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Discover The Good Life In Wahpeton

By Marci Glover

Driving across the Great Plains can be a challenge. The roads tend to be straight and stretching on for what seems like forever and the landscape does not have many features. However, there are lovely towns and small cities where you can take a break and stretch your legs. One of these is Wahpeton.

Located in the southeastern corner of North Dakota and about 47 miles south of Fargo, the small city is the Richland County seat. It lies at the spot where the Otter Tail and Boix de Sioux Rivers flow into one another. This confluence is the start of the Red River of the North. This river flows north into Canada and forms the border between North Dakota and Minnesota. On the opposite bank lies the city of Breckenridge, Minnesota.

The original Native Americans who lived in the area were known as the Wakhpetonwan, a Dakota tribe. They inspired the name of the town. In 1872 the first settler of European descent moved in and three years later a railway link was built to connect the new community to the outside world. This led to rapid growth. However, the rivers, especially the Red River, were important transport links too and a vibrant local industry was the building of flatboats.

The modern-day city is home to nearly eight thousand people. Many of these are descendants of the Germans Scandinavians and Bohemians that moved into the area in the late 19th century. There are also people of Native American, Hispanic and African American heritage. The local economy depends on manufacturing, with several large plants providing jobs.

The history of the local Native American population as well as those early pioneers of European descent is told at the Richland County Historical Museum. A tragic event from 1897 is commemorated in the Riverside Cemetery. A group of circus performers were putting up the circus tent when lightning struck and killed some of them. Today circus performers still hold memorial services at the Circus Monument erected in their memory. At Abercrombie, several miles north of town, is the historic Fort Abercrombie. To see how a bonanza farm operates, head west to the Bagg Bonanza Farm.

If you've always wanted to tee off in two different states, be sure to play a round of golf at the Boix de Sioux Golf Course, which lies partially in North Dakota and partially in Minnesota. Chahinkapa Park, home to the Chahinkapa Zoo, is nearby and has several sports facilities. Near City Hall is a quirky but popular attraction in the form of a huge fiberglass statue of a catfish. Its name is Wahpper.

The surrounding area is a paradise for lovers of the great outdoors. There are plenty of places to go camping, bird-watching and hunting in the county. The rivers and lakes offer great fishing and water sports too and in winter, snowmobiling is a popular pastime. For a great night out, nearby Hankinson is home to a casino.

There are wonderful restaurants and shops in town to help you enjoy the good life. Moreover, it's easy to stay over. The area has a great selection of accommodation options, including camp grounds, lodges, cabins, motels and hotels.

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Ditulis oleh: Faisal Reza Siregar - Thursday, May 29, 2014

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