Medora, North Dakota: Billings County
Our first trip to Medora, ND was in May of 2003 and it was the headliner of our honeymoon road trip through Arizona, Utah, Colorado, Montana, and ending in North Dakota. We spent one night at a local Motel and then tent camped in the North Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park. The only Medora place we shopped in, during the 2003 trip, was the local convenience store for ice and a little snack. Even with very small sample sized, we thought highly of the little town in Western North Dakota and wondered many times when would return. Sixteen years later, we made the return. In style!
We were lucky enough to be invited to speak at the Midwest Travel Conference and hosted by the fantastic organizers of this event. Some of the meals, accommodations, and admissions were complimentary. The views expressed are always of our own and we’re proud to give you a look at some of our Medora memories. Let’s gallivant!
Here’s a major part of what we loved about our weekend in Medora. We got to camp and do it in a way that was upgraded from our tent but still feel like we were outside. We were in the Badlands and still in town. We were also just far enough to have the quiet surrounding we wanted and still be walking distance to all of Medora. That’s hitting all the needs and feels we could have wanted in a return trip to this beautiful region.
A call to Mary with the phone number above and being welcomed by Kenny when we arrived. That was all it took to have our covered wagon reserved and then checked in. The hosts of this property are very kind and it makes you feel like you’re calling an old relative you haven’t heard from in ages. And they have room for you. The wagons are a comfortable fit for 1-2 and they have feel and atmosphere of roughing it a little. Electricity is included and you are just a few steps away from the coffee maker, bathroom, and shower. Our two nights here dipped down into the lower 60s, at night, with a small breeze and clear skies. PERFECT camping weather in the security of a covered wagon.
Isn’t that adorable. Tee-shirts and bubble gum isn’t the only things they have here. Along with the prairie dog finger puppet, you can find all sorts of gifts and jewelery to fill up that Medora Christmas list. The Medora shopping scene has plenty of variety and in places you may not be expecting. Remember that little story about a couple returning to Medora after falling passionately in love and stopping at the convenience store 16 years ago?
How’s that for a neighborhood convenience store! It’s not all candy bars and and 30 packs at the Medora C-Store & Liquor Store, which you can get here too. More jewelry and souvenirs! And my favorite, local sausage! You know the main reason I’m writing about this place? It’s because I ran out of lint rollers before I got there and I really needed one. Bummer right? Wrong! The cashier dove into her purse and told me to spread my arms. That’s right, she wasn’t going to let me leave without looking sharp for my speech later. With plenty of other things she could be doing, she went North Dakota nice on me and rolled me up and down. Does the cashier at your local c-store do that? You could find something here, so “roll” with it! And I thought the caramel rolls were good in this state.
The answer is yes to everything you just asked yourself. You would be better off moving forward with your life if you picked up a cowboy boots and hat, belt buckle, and lots of western style shirts. Imagine that look at your next super important meeting when you get back to work! Medora Boot & Western Wear has that leather aroma mixed with the shiny stuff to get you smiling and slipping on some new clothes.
The Taffy Shop is also located in the long strip of shops on Pacific with plenty of selection. I felt like the candy version on Tom Cruise in the movie Cocktail. Watermelon and Pina Colada taffy together? Why not! Don’t pass on that huckleberry either. A little of that then some cherry taffy and you’ll have that rush you need to keep going for the rest of the afternoon.
Volumes and volumes of authors, artists, and talented camera work, are packed on the inspiring shelves and walls of Western Edge. This book store is easy to find while positioned on 4th Street within the middle of town. You will be soaked in history, poetry, and passion for the west in just moments of entering.
It/s stick to you ribs o’clock and the Cowboy Cafe has the breakfast griddle fired up. It was a packed house and our orders still got to our table with great timing. Hot coffee was in no shortage and the cup was getting refilled early and often.
This is big beef country and The Maltese Burger is grilling up one of the best you’re getting in town. The burger that bares the name is two very juicy all beef patties with melted American cheese, grilled onions, and a fresh bun. Great spot for a burger fix as you watch the Medora universe go by from your patio table.
Farm to table meets in Medora at the Farmhouse Cafe. They have a menu that gets its customers a great meal in an expeditious manner and back in that North Dakota sunshine. The Fleischkuekle was another regional delight we had and it was served very hot as you can imagine. A golden crust and savory flavor throughout with plenty more of that North Dakota beef we loved on this trip. The wrap gave a refreshing feel to our lunch with a fantastic crunch in every bite with that grilled chicken. Don’t worry, beef producers. We weren’t done supporting this industry….
The long summer days come to a close eventually and in Medora they keep them going a little longer into the evening. The Pitchfork Steak Fondue can get hundreds of hungry Medora loving folks fed in a short time. Fill up your tray with sides like barbecue baked beans, baked potato, fruit salad, coleslaw, fresh veggies, and garlic toast. Mosey on over to the beer and wine bar while you get your spot saved in line and don’t be shy when it’s time for a chocolate brownie. This venue sits atop of a magnificent butte and overlooks the Badlands in all directions while you dine outside under those colorful skies. Its also right next to the Medora Musical and supplies an ideal mingling atmosphere before the show begins. I keep talking about the one and only North Dakota scenery. Let’s see more of that!
That’s one heck of a way to see the frontier and beauty of small town America. All this shows you how much of this country is still out there to see for yourself. I love the bells and whistles of a large metro area too but there is something to be said about this slice of the planet. Less than 130 year round residents in a county with a population of less than 800 keep, with the help of many seasonal workers, keep this area clean, spectacular, relevant, and very entertaining. They also know how to keep two dorks like us having fun late into the night.
The warm days led to pleasantly crisp night in comparison. The breeze coming off the plains and into the Badlands valleys and into our covered wagon supplied the fresh air needed during our slumber. 16 years had gone by since we were breathing in the same country air. They went by so fast as you can relate to yourself. Far, far too long between visits. The “thinking about heading back” overtook the “let’s make this happen” initiative and we grasped the opportunity to join our Midwest Travel Network buddies. You’ve read how we felt about Medora, and North Dakota, now hear what we had to say in the video below.
There’s more to this place then we could ever describe. Not even Teddy Roosevelt could muster all word in his countless writings of the area and he had years to do it in. It’s time you tell your own story of Medora. It begin with blocking off part of your calendar and committing to a trip in land that you cannot compare to any other. Don’t let 16 years flow past before making it happen.
Gosh, we have fun.