Tune in anytime
Those of us fortunate enough to live here often post photos on Facebook to share the joy Mother Nature brings to our winter days. We see photos of sunrises and sunsets, otters playing on the ice, white-tail deer browsing on sumac, wild turkeys crossing the yard, flying squirrels at bird feeders. A friend came up with the words to describe our window on the world – Hippie TV – no electricity or Internet required. No commercials either and you can tune in anytime.
Hippie TV viewing can be a bonus as you plan a day of play whether you want to go snowmobiling on hundreds of miles of groomed trails, cross-country ski, navigate the woods on snowshoes or build a snowman.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources updates snow and trail conditions in weekly reports posted after 2 p.m. every Thursday at www.dnr.state.mn.us/snow_depth/index.html. With off and on relatively mild temperatures, lake ice conditions are inconsistent. Caution is always in order. Check with bait shop owners or neighbors to find out where the ice is safe and the best spots to snag a fresh catch.
If you time your stay, you can sample these fun winter activities.
Bundle up and embrace the beauty of winter at Itasca State Park. The Twinkle Light Trail is packed for walking, snowshoeing or skiing. Pets on leashes are welcome. This gentle trail follows the Basswood Loop (1/4 mile) and Lakeview Loop (1/2 mile) in Bear Paw Campground. Parking and a vault toilet are available onsite. Snowshoes are available for rent seasonally at the Jacob V. Brower Visitor Center. Hike day or night. The lights are on from dusk to 10 p.m. through mid-March.
Other activities at Itasca State Park in January are a Beginner’s Guide to Snowshoeing Saturday, Jan. 7 and an evening Lantern-Lit Showshoe and Ski Saturday, Jan. 21. For details on these and other winter events at the park, go to https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/events.html?location=spk00181.
Racers will traverse forests and lakes and experience the natural beauty of the area in the Park Rapids Heartland 200 USXC snowmobile racing event Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 28-29. Races start at 9 a.m. both days at the field near Salvage Depot and the AmericInn north of state Hwy. 34. The Park Rapids Lakes Area Chamber is coordinating this year’s event which draws visitors from Canada, Michigan, Wisconsin and the Dakotas. Whether the races are run in the woods or on the lake, this is a fun spectator sport as well. For more information, go to www.parkrapids.com.
Menahga’s Family Fishing Derby on Spirit Lake offers an afternoon of fishing fun from noon to 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 14. A $5 ticket gets you on the ice and enters you in a drawing for an Ice Castle Fish House. A $500 cash prize will be awarded for the third largest fish caught. The Menahga Civic & Commerce Association sponsors this family friendly event with more than $15,000 in prizes.
An Open Mic Night is planned from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 19 at the Armory Arts & Events Center, 203 Park Ave. So. Admission is free. Call 218-237-3722 to sign up for a time slot. Revel Brewing and Wine Not? will serve at a cash beer and wine bar. Organizers plan to continue Open Mic Nights on the third Thursday of the month through May.
The popular winter event for book lovers is returning to Beagle and Wolf Books & Bindery the evening of Saturday, Jan. 21 and the afternoon of Sunday, Jan. 22 at the store. Night In/Afternoon In will have everything you love about the event: The company of other book lovers, recommendations of great books, prizes, goody bags filled with bookish swag and refreshments. Reservations are required. For more information go to https://beagleandwolf.com/events.html.
Take in the 24th Annual Park Rapids American Legion Community Fishing Contest on Fish Hook Lake from 1 to 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 4. Your ticket gives you access to the ice fishing contest and the raffle. The contest offers more than $125,000 in prizes in conjunction with the fishing contest, the American Legion also sponsors a Friday night Welcome Dance and Saturday night Fisherman’s Ball with DJ & The Atomics. Tickets are available at the American Legion or call 218-732-3360.
Our winter lodging facilities are open. Warm up by the fire or in the pool, hot tub or sauna and enjoy the area’s fine dining and fun shops.
The Chamber Website provides information about trail riding and cross-country skiing possibilities as well as available lodging, dining and other things to see and do while you’re here. If you’re ready for winter fun and need help planning a memorable and affordable visit or if you have questions, call our friendly staff at 218-732-4111 to learn more.