Flying into Fargo, the snow covered fields and flat land spread out like white bread below us. And like white bread, I wondered whether we would find anything of substance in Fargo. What the town would look like, what the people would sound like, whether they would have creature comforts like a yoga studio/co-op/art galleries, etc. It’s been awhile since I’ve seen the famed movie of the same name. The movie that launched the town into our cultural consciousness and forever plagued it with sterile white imagery of blinding, swirling snow and bodies hunched over at the waist trying to trudge through the impossibly wicked weather.
Ah, Fargo. I won’t lie. I was psyched as hell when I learned we’d be traveling through Fargo in our exploration of the Detroit Lakes area. Fargo is an enigma to most who mistakenly believe the movie portrays all there is – a live-action feed of a generic, snowcovered downtown, played on a loop for all infinity. There may be some truth to that in the deep of winter, but on November 29th, Fargo was anything but frigid.
We began our exploration by flying into the Fargo airport (whose airport code is an appropriate FAR) and renting a car. Notably, Avis informed us that
Due to freeing weather we do not clean the exteriors of our vehicles. This helps prevent freezing of the doors, locks, trunks, etc.
Despite the advanced warning that our car would look like a crusty sand machine, we were pleasantly surprised to find the exterior free from any detritus. We drove east from the airport and south over to Broadway which lead us to a main street downtown area where historic 2 and 3 story buildings blended with modern glass store fronts and helvetica signage. There was an obvious attempt to maintain the original feel and look of an overarching historic downtown structure while generating new buzz over the modern sushi restaurants and art gallery offerings in the spaces below.
We drove the downtown area three times, up and back, up and back, driving slowly enough to peer into the storefront windows. A movie theater advertised showings of Arbitrage, a movie the wife and I watched over a month ago, at home. Both JG and I have an, er, interesting habit of yelling aloud the name of every store we pass. “Atomic Coffee, Rhombus Guy’s Pizza, Moxie Java, Teaberry!” Our world mostly revolves around food and thus, we are always extremely excited about the culinary options in a new city.
We met a friend for dinner (yes, JG knows someone who lives in Fargo!) at Mezzaluna, a surprisingly crowded hot spot behind the movie theater on Broadway. The main dishes and drinks were expensive and dessert was served atop a large, white, square platter. With its dark wood floors, light gray walls and Restoration Hardware accents, Mezzaluna could have been in Anywhere, USA. It’s always an odd feeling when traveling to realize that despite landing in a semi-exotic (!) destination, if you close your eyes, you could be anywhere. The fancy interpretation of that feeling is that I am flexible and can adapt to whatever situation I’m in. The reality is, I probably just feel at home when sitting in a nice, crowded restaurant knowing I’m about to be fed. “Oh yah!”