Located 180 miles northwest of the Twin Cities, Fergus Falls was established along the Otter Tail River in the 1870s. A Scottish trapper named Joe Whitford visited the area in 1856 and named the falls after his employer, James Fergus. George B. Wright purchased Whitford's land and in 1871 built what's now the Central Dam, an important early power source for the town.Fergus Falls serves as an anchor to the Pine to Prairie Birding Trail (www.mnbirdtrail.com), the Central Lakes Trail (www.centrallakestrail.com); and the Otter Tail Scenic Byway (www.byways.org/explore/byways/2242/). The Otter Tail River water trail (www.dnr.state.mn.us/watertrails/ottertailriver/index.html) is popular with kayak and canoe enthusiasts.


Eleven miles north of town, Forest Lodge Farms Bed and Breakfast (21802 Forest Lodge Road; 1-218-736-7427; www.theinnatforestlodgefarms.com) offers relaxation and home-cooked breakfasts in a wooded setting.


The extensive menu at Bello Cucina Italian Restaurant (106 W. Lincoln Av.; 1-218-998-2221; www.bellocucina.com) includes seafood and pasta dishes and hand-tossed pizzas. Save room for the eye-popping desserts, like devil's food cheesecake smothered with tart cherry sauce.

The Spot Panini and Wine (220 W. Lincoln Av.; 1-218-998-2551; www.thespotwinebar.com) is known for its grilled Italian sandwiches. A former bowling and billiards hall, the 85-year-old building is now a popular live music venue.

Family-owned for 40 years, the Viking Cafe (203 W. Lincoln Av.; 1-218-736-6660) serves comfort food like cheeseburger macaroni hotdish, chicken noodle dumpling soup and homemade pie. Open daily.


Visit www.visitfergusfalls.com or call 1-800-726-8959.