Deer just outside eating fruit from the orchard

9.29.2014


After leaving Carhenge (how cool was Carhenge?), we drove for a while, and the scenery looked mostly like the picture above. But as we drove north toward South Daktoa, the flat land of the midwest rose to hills, and trees dotted the horizon, and we knew the Black Hills would soon be upon us.
We stayed in Keystone, South Dakota, at the Backroads Inns and CabinsHighly recommend! This is the second time we've stayed in a cabin on a vacation. The first was on our honeymoon in Fredericksburg, Texas. Personal cabins are really so much more fun than hotels, and they're not much more expensive. Our one-room cabin in South Dakota cost $135 per night and came with a bathroom, kitchen stocked with pots & pans, dishes, etc., and there was the best little sun room plus our own fire pit in the back! The owners even left us marshmallows, graham crackers, and chocolate for the first round of s'mores. Now I can officially add "ate a delicious s'more around a campfire in South Dakota" to my reverse bucket list.

Jordan prefers cabins to B&Bs because you (these are his words) "don't have to see other people if you don't want to." That guy. But he's kind of right. It's fun being all by yourself.
There were also deer roaming about all over the place, and every time we saw one, we immediately stopped the car and shouted DEER while I snapped pictures like crazy. Because, you know, I've never seen a deer before. (Sarcasm.) I felt like Ross in that Friends episode when he's in Vermont with Emily, and he's like, "Gotta go! There's a deer just outside eating fruit from the orchard." Except there was no fruit and no orchard and no one was filming us. But otherwise it was exactly the same thing.

There were also a lot of turkey. I mean a lot. We actually had to stop our car once and wait for a flock of turkeys to cross the road. Let's just say they were in no hurry.

Keystone is a historic town because when they were carving Mount Rushmore, Keystone was the closest town (about 7 miles) and was essentially "home base." It's a very small town, and the main street is mostly just one block filled with gift shops and some restaurants. We checked Trip Advisor for reviews before we grabbed pizza at Jane's boardwalk pizza on Friday night after we checked into the cabin. The Bumgarners gave it 3.5 out of 5 stars. Not the best pizza ever but definitely a solid "like" as far as pizza goes.

There's an old train that still runs through the black hills, and we could hear the whistle from our cabin. I loved it. The house I grew up in, in Illinois was near train tracks, and sometimes I miss the sound of trains. 

It can be tricky choosing places to stay when you're planning vacation, but it turned out that keystone was the perfect place for us. I honestly was worried we'd get bored, but actually we wish we'd stayed longer! There is so much to do, and it's so dang pretty that it makes you never want to leave.
-Wednesday, Oct 1: Part 1 (of 2) of my "Life of an Editor" post
-Friday, Oct 3: More South Dakota! Pictures from our trip to Crazy Horse and Mount Rushmore
-Monday, Oct 6: Project 12/September <-- HOW IS IT OCTOBER???

Where do you like to stay on vacation: Hotels? Cabins? B&Bs?

37 comments:

  1. I really don't mind B&B's but I'd much prefer a cute cabin like yours! Looks like so much fun!!

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  2. Love the photos of the train and tracks! Keystone looks like a neat place, and your cabin looks like an awesome place to rest!

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    1. Thanks, Bethany! The train tracks were everywhere! I loved how they looked in the hills like that. So pretty.

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  3. I'd prefer a cabin, but we've never rented one. I do like condos, though. :)

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  4. I am pretty solid in the hotel category but I think that is because I worked in vacation rentals for a few years so it still feels like work to go use one.

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  5. whoa!!! the view is beautiful. gosh, how i LOVE road trip and cabins. i prefer stay in a cabin. mostly, when i travel, i stay in hostels or homestays, and of course, crashing on friends places, hehe.

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  6. I'm a sucker for a nice hotel, but that cabin looks so nice! What a great experience.

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  7. Ha, I love the Friends reference! We haven't done that much traveling in the past few years, but I really love staying in BnB's and cabin type stuff, where you get that not-hotel experience.

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  8. i stop for any animal on the side of the road to snap a picture! and i always think about Ross in Vermont! hahaha

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  9. Love the reverse bucket list idea, and your cabin looks awesome! I've always wanted to stay in a cabin but just haven't done it yet. We took our first family vacation this year and stayed in a condo at the beach :)

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  10. I have been thinking alot about taking a trip near the Dakotas (visiting all 50 states is a bucklist thing) but they only thing I could imagine doing there is Mount Rushmore. I'm so glad you posted this and the cabin recommendation! It looks absolutely beautiful and I just might have to bother you for more tips! Ha!

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  11. That cabin looks and sounds perfect. My hubby and I love staying at B&B's...minus the whole awkward sitting at the breakfast table with strangers part (which is kind of the point of it I suppose), so I'd have to agree that it is more fun to stay by yourself ;)

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    1. That's the part Jordan shudders to think about! haha. No eating breakfast with strangers. It is a little more work to have your own cabin, though, because then you are on your own for breakfast!

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  12. This is making me want to take a road trip right NOW! My husband and I have only done the cabin thing once, and it was such a good experience. Like yours, it was an incredible value for the price. How nice that they left s'mores stuff!

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    1. Road trips are fun. I'm already trying to plan our next one! It was awesome they left us s'more stuff. We roasted those over our fire, and it was awesome :)

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  13. We love staying in cabins! We also stayed in a cabin on our honeymoon, right outside of Estes Park, Co. (Annie's Mountain Retreat, just in case you're looking for a rec). We also stayed at a B&B for the first time a year ago, and I liked that almost as much. Having our own bathroom was a must, and our room did indeed have one. The only thing I didn't like about the B&B was how close I felt to the other guests. So I think cabins are the way to go in the future. Also, Keystone looks so cute! I have to put this on our bucket list. Thanks for sharing!

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  14. I have to admit, the only reason I clicked this post was because of the Friends quote. Major cool points for that ;) But your vacation looks gorgeous and I am so envious of your little cabin!

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  15. This looks amazing!!!! I could SO use a cabin getaway like this soon!!!! I am loving the Friends reference, btw! ;)

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  16. I much prefer a cabin too, he reason is pretty spot on! That town looks so picturesque!

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  17. YES. Quoting Friends for the win. Sometimes I feel my life is defined by applicable Friends quotes ;) love these photos from your trip! It looks so cozy. Now I want to stay in a cabin :)

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    1. Friends is applicable any time, anywhere :) That's what I always say!

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  18. Your cabin looks so cute!!! Love all the travels you have been on!

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  19. Oh man, my grandparents make everyone come and look anytime they see a deer anywhere. I don't find them quite that thrilling--after all, we were the kind of family that ate a venison roast for Christmas dinner...
    We really like B&Bs, or we did when we first got married and were comparatively more romantic. Now we like Airbnb because we're practical and cheap--we did get to stay in a tiny cute guest house on Oahu for $75 a night, so practical can pay off! When my family travels together, however, that's when we pretty much need an entire house.

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  20. We love staying in Cabins too! We stayed in a cabin when we were in South Dakota and it was amazing! I can't wait until we can go back again! I'm so glad you had such an awesome time! It does really suck you in and make you want to stay forever. One of the coolest things we saw while we were there was buffalo! Did you guys get to see any buffalo?

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  21. Reading that Ross quote, I could actually HEAR him saying it (with all the intonations and stuff)! That's the power of Friends.

    Looks like such a fun trip. Cabin, deer, mountains, pizza... Yeah, pretty perfect.

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  22. I'm more of a reverse bucket list kind of girl too!!

    And that Friends reference was perfect. Proving, yet again, that Friends can be referenced in all life moments.

    I love the idea of staying in a cabin. So rustic. What a fun trip!

    -Amy

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  23. What a cute cabin! Glad you enjoyed your trip!

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  24. What a cute cabin! I'm so glad you guys enjoyed your time! It makes me want to go on another trip with Nate!!! :-)

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  25. I guess I've only ever stayed on friend's couches, family's guest bedroom and hostels. When I become an adult, I'll let you know.

    Ps. Your Friends reference: just another reason we're the same person.

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  26. I just have to say that i started laughing as soon as I read the title. Those cabins look so cute!

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    1. I was wondering how many Friends fans were out there :) Love that show!

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  27. This looks like fun!!! I want to go stay in a cute cabin and see deer!

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  28. That cabin looks great!!! Did you guys use the kitchen much?

    Keystone is SOO small and yet, I just knew that you guys would have a great time! Did you see the taffy shop? When we were there last time it was closed, but that was the one thing that I wished would have been opened. :)

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  29. That cabin is so cute and how awesome of them to leave you stuff for s'mores! We've never stayed at a cabin but Jordan's argument ("you don't have to see people unless you want to") may have just won me over!

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  30. Looks like fun! And pretty scenery! I also love staying in cabins! That's pretty funny what Jordan's comment was about not having to see people if you don't want to. haha! :)

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  31. Totally with you on preferring cabins instead of hotels. We often will stay in a VRBO when we go somewhere. We really enjoy the extra privacy and the ability to cook our own meals...or even just having a full sized refrigerator to keep sandwich stuff and leftovers in so we don't have to eat out as often. Your little cabin looks so cute and cozy...and the deer are just beautiful! The s'mores perks are pretty nice perks to your cabin as well. :)

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