Monday, March 10, 2014

50 States - South Dakota

I f you read my fairly snide 50 States post snarking about North Dakota, you might think I will be equally dismissive about South Dakota. Nothing could be further from the truth. South Dakota has some literally monumental attractions, most famously that display of chutzpah carved under the impression that mountains are more spectacular when turned into sculptures of dead politicians.

In the defense of Gutzon Borglum and his son, Lincoln Borglum, they had to have been a bit right as otherwise why would thousands of people travel to the middle of nowhere to look at rocks. More pristine beauty can be found in the Badlands.

But South Dakota has lots and lots of interesting smaller attractions. The most bizarre is perhaps the Corn Palace which has to be seen to be believed.


And driving anywhere in South Dakota will expose you to billboards shilling for Wall Drugs. More than just a drugstore, Wall Drugs is a tourist emporium of epic scale. It seems to swallow the entire town of Wall.


Speaking of swallowing, one of Wall Drug's gimmicks is that it offers free water to anybody that wants some. And it's very good water.


Perhaps the most overlooked destination in South Dakota is the town of DeSmet. Its claim to fame is that it was the home on the prairie to Laura Ingalls Wilder during The Long Winter. They have replicas of cabins of that era and even a one-room schoolhouse.


In celebration, the town puts on a nightly pageant on a huge outdoor stage depicting those events.


So get to DeSmet and see all that South Dakota has to offer.

1 comment:

Ed & Jeanne said...

I thought that last picture was the final scene from Wizard of Oz...but silly's in color...

Nice write up on South Dakota though