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Today’s post comes from our friend Shel Zolkewich, Manitoba travel writer and blogger…
It’s nearly impossible not to feel the holiday spirit in Grand Forks. Take a peek inside any restaurant and you’ll see friends and family gathered inside sharing good cheer. Downtown, shop windows are dressed for the season with sparking white lights and likenesses of jolly Old St. Nick. And a long list of holiday events offer a welcome break from the hustle and bustle.
The Empire Theatre Company just wrapped up performances of the holiday classic A Christmas Carol. The production stayed true to its literary roots and steered clear of elaborate sets and special effects. The journey of Ebenezer Scrooge—expertly captured by Darin Kerr—reminds us all of some important lessons, at any time of the year. The Empire Arts Center hosts the Grand Forks Ballet Company for a Nutcracker Extravaganza as well as Joy to the World by the Greater Grand Forks Symphony Orchestra this weekend.
Shopping downtown in Grand Forks is a little like stepping back into a kinder, gentler time. Cozy boutiques entice visitors with cheery window displays and gifts you won’t find anywhere else. Pop into Whole Life for fashions, home décor, bedding and jewelry to match your global view of clean living. Or check out Curious Clothing for that perfect little black dress and show-stopping shoes to match. Living SageHome Boutique stocks an expertly curated selection of handcrafted items including candles, handbags, jewelry, clothing, kitchen items, furniture and home décor.
For a well-deserved break from holiday shopping, pull up a stool at the legendary Urban Stampede coffeehouse for a perfect latte and a sweet treat. The landmark includes a tiny gallery and some unique North Dakota-inspired gifts. For heartier appetites, slide into a booth at Rhombus Guys for an award-winning ‘za, a plate of stuffed ‘shrooms and a tall glass of one of their inhouse brews (Doc’s Orders, a wheat ale, is highly recommended). No visit to downtown would be complete without a trip to stock up on some Widman’s Candy Shop treats. Chocolate covered potato chips are a must, but don’t pass up on the creamy caramels and dark chocolate covered ginger bits. Before you leave downtown, pay a visit to Dakota Harvest Bakery and pick up a fresh loaf of Red River sourdough, a dozen bittersweet chocolate and sea salt cookies or a truly festive Yule log with cocoa buttercream frosting.