Enchanted Art & Fine Wine (Hwy 94, ND)
After our few days of rest & exploration in TRNP we launched into another epic (for us) set of drives to get us to our next destination in the Midwest. This meant several long days on the highway with probably only a single stop or two along the way. Not the slo-mo mode of travel we usually like to do, but sometimes RV life is like this.
When you first start fulltime RVing you imagine that you have all the time in the world to see everything you want, and in some respects that’s true. You certainly have control over your travel schedule, but you can only drive so far and there are “real-life limitations” which mean you’ll likely have to make choices on how much time you spend in each spot. Things like seasons & weather, family commitments, health issues (you, pets, parents etc.), rig issues (maintenance, repair) and just general day-to-day life (grocery shopping, laundry etc.) get in the way, plus you need to rest and (maybe) get some paying work along the way too.
If you don’t take time to do all these things you’ll literally lose your sanity and RVing will become very old very fast indeed. So you learn to slow down, be a bit selective in your plans and take things as they come along. This invariably means you miss stuff, but it doesn’t mean you have to miss everything.
This was the situation facing us for our zoom-drive across the rest of North Dakota. We had commitments in the Midwest, so we only had a few days to cross ND which meant we would miss lots of cool stuff, especially many of the up-and-coming towns, state parks & sights. There’s a lot of revitalization happening in the north, especially in food and the arts and if you’ve got time to spend I think you’ll discover lots of hidden gems. I mean, just look at this awesome Wine & Beer trail -> who wouldn’t want to delve into that? But our research showed we could get a taste if we did it right, even if we only had a single overnight to do it. That’s how we discovered 60-foot sculptures & fine, local North Dakotan wine.
The Enchanted Highway
The Enchanted Highway is a North Dakota roadside curiosity that has a rather enchanting story to accompany it. Back in 1990 a retired school teacher by the name of Gary Greff was dismayed at how his little town Regent seemed to be dying. Located 32 miles from the nearest highway this non-descriptive spot didn’t have much to attract folks to it, so he decided to do something about it. Starting at exit 72 (Gladstone) from Hwy 94 he had a vision of constructing and erecting massive 40-60 foot steel sculptures in regular intervals along the entire county road to his town. It was a bold statement and a bit of a gamble which would require many years of hard work to complete, but Gary was a determined guy. His first sculpture went up in 2001 (right next to the highway exit) and by 2007, a total of 7 sculptures had been erected. He continues to maintain and build every year today.
We knew about this place from fellow bloggers as well as blog readers who’ve recommended it over the years, but I have to admit I wasn’t ready for quite how utterly COOL these sculptures were until we actually got to see them in person.
The first piece of art, “Geese In Flight” can’t be missed and lures you off the road with a circular flight of birds that seem to hang in the air in a fine iron web. Another 5 miles down the road you’re met with “Deer Crossing”, a simple and fabulous little piece followed by the world’s largest (or so they claim) grasshopper, a complicated set of colorful fish, tin men and more. If you do the whole 32-mile drive you see 7 of these wonderful pieces before you’re done.
We did around half of the pieces in the RV and got out to enjoy each one with doggie (eveything is dog-friendly). The road itself was a little bumpy, but the sculptures all had generous parking areas where we were able to enter and turn around in “the beast” without unhooking the toad. The extra bonus? You can overnight at any one of the sculptures if you wish, and several of them light up at night too. Must be quite a sight to see.
BRING DOGGIE? YES! All the sculptures are dog-friendly.
Overnight At 4e Winery
Although we were tempted to overnight at the sculptures, we needed to get further East. Besides what we really wanted was something with…erhmmm…with a little more “kick”, so we turned to one of our many overnight RV choices to see what we could find. Harvest Hosts doesn’t offer much in North Dakota, but there was one place that caught our attention just west of Fargo. Fellow RV Instagrammers had stayed here and raved about it just a few days before us, plus I was fascinated by their wine list. Wine made from local (yes, local!!) grapes? Wine made from apple, plum, rhubarb and blueberries? A port made from current? This could turn out to be really good, or it could be really bad but I was totally intrigued. We just HAD to try it.
We called the winery on Sunday morning not really expecting a call back. We’d left it too late and we were scheduled to arrive right at closing, so I didn’t really have high hopes. But around 10 minutes before we were about to zoom past the phone rang and the owners warmly invited us to stay. They even promised they’d stay open so we could enjoy a tasting. What a great welcome!
We rolled into the spacious farm around 5PM and proceeded to make ourselves comfortable. It’s an enchanting little spot, surrounded by tall trees with a classic red barn, a large veggie garden and a warmly decorated interior. The owners (Greg & Lisa) were just as inviting as the place…and the wine? Honestly it was GREAT! We loved just about everything we tried including the rhubarb, the blueberry (our favorite actually) and several of the whites. Greg is a chemistry professor at the local university (although how he manages that and his “wine hobby” I have no idea) and he’s got a palette for fine wine so his creations are complex, deep, flavorful, and incredibly well-balanced.
This is not “fruit wine” folks, this is serious stuff on par with some of the nicest wines we’ve had (and believe me, we’ve had many). We bought several bottles (naturally) and enjoyed a perfectly lovely evening chatting, socializing (another RV couple showed up) and just having fun in the garden with the dog. If you’re coming this way as a HH member, we definitely recommend stopping in!
BRING DOGGIE? YES! 4e Winery is dog-friendly. They’ve got a lovely outdoor seating area to hang w/ pooch & a large, grassy garden too.
Thus ends our zoom-through visit of North Dakota. There’s plenty we missed of course, but we’re on a mission…a lighthouse mission…and that my friends, means we’ve got to get our “beastly” butts to some great, big honking lakes. We’ll see you there…
- The Enchanted Highway -> Click HERE and HERE
- 4e Winery -> Click HERE
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