If you head about two hours north of the Twin Cities in Minnesota, you’ll find three communities served by TDS—Pequot Lakes, Brainerd, and Breezy Point. All three cities offer year-round natural beauty, interesting festivals, and lots of interesting things to see.
Brainerd is one of the largest cities in central Minnesota. Founded in 1873, the city straddles the Mississippi River and grew quickly because of the Northern Pacific Railroad and the thriving lumber and paper industry. Today, Brainerd is home to almost 14,000 people and is a major retail and tourism center.
If you visit, be sure to check out the water tower along Highway 210—it was the first-all concrete elevated tank water tower built in the United States. It is on the National Register of Historic Places. You might also want to stop by the Paul Bunyan Land amusement park and have your photo taken with a statue of Paul or Babe, his blue ox. For some natural wonders, you can pick up the Paul Bunyan State Trail in Brainerd—at 115 miles, it’s the longest continuously paved rail-trail in the country.
Take the trail north 21 miles and you’ll hit Pequot Lakes which was once known as Sibley and Frogtown. Now a city of about 2,000, it hosts one of the most interesting community festivals around. Bean Hole Days (which TDS helps to sponsor) began in 1938 when store owners hosted a bean feed for local farmers by cooking beans in cast iron pots over wood-fires for 24 hours. Over the years, the festival has grown to include the entire community and they even name a Bean Hole Day King and Queen.
Pequot Lakes is also host to a huge ice fishing competition every year. The Gull Lake Jaycees Ice Fishing Extravaganza takes 50,000 volunteer hours to plan, but it only takes four hours to fill the two-square mile contest space with the more than 12,500 participants. While you’re there, look for the giant bobber that is said to have been cast by Paul Bunyan himself which is now the Pequot Lakes water tower.
To get to our final TDS community, consider taking the Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway from Pequot Lakes. This 54-mile drive takes travelers on wide-shouldered country roads throughout the Whitefish Chain of Lakes, including Breezy Point.
Breezy Point is famous for the Breezy Point Resort which was a favorite destination for the rich and famous, back in the day. The resort was started in the 1920s by millionaire publicist Billy Fawcett. Celebrities such as Clark Gable and Carole Lumbard vacationed in Breezy Point and as the resort grew, so did the surrounding community. Today a city of 2,300, the resort continues to draw travelers from all over the world—even in the winter with the annual Ice Fest. Held in January, the event includes dogsled and hot air balloon rides, snowmobile races, the World Championship Ice Auger Contest, pond hockey, and more.
Whether you visit in warm weather or cold, Brainerd, Pequot Lakes and Breezy Point offer lots to explore and discover!