Fall is a good time to explore, not only outdoors, but to stop in to historical places to take the chill off. I chose the Beltrami County History Center in Bemidji. With neo-classical architecture dating back to its construction in 1912, the museum sits in the Great Northern Depot, the last depot built by Railroad industrialist James J. Hill so naturally it ended up on the #mnbucketlist. It’s on the National Register of Historic Places, still has the original floors, is home to the Beltrami County Historical Society and houses an archive that includes city directories dating all the way back to 1904. The museum has long term and short term exhibits with a focus in the logging industry (yep, Paul Bunyan is there!), Ojibwe life, the coming of pioneers, the historic railroad system that completely changed the landscape and even an exhibit about sports in Northern Minnesota.
The county, the one Bemidji is in, is named after Giacomo Costantino Beltrami. Interesting guy. I won’t delve too much but I would highly suggest reading about the time he spent in Minnesota territory looking for the source of the Mississippi (later found by Henry Schoolcraft to be the headwaters at Lake Itasca). During that trip, he found and kept two indigenous Native American flutes that he brought back with him to Italy and are now in the Museo Civico di Scienze Naturali collection in Bergamo, Italy. Interesting parallel: You will hear Native American flute music in one of the exhibits.
Since I was already in Bemidji, it just made sense to drag Ben, the most outdoorsy/lumberjack/one man Alaskan odyssey I know, into all the trendiest, cutest, albeit girliest shops I could find. And Yellow Umbrella didn’t disappoint! Opened in ’09 by a sister in law duo, it’s an up north meets bohemian chic store that has both men’s and women’s apparel, and accessories. Remember 218 from yesterday? Same block. Think of it as Urban Outfitter with a northern charm twist, sprinkled with Golden Rule accessories and top it off with a little Evereve styling. From flannel to demin, sandals to sunnies, they are a fast favorite of mine. Plus, I’m a sucker for any place that has a chalk drawing of Babe the Blue Ox on the wall.
When Ben and I decided to head up to Bemidji, 218 Home + Gift was on the top of my list of places to cross off the #mnbucketlist. Sister to Yellow Umbrella (I’ll post about it soon), both shops are off 3rd street, kitty corner from each other. Filled with #mnlove and niceness, 218 Gift offers cards, prints, keyfabs, pillows, mugs, state-loving apparel and tons of other Minnesota flair. Whillock’s book of puns is even there! I love all the Minnesota décor and local touches you can pick up to add to your home. They also have baby and kid accessories and décor including the sweetest plush Paul Bunyan and Babe. It’s a great stop for gifts or if you like buying yourself a little something. If you don’t have a chance to go up there, check out their website so you don’t miss out on all the great stuff they have.