lives by their “coziest beds” slogan and it’s true! You will definitely have the most restful sleep.

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Dining Out

When we used to stay in Grand Forks, we rarely ate out as our cousin would always make sure we were fed. While we did have lunch out here and there, we always ate at her house when we stayed with her. Now that they’ve moved and we stay in hotels, we like to find different places to dine at (or take out). There was the stop at Paradiso; this night we decided on take out. I ordered the usual Combo Magnifico and my sister ordered barbecue takeout from Wild Hog Smokehouse Bar & Grill (the large order of ribs gave us leftovers for another evening dining in our hotel room). A lunch stop at Jimmy John’s allowed me to try this establishment for the first time and just like the commercial states, they are pretty darn fast! I ordered a #4 (Turkey Tom sans cheese) with a side of kettle cooked potato chips. Our first night we dined at The Blue Moose Bar & Grill in East Grand Forks (always a must for us), and our last night we dined at Ground Round for a delicious steak and potato dinner. When we chose to eat in our hotel room, Hugo’s Supermarket provided sides to accompany the main dish. During our day visit to Fargo, we ate lunch at Applebees and picked up a Limeade from Sonic. Of course, no trip is successful until we made a stop at IHOP (I have issues making pancakes – i.e. I can’t.). Their blueberry pancakes are always deliciously fluffy.

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Shopping

We shopped until we dropped, both in Grand Forks and Fargo. In Grand Forks we had to make a stop at Target (on several occasions) now that Target is closing up shop in Canada. Clothing was purchased there, Walmart, Dakota Boys & Girls Ranch, Gordmans and Scheels. In Fargo I purchased runners from Shoe Carnival, one of the top items for me to purchase. The mall provides shoppers with great retail establishments – Bath & Body Works, Macy’s, JC Penny; Hot Topic, Claire’s, dressbarn, and Yankee Candle just to name a few. If you’re looking for unique shopping experiences, downtown is a huge suggestion!

Downtown Grand Forks

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If there is one place in Grand Forks I must visit, it is definitely downtown. I absolutely love it downtown – from the old brick buildings, unique stores and the town square (stop in at the Farmer’s Market when in season), downtown is the place to be even if you enjoy just taking walks like I do. Downtown Grand Forks is home to many dining establishments such as The Toasted Frog, Rhombus Guys Pizza, Brick & Barley; shops that include True Colors, Kittsona (Lifestyle on Kittson & S 3rd; Clothing on DeMers & S 4th), Badman Designs and Waterfront Kitchen & Bath, downtown has something for every body outside your typical mall filled with chain establishments.

I do have favourites downtown – Widman’s Candy Shop and Dakota Harvest Bakers. When you enter Widman’s and Dakota Harvest, you’re hit by the most delicious scents that your olfactories can handle. Chocolate and sweets immediately take you back to your childhood; Widman’s is an old-fashioned candy shop with many delectable sweet treats. From their famous Chippers (chocolate covered potato chips), salt water taffy (another favourite of mine and it’s ALWAYS from here), and various jellied candies or chocolate anything you can think of dipped, Widman’s is a DEFINITELY stop when you’re downtown. Ask for sample from the counter – suggestion… chocolate covered dill pickle (YES, you will be surprised) or chocolate covered s’more.

Dakota Harvest Bakers reminds me of the bakery in my grandma’s hometown of Neepawa, Manitoba but on a much larger scale. You can smell the cookies, bread and pastries as soon as you enter and it is always busy… always. Their breakfast and lunch items rotate weekly, so be sure to check their website before going. The week I was there I was able to enjoy a very delicious California Express vegetarian sandwich with a side of their kettle cooked potato chips. I also picked up a Monster Peanut Butter cookie to share with my sister. Just a note – their peak time is over the noon hour when those who work downtown (or the kids from Central High School) get out for lunch. Plan accordingly or patiently wait during this time.

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A lovely week spent in Grand Forks was well deserved and needed after the last couple of months. It was a great mental break so I could prepare for finals in the next few weeks, before life becomes consumed by studying. Anytime that you can get away from life is always a good thing. I am appreciative and thankful for the time spent in Grand Forks, and like always, I will be back shortly.

Grand Forks is located 2.5 hours south of Winnipeg, right off of Interstate-29.

The Greater Grand Forks Convention and Visitors Bureau hosted my stay during March 30-April 3, 2015. The opinions expressed in this post are mine.