RED LAKE FALLS, Minn. -- The Washington Post reporter who said a Minnesota county was “the absolute worst place to live in America” loves living there so much that he and his wife are creating a little Minnesotan of their own.
Christopher Ingraham, a journalist who writes about politics, drug policy and “all things data,” according to his bio, laughed this week as he recalled how his viral article led him to Red Lake County for a visit and, eventually, a move from Ellicott City, Md., to Red Lake Falls in May. The family of four, especially Ingraham’s 3½-year-old twin sons, Jack and Charlie, have enjoyed the small-town life, he said.
“That’s one of the big reasons I wanted to move out here,” Ingraham said. “They are making a lot of friends. This is one of those places where during the day on the weekends the neighborhood kids will come over, knock on the door and ask, ‘Can Jack and Charlie come out and play?’
“That doesn’t happen really happen on the East Coast,” he said, adding the move has been really good for the twins. “You would just have to set up a playdate two weeks in advance because everyone is busy and you don’t just show up.”
Ingraham’s article ranking every county in the U.S. by scenery and climate drew ire from Midwesterners, especially in northern Minnesota. Almost every county in Minnesota and North Dakota had low natural amenities, but Red Lake County, the only county in the country to be surrounded by only two other counties, ranked last on the list.
Readers criticized the article and posted photos on Facebook showing the scenery of Red Lake County. The outrage culminated into a visit by Ingraham to Red Lake County in August 2015. After a suggestion from his mother and talking it over with his wife, Briana, the two decided to move to Red Lake Falls.
The family has been able to handle the cold, Ingraham said, but they have ventured across the region. Briana sits on various committees in the community, and the family loves exploring the outdoors and anything agriculture-related.
“The boys love anything having to do with farms or agriculture, and I have to admit I do, too,” he said. “I love big tractors and combines.”
The family has grown: The Ingrahams adopted a farm cat and rabbits. And there is a future addition coming in June -- Briana and Chris are expecting their third child.
“My wife and I liked Minnesota people so much that we decided to make a new one,” he said laughing.
Ingraham said he has enjoyed getting to know the residents and exploring the beauty of “the worst place to live in America.” He and Briana still are trying to decide how long to live there, but he expects they are there to stay for a while.
“I think it goes to show you that there is so much that can’t get captured in a spreadsheet,” he said. “It’s really neat living in a little town like this and being a part of the community.
“I think about way our life is now versus the way we were living in D.C. … and I just can’t imagine going back to that kind of life again after seeing something like this and experiencing something like this out here,” he added.