Fargo sits on the western bank of the Red River of the North in a very flat region known as the Red River Valley. The Red River Valley was once a part of glacial Lake Agassiz, which drained away about 9,300 years ago. The lake sediments deposited from Lake Agassiz made the land around Fargo some of the richest in the world for agricultural uses. Early settlers sometimes called the Red River Valley a new "Garden of Eden".
I begin with this quotation from Wikipedia because one of the most momentous experiences of my first day in Fargo was finding several boxes of Red River cereal on the shelf of the local health/gourmet grocery/restaurant. I ate Red River as a kid at my grandmother's house, and it's the best hot cereal I have ever had. Bob's Red Mill 7-Grain is a decent substitute, but nothing holds a candle to Red River with milk and brown sugar. Mmm. I'm going back tomorrow to buy at least two boxes.
So, Fargo. It's a nice town. It's a city really -- the metro area has 150,000 people (Fargo proper has 90,000). That's a quarter the size of Albuquerque. I've so far had many, many people be nice to me, gone to a lunchtime concert at a museum cafe with very good food, gone to a nice coffeehouse with free wi-fi, and had a decent dinner at the aforementioned grocery/restaurant. Downtown seems nice -- they are restoring, or have restored, some of the old brick buildings. There's an art museum with a quilt exhibit (where the aforementioned cafe is). There's an old-fashioned movie theatre, which I may try to go to tomorrow. It's still a little bit droopy, I guess is how I would put it -- a lot of buildings are partly empty or look like they haven't changed in many years. But nice. There are old-style freight trains, which I find charming, being a train geek.
It's also COLD. I was wearing long underwear, a turtleneck, a polartec jacket, and a wool coat, plus a scarf, hat, and mittens, and I was still cold if I stayed out longer than about 15 minutes (even if I was walking). My cheeks got unpleasantly cold, so tomorrow I'll be wrapping my face up better. There's snow covering anything that isn't a path, and packed snow on a lot of the sidewalks, though I was impressed by the number of snow-free sidewalks. I stepped into a foot-tall bit of unpacked snow by accident and was very glad I went and got waterproof boots on Saturday (they're light hiking boots, so I'll still use them at home). It's supposed to snow again tonight, which will be interesting because I'll probably see snowplows and shovels and all those things we don't bother with in places where the snow pretty much melts the next day.
Definitely an adventure. And now that I've read about this winery I almost want to come back to Fargo someday.
But -- in the summer.