Local Products,  Other Writings

Mount Rushmore Goes Local

I owe South Dakota a huge apology.  When the kitchen partner and I planned our vacation, our stop in South Dakota was a sidebar/afterthought to the scenery and adventures in Yellowstone and Grand Teton.  Just a stop for the night, catch the monument in the morning and be on our way back to Minnesota.  Little did I know, our stop at Mount Rushmore was my favorite, our trip underground at Jewel Cave was the kitchen partner’s favorite, and we found more local products here than anywhere else!  Sorry, South Dakota.  You were way more fantastic than I gave you credit for.

Here’s 3 things I didn’t know about South Dakota:

1. The evening lighting ceremony at Mount Rushmore is absolutely stunning. Still gives me goosebumps to write about it more than a week later.  If you ever feel less-than-faithful in our democratic system, or need a reminder about how influential four individuals–with strong vision and determination–can be, pack up your stuff and drive to Keystone, SD and see this.  8 P.M. every night, May to October.

2.  Just outside Custer, SD is Jewel Cave National Monument, a geological research site protected by the National Park Service.  The kitchen partner and I went spelunking on a guided tour and were totally blown away.  Get this:  Right now, the cave is 155 miles long (2nd longest in the world).  That’s only the distance they have currently mapped, however geologists estimate it could be up to 5,000 miles long.  Each year they are able to map about 4-5 more miles of the cave; it takes cavers about 17 hours to reach the point they are currently mapping.  Woah South Dakota.  Who knew you had an undiscovered frontier?

3.  You can now buy South Dakota wine and local buffalo burgers, sausages, and chili at the Mount Rushmore dining facility, Carvers’ Cafe.  The kitchen partner and I were visiting early in the day so we didn’t stop for a tasting, but it’s nice to see that there’s South Dakota Locavores too!  The Rushmore Red is bottled by Valiant Vineyards Winery in Vermillion, SD. Way to go, South Dakota!



  • barb

    HI I started going on your page daily for the excellant recipes now since youve been on vacation I scroll through all the vacation pics each time and am in awe each time I just love looking at them I have a bucket list that has fly in a plane and see the ocean i”m adding see jewel cave national monument and yellowstone park to my list Thanks for sharing love Barb

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