Amanda Moments
September 24, 2014

I mentioned in my last few posts that I was going away for a special blogger weekend, and I’m so excited to finally share more about it!

It was really ironic that it even came up, because Samantha and I had just been emailing each other about trying to organize our own North Dakota blogger meetup, so when we got the invite to one in the works, it was like it was fate!

The Grand Forks Convention & Visitors Bureau invited several bloggers from around our state to Grand Forks to experience what their town had to offer. I got to meet (in person this time!) some truly amazing, inspirational, kind ladies — Samantha, Samantha, Laura, Alicia and Sandy. And of course my IRL friend Jess came too! Julie and Shelley from Visit Grand Forks hosted us, but truly, they spoiled us.

They put us all up in amazing suites at Staybridge, provided every meal at really cool local restaurants, planned super fun activities, threw in fun surprises like welcome baskets with swag and goodies, wine, fudge and caramel rolls, and provided their great company all weekend long. It seriously was the most fun I’ve had in a long time. They were all so warm and welcoming, and even though they told us we were under no obligation to write about our time there, I want to anyway!

The whole weekend was kind of surreal. I was pretty nervous going into it because I’m shy, awkward and sometimes say stupid things around new people, but honestly, it was only awkward for like a minute. Then pretty quickly, I felt like I was just hanging out with old friends. ALL of the girls were so nice and we had SO MUCH fun! Both nights, we stayed up after our planned activities talking about our lives, TV shows and blogging over wine. It was relaxing, inspiring, and really nice to spend time, face to face, with the girls I otherwise only see on a computer screen. It’s kind of weird, all of it, but more than that, it is awesome.

first night group shotUpon our arrival, we were greeted with balloons and a special sign at Staybridge Suites (photo from Visit Grand Forks)

welcome basketAnd then in our suites, we each got a super sweet welcome basket full of awesome goodies!

staybridge suiteAs if the suite itself wasn’t amazing enough! It was like, a legit full kitchen.

cupcakesAfter dinner at a Japanese Steakhouse the first night, the bloggers stayed up late talking shop over wine and these cupcakes that Sammy made

spin instructorSaturday morning we took a spin class with this intense yet inspirational lady! She’s working on a special spin class for mentally disabled people, and is so passionate about what she does. Incredible woman (who also killed our legs!). (Photo from Laura)

books, roll and coffeeLaura was kind enough to give us all copies of Blog Inc., which I started over this amazing caramel roll and Cowboy Coffee, after spin class.

laura and sam eatingI secretly snapped this photo over lunch at Brick & Barley when I realized how bizarre it was that all of a sudden I was sitting across from two bloggers I’ve admired for months.

me and shelleyMe and Shelley over lunch. Guys, this is seriously the funniest woman ever. She had us all cracking up the entire time. (Photo from Laura)

fish tacosWalleye tacos at Brick & Barley

shoppingSaturday after lunch, we went on an Art & Wine walk throughout downtown Grand Forks and got to taste wine, see local artists’ work and do some shopping.

hardanger fiddle on wine walkMegan Peterson playing the hardanger fiddle in one of the stores during the wine walk.

wine walk bridgeAfter the downpour over lunch, the sky opened up and the sun came out for a beautiful day for the art & wine walk

bloggers on the bridgeI’m a little ashamed at how disheveled my hair got after a day of walking around outside, but the other girls looks great so I’ll suck it up and share this one too. Photo from Laura.

all outside toasted frogAll of us just before dinner on Saturday at the Toasted Frog. From L to R, Shelley, Jess, me, Samantha, Alicia, Laura, Sammy, Sandy and Julie. Photo from Laura.

short ribsAmazing dinner at the Toasted Frog. I got the short ribs with couscous.

pear tart and shared a pear tart with Shelley

martiniWhat’s a blogger night out without booze? This martini was fantastic.

loxThe next morning, I had a lox sandwich and my first ever French press coffee.

before canoeingAfter breakfast, we took to the Red River with Andy from Ground Up Adventures for some canoeing.

canoeingThat is my scared face after I heard a noise behind me in the boat. Naturally I thought we were drowning, but turns out Andy’s seat just popped off a little bit. It was all good after that.

carAnd then it was time to go. We did hit up Tim Horton’s on the way out of town for one last goodbye before we all headed home. And yes, this is really how much 2 girls pack for only 2 days an hour from home. The trunk was full, and so was the backseat. And yes, those are my kitty tote and cosmetic bags. #noshame

If you want to see ALL the fun we had, check out the #grandforksgetaway hashtag on Instagram and Twitter, and this pinboard.

I am so grateful to Visit Grand Forks for hosting us all for a truly amazing weekend. Not only did I have a blast meeting fellow ND bloggers, but I also learned that GF is a pretty cool place. Not gonna lie, I had some misconceptions about it, but they proved me wrong, and I actually can’t wait to go back and see more of the city. I also learned so much about the Red River from Andy, our river tour guide. If you didn’t know, the Red is only one of two rivers that flow North! But I was also unaware that it’s also far more clean (due to the way the clay naturally acts as a filter) and safe (everyone warns about the “dangerous” scary Red) than we all thought.

I am so glad I got the opportunity to go on this trip and hang with fellow bloggers. If you ever have the chance to do a blate or meetup of your own, I definitely encourage you to push those nerves aside and just do it. The chance to talk about blogging in person with other bloggers is absolutely priceless, and you can make really meaningful friendships out of it too. I did!

Visit Grand Forks provided me with a free weekend trip, but all opinions are my own.

31 responses to “Blogger Weekend in Grand Forks”

  1. What an amazing weekend! So awesome that they would provide an entire trip for you guys- and so fun to meet up with so many other bloggers! Looks like you had some great food too 🙂

  2. Katie says:

    THIS IS SO COOL! Man, I have GOT to find me a Texas meet up like this!

    I’m glad you had a blast. Isn’t out community the best?!

  3. this is amazing amanda! what a fabulous weekend and love that they were so generous in showing you what their city has!

    that food looks unreal…i need that sticky bun right this second and the picture of you scared in the boat is hilarious because i make that face at least twice a day when i hear scary sounds. glad you had such a fun time and got to connect with local bloggers! portland needs that!

    • I know, they were SO generous! I’m so honored they chose me to be a part of such an amazing weekend. And yes, the food was amazing! Every city/state needs something like that for sure! And if not, it’s definitely worth it to organize something yourself, even just a couple bloggers getting together can be invaluable!

  4. Sandy says:

    Great post. It was such a fun weekend, I agree! I’m pretty awkward as well around new people, but you pulled it off well. I couldn’t even tell. 😉

  5. Alicia says:

    I love this post! It sums up our fabulous whirlwind weekend so perfectly. And P.S. You are one of the most genuine and natural people I’ve ever met. If people think that’s awkward, then that probably just means they don’t listen as well as you do. Talkers always think silence is awkward!

  6. Wow! What an amazing opportunity! Looks like you had a blast, I love that it was a smallish group so you had time to really get to know everyone. I wish something like this happened on the East Coast (or that I was aware of it at least 🙂 )

    • Yes, it was such a blast! I’m glad it was a small group too–it made it a lot easier to get to know everyone. But, our state is so small that there probably aren’t many others that could have come! There’s gotta be something like that on the East Coast. And hey if not, try and have a few blates:)

  7. Elizabeth says:

    Look at you beautiful bloggers! This post ought to be required reading for anyone skeptical of the area. Your refreshing view always makes me smile. Thanks for sharing it, as always!

  8. Lindsay says:

    I’m jealous! I would’ve loved to go to this when I lived in North Dakota. Looks like you had a great time. I’m anxious to hear what you learned from everyone. I bet it was really inspiring.

  9. Meeting people for the first time can be very awkward, but glad you found your spot quickly. And.. your food pictures are amazing. It’s about dinner time here, guess I should start cooking.

  10. What fun pictures! Looks like it was an awesome weekend!! I’ve never been to a blogger convention, but I’m hoping to go to one soon!!

  11. Emily Finta says:

    It looks like you had a blast! I would love to go to a blogging event like this someday! I’m super awkward around new people which you could tell from the Google+ hangout last night! It was so nice talking to you!

  12. Megan Peterson says:

    Hi,

    I didn’t know when you took the picture that you would be putting it on a blog- please edit so my name is under the picture. Megan Peterson playing the hardanger fiddle

  13. Samantha C. says:

    We had such a great weekend! I can’t wait to see all of you girls again!

  14. […] Hanging with these other North Dakota bloggers was one of the best things I ever did. It was outside my comfort zone, but one of the most rewarding things I’ve done for me. I am so grateful to have experienced it, and I made some awesome friends from it! And we’re planning a reunion/holiday party to see each other again! If you missed my recap, read it here! […]

  15. […] week, and I’m not sure why it took me so long to get my post up, but here we go! Amanda from Notes from a Newlywed and Samantha from The Samantha Life both wrote amazing posts, so please check out their blogs to […]

  16. […] blogger + date = blate, or when two or more bloggers get together and meet in person. I went on a weekend blog trip and met several other bloggers in my state awhile back, and it was so fun. I would love to be able […]

  17. Kelly says:

    I LOVE THIS! I live in GF and I wish I would’ve known about this. Darn. I guess I’ll have to get better about reading up around our state. 🙂

    • Oh hey! I love meeting new ND bloggers! Uh, we just had another meetup about a month ago too. We’ll hafta get you to our next one for sure – we’re hoping to do one in the summer. There’s a few other bloggers up there in GF too!

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