Never fails! Summer flies and school bells ring. A visit to South Central North Dakota grandparents signals the end of carefree days and return to routine. The rich colorful beauty of ND is best seen in August. It’s true that the landscape of the state has changed drastically. The Bakken Oil Fields out west have whipped North Dakota into a frenzy even on the eastern two-lane highways as manufactured housing is trucked in to meet temporary population demands in the oil area, annoying native drivers accustomed to wide open prairies. Don’t let all the noise about Western ND prevent you from experiencing these 11 stops off Highway 11 in South Central ND. Take a camera. Pull over. Breathe. Preserve the stillness. Commit the beauty to memory. Here You Go!
#2. Wishek Sausage. Stan’s SuperValu, a family owned and operated neighborhood grocery store in Wishek, ships product to 48 states. In a city of under 1000, Stan’s is a destination stop for those craving the secret ingredients in Wishek sausage.
#4. Spend the night at the Broken Bell Inn. You will get a great night’s sleep in cozy cabins furnished with modern-day amenities. On the way back to HWY 11, going south out of Napoleon, stop at the #5. White Maid and order one of the most unique items on the tasty menu-a crunch cone. At lunchtime, savor the traditional German homemade knoefla soup.
#6. Visit Hague, population 91, on Strudel Day (Thursday) and lunch at the city owned Hague Cafe. This small building draws large daily lunch crowds. On Thursday’s one chooses either a half or full plate of light and flavorful strudel generously covered with a cream sauce, along with either baked chicken or sausage. A must-eat-at when craving German Russian homemade cooking. Read the Bismarck Tribune Story on Hague Cafe.
#7. Hague’s St. Mary’s Catholic Church is an ideal post lunch visit. One can sit and pray or walk the vast space of this 1930’s structure-the oldest continuous German Russian Catholic Parish in North Dakota.
West of Hague, detour north on HWY 83 to Strasburg, ND-the birthplace of Lawrence Welk boasts just over 500 citizens. Be sure to stop in and visit #8. The Little German House-a gift shop featuring North Dakota and German themed items with owners who allow you to browse at leisure. Call ahead for hours; don’t miss the experience.
#9. Welk Park and Swimming Pool. Perfect for those needing to stretch their legs with a refreshing walk or plunge in the pool. The park has playground equipment, picnic benches and camper hook-ups.
#10. Sts. Peter & Paul Catholic Church. The U.S. National Register of Historic Places (1986) church is open year-round for visitors. It was built in 1910 to serve German Russian immigrants and to this date remains one of the most visually appealing places of worship I have visited.
#11. Lawrence Welk’s Birthplace. The boyhood home of the famous “Champagne Music Maker” band leader includes a sod house where Welk was born in 1903, a summer kitchen, barn, buggy house, granary, and blacksmith shop. Hours are limited so check in advance.
If you’ve traveled HWY 11 in South Central North Dakota, what other stops did you make? Did you try the German Russian food? Do share.
Need more ND travel tips? Visit North Dakota Tourism.
Copyright August 2015 Linda Leier Thomason