On September 17th we hit the road and headed from North Dakota to South Dakota. We would be spending eight days and nine nights in the Black Hills area. Barry had been here with his folks many decades ago, but it was my first time, so I was excited. And South Dakota didn't disappoint.
On the way to our rental in Hill City, we passed Bear Butte, which was impressive. Wished we had time to stop in the state park there, but we'll have to save that for another trip.
We found our cute rental (through VRBO) just outside of Hill City and got settled in. It's just the right size for us, and Paisley, of course. We're always happy when we can find decent, reasonably priced lodging that is actually pet-friendly. And unlike a hotel, there is a grassy, safe (well off the road) yard here where we can throw her ball for a rousing game of fetch!
Hill City itself is just a mile or so to the west. It's a cute little town nestled into beautiful piney hills; thus the name. According to the sign, the permanent population is just 948. However, this town swells with tourists even in September, and I can only imagine how busy it is during the summer months. There are several hotels and the town is skirted by multiple campgrounds since it's so close to area attractions like Mount Rushmore and the Michelson Trail. There is only one (non-chain) grocery store in town, Krull's, and they must be making a killing. We ended up there every couple of days as we ate a lot of meals in our rental to keep expenses to a reasonable level.
Here are some photos we snapped while walking around the cute main street in town.
I thought this metalwork downtown was exceptionally nice!
There are several wineries just on the edge of town; we visited PrairieBerry. The free tasting was fun and the wines were delicious. We bought a few bottles to take home with us, of course!
Black Hills Picnic
On one of our rest days between hikes and bike rides, we packed a picnic lunch and headed to Deerfield Reservoir on national forest land, which was gorgeous and SO peaceful. Mind you, this was on a Saturday, and there were only a few other fishermen there, much to our surprise. Speed on the lake is limited to 5 mph so there are no loud powerboats. And the temperature was perfect, in the mid-70s. Couldn't ask for more!
The lake was lovely, and Paisley even got to go for a little swim. She is our little water dog!
We'll be doing several more South Dakota blog posts on the Michelson Trail, Harney Peak, and (of course!) Mount Rushmore, but I'll leave you with my favorite Black Hills photo for now. I took this at Mt. Rushmore looking away from the monument.
Stay tuned for much more from South Dakota!
Emily & Barry
We're a long-married, early-retired couple who are currently traveling as nomads with no fixed home base. After years of living in North Carolina (Emily's home state), we spent 18 months living oceanfront on Ambergris Caye, Belize, a year road-tripping the US in a Honda CR-V, a year in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, and are now roaming North America in our 32' motorhome, Pearl, following warm weather whenever possible.
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