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Silently moving across the northern Minnesotan landscape, the members of the Ojibwe tribe once hunted these lands for wild game, fished these lakes for fresh fish and gathered nuts, berries and wild rice, known as 'manoomin,' along their way. The women of the tribe cultivated squash and maize outside of their dwelling made from young saplings of the forest.
While this majestic, noble tribe has modernized their society over the centuries, their wild, free spirit is still palpable in north central Minnesota. Nowhere is this sense stronger than the lakes, streams and forests surrounding the city of Bemidji. Bemidji was in fact named by an Obijwe word, which, loosely translated means, "lake that traverses another body of water," referencing the fact that mighty Mississippi passes through Lake Bemidji itself. Not only does Bemidji feature charming historical sites and quaint shopping, the Bemidji area offers some of the finest outdoor recreation in continental United States. Bemidji is also home to world class education and health care facilities, further enhancing the quality of life available in this extraordinary city in the North Woods.
Just several miles upstream from Bemidji lies Lake Itasca where the mighty Mississippi begins its two thousand five hundred mile journey to the Gulf of Mexico. Visitors to Bemidji should certainly take a day or so out of their time here to cross the headwaters of the Mississippi and explore the Mary Gibbs Mississippi Headwaters Center, featuring hands-on exhibits about the impact this great river has had on the economy, history and culture of our country as a whole.
Bemidji boasts that it was the birthplace of that legendary character of the North Woods; Paul Bunyan. In fact, Bemidji is home to an incredible statute of Paul and his pet, Babe the Blue Ox. Both of these statutes were constructed in 1937. The lore of the lumberjack and the legends of Paul Bunyan's extraordinary feats live on in Bemidji. Lumberjack and Native American crafts and themes are popular in the many area stores featuring works by local artisans.
Visitors to Bemidji can look forward to countless pastimes on one of the many area lakes. Within a thirty-five mile radius of Bemidji, there are approximately 400 fishing lakes; Lake Bemidji, Lake Adrusia, Lake Winnibigoshish and Cass Lake to name but a few. These extraordinary fishing lakes are known the world over due to their large populations of northern pike, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, panfish, muskie and, of course, walleye. Not an angler? Not to worry. Many folks enjoy swimming in the clear, cool waters of the lake in summer; kayaking on one of the many area streams, taking a long, leisurely hike through the primordial forests, playing a game of golf on one of the many area golf courses, or simply taking a day to read a great novel on the deck or dock of a vacation home. After a day out on the lake, pull up a chair next to a roaring bonfire and cook your own meal of fish and smores over the fire under the starry Minnesotan sky. Or, visit the Paul Bunyan Playhouse for a theatrical treat. The annual Dragon Boat Festival, a racing competition, is always a delight for young and old alike. Held annually in August, this festival features a fireworks display among many other North Woods treats.
Bemidji's perfection extends beyond the warmer summer months. Autumn brings an incredible array of color as the leaves change from green to the hues of amber, yellow, orange and rust. Festivals celebrating the fall harvest, Halloween and Thanksgiving are integral parts of the community here. Winter brings its own pleasures including ice fishing, something everyone should experience at least once in their life. Looking for some invigorating exercise, consider snow-shoeing or cross country skiing through the brisk, wintry wonderland of the forest. The Bemidji Polar Days and the Minnesota Finlandia Ski Marathon are staples each year in winter. As the chill of winter thaws in spring, hiking and boating once again become popular pastimes here in the North Woods.
Not only is Bemidji a great place to vacation, it's an even greater spot to live. In the 2011 census, it was found that 13,528 people call Bemidji home, making it large enough to offer a great sense of community, yet small enough so that you get to know many of the local residents. Bemidji is the county seat of Beltrami County, Minnesota and is, in fact, one of the largest cities of north central Minnesota. From Bemidji, Itasca State Park, Lake Bemidji State Park, the Chippewa National Forest, Big Bog State Recreation area. Real estate is prime here in Bemidji and if you happen to spy the perfect lakefront home or lot available for purchase, it is absolutely essential that you act quickly before someone else snaps it up before you!
The spirit of the noble Obijwe lives on here in north central Minnesota? What are you waiting for? Book your visit to check out this gem in the North Woods today!
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