Wednesday, April 12, 2017
TOURING THE BLACK HILLS—Keystone and Hill City, SD
At the base of Mt. Rushmore is a little town called Keystone. It is the true definition of a tourist trap type town. The free parking is at each end of the single main street. It is an active little town with street shows, live music, shops galore and restaurants.
A word to the wise, dining out in any of the tourist towns in this area, or at least all of them we visited, plan on paying a little above the norm for even a basic burger or pizza.
We ate at the Br Gr and had a very good meal. We sat outside to enjoy all that was going on around us.
We could see signs for the Carrie Ingalls (younger sister of Laura Ingalls Wilder) Museum not far away, again by the time we realized it was too close to closing time to visit there. Another time perhaps.
As we got back to our truck we both had to stop and take a double take at the motorcycle parked near the truck. Look closely. It had training wheels!
From Keystone you can take an old steam train to Hill City, walk around there and then catch a later train back to Keystone. We didn’t ride the train this time, but had previously and enjoyed the trip through the countryside.
A little parking tip in Hill City for you if you choose to drive there rather than take the train. Go off the main tourist street as little as one block and you will find plenty of parking. On the main street you could drive around for a long period trying to find a spot. Also by going down the side streets you find interesting business names. An example that comes to mind as I type this was the beauty shop named “Curl Up and Dye”. There are other fun names on businesses in this town if you care to drive around and look for them.
On the Hill City end there is a railroad museum that we had visited previously, so we didn’t visit it again this trip. Seeing all the types of railroad cars is interesting.
Hill City is another tourist town, with some interesting things to see and do. On two of our visits to Hill City we ate at the Mangy Moose Saloon. Good food, obviously since we ate there more than once. Once again we ate outside so we could see all that was going on.
Hill City has a lot more to see than Keystone. There are unique sculptures using found items from a previous competition.
Then there were the chainsaw wood carvings. Oh the wood carvings…
And our favorite “Toothless” from How to Train Your Dragon”. For a mere $25,000 you can take this fellow home. Although I am not certain how you would get that big guy there.
For a fee you could also sit on him and have someone take your photo, but we opted not to do that. I forget the fee, but we thought it a little high since they used your phone or camera to take the photo.
After walking around the town you can finish up your round trip ticket to go back to Keystone and pick up your vehicle. The two towns and the train ride can make for a full day or two depending on how much a shopper you are.
And you never know what large furry things you will see walking around. We talked to the owners of the dogs for a short bit.