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Swedlund speaks about N.D. scenic byways

Searle Swedlund spoke about scenic highways and byways in North Dakota, at the last Stutsman County Memorial Museum Front Porch Chat.

For the past year and a half, Swedlund has been the executive director of the Buffalo City Tourism Foundation which was recently renamed Jamestown Tourism.

Swedlund distributed copies of the Scenic Byways and Backways information guide and gave a PowerPoint presentation, so the audience could follow along as he spoke about just a few of his favorite attractions and sights throughout North Dakota. Swedlund also said the North Dakota Historical Society chose Jamestown as a host for one of three regional celebrations of the 125th year of North Dakota statehood. Special events are planned from Aug. 8-10, during Pioneer Days at Frontier Village, including a concert, picnic and a street dance.

Swedlund talked about local attractions such as Frontier Village, the Midland Continental Depot Transportation Museum in Wimbledon and Dakota Sun Gardens near Carrington. He also shared highlights of other regional attractions such as the Red Trail Vineyard in Buffalo, with its annual Grape Stomp Festival that will occur Aug. 16 this year and include all-day Polka music, tours of the vineyard  and opportunities for visitors to try grape stomping. Swedlund shared points of interest at the Ronald Reagan Minuteman Missile Site in Cooperstown and mentioned the little-known fact that Rutland, N.D., has the record for making the “world’s largest hamburger.” The Coteau de Prairies Lodge at Rutland, situated on a plateau, has 17 rooms for large family celebrations and hosts a music festival at the end of August.

The first nationally recognized scenic byway in North Dakota was the Sheyenne River Valley Scenic Byway which extends from north of Valley City to Lisbon and includes the opportunity to “Meet Bob” at the Barnes County Museum. According to Swedlund, “Bob” is one of the most complete examples of a triceratops. Fort Ransom is along this byway and is noted for its Sodbuster Days — a living history of pioneers and their machines, homemade ice cream, etc.

Swedlund indicated points of interest along the newest byway in North Dakota known as Old Red Old Ten which begins in Mandan extending west along Old Highway 10 to Dickinson. Old Red refers to an old wagon trail by that name. Other attractions in the western part of the state include Richardton Abby, the Enchanted Highway, North Dakota’s Heritage Museum with its four new buildings and technology that allows visitors to use iPads that show what the dinosaurs looked like when alive at the same time that visitors are viewing the skeletons in the museum.

The Pembina Gorge in the northeast part of the state includes valleys and rugged terrain that appeals to those who enjoy backpacking, extreme sports and riding ATVs on designated trails, Swedlund said.

Swedlund noted the three guest profiles Jamestown Tourism has identified: the history seekers, the outdoor types and those looking for short-term getaways. The byways and backways that Swedlund discussed included something for everyone.

The Front Porch Chat at 2 p.m. Sunday will feature Guinn Hinman, who will speak on the work being done on the old Stutsman County Courthouse, and perhaps some insight into the future plans for its use.