Inspiring Peace Garden well worth the road trip
It's the holiday weekend and time for a travelogue of sorts - a road trip taken for this column. During our reporting of Saving North Dakota, some people said the state needed to have a jazzy, upbeat image of itself. The starting place, some sugg...
It's the holiday weekend and time for a travelogue of sorts - a road trip taken for this column.
During our reporting of Saving North Dakota, some people said the state needed to have a jazzy, upbeat image of itself.
The starting place, some suggested, should be changing North Dakota's moniker, "Peace Garden State," to something else.
I've been wondering about that for going on two years. Then, a couple of Saturdays ago, I decided to make the trip.
After visiting there, "Peace Garden State" is just fine with me. In fact, I think the state as a whole would benefit if the International Peace Garden was marketed more heavily than it is now.
We took the 300-mile drive from Fargo to just north of Dunseith, N.D., on a clear, cool, brisk day.
The Peace Garden Web site spilled a watering bucket full of hyperbole when it reported the flowers were in bloom. Long periods of spring rain and cold nights delayed the planting. The flowers undoubtedly are gorgeous now, but on our visit many of the 160,000 annuals weren't in the ground.
Nevertheless, the trip was well worth the ride. Comments inside a guest book in the chapel by the 120-foot Peace Tower contained words like "inspiring," "awesome," "beautiful."
A Visitors Guide says the Peace Tower and its four columns symbolize "people from the four corners of the world, coming together to form two similar but distinct nations, with a common base of democracy and beliefs."
That's a noble thought in this day and age. North Dakota enjoys an honorable reputation as one of the top states in the nation in percentage of residents serving in the military.
In fact, the Peace Garden's Carillon Bell Tower is in large part the result of efforts by the North Dakota Veterans Organizations, according to the Visitors Guide.
What better salute could there be to the legions of men and women who've tried to bring peace to the world than having part of the International Peace Garden in the state?
Granted, you're not talking amusement park. So what? There are lots of Wally Worlds out there.
There is only one International Peace Garden.
"Peace Garden State" serves North Dakotans well.
Some notes if you plan a long day trip there this summer:
Expect to spend at least a couple of hours on the property, by car and on foot. (There are motor tours through the garden.)
Cost is $10 per vehicle.
The walk through the garden is 1.5 miles.
There are about 10 miles of bike paths.
The walking tour includes the 9-11 Memorial, former girders at the World Trade Center. It is located near the carillon bells.
Walking guided tours, either 30 or 60 minutes, begin at 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.
An Interpretive Center explains the history of the Peace Garden.
A Visitors Guide promises, "If you're visiting the garden between July 15th and August 15th, you will be dazzled by hundreds of orange and yellow Asiatic lilies."
If you're planning to stay in the United States, family lodging in Rugby, N.D., probably would be your best bet.
If you're camping, the Peace Garden has a campground.
I'd recommend eating at the small cafe at the Peace Garden if you intend to arrive around meal time - or bring a picnic lunch.
There are hiking trails and paved roads that guide you a few miles through the wilderness.
U.S. Customs will question you on the way back, just outside the entrance to the garden. We had to open the trunk of the car.
We left around 6:30 a.m. and were back in Fargo by 8 p.m. and that included stopping at, one of our favorite casual dining places, Rockin' Rodney's in Luverne, N.D.
I'm surprised when I ask friends or colleagues whether they've been to the Peace Garden, I'm more apt to be told either "years ago" or "no."
The North Dakota Legislature would be wise to give Tourism Director Sara Otte Coleman a realistic budget to trumpet the state's treasures, with a long and loud note sounded on behalf of the International Peace Garden.
Ziegler can be reached at email@example.com