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Intl. Peace, Magic & Center Tour

Gardens to Scandinavian Giants in the Roughrider State

North Dakota is the center of the continent and shares a border with Canada. Why not check it out? Start by checking out the “Magic City”, Minot, which is along U.S. 2, which was called the Theodore Roosevelt Interstate Highway when the road was first platted in 1919. U.S. 83 and U.S. 52 also head right into Minot.

While in Minot, check out Minot Air Force Base or the Dakota Territory Air Museum to discover the area’s aviation action and history, past and present. Enjoy the oldest zoo in North Dakota, featuring the largest collection of animals you’ll find between Minneapolis and Seattle at the Roosevelt Park Zoo or take in North America’s largest Scandinavian festival, Norsk Høstfest, every fall on the North Dakota State Fairgrounds.

When the festival isn’t happening, the fairgrounds offer Scandinavian Heritage Park and venues that host a multitude of concerts and other events throughout the year. If a glass of wine is preferred, the Pointe of View Winery in nearby Burlington offers up varieties made with native grapes. They offer free tastings, and of course wine is available for sale. The outdoor deck includes a view of the Souris River valley and access to a hiking trail, where bird watchers can have an especially good time checking out a variety of flying friends – while drinking wine.

For the tour, head east from Minot along U.S. 2. Head about an hour to Rugby, known far and wide for being the Geographical Center of North America. A monument in town marks the spot; it’s definitely worth a picture. Also in Rugby, on the same grounds, is the Prairie Village Museum with its “Scandinavian Giant” and six exhibition halls along with 23 fully-furnished historic buildings detailing life on the prairie through history. From Rugby, follow North Dakota Highway 3 north about 45 minutes, past Dunseith and the junction with U.S. 281 and head for the border – literally.

Of course, we’re talking about the U.S.-Canadian border, which here hosts the International Peace Garden. Dedicated to World Peace, the International Peace Garden spans the world’s longest undefended boundary between two nations. Partially in North Dakota and partially in Manitoba, the garden features 2,339 acres of floral displays, reflecting pools, and more.

The Interpretive Center & Conservatory is open year ‘round and offers more displays, gardens, even an Internet café. The garden straddles the border and provides beautiful line-of-sight views to the 120-foot concrete Peace Tower. Also featured are sections from the New York World Trade Center at the 9/11 Memorial section, seven Peace Poles donated by the Japanese Government.

While a valid US Passport is not required for re-admittance into North Dakota after visiting the gardens, a birth certificate or other proof of American citizenship along with a photo ID are strongly recommended. You can get more information from US Customs & Border Protection at (701) 825-6551.

Doubling back to Dunseith, follow North Dakota Highway 5 west for about forty minutes and U.S. 83 joins in; follow U.S. 83 back to Minot to make sure you take in the attractions you may have missed before in the "Magic City!" And enjoy having seen the center of a continent and playing along the world’s longest undefended international boundary.