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Tantalizing Trivia about Treats in Minnesota

Monday, October 14th, 2019

Everyone agrees that the best part of Halloween — at least for younger folks — is the tradition of trick-or-treating. When else can you walk up to any old house in your neighborhood, knock on the door, and be given a handful or two of free candy, no questions asked?

So as Halloween draws closer, our sweet tooth gets stronger and stronger! To satisfy your sugary cravings in the meantime, we have some super sweet facts about the history of candy in Minnesota.

 

 

The Mars Candy Company

Image result for mars candy

Did you know that the founder of the Mars Candy Company, Franklin Clarence Mars, was born in Glenwood, Minnesota? When Franklin came down with a mild case of polio as a young boy, his mother taught him how to hand-dip chocolate candy as a way to pass the time. This instilled his life-long love of all things candy! Eventually, he and his wife Ethel moved to Minneapolis in 1920, and founded Mar-O-Bar Co., which would later become Mars, Inc. Today, Mars, Inc.  is the largest candy company in the United States. They produce all of your favorite candy bars, including Snickers, Milky Way, Twix, 3 Musketeers, and Dove.

 

The Milky Way bar has a particularly interesting history. The bar was actually invented by Franklin’s son, Forrest, while the family was living in Minnesota — meaning it is the best-selling candy bar ever invented in our state! Originally, Milky Way bars were available with both chocolate or vanilla nougat flavors. The name “Milky Way” refers to the inspiration for these flavors – milkshakes! In 1936, the vanilla Milky Way bar was renamed the “Forever Yours” bar, which was sold until 1979. (If you’re curious about what these bars taste like, try a Milky Way Midnight. It is based on the original vanilla Milky Way variety.)

 

Pearson’s Candy Company

Image result for salted nut roll

Although Mars, Inc. outgrew its facilities in Minnesota and moved to Virginia, another candy company has always called the Twin Cities home. Founded in 1909, Pearson’s Candy Company produces such classic favorites as Nut Goodies, Salted Nut Rolls, and the good ol’ Bit-O-Honey. At first, the Nut Goodie was Pearson’s big seller. The unique combination of flavors, including chocolate, peanuts, and the signature maple nougat, made the candy hugely popular throughout the 1910’s and 1920’s.

 

When the Great Depression struck in the 30’s, the Pearson family introduced the Salted Nut Roll. The delicious, distinct combination of smooth, creamy nougat and perfectly salted peanuts — sold at a price that anyone could afford — was just the thing to help ease the woes of a country down on its luck.

Today’s Treats

Image result for aunt belles walker mn

The tradition of delicious candies that have their origins in Minnesota continues today. Confectionaries like Aunt Belle’s in Walker, Chocolates Plus in Bemidji, and Cuzzin’s Candy Store in Park Rapids continue to hand-make delicious sweets for your enjoyment. So, whether you decide to enjoy a tried and true Snickers bar, a classic Nut Goodie, or a gourmet handmade chocolate, be sure to thank the fine folks who carry on the proud tradition of treats in Minnesota!

Hilarious Halloween Costume Ideas for 2019

Thursday, October 10th, 2019

Halloween is just around the corner, which means if you want a unique, creative costume this year, it’s time to start planning now! To help provide some inspiration, we have some very Minnesota-inspired and very original costume ideas for you to consider this year. We can pretty much guarantee that you’ll be the only one at your office Halloween party to rock these inventive looks!

 

Kirk Cousins Itt

 

 

It’s true – the Vikings aren’t having the best season, and that’s particularly true about Kirk Cousins. But if you’ve been a fan of football in MInnesota for a while, you know it could be worse…because we’ve seen worse. One great thing about this Kirk Cousins Itt costume, though, is that you can proudly display your allegiance to the Vikings without showing your face. (And if he makes a few more costly fumbles, Kirk himself might think about rocking this costume.)

 

The Eelpout-ing Angler

 

 

“How come Tom always gets to sit in the lucky seat?”

I wanted to fish in the open water, why are we in these dumb reeds?”

“Well, nobody reminded me to bring my own bait!”

Ahh, yes, the Eel-pouting Angler. We all probably know someone who tends to constantly complain about their terrible “luck” on the lake…when it seems that much of their “bad luck” has more to do with their lack of patience.

The great thing is that you probably have everything you need for this costume. Just put on a bad attitude and you’re ready to go!

 

Paul Bunion

 

 

Even legendary heroes deal with some of the same day-to-day problems as us regular folks. Perhaps Paul had trouble finding work boots that fit his oversized feet, or spent a few to many miles walking the Paul Bunyun trail (which, of course, is his favorite).

We considered making this into a couple’s costume, but we’re not sure how one would put together a costume for Babe the Blue Oxalosis. (Trust us, we don’t want to hear your ideas…)

What crazy costumes do you have planned for Halloween this year? What’s your favorite costume of all time?

Best Places to Check Out Fall Colors in MN

Tuesday, September 24th, 2019

The Leech Lake area is famous for its fantastic fall colors. The hundreds of acres of state & national parks and forests, such as Chippewa National Forest and Itasca State Park, as well as the miles and miles of world-class hiking and walking trails, make Cass County the perfect place to take in the beauty of fall in the Northland.

If you’re planning a trip to catch the fall colors yourself, we have some insider tips on the best places and ways to find the most memorable views!

Chippewa National Forest

Enjoy the Fall Colors at Chippewa National Forest

Established over 110 years ago, the Chippewa National Forest is one of the earliest National Forests, and the first to be established east of the Mississippi. It occupies more than 1.5 million acres of preserved and protected forest land, nestled right in the heart of Northern Minnesota.

The Forest offers nearly 300 miles of trails that wind throughout its trees and wetlands. You can find an online, interactive trail map by using the National Forest Service’s Interactive Visitor Map tool.

For those who seek to truly immerse themselves in the colors of fall, camping sites are available throughout the forest as well! Developed campgrounds (with electricity, a picnic table, fire ring, and parking) can be reserved for $14 to $26 per night. Backcountry camping sites are also available for those who prefer to “rough it” — these are free and cannot be reserved. Find more information on camping in Chippewa here!

Deep Portage Learning Center

See the best autumn colors at Deep Portage Learning Center

Located in Hackensack, MN, Deep Portage is a combination of an environmental education center and outdoor recreation center. You’ll not only learn about the surrounding environment, but also have plenty of opportunities to get out and enjoy it. When the fun is done, head inside the center for a delicious, family-style, home-cooked meal.

Surrounded by ten miles of forests and lakes, Deep Portage offers programs and activities including canoeing, archery, rock climbing, and bird-watching. It’s a great choice for families who plan to make a trip up North, as there’s truly something for everyone!

 

Forestedge Winery

Forestedge Winery near Leech Lake, MN

For those looking to simply sit back, relax, and enjoy the fall colors in a more relaxed atmosphere, consider a visit to Forestedge Winery! As the name implies, Forestedge is located on the edge of the Paul Bunyan National Forest, meaning you’re just a short walk away from one of the largest State forests in Minnesota.

Not only does the winery offer 21 award-winning varieties of wines, with ingredients and infusions ranging from blueberries to rhubarb, but plenty of outdoor seating is available. You’ll enjoy not only the sights and sounds of fall, but also the tastes and smells as well!

 

As you can see, there are many, many ways to enjoy the fall colors in the Leech Lake area, whether you’re interested in a long weekend camping trip, or taking it easy with a glass of wine. For even more ideas on ways to check out the fall colors, stop by our Attractions page for a full list of forests, parks, trails, and more.

Are You Up-to-Date on Walleye Fishing in Walker?

Thursday, July 25th, 2019

 

If you haven’t yet had a chance to take a fishing trip to Walker, MN, you might need a quick refresher on the walleye fishing regulations that took effect at the start of the 2019 fishing season. These regulations only apply to walleye caught in Leech Lake, so if you’re fishing in a different lake in the Walker area, no need to worry! However, we do have some other tips and resources for walleye fishing no matter which lake in Walker you choose, so be sure to read on.

 

New Walleye Regulations for 2019

 

First things first: anyone fishing for walleye in Leech Lake should know the new regulations for 2019. Previously, anglers could keep up to 4 walleye, but were required to release any walleye in the 20-to-26 inch “protected slot.” As of 2019, this protected slot is removed. This means that anglers can still keep 4 walleye in total, but only one may be over 20 inches.

 

The benefit of these new regulations is that you’ll avoid the disappointment of netting a nice, big walleye for your fourth catch…only to find that it’s only 25 inches and needs to be released. It also makes the regulations for Leech Lake much more similar to the rest of the state, making it easier to keep track no matter where you choose to fish in Walker.

Fishing Tips & Resources

 

Of course, even with the updated regulations, you still need to get out there and catch those fish! We have plenty of tips and helpful resources to ensure you land that big catch.

 

First off, be sure to check our website every Thursday for an updated Leech Lake Fishing Report! The experts at Outdoor News provide detailed insights about the latest fishing conditions and hottest spots on the lake. You can find the Fishing Reports here — it’s a great page to keep “bookmarked” so you can easily check on the most recent reports.

 

In addition to our fishing reports, you can also find some general walleye fishing tips specific to Leech Lake. If you’re interested in catching other species in addition to walleye, visit our overall fishing tips page for tips and recommendations from everything from bass to bluegill.

 

Finally, for making your way around the lake and planning which spots you might like to try, we have a whole list of useful maps of Leech Lake. With information about everything from lake depth to vegetation, you’re sure to find a map that tells you exactly what you need to know. Check out the full list of maps here.

Upgrade Your Equipment

 

In case you missed it earlier this year, we wrote up some blog posts that reviewed some of the newest fishing gear for 2019. We covered everything from lures and rods to depth finders and tackle bags. Check out Part 1 and Part 2!

 

Already made your way out to Walker and realized you forgot something? No worries. Many of the available Leech Lake lodging options in the Walker, MN area have extra fishing supplies available if you need them!

With all this fantastic information at your disposal, you should be well-equipped for a successful fishing trip. Here’s hoping you leave Walker with plenty of walleye!

Our Favorite Things to Do in Walker, MN

Thursday, July 11th, 2019

 

Planning a fishing trip or family vacation to the Leech Lake area and looking for the best things to do in Walker during your visit? We’ve compiled a list of all the best, can’t-miss activities for you and your family to check out while you’re in town!

 Hike Through the Chippewa National Forest

 

Home to more lakes and wetlands than any other National Forest, the Chippewa National Forest offers abundant opportunities to enjoy the sights and sounds of trees, birds, and woodland creatures, as well as bubbling brooks and splashing fish! In addition to all the natural wonders, you’ll find within the Chippewa National Forest, the activities and exhibits in the Visitor Center provide many hands-on opportunities to discover the cultural and historical history of the area.

 

Check out this interactive hiking map provided by the National Forest Service to plan your hike!

Catch a Show at the Minnesota Folklore Theatre

 

The Minnesota Folklore Theatre is a non-profit theatre dedicated to producing and promoting enriching, family-friendly shows for the Walker, MN community. In addition to the stage itself, the Theatre houses a gallery of works crafted by local artists and provides classes and camps for younger actors.

 

The Folklore Theatre’s Summer 2019 season features a wonderful lineup of shows! From June 26 – July 7, catch The Taffetas, “A Musical Journey Through the Fabulous Fifties!” The Taffetas pays tribute to the sounds of The McGuire Sisters, The Fontane Sisters, and The Chordettes.  Up next, from July 23 – 28, hear all your favorite musical theatre show-stoppers at “Two Divas Sing the Best of Broadway,” featuring Kelly Grussendorf and Heather Cruse! The summer season at Folklore Theatre wraps up with Neil Simon’s “The Sunshine Boys,” the tale of a retired vaudeville comedy duo who come together for one last show. “The Sunshine Boys” runs August 23 – September 1! To book your tickets to any of the shows at Minnesota Folklore Theatre, call 218-547-4044.

Hit a Jackpot at Northern Lights Casino

 

Featuring 900 slot machines, blackjack tables, daily poker tournaments, and specials, and weekly gaming promotions, there’s something for everyone at Northern Lights Casino! Of course, Northern Lights offers far more than just gaming. Stop by any of the three fantastic on-site restaurants, and there’s always incredible entertainment in the event center, from “Kickin’ It Old Skool” hip-hop jams to concerts by legends of country music. Best of all, you can book your stay in Northern Lights Hotel and stay as close as possible to all the action! Treat yourself to a two-room suite featuring a jacuzzi, fireplace, dining area, and more.

 

Check out the Northern Lights Casino Hotel website for more information and to book your stay!

female in hiking bootsThese are just a few of our favorite options for things to do in Walker, MN. For an even longer list of attractions, check out our Activities page!

Plan Your Family Vacation to Leech Lake

Tuesday, June 25th, 2019
Looking for the perfect place for your next family vacation? Here are a few reasons why Leech Lake is the perfect family vacation destination!

Take a Family Biking Trip on the Heartland Trail

With a paved, well-maintained pathway that winds through the natural beauty of Leech Lake’s hardwood forests, the Heartland Trail is a fantastic choice for a family bike trip! The 27-mile stretch between Walker and Park Rapids is fully paved and offers a number of rest stops along the way. If you have some younger cyclists in your group, the distance between many of the cities along the trail is usually about 5-6 miles — perfect for a ride of 30-45 minutes or so. Check out our Biking page for more information, as well as this handy trail map from the DNR!

See a Show at the Minnesota Folklore Theatre

The Minnesota Folklore Theatre is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting family-friendly arts, culture, and entertainment in the Leech Lake area! They offer shows throughout the summer, many featuring young actors in plays that other young theatre-goers are sure to enjoy. The Theatre also houses art exhibits and other events, so plan to stop by even if you aren’t seeing a show! Check out their website for more information.

Hit the Links with a Family Golf Outing!

Walker’s own Tianna Country Club not only offers a fantastic par-72 18-hole course featuring stunning views of Leech Lake, but they also offer three & four-day golf classes for younger golfers! The classes meet for two hours a day in the mornings, giving the older folks just enough time to get through a round of their own! Once everyone has finished up, head to the Clubhouse for a delicious brunch or lunch. With multiple sessions offered throughout the summer and rates as low as $50 for a three-day session, it’s a great way for younger folks to hone their golfing skills and enjoy the outdoors! Check out the Tianna website for more information.

Relax and Play Along the Shore

With so many fantastic resorts and lodges located right along the Leech Lake shoreline, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to enjoy what vacation is all about — some rest and relaxation! Many of the resorts and lodges in the Leech Lake area offer recreation areas, scheduled activities, game rooms, and more, so the older folks can rest assured that the younger folks are in good hands while they take their afternoon siesta. Check out our lodging page for a convenient list of all the available options!

As you can see, the Leech Lake area offers plenty of options and attractions that make it a perfect choice for your family’s summer vacation. You can find even more ideas on our Activities page, or request more information about specific events or attractions you’re interested in! Leech Lake MN golfer back lit

Treat Dad to an Unforgettable Father’s Day

Sunday, June 16th, 2019

Father’s Day weekend is a perfect opportunity to say “thank you” to all the amazing men who have acted as fathers, mentors, role models, and spouses throughout our lives. The Leech Lake area is chock-full of ways to treat Dad to a weekend to remember! Read on for just a few of the many ideas.

 

Enjoy a Night at the Casino

Northern Lights Casino on Walker, MN features over 900 slot machines, live blackjack, and daily poker tournaments! Plan a dinner date at Dancing Fire Restaurant or eat your hearts out at the Northstar Buffet. With live entertainment, daily promotions and special offers, Dad is sure to enjoy an evening filled with fun.

If you’re interested in a more laid-back night of gaming and fun, check out either of Northern Lights Casino’s partner casinos, Palace Casino Hotel in Cass Lake or White Oak Casino in Deer River. Be sure to check out all the unique promotions, offers, and entertainment available at each casino!

Northern Lights Casino

Palace Casino Hotel

White Oak Casino

 

Plan a Fishing Getaway

Of course, what dad wouldn’t love a weekend of the best fishing spots that Minnesota has to offer? With a multitude of fantastic fishing resorts, campgrounds, and lodges nestled along the Leech Lake shoreline, there’s a perfect choice for anglers of all levels.

We know that different dads prefer to fish in different ways, so whatever type of angler you’re treating this Father’s Day, we have just the thing!

For those looking for all the modern conveniences that allow them to kick back in between trips onto the lake, try the fully-equipped fishing resorts of Steamboat Bay Resort, Woodland Resort, Acorn Hill Resort, Anderson’s Horseshoe Bay Resort, Hiawatha Beach Resort, Oak Point Resort, or Brindley’s Harbor Resort.

 

Book a Tee Time

One great thing about Father’s Day is that it takes place during a time of year that’s perfect for a few rounds of golf! The golf courses of the Leech Lake area feature breathtaking views of the lake and immaculately maintained grounds. In case Father’s Day weekend doesn’t work out for booking a tee time, you can also give a golfing gift certificate or tee time punch card!

These are just a few of the ways you can say “thanks” to the father figures in your life for all they’ve done. Still in need of some more ideas? Check out our Attractions page for other local highlights in the Leech Lake area, such as hiking trails, museums, and recreation areas. The Leech Lake Chamber of Commerce website features a database of restaurants, stores, and pubs in and around Walker. And don’t forget to check out our Lodging page to browse your options for your weekend stay.

Our Favorite Fishing Jokes Ever

Wednesday, May 29th, 2019

Lack of bites on the lake got you down? Need some ways to pass the time while you’re waiting for a nibble? We’ve got just the thing! We’ve compiled some of our favorite fishing jokes for your amusement (and possible groaning…).

 

It’s the Least He Could Do

Two old fishing buddies are fishing on the bank of a small stream, just off the side of the road.

As they sit and wait for a nibble on their lines, they hear the sound of several vehicles approaching. Soon enough, a line of cars in a funeral procession comes around the bend.

Upon seeing this, one of the men stands up, removes his fishing cap, and solemnly holds it over his heart until the entire procession passes by. He then turns back around, places his cap back on his head, and resumes his fishing.

His fishing buddy, taken aback by his companion’s unexpected display of reverence, comments, “gee, Bill, I’m impressed. Good on you for being so respectful.”

Bill shrugs and responds, “It’s the last I could do. We were married for 35 years, after all.”

 

Divine Intervention

After enjoying his usual pre-fishing routine of gulping down several beers at the local bar, Sven set out to do some moonlight ice fishing.

Upon reaching the lake, he took out his drill and began to cut a hole. As soon as he began to drill, a loud voice from above cried out, “There are no fish here!”

Though startled, Sven took it as a sign from above and moved to another spot on the lake. He began to drill again, and once again, a loud voice from the skies cried out, “There are no fish here!”

With growing concern, Sven crossed to the other end of the small lake. “This must be far enough,” he thought. “Surely there are fish here.” And so he began to drill once more. And, once more, a voice from the heavens cried out, “There are no fish here!”

In desperation, Sven cried out, “God, is that you?”

“No, you idiot,” the voice responded, “it’s the rink manager.”

 

Loaves and Fishes?

A young man was visiting a small woodland town that was known for its abundantly stocked lakes and delicious fish fries.

Excited to try some delicious fried fish for himself, he asked around town about the very best place for a meal. Everyone he asked told him of a small monastery deep in the woods, where lived a small group of monks known for their prowess in catching and cooking the best fish & chips anyone had tasted.

And so, the young man followed their directions, which took him along a small, well-worn path far into the forest.

Finally, he came across a small, stone monastery. He knocked on the wooden door, and a rather plump man in a brown robe opened the door.

“Hello,” said the young man, “are you the fish friar?”

“No,” he responded, “I’m the chip monk.”chip monk

 

We hope you enjoyed our jokes! What are YOUR favorite fishing jokes to get a laugh (or a groan) out of your fishing pals?

 

Celebrate Mother’s Day at Leech Lake!

Wednesday, May 8th, 2019

We’ve always thought that spring was the perfect time of year to celebrate Mother’s Day. The sight of fresh, green grass, budding flowers and trees, and the sound of songbirds all remind us that “Mother Nature” has woken from her Winter nap, not to mention that many critters & creatures become mothers around early spring. So, it only seems appropriate to celebrate the motherly figures in our own lives by spending some time in the beauty of nature with them! To help give you some ideas for planning the perfect Mother’s Day, we’ve put together a list of some of our favorite Mother’s Day activities — and of course, they’re all great ways to enjoy the outdoors throughout the season!

 

Spend An Afternoon at Forestedge Winery

Located in Laporte, MN, just outside the Paul Bunyan National Forest , Forestedge Winery offers 16 different wines, all crafted using local berries and fruits — including the rhubarb grown on-site at the winery. You can take a tour of the winery to learn more about the production and bottling process, stroll through the winery gardens, or simply enjoy the fruits of their labors on the serene outdoor patio! Sample their award-winning black currant wine, their rhubarb – raspberry wine, or their white cranberry wine — you really can’t go wrong.

Plus, the winery’s proximity to the Paul Bunyan National Forest make it the perfect starting or ending point before a lovely afternoon hike through the woods. Note that the winery is open for business from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM on Wednesdays through Saturdays, and 12:00 PM to 4:00 PM on Sundays, so plan your day accordingly!

 

Horseback Riding at the Pine River Riding Stable

Pine River Riding Stable offers private, guided horseback rides tailored to whatever kind of ride you’d prefer. So whether you and your group are novice riders looking for a new way to experience the great outdoors, or have some experience under your belt and want to feel the wind in your hair, the guides at Pine River Riding Stable will facilitate a horseback excursion that’s tailored just for you!

If you have a larger group, or are a little hesitant about riding horseback, the riding stable also offers hay rides and covered wagon rides. Both options include snacks and refreshments, including a brief stop at the bonfire to roast some s’mores during your ride! The stables are open year-round, seven days a week, and offer plenty of hourly options and specialty packages, so it’s a great option for any trip or day out!

 

Play a Round of Golf

For those motherly figures who enjoy some time on the links, the Leech Lake Area has no shortage of fantastic courses. From the Championship 18-hole course along the shore at LongBow Golf Club, to the gorgeous woodland setting of Tianna Country Club, a round of golf in the Leech Lake area promises a perfect blend of fantastic courses with spectacular views. Tianna Country Club features a full menu of breakfast, lunch, and dinner options, and LongBow Golf Club has partnered with local lodging venues to offer stay & play packages.

 

These are just a few of the many great ways to celebrate Mother’s Day in the Leech Lake area. We hope our list gave you some ideas for planning your own Mother’s Day festivities, and you can always check out our Attractions page for even more fabulous options!mothers day

Is Your Fishing Gear Ready for Spring? – Part 2!

Tuesday, April 16th, 2019

After a particularly cold and snowy winter, isn’t the onset of bright, warm, sunny days such a relief? Finally, we can put away the long johns, extra-thick scarves, and hand warmers, and start looking ahead to time on the lake.

While we still have a few weeks until the opener, it’s never too early to ensure you have all your equipment and tackle in order. As you dig all your rods and tackle boxes out of storage, you might find that some of your gear is about due for an upgrade. We’ve done a little research to help narrow down your choices to the best in each category! This month, we’ll highlight different types of gear and equipment that are receiving great reviews from around the web.

Fishing Rod: KastKing WideEye Walleye Fishing Rod

While walleyes usually don’t take much effort to reel in once you have them hooked, they also have an extremely soft bite, meaning the real challenge is usually detecting that a walleye is nibbling your bait in the first place. As such, a good walleye fishing rod is crafted from a lightweight enough material for optimal sensitivity while still offering enough power and durability to quickly and effectively set your hook.

With that in mind, we found that the KastKing WideEye Walleye Fishing Rod offered the best combination of functionality and value. With weights as low as 3.4 ounces, but with the strength and durability of their carbon-fiber construction, these rods will respond to even the gentlest nibble from a curious walleye.

Check it out on Amazon!

 

Fishing Net: Frabill Conservation Series Landing Net

Of course, getting a fish on your line is only one part of the process — you need to get that prized catch actually in the boat! Few things are more frustrating to have a prize-worthy walleye on your line, only to fumble with your fishing net at the last second as your catch wriggles its way free.

Point being, don’t neglect how useful a high-quality fishing net can be! It might make the difference between bringing home a trophy catch or a story about “the one that got away.” One such high-quality net is the Frabill Conservation Series Landing Net. With a super-strong CAM-LOK reinforced handle and a deep, flat bottom base, this net makes snatching walleye a breeze.

As one reviewer on Amazon put it: “This net doesn’t get the treble hooks tangled in very much and overall is a HUGE improvement in landing a fish. You don’t want to have errors when you have a big fish on the line and near the boat and the extension in the handle is fantastic.”

Check it out on Amazon!

We hope you enjoyed our recommendations! What are YOUR must-have pieces of gear for 2019?