Minnehaha Falls, Minneapolis, MN

With all the lakes and rivers in Minnesota, it’s not uncommon to find the occasional waterfall. And while the majority of them are found on the North Shore, Minneapolis is blessed to have one right in the city.  Minnehaha Falls is a 50-foot waterfall section of Minnehaha Creek, which flows through the Minneapolis area and its suburbs.  “Minnehaha” translates to ‘waterfall’ in Dakota and it is found in a city park near the Mississippi River.
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St. Urho Statues, Menahga, MN and Finland, MN

Just down the road from our home base of operations is a small town called Menagha, MN.  It’s just south of Park Rapids about 15 minutes and is right on the edge of a small lake called Spirit Lake.  Here in Menahga you will find a statue of the mythical patron saint of Finland, St. Urho. According to local folklore, St. Urho drove away grasshoppers out of Finland a la St Patrick and the snakes in Ireland. His alleged catch phrase is Heinäsirkka, heinäsirkka, mene täältä hiiteen! (“Grasshopper, grasshopper, go to Hell!”)  Coincidentally, his day is celebrated on March 16th.  He stands here in town with a grasshopper impaled in his pitchfork.

Apparently the idea of St. Urho was conceived by a Minnesota native back in the 50’s since the Finn’s weren’t getting enough recognition like the Irish with St. Patty’s Day and all that. There is also a St. Urho chainsaw-carved statue in Finland, MN as well (below).

CSC_0747While in the area:  Just north of Menagha is a pretty solid golf course called Blueberry Pines.  Or, head up to Park Rapids and hook up with the Heartland Trail, a 49-mile paved bike trail winding through lakes and forests along a former train railway.

Finland is in the beautiful Sawtooth Mountain area along Lake Superior’s rugged Northshore, and close to the secretive “Reverse Road” as well as the Illgen Falls Cabin.

5 Reasons North Dakota is Actually Pretty Cool

As a Minnesota native, I have spent quite a bit of time exploring the vast expanses of our neighbor to the west, North Dakota. I went to college there, was born in Fargo, and have a lot of family and friends all over the state. ND gets a bad rap, due to people’s misconceptions.  But, this list will show you 5 legitimate reasons that ND is at the top of the country’s 10 hidden places most people don’t know about, which might not be a bad thing to keep it as such. Continue reading

World’s Largest Turkey – Frazee, MN

This one very well may be the first roadside attractions I ever laid eyes on.  Although this is not the original (that one burned down in 1998), Big Tom, as he is known, is an awesome Minnesota roadside attraction, bringing people off the highway and past all the turkey barns that give Frazee its turkey distinction.

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World’s Largest Muskie, Hayward, WI

Minnesota might have more of them, but when it comes to oversized, giant fish statues, Wisconsin has us beat.  Hayward is home to the World’s Largest Muskie, found at the National Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame.  Nothing even compares to this thing. At 143 feet long and 45 feet tall, the muskie also has an observation deck inside its mouth that you can climb inside and check out. That’s half a city block long and four stories high.

There are also other smaller fish statues in the park around it, but the Muskie is clearly the centerpiece here. Built by F.A.S.T. Corporation, the inside staircase to the top of the mouth is filled with names of thousands of anglers, called the “Shrine to Anglers.” The giant fish sits atop an 88,000 gallon pond and is said to attract over 100,000 visitors every year. This is one of Wisconsin’s best.

While in the area:  Check out the the fishing museum, which contains exhibitions of over 400 fish mounts and over 300 outboard motors. Pop into the Moccasin Bar afterwards to try some good local WI beers and check out some more record fish mounts.