Last weekend our final round of visitors for the year braved the long flight to South Dakota. Having not seen them since April I was pretty stoked to hug my Dad, Mom & Granny’s neck 🙂
They were in for just a few short days so I was determined to show them everything I could about South Dakota. On the itinerary was Mt. Rushmore, Crazy Horse, Deadwood, Spearfish, and of course the air force base and downtown Rapid City.
Day 1 was South Dakota’s biggest tourist attractions.
On the way out the door we had to stop for a quick photo sesh. Husband never feels inclined to take pictures of my outfits, Granny on the other hand insisted.
So here is my new owl sweater 🙂
First stop, Mount Rushmore.
By this point I had just about starved them. I promised them lunch as soon as we arrived at the Crazy Horse Memorial. I’ve about worked our family visits menu down to a science. Today’s picnic lunch was a portobello “cheesesteak” sandwich, a roasted balsamic green bean and red onion salad tossed with blue cheese, and I tried out this no-bake quinoa brownie recipe (with a few substitutions of my own) for dessert which was a HUGE hit.
I did not, however, remember to take pictures.
And then we viewed Crazy Horse.
I want to take a moment to say to anyone interested in visiting South Dakota and the various tourist attractions, Crazy Horse, in my opinion, is a must see. Honestly it is WAY more impressive than Mount Rushmore, although I don’t think you can truly appreciate just how incredible it is without watching the free video shown at the memorial.
A few fun facts to hopefully peak your interests…
- All four presidents heads on Mount Rushmore could fit into Crazy Horse’s head. This sculpture is huge!
- The hole in the middle (eventually to be the underside of his arm) could fit a 10 story building.
- When the sculpture was first started, the sculptor (it was only one man then) spent over two years laying pipe, that was connected to a compressor, up the mountain to make his work easier. At that point he only had to carry close to 200lbs worth of supplies and tools up over 700 steep stairs to get to his work. <–yes that is sarcasm.
- Possibly most impressive, the entire project is funded by gifts, donations, and entrance fees. In other words, Uncle Sam (read: the American public) isn’t paying for this memorial. The family believes in funding the project through general interest, and is completely opposed to government handouts.
Granny zoomed in on the people at work.
That afternoon Husband met us (after his boss generously gave him the rest of the day off!) downtown. We showed them all the sites of Rapid City and grabbed a very early dinner at a restaurant called Sanford’s.
On Day 2 we took them to Deadwood (and eventually to Spearfish, but that is the next post).
My Granny’s really name is Katherine, but everyone who knows her calls her Kitty, or rather Miss Kitty as her Sunday school students call her. She was tickled silly that there was an entire store front called Miss Kitty.
The weather was absolutely gorgeous that day. Hovering in the low 70’s and beautifully sunny.
But the streets were pretty dead.
I guess I am used to the South, and when Fall hits down there it’s time to get out and play, enjoy the no-longer oppressive heat and revel in the gorgeous Fall colors. I am learning up here that Fall is not really a season but rather a hit or miss, day-to-day, happenstance. You never know if you are going to enjoy moderate temps and perfect Fall weather, or if snow is going to dump on you unexpectedly. So it makes sense that the tourist season really does end with summer.
For lunch we went to the Deadwood Social Club. Rated #1 in Deadwood on Trip Advisor.
The sign is so small we almost missed it entirely.
They had the best blue cheese dressing we have ever had in our lives. The rest of the food was just sort of so so, but their dinner menu looked awesome. We will definitely have to come back and try it out.
The bar section of the restaurant was decorated to the hilt with Halloween reverie. There were bodies hanging from the ceiling and all kinds of spooky details hidden in every corner. It was so fun!
Before leaving town, we had one mission to accomplish. My Mom LOVES some video poker. And seeing as Deadwood is THE local gambling town, chocked full of casinos, we had to make a quick stop to throw some money in.
Accessing her ATM 🙂
Off she goes…
Not being a seasoned gambler (I mostly stick to Black Jack, but even then I get the sweats as the dealer practically rips the cold hard cash out of my hands), I didn’t know that most machines these days don’t spit out coins when you win. I found that to be sad, because hearing the coins “kerchunk” into the tray and watching them pour out with mad intensity is super exciting.
Mom’s big winnings…
Deadwood really is a beautiful town. Sure it’s full of mildly tacky tourist traps, but if you just accept it for what it is, it can be a lot of fun. One of my favorite towns in the Black Hills for sure!
That afternoon Crow Peak Brewery was hosting their Oktoberfest, in spite of Granny’s disdain for alcohol, Husband and I were dying to go, it is one of our most favorite places after all, so we took a chance and took them there.
Stay tuned for the festivities!