There is something special about stumbling upon an unexpected pleasure like the Enchanted Highway. This magical stretch of road greets you with a fantastical array of overgrown creatures and giant humans.
To arrive at the enchanted Highway you exit I 94 at exit 72 and head toward the “city” of Regent, North Dakota. The population of Regent is somewhere well south of two hundred. After gawking at the oversized creatures, we spent the night in Regent at a small RV park owned by Gary Greff. Gary also owns the Enchanted Castle, a local gift shop, and is the artist who created the sculptures along the Enchanted Highway.
Gary served us our drinks when we stopped in at the Tavern in the Enchanted Castle, a former school, that Gary has built out into a hotel with a medieval castle theme. Also at the bar were some of the hotel guests. We talked to an oil worker who arrived in town for the oil/gas boom and was still adjusting to small “city” life and a young guy who had grown up tending bees with his grand-dad and after deciding college wasn’t for him came to Regent to take a job as a beekeeper.
Gary gave us a tour of the hotel which has Knights in Armor in the hall ways and very spacious guest rooms – the beekeeper shares his with two other people. The rooms were decorated by Gary and his family and maintain the medieval castle theme. I also liked the fact that the school gym is still there unmodified and in good condition.
Before we went to the Castle we stopped in at the CannonBall Saloon. (Yes, Regent supports two drinking establishments, actually there are three including the American Legion – but the word is the American Legion bar is closing soon. ) Our bartender was the owner’s daughter-in-law. She moved here when she married her husband and really likes that everyone knows everyone, though she did specify it also meant that you have no secrets. She has two children and when I mentioned that had to be about 50% of the child population, she did some counting in her head and said “no there are 15 kids in town.”
For me, having always lived in densely populated places, I’ve never previously thought about what it would be like to live in a place as isolated as Regent:
- Dating – your options are going to be limited
- Shopping – often it means driving 90 minutes to Dickerson
- Don’t like the kids you child hangs with – get use to it
- Don’t like you job – move
- Major injury – probably going to require a helicopter ride to the nearest major hospital
I don’t think I could live in Regent but the Enchanted Highway was just that, and we really enjoyed seeing Regent and meeting some interesting people.