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Trip Report Memorial Day Weekend at the Black Hills

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We decided to spend Memorial Day weekend, also our Anniversary, at the Black Hills. My husband had been there as a child but this was my first time in South Dakota!

I used the Moon Mount Rushmore and Black Hills guidebook and really liked it. For a food disclaimer, my husband and I don't like beef or country/fried food so that will be why we didn't go to a steakhouse.

We live in Manhattan, KS and the drive was 11 hours for us.

5/26: We drove the last 6 hours and ended up in Hot Springs not long after lunch. One thing we realized while driving was we ended up in Mountain Time Zone, duh, but I'd forgotten about that and would have slept in more if I would have remembered! We went to the Mammoth Site for the tour. I thought it was pretty neat and is still an active dig site. They take you on a 30 minute tour and then you can walk around and tour their small museum. Took about 90 minutes.

We went go to check in to our B&B, Summer Creek Inn, which was fantastic. Great location, homemade breakfast, and gorgeous house. We would stay there again. On the way there we saw several buffalo along the road.

For dinner we went to Keystone to Big Time Pizza. Pizza was good and my husband loved their Russian beer. We then headed to the 9pm night show at Mount Rushmore. It consisted of a Ranger speaking for 10 minutes, a 20 minute movie, and then they turn a light on Mount Rushmore. Overall, underwhelming, I thought it was going to be a light show, not a single light haha, but my fault for not understanding what it was.

5/27: We went to Mount Rushmore again this morning and the weather was perfect. Did the trail, museum, movie and Sculptor's Studio. We really enjoyed everything we did this morning. Definately recommend walking the trail. Then drove through Custer (seeing buffalo and big horn sheep) ate lunch at the lodge there which was okay other than the Buffalo stew, which was great. We took Iron Mountain Road from here, which was a great drive. We then went to Bear County which was great, especially the walk around part with all the babies! It was a bit expensive, but I found a $1 off coupon online and got a military discount. We planned on eating in Rapid City for our anniversary so went there to walk around downtown, it was okay but there wasn't much to look at and after an hour we were done so we ate early. We ate at Botticelli Ristorante, which was really good, decently priced for a nice place and had a good experience.

5/28: We headed out this morning to Spearfish Canyon and experienced great weather again. We hiked to both water falls (we found out you don't have to hike to anything as there is parking right next to each of them) and thought they were neat, not amazing, but still cool. We could never find the "11 hour" thing, must have drove right past it? We ended up in Spearfish for lunch at ate at a Mexican Restaurant, Guadalajara, that was supposed to be the best one in South Dakota by my guidebook. While okay, I wouldn't go back.

From here we headed to Devil's Tower. It was about an hour drive. We both loved Devil's Tower. It was much larger than we imagined and it had a trail you could walk around the whole thing. We also liked watching the rock climbers on it. On the way back, we stopped at Spearfish again to go to their local brewery, Crow Peak Brewery. If you like beer, I would recommend it, they had sample trays so you could try several of their beers, my husband brews and really liked their "11th hour" beer. From here we went to Deadwood, and this is the only part of the trip I was dissapointed in. We would not go back, we had trouble finding a decent looking place to eat (don't know which casino we ate at but it was bad), and the casinos were small and checked your ID like crazy (we are 25 so a bit young but have never been carded in a casino let alone had my hand stamped in everyone we entered). If you want casinos, go to Vegas, we absolutely love Vegas. We did go to the cemetery which was neat.

5/29: Today we woke up to rain, on our last day, bummer. We decided to go to Wind Cave National Park. We got there at 10 and signed up for the 11 Fairgrounds tour , which was great. There wasn't really that many stairs and we liked the cave, because it was different. It was known for boxwood and popcorn. Get there early, as by 10:30 the line was huge, and they were selling out of tours. After this we ate at the Purple Pie Place in Custer. I actually really like it and the peanut butter pie was awesome! We tried to go to Jewel Cave but they were sold out until 2pm the following day. We decided to do Needles Highway even though it was rainy and a bit foggy. Wow, that drive was awesome, highly recommend it even if it is raining. We wanted to do some of the hiking but didn't get to because of the weather. We ended up eating in Hill City at the Bumpin Buffalo which has good food, especially for a bar. It had a neat atmosphere and sold a beer from our local brewery so that was a plus!

5/30: Drove the 11 hours home, it was a long day.

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