Did your family just get orders to head to Minot AFB in North Dakota? Doing a bit of anticipatory research on where the military might be sending your family next?
This week we have amazing insight into Minot Air Force Base for our Duty Station Spotlight from Air Force spouse Betsy Ramirez. Her military family has been stationed at Minot AFB since July 2018.
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What first ran through your head when you found out you were moving to Minot Air Force Base?
Honestly, I was just okay with it. I thought it would be great to see a part of the US I would likely never go. I had a really open mind about it and welcomed the change.
After living there for a year do you still have the same impression of Minot AFB?
Then winter hit and it’s been hard. H-A-R-D. I am a southern girl in a frozen world wondering when I will ever see the grass again. I didn’t realize winter lasts 7 months. If it wasn’t for living on base and having incredible neighbors, I would be crazy. I homeschool and work from home so leaving the house is not often.
What did you do to prepare for moving to this duty station?
This is one of many PCS moves for us, but it was the first move with children. We utilized an off-post hotel at our last duty station to stay in with the kids while our household belongings were being packed to ease their transition somewhat. We made sure to keep some toys with us and plan family-friendly stops along the way.
I prepacked everything in ziploc bags. I also used a few rolls of Glad Press N’ Seal to seal trays or bins so we wouldn’t lose pieces. That is my go to for moves. I also did a great piece on Prepping your Kitchen for PCS. Here’s my Facebook live on it as well.
We also talked about Cooking Down so we PCS with little food.
What did purchase to make sure you were set up for success at this duty station?
Heavy duty winter gear is essential. You also need your passport to go to Canada. It’s about an hour or so to the border from Minot AFB.
Do you live on base, own a home or rent elsewhere?
We are in base housing. I do like the tight community of our base. It’s been amazing! Summer is even more amazing and we will get to travel and see the area more. We only have 2 years here so we are making the most of it. I would recommend someone get a part time job out of the house or volunteer on base in the winter. It isn’t easy if you didn’t grow up in this type of climate but summer makes up for it.
GETTING AROUND TOWN
How did you get around town on a day to day basis?
North Dakota is not the easiest state to travel to. It is easily accessible to Minot, which is a small town. It has most conveniences but I do miss a good health food store or Trader Joe’s. Who doesn’t? I stay on base most days and use the commissary, base theater, gym, and library.
MINOT AIR FORCE BASE SPOTLIGHT MAP
Each of the locations around Minot Air Force Base have described below have been plotted on this google map. You can use the filters below to show only the locations you are interested in or open in google maps to save for later!
What is your favorite spot to grab a coffee at this duty station?
I drink my coffee at home but I have gone to B52 Brews on base and it’s lovely.
Is brunch a big deal around the duty station’s town?
I haven’t seen brunch advertised anywhere.
Whats the best spot for having a lunch?
I like Thai Food so I enjoy going to Hot Thai in downtown Minot.
What is your go to place to grab dessert?
DATE NIGHT EATS
When you managed to align schedules to go out for a date with your husband, where are you headed?
We go to the Officer’s Club for First Fridays the 1st Friday of the month. We may hit Josh Duhamel’s 10 North Main soon.
TO DO AROUND TOWN
Where is your favorite place to work up a sweat?
I love the base gym! Lots of great classes and equipment to choose from!
Are there any nearby outdoor recreation areas you like to visit?
Bottineau Winter Park is so fun for tubing and skiing! Lake Metigoshe has a lot of outdoor options as well throughout the year. I loved visiting Ft Mandan and the Knife River Indian Villages to learn more about Lewis and Clark. The International Peace Garden on the border of Canada is gorgeous! Mount Rushmore and the Blackhills is on the agenda for the summer.
If your family had to dream up the perfect outing together in your area, where are you headed?
Winnipeg, Canada. We haven’t explored Canada and are excited to do so!
Where is your go to place if the weather is calling for rain?
I take the kids to the mall or laser tag. We might hit a movie.
Are there any must check out museums around Minot AFB?
Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center is nearby in Washburn. A replica of Ft Mandan is just down the road from there. The Knife River Indian Village replica is also nearby in that area. Bismarck has a wonderful museum that the whole family will love.
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FINAL WORDS ON MINOT AIR FORCE BASE
What would you say to a military family who just received orders and is doing the frantic google search to learn all the things!
Get involved in the private base groups. Minot AFB Families is a good one. Make sure to connect with a spouse in the incoming squadron. They have key spouses you can connect with to help you. Volunteer if you don’t work! Be involved! It’s a small community and I love that! We do take care of each other here.
Have you been stationed at Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota? We would love to hear about your favorites around town! Let us know your experience stationed here in the comments below!
Betsy Ramirez is the Founder of Dinner Deployed: Meal for the Military Family. Dinner Deployed is a recipe sharing site for military families by military families. Dinner Deployed speaks directly toward the military lifestyle and provide resources to make mealtime easier for military families. You can get their free e-cookbook, 14 Days of Dinner, when you sign up for their newsletter. All recipes are provided by military spouses who are Registered Dietitian Nutritionists. Head to their website to join the community as well and share your own recipes and your story with Dinner Deployed! You can also find them on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.