Author Archives: Laura Hesson

Enjoy Iconic Food and Land of Oz in Aberdeen, South Dakota

Aberdeen, South Dakota

Laura Hesson
Executive Administrative Assistant

Summer vacations are quickly approaching and anyone looking to enjoy some good old-fashioned family fun should check out Aberdeen, South Dakota. Aberdeen is the third largest city in South Dakota and still maintains its rural charm. Here are a few suggestions to help plan an upcoming trip!

Outdoor Fun

Wylie Park, just one mile north of town, is a great place for the entire family to spend a day or weekend. The biggest attractions are Storybook Land and the Land of Oz, which open for the season April 15th.

Aberdeen Storybook LandAberdeen Storybook Land 2

Here families can listen to fairy tales and fables in a medieval castle (complete with its own moat and knights in shining armor), slide down Jack and Jill’s Hill or visit Goldilocks and the Three Bears. In Oz, families can stroll down the yellow brick road and visit Munchkin Land. There’s also a miniature train, bumper boats, paddle boats, go-karts and mini golf inside the park, along with a number of summertime events. Check out the city’s website for all the latest activities.

The Dacotah Prairie Museum is a great way to spend the morning indoors. It offers many historical features of the Dakota Territory. It also provides great insight into how Aberdeen was started and how things have progressed.

For something a little more adventurous, head on over to the Brown County Speedway for some heart-pumping, adrenaline-inducing dirt track racing. It is a 3/8th mile, high-banked WISSOTA sanctioned dirt oval. The Speedway races Late Models, Mods, Supers, Streets and Pure Stock.

Recommended Dining

The best place to go for breakfast is hands down Sammy’s Restaurant & Omelet located on Main Street.  They have the best omelets ever! It does get busy on Sundays but it’s easy to order the food to-go if there isn’t a place to sit.

It’s hard to top the iconic Twist Cone for a tasty meal. Enjoy the feeling of stepping back in time, along with a great BBQ sandwich and an Italian Ice Cream Cone for lunch.

Aberdeen Twist Cone

Another must-eat is the Palm Garden Café and Chocolate Shoppe.  The made-from-scratch pot pie and cheesy bread are a great way to end an evening. And the caramel, sea salt dark chocolate morsel is great at any time! They even have a sports museum upstairs, which is worth seeing after enjoying a great meal.

Where to Stay

Spend the night camping in the Wylie Park cabins or go with something a little more enclosed at the Holiday Inn Express & Suites Hotel. Either way, the facilities are designed to provide travelers with a restful sleep and wake up ready to start a new adventure.

No matter how long the visit, Aberdeen does not disappoint. There is plenty to do and see for every one of all ages. Get to Aberdeen on one of two daily Delta Connection flights, operated by SkyWest, from Minneapolis. Book today at www.delta.com.

West Yellowstone – The Gateway to Adventure!

West Yellowstone Evening1

Laura Hesson
Executive Administrative Assistant

Hearing the words “West Yellowstone” immediately brings to mind Yellowstone National Park and all the beauty that it holds. West Yellowstone was incorporated in 1966 but has existed as a gateway to Yellowstone National Park since the early 1900s welcoming 3.5 million people each year. And, it’s no surprise! Yellowstone National Park spans approximately 2.2 million acres, and offers more than 300 thermal features and 200 waterfalls. It is truly a captivating place where the surroundings seem larger than life and shape a huge outdoor playground waiting to be conquered.

The early summer is a fabulous time around West Yellowstone. Visitors can take advantage of the trails in the Gallatin National Forests, as well as, scenic drives, wildlife watching and unmatched photographic opportunities. Caution is suggested as grizzly bears are common in the Greater Yellowstone area.

West Yellowstone Bear1

Of course, a trip to Yellowstone National park wouldn’t be complete without a stop at Old Faithful. Imagine sitting on a bench watching Old Faithful erupt and taking in the awe-inspiring beauty of the snow-covered mountains in the background. The iconic geyser spews anywhere from 3,700 to 8,400 gallons of water into the air each time it erupts, reaching heights of 106-184 feet. Each blast lasts between 1.5 to 5 minutes. But don’t get too close. The water temperature at the vent has been measured at 204 degrees Fahrenheit and the steam temperature can top more than 350 degrees Fahrenheit!

Don’t forget about the variety of other geysers and mud pots, forests and lakes, historic cabins and prehistoric sites, along with the enormous bison that seem to be everywhere. With so much to see and do, be sure to spend a few days to take it all in. If possible, start the day early in the morning, which is the best time to see all the wildlife on the move near the rivers and streams. Outdoor enthusiast’s high expectations will be met at every bend.

West Yellowstone Geyser1

For those wanting something a little less adventurous, be sure to visit the Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center. This unique facility provides a grand opportunity to experience the world of grizzly bears and gray wolves up close and personal in a safe environment. In town, visitors can also take the Historic Walking Tour by following the green Bear Paw Trail that’s painted on the sidewalk. It’s a great way to relive the early years of West Yellowstone.

After a day of exploring the park and surrounding area, an amazing place to stay is one of the new, unique Explorer Cabins at Yellowstone. Families, couples and groups will have a one-of-a-kind vacation experience in a casual setting.  Unlike a typical hotel, guests will enjoy sitting by a cozy fireplace and relishing in all the comforts of home in a private cabin. For dinner, the Branch Restaurant is a great open-range cuisine restaurant where beef and game dishes are infused with local flavor and served alongside a selection of regional microbrews and hand-crafted premium cocktails. And to finish it all off, enjoy some good old-fashioned S’mores provided free of charge to all Explorer Cabin guests.

Seasonal SkyWest flights, operating as Delta Connection, are available every day from Salt Lake City to West Yellowstone (WYS) making it incredibly easy to fill the need for the great outdoors. Book an exciting vacation today by visiting www.Delta.com.

International Falls –An Exciting All-Season Destination!

International Falls pic1

Laura Hesson
Executive Administrative Assistant

Known for having “More to Explore,” Minnesota is a fantastic place to have an adventure. And there’s no better place to start than in International Falls! From winter festivities and must-see natural attractions to international access that is literally within walking distance, the “Icebox of the Nation” has something for everyone. Check out some of the following ideas to begin planning your trip today!

For cold-weather lovers, it doesn’t get much better than International Falls where the high temperature in January averages just 2.7 °F. Of course, as the temperature drops, the cities begin bustling with activities like ice fishing, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing and more. Plus, the Icebox Days are held every year in January and annual events like the Freeze Yer Gizzard Blizzard Run are a massive hit with spectators and participants alike.

Located directly across from Fort Frances, Ontario, Canada, International Falls serves as a gateway to the United States’ northern neighbor. Be sure to visit the International Bridge connecting the two cities! Bikers and pedestrians can cross free of charge while motorists can drive across the bridge for a small toll. Don’t forget, all travelers must be cleared through U.S. or Canadian Customs.

For those wondering where International Falls gets its name, look no further than the International Bridge. The falls, though no longer visible, are located directly under the bridge. The power from the falls was harnessed with the building of a dam in 1909 and the hydroelectric energy continues to fuel the local Boise paper mill. The mill offers tours in June, July and August and is listed as one of the top 18 plant tours in the country.

From International Falls, visitors enjoy convenient access some of the country’s most pristine and moving natural attractions, including the picturesque Voyageurs National Park. This park features more than 200,000 acres of breathtaking scenery composed of interconnected waterways, islands, campsites and wildlife. Another favorite attraction is Smokey Bear Park, located just three miles from the Falls International Airport. Visitors are welcomed to the park by a 26-foot, 82-ton, replica of Smokey the Bear. Bike trails are also abundant throughout the area, including one of northern Minnesota’s most scenic trails that begins in International Falls and ends near the Rainy Lake Visitor Center entrance to Voyageurs National Park.

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Summers are another great time to visit International Falls with temperatures normally in the 70s and an abundance of sunshine. In July, visitors will want to see the annual International Tug-of-War, Pulling for Peace, across the Rainy River. This favorite event takes place each July 2 as teams of tuggers in Fort Frances and International Falls try to take home the coveted trophy. Then in August, the International Falls Bass Championship gets underway, drawing numerous anglers for two days of events and fun activities for all ages.

When in International Falls, be sure to stop at the Chocolate Moose Restaurant for a family meal with portions so huge and so good that a second trip is almost always required. If a quick fix is in order, stop by the Coffee Landing Café and grab a scone – available throughout the day.

At the end of the day, the Historic Kettle Falls Hotel is a great place to stay. Guests can also take in the scenic view from the dam which controls the lake levels, and is uniquely accessible by boat or ferry service only. Hosts Rick and Barb at the nostalgic Hilltop Motel also offer an alternative lodging choice that present a traveler’s oasis akin to yesteryear.

Come and see for yourself all the interesting, beautiful and memorable sights International Falls has to offer. SkyWest Airlines offers convenient, daily Delta flights to International Falls from Minneapolis. Book today at www.Delta.com.