We’re not Battle Mountain

Published 11:54 am Saturday, June 13, 2009

In 2001, Washington Post columnist Gene Weingarten went on a mission to find the “Armpit of America.”

He found it in the northern Nevada town of Battle Mountain.

“The road to Battle Mountain is flatter than any cliche — even pancakes have a certain doughy topology,” Weingarten wrote. “On this route, there is nothing. No curves. No trees. It is desert, but it is lacking any desert-type beauty. No cacti. No tumbleweeds. None of those spooky cow skulls. The only flora consists of nondescript scrub that resembles acre upon acre of toilet brushes buried to the hilt.”

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While I’m sure Battle Mountain is filled with good people, I’m thankful I live here.

This time of year, Minnesota is filled with green as far as the eye can see and enough vacation opportunities to last 100 summers.

C.J. Johnson, who works in outdoor media relations for Explore Minnesota Tourism, said with the struggling economy, Minnesota residents, the ones who used to flock to spots like Disneyland for vacation, are now staying instate and liking what they see.

“People are discovering things in their backyard they didn’t know were there,” he said. “They’re finding out we do have a Lanesboro, and we do have a Duluth Harbor.”

Lanesboro is a historic village nestled in the Bluffs of the Root River Valley that includes the 60-mile long Root River State Bike Trail, while Duluth is a fishing enthusiasts dream.

The term “staycation,” has grown in popularity in recent months and refers to a trip taken in close proximity to someone’s home.

The idea, of course, is to experience things in our hometown we wouldn’t otherwise take the time to experience. It also injects money into the local economy.

The same works instate.

Taking a trip in Minnesota helps our state’s economy and gives us a chance to explore everything from cozy bed and breakfasts to challenging hiking trails, not to mention a wonderland of campgrounds.

There’s also more than 800 festivals and events each year.

“More and more Minnesotans this time of year are looking for the ‘staycation’ that’s more affordable and that’s easier to get to and from,” Johnson said.

Next time someone complains that Minnesota doesn’t have much to offer, do me a favor.

Tell them they’re wrong, direct them to www.exploreminnesota.com and then buy them a plane ticket to Battle Mountain, Nev.