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Filling time during Bemidji stay enjoyable experience

A few weeks ago my family was invited to a friend's hunting cabin north of Bemidji. We excitedly accepted and started making our plans. We planned our trip north so my husband could first spend the day in Bemidji meeting with clients. This worked out great as it saved him the long drive by himself, and as soon as he was done we'd be able to head to the cabin and start the weekend a little early.

To save on a hotel room, we decided to stay at my parent's house in Detroit Lakes the night before and get up early to head to Bemidji. Luckily my husband was able to push his first meeting back to 9 a.m., but getting the kids up, ready and on the road by 7 in the morning was not an easy task. Yet with tired eyes and smiles of knowing the cabin weekend was getting closer, they cooperated.

Once we got to Bemidji we knew the challenge would be that we only had one vehicle. My husband had meetings throughout the day at different locations, so the plan was that the kids and I would drop him off, and then go do something for a little while and be back when the meeting was over to pick him up and bring him to the next spot.

I have to admit I was slightly nervous about what the kids and I would do during the day. I haven't ever spent much time in Bemidji but always correlated Paul Bunyan with the town. I asked my parents if there was a Paul Bunyanland in Bemidji and they giggled at me. They said there is a statue, but no "land." Boy, was I disappointed. Here I thought we could walk around an entertainment park all day but no such luck.

After we dropped my husband off at the first meeting we went to see Paul Bunyan. Yep, just a statue. There he was all eight tons of him next to his buddy Babe the Blue Ox. My son asked me to read all of the history to him; he was in awe of the size. I wanted to take a picture of the kids by the statues to show my parents our Paul Bunyanland, but my daughter would not get anywhere near the big figures. So I took one anyway, my daughter right in front of the camera with her big brother off in the distance next to Paul and Babe.

The kids wanted to play on the playground next to Paul and Babe but the air was still pretty cool. So, I convinced them we would drive around and find a donut shop instead. They jumped in the car immediately and we headed to a local bakery. As we were enjoying our donuts my son made an observation. He said "mom, did you know that all donut shops have a big table in the middle for grandpas to sit together and eat?" Sure enough I looked over my shoulder and saw a dozen retired men having coffee, donuts and conversation. I told him that was a great observation and probably very true for most donut shops.

After the donuts we headed back to pick up my husband and surprised him with a muffin. The kids filled him in on our hour long adventure as we drove to his next meeting. During our next hour we spent walking the streets of Bemidji. At a craft store, we stocked up on some art supplies for the cabin and went into a chocolate shop to buy some birthday gifts. Then it was time to pick up my husband again.

By his third meeting it was lunchtime. I was determined to find a local spot for lunch to experience Bemidji to the fullest. We found a neat little coffee shop cafe and ventured in. The minute we stepped inside my daughter said "Mommy, I wanna eat that smell!" She was right, the whole cafe smelled scrumptious! We ordered our food and found a small table in the back near a gentleman who was strumming his guitar. It was a pretty cool atmosphere and the food was, well, as good as it smelled!

We walked the streets to bring my husband a to-go meal from the cafe. By this time I wasn't sure what we would do the whole afternoon as he still had a few more meetings. The fall weather was gorgeous and I told him we would probably just find a park. Then he said one of his clients mentioned a science museum in town and that we should check it out.

The museum was great. They had everything from animals and reptiles to experiments illustrating how things work to a whole area on the human body. My son's favorite exhibit was a baseball throw that clocked the speed of your pitch. He thought he was pretty cool when a few boys a couple of years older commented on how he could throw harder than they could. With a smirk he replied "I play baseball."

We spent a few hours meandering through the museum and finished up just in time to go pick up my husband for the final time. He was exhausted, we were exhausted but overall we had an amazing time exploring Bemidji and all it has to offer; grandpas eating donuts, smells you want to eat and, of course, Paul Bunyanland.