The Norwegians are Coming!

We’re having a great time in Jamestown. I plan to write about it in more detail once we return home, but I just couldn’t resist sharing this update.

While we knew our trip to the Buffalo City would include some buffalo action, we didn’t know much else about Jamestown. Thanks to the many suggestions we received from readers and friends, we were able to expand our itinerary beyond the requisite visit to the World’s Largest Buffalo.

Our day in Jamestown was full of fun new discoveries, but nothing surprised us more than to find that we are sharing a hotel with a troop of Norwegian accordion players!

Tony had overheard a couple of them speaking Norwegian in the lobby of our hotel, the Gladstone Inn & Suites in downtown Jamestown. He asked the front desk attendant where they were from, and she told him they were with a group of Norwegian accordion players and their spouses.

For some reason, we both thought this was funny, in a North Dakota kind of way. Like many North Dakotans, Gio and I both have Norwegian heritage, and Norway is one of Tony’s and my favorite countries to travel in, so it just seemed kind of serendipitous. And funny.

Just after 7:00 pm, we decided to head over to the Buffalo City Grille for dinner. It’s located just across the street from our hotel, and came highly recommended to us by many friends and readers.

The restaurant was crazy busy and in the midst of organized chaos when we arrived (as fellow restaurateurs, this is meant as a compliment.) The hostess kindly informed us that it would probably be about an hour before we could be seated, as there was a group of 26 Norwegians who had arrived just before us. As she surveyed the crowded bar, she somehow spotted a vacant table in the corner, and told us this would be our best bet for faster service.

The bar area was beautiful and we heeded her advice without hesitation. We worked our way through the crowd of Norwegians, and took our table in a corner by the window. It was a great table, actually, as it gave us a view of all the action. In the entire bar, there was only one other table of non-Norwegians. With the bar’s cosmopolitan atmosphere, there was a surprisingly European tone to the room, and we loved it.

The couple next to us were speaking Norwegian to each other, and I leaned over to ask them what part of Norway they called home. They told us that the entire group of accordion players is from Lillestrom, which is located about 20 kilometers east of Oslo. (Their annual 4-day city fair sounds like a great event!)

We learned that our new friends are Jan-Erik and Wenche Karin Knudsen, and we visited with them for almost an hour as they waited for their table. Meeting this lovely couple was truly a special gift, so it hardly came as a surprise to learn that Jan-Erik is an elderman in the Norwegian Santa Association.

We were delighted to find out that the Lillestrom Accordion Orchestra will be performing at the Fargo Sons of Norway on Tuesday evening, and Giovanni and I plan to be there to support our new friends. Skål!

Last note: Before I leave to discover more of what Jamestown has to offer, I should say that our experience at the Buffalo City Grille was terrific. In honor of the Buffalo City, all three of us ordered the Bison Filet, a house signature and so delicious. I’ll provide more details in a forthcoming post, but if a visit to Jamestown is in your future, this restaurant must be on your list.


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  1. Pingback: Our Adventures in The Buffalo City | Lost on the Prairie

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