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North Dakota

North Dakota is a large, mostly flat state. The plains seem to stretch out forever. It's a good place to commune with nature and the spirit of the history of the place. Visit the International Peace Garden near the province of Manitoba on US 281. This botanical garden occupies over 2,000 acres full of flowers, fountains, and flags. The Fort Union Trading Post, the most important fur trade post on the Upper Missouri in the mid-1800s, is now a National Historic Site near the Montana border in Williston. Minot, known largely for its nearby Air Force base, also has the Scandinavian Heritage Park. It has a Danish windmill, a Norwegian stave church, a 30-foot Swedish Dala Horse statue, and a Finnish sauna. Dickinson's Dakota Dinosaur Museum has fossils and other great exhibits. Theodore Roosevelt National Park is a bit of a wild, desolate place, and TR's cabin still stands there. The Enchanted Highway is a 32-mile stretch of road full of playful sculptures near the west side of the state. Fargo's Plains Art Museum features works by contemporary Native American artists, among others. Most food in North Dakota is simple and hearty. You can chow down on local meatloaf. Candy seems to be another specialty here, and chocolate lovers won't be disappointed. Purists can enjoy locally made candy bars at an old-fashioned soda fountain in Mandan, just outside of Bismarck. In Fargo, you can find chocolate-covered potato chips, licorice, flaxseed, olives, and even pickles. Yes, that list did get progressively weirder. Health food stores aren't uncommon, and you can generally find fresh juices, sandwiches, wraps, and soups. Get a smoothie with almond milk or hemp protein from a cafe that uses organic and non-GMO ingredients, and renewable, sustainable, compostable sources. Salads and soups can be a healthy meal. It does seem like there might be a competition in Fargo to see who can stuff the most fillings into a pita bread. Vegan options for pizza and Mexican food are available there. If you're a vegetarian in search of a community, check out the plant-based potluck group in Grand Forks. In season, Fargo has a farmers market that's open three days a week in one location. A wild rice burger and a variety of margaritas are available at one restaurant that locally sources its food. That's fun and responsible!