This weekend my husband Cory and I are celebrating our first anniversary as husband and wife. We got married April 2nd, 2023 and April 4th is the anniversary of our honeymoon in Deadwood, South Dakota.
If I’m being honest, Deadwood wasn’t my first pick for Honeymoon locations, heck it wasn’t even my second choice. Initially, the plan was to go to Augusta, Georgia for the Masters Tournament, but we couldn’t get tickets. Then we looked at St. Augustine, Florida but flights were so expensive that that idea didn’t last long. Then Cory pitched Deadwood, we could drive there and hotels were cheap because it was the off-season so Deadwood it was.
We woke up bright and early on the morning of April 4th and were on the road by 5 am to make the nine-hour drive from Central Minnesota to the western side of South Dakota. We made great time arriving at our hotel (Deadwood Gultch) by 3 pm. The weather was favorable when we arrived, sunny skies, and a light warm breeze. We had a drink at the hotel bar and then hopped on the trolly to explore the downtown area. Our hotel bartender, Kathy, kept our drinks full and gave us some amazing tips on things to do while we were in town. After just one drink and our convo with Kathy, we actually extended our stay by a day just so we could enjoy more time in the town.
We woke up the next morning to a parking lot full of snow that fell overnight. Luckily it had stopped, and we decided to venture up to the neighboring town of Lead to explore. Getting out of the basin that Deadwood sits in we realized it was INSANELY windy, and getting out of the car for even a few minutes wasn’t that pleasant. We then drove to Custer State Park to drive the Nature Loop and look for wildlife. Kathy had said that was the best route to take, and she was right, we saw bison, donkey, mountain goats, and antelope.
On the way back we stopped by the Crazy Horse Memorial which was really cool to learn about, but again the weather wasn’t great so we explored the inside of the museum. After taking a look at the forecast we booked it back to Deadwood because more nasty weather was moving in for the evening. Some white-knuckle driving was involved on the way back to the hotel.
The next few days were spent hanging out in town. Kathy tipped us off on a great way to spend time, we went to every single casino and signed up for players club cards, and did some light gambling. We had nothing but time to kill with most attractions closed up due to snow and it just generally being the off-season. We made the rule that we would gamble in $5 increments. Throw $5 into a slot machine, and cash it out as soon as it was over that $5. And we would only go to machines that were speaking to our souls. It worked out pretty well for us, I came out money ahead and even hit it big ($20+) a time or two.
We did get to go on a tour of the Deadwood Brothel and because it was the off-season we actually got a tour all to ourselves. As an old mining town, there is a rich history to the area and brothels were a huge part of it. According to our guide, the brothel business was quite empowering for women at a time when women were not in positions of control. I loved learning about the history of the area through that lens and would totally take the tour again.
Our last day was spent bellied up to the bar at the hotel hanging out with Kathy and watching the Masters Tournament. We were also celebrating a big win for her as she had won $4,000 at a casino the night before. She was a highlight of our trip, and I sincerely hope she is doing well. She was a hoot.
We did a lot of bar hopping and exploring most days and had a really laid-back experience, which was exactly what we needed after the stress of planning a wedding. Even though Deadwood wasn’t our first choice of Honeymoon location, we absolutely loved it and can’t wait for an opportunity to go back.
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