'Medora Magic': Couples find love in Medora

Published: Jul. 28, 2019 at 3:03 PM CDT
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Summer romance. It’s the stuff novels and movies are made of: girl goes away for a summer job, girl meets boy, they fall in love, then the summer ends and so does the romance.

But if that summer romance starts in Medora, there’s a good chance it won’t end.

The folks in Medora call it "Medora Magic." And it’s the stuff real love stories are made of.

Grace and Jesse Ward’s love story is one for the ages.

“I just thought she was the most beautiful woman ever and there was something different about her. And I knew I am going to marry this girl,” recalled Jesse, who met his wife, Grace, while working as a golf intern at Medora’s Bully Pulpit.

They were married last August in Medora, because that’s where their love story began, and where it continues.

“I could see us raising our kids here,” said Grace, head of group sales for the TR Medora Foundation.

“I had no intention of finding love, but this place is special,” said Jesse. “God has a plan for us, and he puts the right person in your life for a reason. It was here.”

The Wards aren’t the only ones to find love in Medora.

“It was a Medora love story,” said Lyubomyr Shkandriy, who came to Medora from his home in Ukraine, and met his wife, Jewell Gray.

“I followed him to Ukraine,” said Gray. “I spent four years there, got married over there, had a baby over there and then had another one here. We had life experience over there.”

But now their life is here, and they couldn’t think of a better place to raise their kids.

“They are 7 and 3. Our son wants to be an astronaut and our daughter wants to be a firefighter princess,” Gray said proudly.

And then there’s the Slauter family.

“I wouldn’t say there was a lightning bolt moment,” laughed Sarah Slauter, who met her husband, Kinley Slauter, while working a summer in Medora after high school.

Kinley and Sarah grew up 25 miles from each other. But it wasn’t until they both took summer jobs in Medora that they met and fell in love.

“He proposed to me in 2012 and we’ve been here ever since,” said Sarah, who is now the director of lodging and reservations for the Foundation.

“I think long before online dating, there was Medora,” said Kinley, ampitheater manager and a proud yearround Medora resident.

Medora, where love is definitely in the air.