Glenn's New Concept of a Weekend Get-Away

By Nate

Since Glenn is moving to Grand Forks, North Dakota, I expect his life to become very "A Prairie Home Companion-esque." If that is the case, he will probably find Bemidji, Minnesota, to be a great location for a weekend get-away.

View Glenn's new idea of a weekend get-away in a larger map

I can hear you scoffing. Right now you're thinking Fargo would be the obvious spot since it's a bigger city and the people there that would grind you up in a wood chipper have been removed, but according to Garrison Keillor it may be even more exotic seeing as how several Lake Wobegonian couples only go there once a year for their annual vacation. Let's face it: Glenn is going to triple in weight, start inserting "eh's" after every sentence, and find Jesus in the Lutheran church. He won't be able to handle big cities like Fargo for too long at that point.

If you're still skeptical, Grand Forks is on the border of Minnesota and that means he can probably pick up MPR on his radio. They will convert him in a matter of weeks. You may think his northern Illinois upbringing would have built his immunity toward becoming a typical Midwesterner, but it still doesn't compare to the northern border states. (You have to go through Wisconsin to get there!)

Now let's see what Bemidji has to offer:

Iconic statues of Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox. Glenn, we all expect postcards with a picture of you standing in front of the main tourist attraction in Bemidji. A blog post or an email to our email accounts simply won't do. I'm sure by the time you make it to Bemidji you won't be using email anymore unless it's to act like a 40+ year old sending us forwarded chain emails about kittens, scriptures, birther conspiracies, and favorite recipes. You will have plenty of stamps and correspondence stock so you can send out your annual Christmas update to your closest friends and family.

Let's see what Wikipedia has to say about Bemidji:

Bemidji (pronounced /bəˈmɪdʒiː/) is a city in Beltrami County, Minnesota, United States. Its population was estimated at 13,419 in 2007.[3] It is the county seat of Beltrami County.[4] Bemidji lies on the southwest shore of Lake Bemidji, the northernmost lake feeding the Mississippi River and, as such, is deemed "the first city on the Mississippi." Bemidji is also dubbed the "curling capital," of the U.S.

Its name derives from the Ojibwe Bay-may-ji-ga-maug (Double-Vowel orthography: bemijigamaag)[5], meaning "lake that traverses another body of water". On occasion, in Ojibwe, the city of Bemidji is called Wabigamaang ("at the lake channel/narrows"), because part of the city is situated on the Lakes Bemidji/Irving narrows, located on the south end of Lake Bemidji, and extends to the eastern shore of Lake Irving.

Bemidji is home to Bemidji State University, Northwest Technical College, and Oak Hills Christian College. It's also headquarters of Bemidji Woolen Mills. The statues of Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox, local landmarks, are downtown on the lakefront. Lake Bemidji State Park offers year-round recreation.

Bemidji is a base to one of five medivac helicopter flight stations in the state for AirCare, operated by North Memorial Medical Center in Robbinsdale, MN, a Level 1 Trauma Center located in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. This station covers the northern part of Minnesota and eastern North Dakota. It's building is located at the Bemidji Regional Airport. North Country Health Services, which operates North Country Regional Hospital, and MeritCare Clinic are also here.

Paul Bunyan Broadcasting, a group of sixteen radio stations across northern Minnesota, has its headquarters here.

NFL Pro Football Hall of Famer Dave Casper was born in Bemidji, as was actress Jane Russell.

HOW INTERESTING! Not. I can't wait until I'm over 40 years old and can actually find enjoyment in knowing the Native American etymology of all the cities in Minnesota.

Here's what Wikipedia has to say about the local culture of Bemidji:


Bemidji is a college city with strong arts influences. The city's streets are lined with small shops and adorned with sculptures and other forms of public art.

The Concordia Language Villages are located near Bemidji and this has, perhaps, been influential in the existence of several language conversational groups (including French, Norwegian, Spanish, Italian, and German) that meet weekly in local coffee houses.

During the summer the Paul Bunyan Playhouse operates a non-equity, summer stock theater.

The city is well known to fans of the sport of curling. Both men's and women's rinks from the Bemidji Curling Club won the right to represent the United States in the 2005 World Curling Championship and the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino, Italy. Pete Fenson, the skip of the U.S. curling team that took the bronze medal at the 2006 Olympics, is a native of Bemidji.

A city referendum for a Bemidji Regional Events Center passed by a slim majority of 43 votes out of 4583 votes cast in November 2006. The center is expected to cost $50 million. While the major tenant for the center is expected to be the Bemidji State University (BSU) hockey team, the current status of the men's hockey team is uncertain as it attempts to enter the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA). Information on this project can be found at Bemidji Events.

Wait, THEY HAVE CURLING??? Nevermind forget all these lame jokes I've been making about norther Midwestern culture. Bemidji might actually be cool because, let's be real here, curling is awesome. I've never seen anyone as skilled with a broom as curlers are since the "housewife triathlon" was banned from the Olympics in the 1970s.

And what about that events center bond bill? I'm sure Glenn will be going to the Concordia Language Villages so he can learn the local lingo and get in on some of the hot coffee shop buzz about the $50 million dollar price tag and BSU's attempt to enter the WCHA.

So let's recap what this weekend get-away package will include:

  • Four hours round-trip drive time to listen to MPR
  • Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox statues
  • Studying Native American etymology at Bemidji State
  • Visiting the childhood homes of Dave Casper and Jane Russell
  • Learning the local dialects of French, Norwegian, Spanish, Italian, and German
  • Opining on current events with the other 40+ year olds at the local coffee shop
  • Catching a play at the Paul Bunyan Playhouse
  • Watching a curling and hockey match

Wow. That's quite a lot. It may take Glenn several weekends to cross all of those off the list. Plus, he'll probably get distracted walking the downtown streets of Bemidji when he passes by all the local artists' sculptures such as "Blue Chain Jane," "Ira Eagle Boy," and "From the Depths."


  1. The pictures are huge, but it works i guess.

  2. if glenn goes anywhere in minnesota, he's going to duluth, where bob was born, or hibbing, where he grew up. both are located in st. louis county (!!!) MN, so it'll feel a little like he's back in MO.

    n8, this really shows how much you care about glenn. there's nothing like true love!

  3. Because you took the time to write this - and only for that reason - I will visit Bemidji. Hopefully one of my coworkers will be a friend and we can visit together. Or I'll have to hire a female escort.

    There's so much of our Northern Lakes/Great Plains/Upper Midwest that I've never known. I will drop the fact that I was "raised Lutheran" without hesitation, in hopes that it buys me some religious cred in a very religious area.


  5. ...but closer than Virginia I suppose. You still have to go to the wedding.


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