Thursday, April 12, 2012

Best Song to Play When Traveling

You have to play this when or before taking a trip, especially if you are driving to your destination! Holiday Road 

Prairie Bells

Rural Linton, ND

It's been a crazy week with the Reynolds play coming up this weekend (Come see me handcuffed to a lampost!) but I promised myself I would write a little something once a week so I figured I could write a quick little something I know a little bit about.

Literally in the middle of nowhere, as you travel down Highway 13 between the towns of Linton and Wishek, you will notice to the north a stack of bells on top of a hill.  Prairie Bells Grotto has three bells from old churches that once existed in the area many years ago.  Church bells our ancestors used to hear when they came to weekly masses, funerals, or weddings now ring out once again on a 50 foot tower on top of a hill and can be heard for up to 10 miles on some still nights.  I have easily heard these bells from my farm that was about two miles away as the crow flies. They are beautiful sound and it is a neat feeling to know someone has taken the time to stop and spend some time at this little place.

Built over 20 years ago (has it been that long already), the Vetter family built the grotto of the Holy Family from canola, wheat, and rock from nearby fields.  It was built and ready in time for one of their own to hold his very first mass after being ordained a priest.  It was a time for celebration and having these bells were the perfect way to pay homage to God.  Since that time, people from all 50 states have visited the bells as well as a number of people from various foreign countries as well.  It is a peaceful place that allows people a place for quiet prayer for their family.  I know if you stop at any of the neighboring farms in vicinity of the bells the people that live there would be more than happy to give you a little more of a personal tour and tell you more about the bells and how the grotto came to be.  They are good people and are proud of what they built.

If you are driving down the road, keep your eye open as you never know what you may find.  Pull over, spend some time, I think it'll be something you remember years from now if you do.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Arrowwood in Alexandria, MN

Alexandria, MN

Our family recently took a trip to Alexandria, MN where we stayed at the Arrowwood Lodge and Conference Center. We met another family there from the Twin Cities area. Friends of ours from when we used to live down there. They have three children, same as us, and all the ages match up fairly close so each one of them has a little friend to play with.  Perhaps the only problem is the poor middle children. All three of my children are girls, their middle child is a boy, but they still got along just fine with their middle-child care free attitude they both have.  The problem may come another 10 years from now when they once again want to sleep with each other.  It’s a great place for us to meet for a little “spring break” action as it is almost half the distance from our place to theirs.  Love this family.  We all get along and I hope they realize how much they mean to us. 

Arrowwood is an awesome little resort.  I will say it is a little spendier then most places in the region, but compare this place to what else is around and I think you will find it is fairly priced.  This place has plenty of activities to do for people of all ages…and all seasons!  This place has an indoor water park, a separate indoor AND a separate outdoor pool, an 18-hole executive golf course for those who pretend to play golf like me, the townhomes have a fire pit along with forks to cook hotdogs and marshmallows, a swimming beach, boat rentals, executive putting course, basketball and tennis court, large decks that overlook the lake, a spa, and a place for kids to go to watch movies, create crafts, play games, and eat popcorn.  I mean this place had it all that we decided to stay an extra day longer than what we originally planned.  Boy are we glad we did that. 


The indoor pool is kinda cool.  I liked the water slides the most.  Many indoor water parks you go to has some lame ass slide, maybe two.  You go up, you go down, and everyone crowds onto the one good slide and it take for frickin ever to go down on a busy weekend.  At Arrowwood, there are three decent slides, one you have to go down on a tube and they do have single and double sized tubes.  All three are completely covered and go outside and have some cool twists so I actually going up and down them with my girls, especially the non-tube slides cause I am way out of shape and I hated carrying that damn thing every time because my kids are too young. So the other two I really liked.  The tube slide is fun but only for a couple of times and I got nervous going down with my six year old who can just barely swim because if we shoot out of there wrong, we could flip.  We never did, but I had seen others. 
The rest of it was nice and served it’s purpose.  There was a shallower pool for the younger children which also had two smaller slides. Actually, the one slide was a straighter drop and if you came down with your feet pointing up, once you hit the water below it would spray out and get the people standing beside the slide.  I laughed pretty hard when a new mom watched with her (about) 18-month old son at the bottom of the slide watching the new dad come down.  Of course dad comes down feet up and totally drenches mom and kid.  Now the baby is crying, mom is pissed at dad, and the poor dad is sitting there as the innocent bystander once again wondering what they hell he could have done.  I was sitting on the side laughing.  ANYWAY….The other pool has three basketball hoops which was fun to use until you got hit in the head when you weren’t looking.  Then there was what the kids dubbed as the “WINTER WIPEOUT” zone.  A rope going across the pool with some floaties underneath that the kids had to navigate across without dropping into the water.  That was fun for most kids but it sucked to have to go over and hold the floaties for the younger kids who couldn’t reach the rope.  But they had fun anyway and that is what is important I guess.  The one thing I would complain about overall was the temperature of the air and water in the park.  It felt great when we got there on Thursday but after that the one day the water was cold but the air was warm, then the air was cold and the water was warm, then later in the day both water and air was cold.  Not sure what the hell was going on but you didn’t always feel comfortable there.

The two other pools outside the water park were OK.  Just a basic 5-foot deep pool for both the indoor and outdoor one.  The best thing about the indoor is half of it was encased in glass and facing south so it felt nice and warm on a cold winters day.  

Winter Zone

I mentioned a place to go do crafts, watch movies, etc.  This was actually a nice place to bring the kids.  Many of them on day three opted to do crafts rather than swim which amazed the hell out of me but hey, who was I to complain.  They had a popcorn machine there and had cookies waiting there for kids to decorate.  The person running the place would put icing on it and they could decorate it with M&Ms, Gummi Bears, Reeces Pieces, and something else that I am forgetting but you get the point.  A bunch of games and movies to pick from and crafts that the kids can choose to do which is all free except if you want to decorate a shirt or handbag, those are $5 apiece.  They would also have a bonfire for those who didn’t stay in the townhomes so that others could come and make smores if they wanted to.  In this same building is where you can rent cross country skis, snowmobiles, and sleds for the sledding hill.  They also offer sleigh rides and have a horse stable nearby. 
Other Areas

We didn’t check out the spa but from the brochure it looked pretty nice.  The executive putting course was nicely kept up. I believe they provide putters and balls but I for the life of me could not figure out where the hell it was. Other people were finding it but apparently I am putter challenged.   There was a large area for just running around, a playset and a beach.  I will say, it looked like that beached sucked though. Granted we were there in early April which is too soon for Minnesota but it was an unusually warm winter and the lake was open and snow had melted and the beach looked very small with not much sand so don’t expect too much in that regards.  They also had volleyball nets, hoops, and the golf course which I would love to try out sometime when I have more money. 

So this got pretty damn long and I haven’t even put pictures up yet.  If your still reading, good for you.  I would have checked out after the first sentence but I think I have ADD.  Seriously, if you are in the North Dakota/Minnesota region, check this place out.  There is lots to do and the rooms are very nice.  Ah crap, the rooms, I didn’t even talk about those… time. Trust me the rooms are nice but there is too much to do to worry about spending time in the room.