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Holly McCamant: Nothing compares to the lakes country

A couple of weeks ago, I heard somebody say that Detroit Lakes was a city of snobs.

Apparently somewhere it’s on a list of richest cities in Minnesota. This person didn’t have the best judgment and made the assumption the Detroit Lakes’ people weren’t always the nicest to be around.

I got very upset and started defending this area as soon as I could without thinking things through, which I don’t do a lot. My passion for this place is so deep, and I know that Detroit Lakes and Frazee have some of the most genuinely nice people a place could have. There’s a reason why so many wonderful people choose to live here.

First off, we have the lake life. Some places actually have to deal with the struggle of not having a lake within five miles of you at all times (I don’t know if this guesstimate is correct, but it’s definitely what it feels like).

There are days where you can just swim, fish, tube and do just about everything possible on the lake and not worry about the rest of the world. I don’t want to think about what it would be like if I couldn’t go jump in a lake after a hot run. Lake life consumes our life around here, and it’s a luxury that most of the world will never experience.

This area is just downright pretty. With the lakes and trees, it’s quite the picturesque experience. True beauty is in the forests of the Vergas trails, the fish swimming around you in a lake and when the sun sets over this beautiful backdrop.

Unlike a city, we have the nature and we’re also not crammed together. Despite this, we have our fair share of wonderful hometown shops.

I’m at La Barista as I write this (and just about every other article), where the specials are amazing and the people are even better. Where else can you have a peanut butter s’mores latte and then spend the next hour working on an article like this one?

I may be slightly biased with this one, but Becker Pet and Garden and the Candy Store has been one of my favorite stores for a very long time. I work there, and I can tell you that we have a huge selection of taffy, chocolates made in Minnesota and fudge made in our own shop. The people I work with are really nice and we do our best to make it fun to come in.

Other favorites I have that I don’t work at or go to three times a week when I’m not at camp are Norby’s, The Yogurt Place and Book World. Some people like chain stores, but Norby’s has a great selection, and The Yogurt Place has this lake life feel that I love. I remember Book World as a kid and to this day am mesmerized by how many magazines they have.

Even better than the nice places around town is the community feel. I’ve written about Frazee and this before, but it applies to Detroit Lakes as well. We feel connected, and I don’t think that it would be like this in a bigger city. This area has its highlights without being overwhelming.

The biggest highlight of all would be the people here. Yes, this area is a little wealthy. However, I think that the majority of people are caring and friendly. I love New York City, but you don’t have friendly smiles all around you.

Working in the Candy Store has shown me that people of all different backgrounds around here are nice as ever. People around here are a pleasure to work with.

I talked with some of my friends at camp, and they’ve noticed it to. This girl in my cabin at camp works at a Kmart near the Cities and gets cussed at by customers every day. I don’t work at the Kmart here, but I’ve never heard anything like that in any store around here. People at camp who visit Detroit Lakes on the weekend have a tendency to love it.

Here, you can live out the lake life, have incredible lattes at friendly coffee shops, eat your weight in pizza at Zorbaz and live in a place that is downright beautiful. We are so much luckier than the rest of the world. I want to travel, but it’s going to be hard to find a place as nice as where I live now.

Holly McCamant is a junior at Frazee-Vergas High School.