Bemidji, Minnesota

"First City on the Mississippi"

Paul Bunyan. Babe the Blue Ox. Itasca State Park. My first float-plane ride. Fishing. Some of the best memories of my life are the result of experiences that were surrounded by these phrases and many others as my family headed north for our annual summer vacation.

Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox - at home adjacent to Tourist Info Center since 1937.  Photo courtesy

There were both relatives and resorts in the north woods and my mom and dad took my sister and me there for what have become memories of a lifetime. Our final destination was a little town called Bagley – just west of Bemidji Minnesota – but we always stopped first in Bemidji.

And this was where I got my first look at Paul and Babe, and where I experienced the thrill of actually stepping across the Mississippi River at Itasca State Park (where the Mississippi actually begins), and where so many other marvelous memories were born. I cannot speak highly enough of that area, and when I take the time to allow myself to go back there – in my mind – I have a difficult time holding back the tears.

Three generations at Itasca State Park

Until a few years ago (2007) I had not been back to Bemidji for probably twenty years, and I would have thought that the town - not unlike many others, had grown considerably. And while I discovered that is has grown, it is still a place that I dearly love and one that I am sure will always be a great place to vacation with your family. So go there. Enjoy… and build some marvelous memories of your own.  rk