Uniquely Minnesota® Feature Stories
What makes Minnesota unique? Is it because the first Europeans in the New World came to Minnesota, years before Columbus set sail? Is it the port town on the North Shore that was once as well-known as New York City and home to more millionaires than anywhere in the world? Or the fact that we produce more turkeys than any state, enough to provide every Thanksgiving dinner in America? It must be our love for the lakes and greens, our eager search for the slopes and our abundance of arts. But wait, that’s only the beginning of our Minnesota story . . .
Voyageurs National Park in MN is a top destination for boating, fishing, and wildlife spotting. A Minnesota gem, the park allows visitors to explore voyageur history and the site of a MN gold rush. Tour by motorboat, houseboat, kayak or canoe.
Minnesota-made BĒT Vodka hopes to shape the local craft spirits industry with a sweeter, premium liquor distinctly crafted for drinking neat. It’s one of a range of new spirits popping up across Minnesota as the craft spirits industry grows.
The turn of the century marked the beginning of lakeside retreats, when vacationers cruised MN lakes by wooden boat. Today, the Minnesota Lakes Maritime Museum, in Alexandria, MN celebrates that history with classic wooden boats like Chris Craft, Gar Wood and Larson.
Once a central hub of international trade, today Grand Portage, MN has preserved its early history at the Grand Portage National Monument and state park. Interpreters and a reconstructed trading site tell the stories of North Shore life 200 years ago.
In the middle of the Minnesota prairie sits our state’s earliest historic record, the Jeffers Petroglyphs in Comfry, MN. As old as the Egyptian pyramids, these rock carvings made by the first people to call Minnesota home depict a rich cultural history within the region.
Once a vibrant small town, Forestville, MN vanished when trains bypassed it in the early 1900s. Many of its buildings remain and today, visitors to the Historic Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park site can take a walk through history.
A sacred Native American stone quarry for more than 3,000 years, today Pipestone National Monument continues and preserves its rich history with walking trails through historic grounds and one of the state’s most beautiful waterfalls.
Soudan Underground Mine State Park tours provides visitors views of a century old mine, and a unique physics lab that’s gained international attention. Nearly 2,400 feet underground sits juxtaposed views of MN history and research that could guide our future.
Southeast Minnesota is known for its dramatic landscapes, but it’s also known for a distinctive feature below the surface: caves. Near the Minnesota-Iowa border are two places where, for decades, visitors have seen Minnesota from the inside: Mystery Cave and Niagara Cave.
MN craft beer is gaining popularity, and a recent change in law has helped tap rooms spring up across Minnesota. Stillwater’s Lift Bridge Brewery claimed the state’s first tap room and is gaining fans of its distinctive microbrews across the region.
Every year in late August, the small Minnesota town of Barnesville hosts a festival that’s received national attention. Barnesville Potato Days Festival celebrates potato foods, and two national contests: National Spud Picking Contest and the National Lefse Cookoff.
If two towns claim to be the “Turkey Capital of the World,” what’s the best way to settle things? With a race of course! Each year Worthington, MN takes on Cuero, TX for the title of top turkey town and a celebration of the state’s top bird – by a race between turkeys.
It’s not summer in Grand Marais, MN until wooden boats appear in the harbor at the North House Folk School’s annual Wooden Boat Show and Summer Solstice Festival. But if boats are the centerpiece, a sampling of northern artisians will make you plan to come back to learn for yourself.
When the train passed by the town of West Newton, MN, in the 1870s, the Harkin general store soon was closed, many of its original items still intact. Nearly four decades later it opened as a museum that continues to showcase MN prairie life today.
War breaks out on the international border each year. A tug-of-war, that is, as the border towns of International Falls, USA, and Fort Francis, Canada, take each other on in the International Tug-of-War competition across the Rainy River on the US-Canadian border.
The story of Red Wing, MN is shaped by clay and by hand, in the town that was once the world’s largest stoneware producer. Today, Red Wing shops continue to offer unique handmade pottery reminiscent of their classic designs.
After several decades of research, testing and careful nurturing, Minnesota’s cold-hardy grape varieties and the wines they produce are beginning to mature. As a result, new wineries across the state are creating award-winning wines gaining national attention.
No true Minnesotan can let a holiday season go by without a piece of lefse, the potato flatbread traditionally spread with butter and sprinkled with sugar or cinnamon. If you’re looking for a home-style piece, try one of these stores across the state.
Visiting Northfield’s annual Winter Walk festival, you’ll think you’ve stepped into a Norman Rockwell-style, small town Christmas. Candle-lit shopping and dining, music and horse-drawn wagon rides along Division Street are favorite traditions as the town kicks off its holiday season.
Minnesota arguably is the state with the largest concentration of lefse eaters, so it’s appropriate that it’s also home to the National Lefse Cookoff, a celebration of a favorite Minnesota holiday treat – lefse – the potato based Norwegian flatbread typically served with butter and sugar.
Thousands of years before the first European settlers arrived in Minnesota, the state was home to many native hunters and traders. Today, Minnesota historic sites celebrate our history that in some locations is as old as the Egyptian pyramids.
Winter is no time to stay cooped up inside. Head out to a Minnesota State Park to ski, snowshoe, sled, ice fish or snowmobile. MN State Parks offer heated camper cabins to enjoy the park year round. All winter, parks offer lessons for first time winter enthusiasts, helping you enjoy winter.
More than two dozen MN State Parks offer camper cabin, lodge or full cabin rentals year round. Heated camper cabins offer one-room lodging complete with beds, dining tables and screened porches. Most have electricity and come with a grill, fire ring and picnic table.
Each winter Minneapolis’ Lake Nokomis plays host to hockey the way it’s meant to be played – on the lake. More than 2,000 players and 20,000 spectators turn out for the largest tournament in the country: the U.S. Pond Hockey Championships (USPHC).
Every January, thousands gather along the MN North Shore to be a part of the historic and legendary John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon. Today, the 400-mile race is one of the most prestigious and difficult sled dog marathons in the world.
In the land of 10,000 lakes, it’s no surprise that we find it hard to stay away from the lakes – even in the winter. It should be no surprise then that MN is also home to the world’s largest charitable ice fishing competition. This years start – due to warmer weather is Feb. 11.
One of the first signs of spring is the start of Minnesota pure maple syrup production season. The sap from sugar maple trees begins to flow in mid to late March, and tapping and production events in MN celebrate this historic springtime tradition.
Each winter, the small town of Mora, MN hosts a big event – The Vasaloppet, one of the nation’s premier cross-county ski events. Held annually in February, the race attracts 3,000 competitive and casual skiers from the region and beyond to race to downtown Mora, MN.
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