A short side trip … Firehouse Grille

Note: The above picture shows firefighting equipment in the entry of the Firehouse Grille. 

In keeping with our goal to visit small towns, on Saturday we went to Elko-New Market for lunch. After checking out the town a bit, we went to Firehouse Grille, located along the main highway heading west from I-35 (Old Town Road).

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As you would expect, the theme of the restaurant is around firefighting. There are lot of firefighting-related displays to keep you busy while waiting for your food.

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The restaurant is essentially a sports bar. We had french dip sandwiches – and I had sweet potato fries. My husband also had a bowl of chili. Although service was a little slow in the beginning, the food was good and by the end of the meal we were quite satisfied. They also serve breakfast on Saturday and Sunday. For more information, click here.


Interior bar area with seating surrounding it on three sides.

I wonder where we will go next time. If you get a chance, visit a small town restaurant. We’ve have good luck so far.


Thanks for reading. I hope you return.


Pure and simple …

On our recent trip to Steven’s Point, Wisconsin, we stopped early in the trip at a gift store  – Pure ‘n Simple — on Highway 8 near Amery, Wisconsin. (Click HERE to visit their website.) You can grab a bit to eat in their deli or shop for local meats, cheese, organic and natural foods, bulk baking items, or convenience items.

As we got out of the car, however, we were welcomed by a crowd — a crowd of fun animals — all of them ‘yelling out’ for us to come visit them. So, we completely forgot about the gift store and headed over to the animals.

First, we talked to the goats. Each of them wanted attention.


Next, were the chickens – all vying for position at the front of the cage. They were quite chatty and seemingly happy – birds of all feathers.


But, of course, the real show-off was one of the peacocks. She or he turned all the way around in a circle – very slowly – so I could also view the backside. It’s too bad the birds were in cages – which made it hard to get good photos. I suppose, those, they couldn’t run loose – we wouldn’t have been able to get out of the car!

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Then the donkeys, who had been waiting patiently, decided they needed attention — and they noisily made it known. They were very mild mannered, however.


And, finally, the lonely pig called us over. He or she just needed a little love – pure and simple. 


We probably spent a half  hour playing with the animals. We did finally made it into the store, bought a snack, and perused the baking goods aisle and home crafts. There’s a very nice selection.

If you ever get close to Amery, this is a fun stop.

Thanks for reading!! I hope you stop again. 


A very quick trip north …

On Monday, we took a very quick trip north. Our destination – Grand Rapids, MN – a county seat city of almost 11,000 people (2010). Grand Rapids is perhaps most well known as the home of Judy Garland from the ‘Wizard of Oz’ movie. It was also home to Hugh Beaumont ( Mr. Cleaver, father of Theordore “Beaver” Cleaver ) from the TV series ‘Leave it to Beaver’ – a late 50’s and early 60’s situational comedy.

On the way to Grand Rapids, we went by a childhood landmark for me – Nine Mile Corner Bar – which is located between Hillman and Grand Rapids. My grandfather used to live near this bar. On weekends, we would make the trip – often riding in the back of our pickup – from Princeton to Grandpa’s house so Dad could go fishing. In the evening, we would go to Nine Mile Corner Bar – where we listened to the band and ate bar food. (Keep in mind that we rarely went out to eat, so this was a real treat for us kids.) Often the band played polkas, waltzes, schottishes, etc. – and I danced with my favorite partner – Grandpa ‘Shorty.’

As you will see in the photo, the bar is now closed and for sale – which makes me a little sad.


A bit about Grand Rapids  —

Grand Rapids began as a logging town, the history of which is now featured at The Forest History Center, a State Historic Site and living history museum that recreates life as it was in a turn of the 20th century logging camp. The site includes miles of nature trails, educational naturalist programming, and an interpretive museum. Click here for the source and more information on Grand Rapids.

Just a little exploring —

We arrived a bit early for our event, so we visited downtown Grand Rapids. We’ve been there several times; each time I say “I would love to go in that building.” Well, this was my lucky day because minutes later my husband pulled into the parking lot of ‘that building’ – Old Central School. The school was was built in 1895 in the Richardsonian Romanesque style of architecture and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This style of architecture is also found in Duluth. The three story building served as an elementary school from 1895 to 1972. The building was restored in 1984 and it now holds several shops and businesses.

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The real reason for our trip to Grand Rapids —

Monday was Indigenous People’s Day. What better way to commemorate that day than to go to a concert featuring Brule, a contemporary Native American New Age band. However, first we met friends at the well-known Sawmill Restaurant for a wonderful meal. Then on to the concert.


Brule has been performing for 20 years – and we have been attending their concerts whenever we could throughout that time. I guess that makes us groupies. We first heard them at an open-air restaurant in Deadwood, South Dakota and we have been hooked ever since. Over the years, they have added Native American dancers to the performance that, along with the band – results in a performance that reminds us that we are all related; we are all connected — Mitakuye Oyasin

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(For more information on Brule and the very interesting story about how the band came to be, CLICK HERE.)

And then for the long moon-lit ride home (just over two hours) – but well worth the very quick trip north.


Thanks for reading! I hope you will come again!


Home of the tatanka …

Exploring in Jamestown. N. D.

Last week my friend and I made a four-day jaunt to Jamestown, N.D. My friend was busy during the days, so I decided to explore a bit. Keep in mind that it was quite cold (about 20 degrees) with a strong wind. Being late fall, there weren’t many tourist attractions open. I did, however, find the National Buffalo Museum, located not far from I-94. You can’t miss the world’s largest buffalo that greets you.

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The museum is in a 6000 square foot rustic log building at the Frontier Village.

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The museum focuses on the history of bison (buffalo) in the plains culture. It also includes remains of prehistoric bison, the firearms used to hunt bison, Plains Indian artifacts, artwork and a children’s room along with a gift shop.

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During the summer months, the museum also maintains a 25-30 head live buffalo herd, which includes one rare albino buffalo, White Cloud. The herd pastures on about 200 acres of land on each side of I-94 and are often visible from the highway.

During this article and in many places, you will find the word buffalo used interchangeably with the word bison. Technically, the American bison – which is very similar to a buffalo – only lives in North America; the two main species of buffalo live in Africa and Asia. Because they are so similar in appearance, American bison are commonly referred to as buffalo.

In the language of Lakota, ‘tantanka’ is translated as ‘buffalo’ or ‘bull buffalo.’ Lakota ceremonies and daily life revolve around sacred reverence for Tatanka. A white tatanka is the most sacred of all.

For more reading on the buffalo, go HERE.

Thanks for reading!