Grand Rapids MN Natural Traveler

Welcome back to my blog, can you believe it’s already been a week? I hope everyone’s summer is going as well as mine is! As we get further into the warm summer months, it’s crazy to think about how fast the time is flying by. If you haven’t been keeping up with my blogs, let me give a quick introduction: I am the Natural Traveler, living through the lens of a tourist in the Grand Rapids, Minnesota area! This summer, I’ve been all over attending events, visiting area attractions and trying outdoor activities. I’ll continue to do this throughout the rest of the summer, and I blog about my adventures every week, so make sure to follow me here!

This last week was a very busy week for me; as the summer goes on, I think it will just continue to get busier and busier. One of my favorite events so far, was fat tire biking into the Joyce Estates! Itasca Trail Sports worked with my coworker Samantha and I and let us use a couple Fat Tire bicycles from their store. If you haven’t been to this store, you definitely need to check it out! Itasca Trail Sports is a cross-country ski and bicycle store located right in Grand Rapids. They specialize in bicycle and ski sales, repair, and maintenance. They have so much inventory right in store, and even if you aren’t looking to buy, it is fun to look around and check out all the different styles of bicycles.

This was my first time Fat Tire biking, and it was so fun! Don at Itasca Trail Sports was so helpful in teaching me how to use the bikes properly and getting Samantha and I all set up. We got the bicycles loaded in the morning and made our way out to the Joyce Estates. The Joyce Estates is an old resort that you can only get to by biking, hiking or by boat. It was used as a resort in the 1920’s and is on 4,500 acres of  beautiful land. It once featured its own golf course, private telephone line and airplane hanger! To get into the Joyce Estates, it is a little over a three mile hike or bike ride in the breath-taking Chippewa National Forest. Samantha and I made our way down the trail, stopping every so often to enjoy the nature around us, and when we got to the Estates, we had a picnic lunch on top of the sunroof on one of the old buildings. It was so peaceful and relaxing to be out in nature in such gorgeous weather!

Joyce Estates

Another event I attended this past week was the Wizard of Oz Festival. This festival took place June 9th-11th in Grand Rapids. Judy Garland, who played Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, grew up in Grand Rapids. You can tour her house at the Judy Garland Museum at any time during the year. The festival has many events, from an outdoor screening of The Wizard of Oz, to entertainment groups, farm animals and special tours! I was unfortunately not able to make it to all the events, but I did get to enjoy the outdoor screening of the movie one evening. It was fun to see all the families spread out on blankets in the lawn enjoying their popcorn and the nice weather. The movie was on a giant screen and in high definition which made it very enjoyable to watch. I’m hoping next year that I will be able to make it to more events, because it is such a good time!

My last event of the week was the High Lifter Quadna Mud Nationals. This event was three days of riding and mudding fun! They had all types of different events for people to join in to. There were also vendors and some delicious concessions there to buy from. Many people camped on site, and if you like to play around in the mud this was the place to be! There were vendors from all over the states, and I talked with people from Texas, Quebec, Oklahoma and many more. There were over 6,500 people there, it was crazy to watch everyone drive around and get dirty in the mud!

Between now and my blog next week I will be busy watching a children’s concert by Duke Otherwise, attending a Weekend in the Pines Bluegrass Festival, going to Be a Lumberjack at the Forest History Center, and checking in at the Great Northern Radio Show.  These events are all happening this weekend so if you’re in town, head on over and try them out and check in next week on my blog to hear about my experiences!

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