Posted 5/13/09 (Wed)
By Tina Foreman
Farmer Staff Writer
Tobacco Gardens Resort has been a long standing part of McKenzie County, but for the past several years the cafe and concessions have been without an owner leaving patrons without any services.
“Tobacco Gardens is like the stepchild of McKenzie County, says Rex Korslien. “It’s a part of the county that’s always there, sometimes it just gets overlooked.”
With rising water and a wonderful summer ahead Peggy Hellandsaas has made it her mission to make sure that Tobacco Gardens is something that McKenzie County residents and travelers won’t want overlooked.
Hellandsaas purchased the Tobacco Gardens concessions, café and cabins earlier this year, and after many hours of hard work from herself and her family the concessions are once again open.
“I’m a local girl and I knew the concessions were for sale,” says Hellandsaas. “I decided to take a leap of faith, and with the support of my husband and family I bought the concessions, cabins and Lewis and Clark building.”
With the concessions being closed for several years, Hellandsaas knew it would be a big undertaking that would take a lot of work to get up and running. But with help from her business partners, daughter, Kari and future son-in-law, Rex Korslien and the rest of her family she knew they would make it happen.
“We pretty much gutted the café and concessions,” says Hellandsaas. “With the construction complete the café is open with a complete menu and our convenience store is stocked.”
The concessions opened on May 1, and are open seven days a week for the summer.
“The concessions are complete with convenience items, food, gas, bait, beer and wireless internet,” says Korslien. “Plus we have the café which has a full menu from breakfast to supper.”
In a cozy atmosphere the café is a great place for any meal. The menu includes breakfast served until 11 a.m., sandwiches, hand-cut steaks, burgers and even seafood.
“As history goes this has always been a successful place,” adds Hellandsaas. “We plan to do what we do well by providing good home cooking.”
After a great meal at Tobacco Gardens patrons can take a scenic drive through the hills of McKenzie County or sit back and enjoy the peacefulness of an evening at the lake.
“There is nothing at this end of the county,” comments Hellandsaas. “Tobacco Gardens needed someone to step up and take care of it. Water or not this is a great place to spend time and we are excited to be here, especially now that the water has come up.”
In addition to the café, Tobacco Gardens also offers camping with 70 electrical sites and 50 primitive sites plus two cabins available for rent.
“The campgrounds are wide open with lots of space between campers,” adds Korslien. “We also have a modern bathhouse with showers and the Lewis and Clark building that can be rented for groups.”
At Tobacco Gardens campers are greeted each morning by a beautiful view of Lake Sakakawea, and with water levels on the rise, the boat docks at Tobacco Gardens are also available this summer.
“The low water boat ramp on the north point and one of the ramps at the bay are open,” says Korslien. “The third ramp needs some repairs and the Corp of Engineers plans to have it repaired and open by July 4.”
If you haven’t been to Tobacco Gardens recently this is a great time to stop in for a fresh hand-cut steak or a weekend away from it all without even leaving the county.