Players Sports Bar & Grill ~ Dickinson, North Dakota

Visiting Players Sports Bar and Grill was an unplanned happy change! We were looking for a place to serve lunch on the 4th of July and figured many local places may be closed up. We tried to head on over to the local Buffalo Wild Wings, figuring that would be a safe choice, and instead found it closed! So off to Players we went!

Players was incredibly busy when we arrived despite it being a bit after the normal lunch hour (although they did have a Sunday brunch so that may have played into it!) The hostess was not exactly kind or helpful, so at first I was a bit put off by the restaurant, but given the late hour, we didn’t want to change our restaurant location yet again! I’m glad we opted to stay, because once we were seated it was all uphill from there!

Being a sports bar, they had both a bar seating area and a normal dining room. We got seated in the bar area seeing as how we were just two girls in our 30s and didn’t have a preference as to our dining space. This meant we had lots of TVs to view (have you ever watched sports coverage on the 4th? It’s pretty funny! Our options were dance team competition, corn hole tournament, and dog agility!)

They had an extensive drink list, but since it was early afternoon, we just opted for some flavored lemonades and soda. Our wait staff was incredibly friendly. We had two taking care of us as one was in her final steps of training, but both her and her trainer provided excellent service.

There were so many good sounding options on the menu, but it had been quite some time since I’d had a French Dip, so that was my choice. My friend went with their Hot Roast Beef.

This was by far the best French Dip I have ever eaten in my life! The meat was perfectly cut, super tender, and super juicy. Of course the Au jus on the side only intensified the juiciness. And the buttery flavor! My goodness it was the icing on top! I’m already making plans to return to eat this delicious dish again!

If you ever find yourself in the Dickinson area, don’t miss out on visiting Players. It was well worth the wait and our food came super fast once we had ordered! Plus the wait staff was so incredibly friendly and sociable!

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Phat Fish Brewing ~Dickinson, North Dakota

The day before the 4th, my old college roommate and I decided to head to a local brewery for dinner. The brewery has both indoor and outdoor seating, but seeing as how it was hotter than blazes outside, we knew indoor had to be the way to go. Apparently, so did everyone else, even though we thought we would be enjoying an “early” dinner.

The place was jam packed. Every single table was full. And while they were working to set up a few more (they were prepping for live music that night) we decided to just order to go and take things back to her apartment.

While we waited for our food, we did opt to sit at the bar. If you are sticking around and are a beer person (I am not) they have plenty to offer as it is a brewery. They also had cornhole in the outdoor seating area, and an ax throwing area further back into the brewery. It’s a pretty fun place!

I opted to order my brewery standard of pretzel bites and bier cheese dip. My friend ordered a Gyro pizza. They have all sorts of pizzas there, but they are pricey if only purchasing for yourself!

My pretzel bites were amazing! They were soft and buttery and gave you so many in an order! The cheese dip was of course amazing as well!

We really enjoyed our food and while I’m sure the brewery would have been fun to eat at, we were relieved to take it back to her place as it was incredibly loud with the crowd that was there. Maybe on another visit I can actually enjoy the atmosphere inside the brewery!

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Blue 42 Grille~ Dickinson, North Dakota

I spent the past holiday weekend away from home visiting my college roommate in Dickinson, ND. This allowed me to try out a few local restaurants, so once again, we get a break in the Bucket List series and get some actual travel adventures to share in the mix of posts!

The first restaurant I got to explore in the area was Blue 42 Grille. This place was packed! Clearly it’s a popular place to be on the weekend (but it also could have been busier with the holiday weekend.) Luckily because it was just my former roomie and I, we were able to snag a table for two right away.

Blue 42 has a variety of items on the menu, but they appear to be best known for their burgers and have a large menu selection of various types of burgers, ranging from classic cheeseburgers, to stuffed burgers, and nearly anything you can imagine in between! While I normally go for a stuffed burger, that one you needed to allot extra cook time for, and being I had crossed from Central time to Mountain Time, I was already extra hungry. I was between two other burger choices but opted for the Queso Burger.

As you can see, the Queso burger came covered in queso cheese sauce and topped with French fries. Of course their bun had the signature “42” burnt into it as well. They had several sides to add to your burger, but I opted for extra French fries with mine.

The burger was quite delicious (although not as juicy as some places I’ve been, but I think that’s because it was more of a charbroiled outside.) The mix of queso and fries with each bite added a nice touch but it was incredibly messy! Just two bites in and I was begging for some utensils so that I could use a fork and knife with the rest. Initially I went without adding any ketchup, but I did add some on as I went as well. The fries were perfect crispiness and had a nice seasoning on them as well.

As much as I tried to finish my whole meal, I was filled to the brim with about three bites of burger left on my plate. I would definitely return again to try a few of the other burgers on their menu as well, and hopefully leave a bit more room to finish them!

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North Dakota Bucket List ~ East Region

Rounding out the state of North Dakota with a slightly shorter bucket list today. Tomorrow we head into the Minnesota Bucket List series!


  • Fort Abercrombie State Historic Site: Known as the “Gateway to the Dakotas”, this was the first fort in what was to become the state of North Dakota.


  • Turtle River State Park: Small park along the river that is great for camping and hiking.


  • Icelandic State Park: Explore the homesteading spirit of North Dakota at this park with it’s old buildings found on grounds.
  • RSL3 Missile Site: Take a tour of this site built during the Cold War.


  • Ronald Reagan Minuteman Missile State Historic Site: Two sites that tell of the Cold War history in North Dakota.


  • “Fargo” Woodchipper: See the woodchipper made famous in the movie at the visitors center.
  • Red River Zoo: Small zoo that is home to many unique “cold weather” species.
  • World’s Largest Wood Baseball Bat: Check out this huge baseball bat when in the area.

Fort Ransom

  • Fort Ransom State Park: This park preserves to homestead farms.

Grand Forks

  • Flood Memorial Marker: Marks the devastating flood of 1997.
  • Japanese Garden: Take a stroll through this beautiful garden.


  • Pembina State Museum: Learn the history of the area along the border and check out the views from the observation tower.

Valley City

  • High Line Bridge: Historic Railroad bridge over the Sheyenne River.
  • Medicine Wheel Park: Unique landmark on the VCSU campus.


  • Ringling Brothers Circus Memorial: Marker dedicated to circus workers who lost their live when a tent pole was struck by lightning.
  • World’s Largest Catfish: Fun roadside oddity photo op.


  • Gingras Trading Post State Historic Site: Explore the trading post and home of Antoine Gingras.
  • Masonic Scenic Overlook: Overlooks the Pembina River and Gorge.
  • Pembina Gorge: Extends from the Canadian border and offers great hiking.
  • Walhalla State Historic Site: Preserves another fur trading site.

All attractions found in the 2020 North Dakota Travel Guide.

North Dakota Bucket List ~ Central Region

Today we move to the region Andrew and I are most familiar with due to him spending his younger years growing up in this region!


  • Camp Hancock State Historic Site: Located along Main Street, this was a military establishment built to protect work gangs and assist in the railroad building.
  • Chief Looking’s Village: Historic archeological site with great river views.
  • Dakota Zoo: Fun little zoo that will provide a few hours of fun.
  • Double Ditch Indian Village State Historic Site: Site of earth lodge village inhabited by the Mandan Indians.
  • Keelboat Park: Riverside trail with replica of keelboat.
  • McDowell Dam Recreation Area: Lake area near the dam that also has a nature trail.
  • North Dakota Heritage Center and State Museum: Beautifully remodeled this building houses several different “wings” of history.
  • North Dakota State Capitol: One of the taller state capitol buildings in the US. The views from the top are very nice!
  • Steamboat Park: Park along the river that details history of steamboats.


  • Lake Metigoshe State Park: Located in the Turtle Mountains near the U.S./Canada border.
  • Mystical Horizons: North Dakota’s Stonehenge and a beautiful spot to watch the sunset.
  • Tommy Turtle Statue: Check out this large turtle riding a snowmobile!

Devils Lake

  • Grahams Island State Park: Located on the ever changing shores of Devils Lake, this is a very wooded area.


  • International Peace Garden: Straddling the U.S./Canada order, these garden grounds are beautiful!
  • W’eel Turtle: Turtle made out of wheel rims.

Fort Totten

  • Fort Totten State Historic Site: Military post that became a boarding school for Native American children.


  • Fort Seward Interpretive Center: Fort was built to guard the building of the railroad and the site contains North Dakota’s largest American flag.
  • Frontier Village and World’s Largest Buffalo: Explore an replica of an “old West” town and stand in the shadow of the World’s Largest Buffalo.
  • National Buffalo Museum and Herd: Learn everything you ever needed to know about buffalo and maybe spot the white buffalo in the herd!


  • Menoken Indian Village State Historic Site: Archeological area near Bismarck. Interpretive signs tell the history of the village.


  • Scandinavian Heritage Park: Outdoor park that celebrates the heritage and history of all five Scandinavian countries.

Pick City

  • Lake Sakakawea State Park: Enjoy beautiful views of the large lake.


  • Geographical Center of North America Monument: Fun little quirky roadside stop that places you in the center of North America.
  • Northern Lights Tower and Interpretive Center: Tower and center dedicated to the unique and beautiful Northern Lights.


  • World’s Largest Sandhill Crane: Another fun roadside oddity. They like their large roadside attractions in this state.


  • Welk Homestead State Historic Site: Home and farm of the legendary Lawrence Welk.

Turtle Lake

  • Rusty, the Two-Ton Turtle: Huge “rusty” turtle sculpture.


  • David Thompson State Historic Site: Dedicated to the famous explorer and fur trader.


  • Fort Mandan: Site where the Lewis and Clark Expedition spent a winter.
  • Cross Ranch State Park: Beautiful park located along the Missouri River.
  • Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center: This small museum details out the time the expedition spent in North Dakota.


  • Beaver Lake State Park: Secluded outdoor setting nestled among the prairie.

All attractions found in the 2020 North Dakota Travel Guide.

North Dakota Bucket List~ West Region

Starting a new state today, our neighbor to the north, North Dakota. This state is split into three regions so I will round out North Dakota next week and begin Minnesota bucket lists next week as well!


  • Fairview Bridge & Cartwright Tunnel: Pedestrian bridge over the Yellowstone River.


  • Lewis and Clark State Park: Located along the upper edge of Lake Sakakawea.

Fort Rice

  • Fort Rice State Historic Site: Military post built in the 1860’s to protect white settlers.

Fort Yates

  • Sitting Bull Burial Site: Sacred burial site of the famed Sitting Bull.


  • Fort Stevenson Guardhouse: Learn history of frontier military.
  • Fort Stevenson State Park: Fun place to camp.
  • Wally the Walleye: Looks over the “Walleye Capitol of the World”.


  • Writing Rock State Historic Site: Plains Indians carved petroglyphs into boulders.


  • Fort Sauerkraut: Fort to built to protect settlers from attacks that never occurred.


  • Killdeer Mountain Battlefield State Historic Site: Site commemorates battle between Sully troops and Sioux Indians.
  • Little Missouri State Park: Park located among rugged Badlands.


  • Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park: Custer’s last home reconstructed.


  • Painted Canyon Visitor Center: Gorgeous Canyon overlook that is part of Theodore Roosevelt National Park just off the interstate.
  • Theodore Roosevelt National Park-South Unit: Gorgeous park in the badlands that features a loop scenic drive with lots of wildlife.

New Salem

  • Salem Sue: World’s Largest Holstein and the site of our engagement!


  • Enchanted Highway: Quirky highway filled with tin art statues.


  • Garrison Dam and Power Plant Towers: Take a tour of this huge hydroelectric dam.
  • Misty the Mermaid: Gorgeous metal sculpture.


  • Fort Clark State Historic Site: Built by American Fur Company for the Mandan Indians.
  • Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site: Explore the earth lodge formation used by the Mandan Tribe.

Watford City

  • Theodore Roosevelt National Park-North Unit: The north unit of this park features stunning views of the badlands landscape along the river.


  • Fort Buford State Historic Site: Site of Sitting Bull surrender.
  • Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site: Fur trading post along the Missouri River that served several Native American tribes.
  • Missouri-Yellowstone Confluence Interpretive Center: Enjoy a walking trail along the confluence of the two rivers.

All attractions found in the 2020 North Dakota Travel Guide.

Baymont Inn~ Grand Forks, North Dakota

In early July, Andrew’s grandfather passed away, and we needed somewhere close to stay during that time. His grandparents farmhouse is in a small town west of Grand Forks, so we opted to stay in Grand Forks overnight.

This Baymont seems to be in a newly developed part of town and our hotel seemed very new. We were greeted warmly by the clerk at the front desk and quickly given keys to our room. The elevator is right by the desk and if you are traveling with a pet, they even had a nice water bowl right by the desk.

There was a small closet to the right upon entering our room and the wall also was home to the sink area. The bathroom contained a toilet and tub/shower just off to our left.

The room was quite spacious and the decor had a nice modern vibe to it.


We reserved a king size bed, which was flanked by a nightstand on each side, and also a small ottoman on one side which worked well to store our luggage atop.

Centered in front of the bed was the TV stand, that also contained a small fridge and microwave. A desk was located just beyond that.


The hotel has a pool, which I did manage to snag a picture of, but due to being there for a funeral, we didn’t end up using it. I did think it was nice that they had a small shower area right into it. So many places say you should shower before entering, but generally speaking, never give you that area.


The breakfast area was huge. I took a few pictures upon our arrival as the area was empty and nice and clean. They had tons of seating and a really nice buffet area. We did not end up indulging in breakfast as we decided to try out the Tim Horton’s that was just across the street.

Finally the lobby area itself was huge and very modern. There was plenty of seating space and even a gas fireplace for those cooler North Dakota months.


If we ever need a hotel in the Grand Forks area again, this place is at the top of my list. The price was right and the hotel had a lot to offer.

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Red River Zoo ~ Fargo, North Dakota

Back in May, Andrew ran the half marathon in Fargo. The day before, we chose to visit the Red River Zoo. The Red River Zoo is a rather small zoo located near several baseball fields. Despite it’s small size, we really enjoyed our time there.

We followed the numbered map that they gave us when we paid the small admission fee and began our time by the River Otters. After not seeing them at the Bramble Park Zoo a few weeks before, it was really fun to see this little guy bouncing around.

Most of the animals at the Red River Zoo are native to North America or other cold areas of the globe as their climate is similar to those of the Red River Valley. The Bald Eagles were looking particularly majestic during our visit.


The Red River Zoo also has a farm animal area where you can get up close and personal with several of them! I just loved seeing these sweet babies!


Overall, I think we spent roughly an hour checking out the various animals the Red River Zoo had to offer. Some may consider the admission high for the amount of animals there are, but you could tell the exhibits were well maintained and that they use their admission money wisely! It’s a great little zoo to kill some time at if you are in the area!

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The Blue Moose ~ East Grand Forks, Minnesota

After celebrating a family wedding near Grand Forks, ND, we all were able to head over for a reception dinner at The Blue Moose in East Grand Forks, MN.

The Blue Moose is located right along the river in a very large building. They had dining area downstairs with a bar area, and also had three dining areas upstairs. We took up one of these areas.

We were allowed to order anything off the menu as a treat from the new couple, so I decided to start myself off with a drink from their cocktail menu, the Raz-a-ma-Taz. I’m so glad I picked it as it tasted just like a strawberry Starburst!

As a table, we also shared an order of cheese curds, but sadly I didn’t get a picture of them. They were super tasty, but since we were all pretty hungry, we devoured the whole plate in no time.

For our main course, Andrew ordered the Mac and Cheese Attack with chicken and I ordered the German Pretzel Bread. It was so hard to come to the decisions we did as so many things on the menu sounded amazing!

Despite our large group, our food all managed to come out of the kitchen fairly quick. We were both stuffed by the end of the night!

The Blue Moose was a great place to have a nice family celebration and their food and service make it on our list of places to return when we visit the area again. We both have a lot more things we would like to try from their menu!

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The Walrus ~ Bismarck, North Dakota

Way back when Andrew took me on a double date to The Walrus in Bismarck, all I remember from that time is our company at the dinner was less than thrilling so I was glad to return on our own right before Christmas.

The Walrus is a favorite among many people in town, so visiting at lunch meant it was quite busy. However we were able to be seated at a table right away. The place is rather small, so the noise level can get pretty high.

Andrew ordered his favorite, the Polar Bear Calzone, which includes four meats and their special white sauce. I ordered a cheese pizza with white sauce.

Our food came out pretty quick given that it probably takes longer to make their pizzas and calzones.

Both of our meals were delicious and we both had half to take home as leftovers. Now that we live closer, I’m sure we will be back to visit the Walrus more often.

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