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Badlands of South Dakota.
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My friend and I decided to go somewhere to get off the grid, disconnect from urban life, and see if we could hang with some real cowboys. I'll tell you we drove over a thousand miles from Detroit, and it was well worth the drive. Phil and Amy have an amazing ranch and welcomed us in with open arms, even when we showed up four hours early for check-in. As soon as we drove down the hill to the secluded homestead, we knew we had found exactly what we were looking for and immediately booked a second night. We also decided to order Amy's home cooked dinner that night and breakfast the following morning. Dinner was a delicious meatloaf with bacon, mashed potatoes, vegetables and chocolate cake for dessert. We decided to go out that night to the local watering hole called The Wagon Wheel. We swapped stories with the local color for a few hours drinking whiskey and beer. Pat, the bartender took great care of us and our tab at the end of the night was $17.
The next day we fueled up with more of Amy's amazing cooking- scrambled eggs, tater tots with bacon, yogurt and granola. We washed it all down with strong cowboy coffee. Amy helped us set up a horseback riding trip with her nephew Marshall, who has been ranching and riding horses since he was four years old. Once again when we showed up we were welcomed with open arms. We saddled up the horses and took them out on a two hour ride across his family's ranching property, his two dogs Huckleberry and Soup following us the whole way. We ended up on top of a huge butte that had a gorgeous view of the entire Badlands. When we got back Marshall took us ripping around in his truck to a shooting area, where we shot off guns at an old wrecked car. After the festivities his family offered us lunch, which ended up being huge, two pound T-Bone steaks. Not only that but they were from their own slaughtered, grass fed cows and they were incredible.
Everyone in the Badlands is interesting and has a story to tell. For example, on our way out of town I popped a tire running over a nail. We could have been in dire straights, but the owner of the Cowboy Corner gas station made a call with the local mechanic. We showed up to his place and although he was already a few beers deep at noon he did a great job. He told us about Vietnam, been a trucker and a farmer before settling down in Scenic, SD.
In the end if you want to see some beautiful country, watch amazing stars with no light pollution, and do some manly stuff this is the place. I even arm wrestled a cowboy and almost won (I'll give Amy's cooking the credit for coming as close as I did).
My husband and I really enjoyed our stay at Amy and Phil's original 1800's homestead. It was so cool to be sleeping somewhere with so much history. Everything was clean and there was even firewood for us to use. Amy greeted us when we arrived and was very friendly. The ranch was just a few miles outside the Badlands which was so convenient. We would definitelt recommend this place to anyone traveling through SD or visiting the Badlands:)
Definitely follow the directions Amy and Phil give you! We were able to find their place (even in the dark). This is a beautiful guest ranch right in the Badlands. I have never seen so many stars in my life! Breakfast was DELICIOUS and Amy and Phil were responsive to our needs. The house and room were very clean and the staff professional. We only wish we had stayed longer!
We really enjoyed our time at the 1880s Homestead; cute and very rustic. If you don't mind roughing it (being able to live without electricity or any running water and able to bring your own cookstove, and having a lot of cricket roommates). It got chilly at night, so we were able to try out the wood stove and it worked very well. We stayed for 4 nights and really enjoyed the piece and quiet, even canoeing on the White River which runs right in front of the cabin. It is also only about 5 miles from the entrance to the Badlands. Overall, a very nice experience.
This place is amazing!. I had one of the most romantic nights with my husband. We had a fire under the stars while we listened to the wind rustle through the leaves. Then we went inside and played games surrounded by candle light. The beds were super comfortable and it was fun having a wood stove keep us warm all night long. We are already planning a vacation back in which we can stay at least three nights here. It is such a great home base. You can explore the area around during the day and enjoy the night here. It felt like we had our own home in South Dakota.
Amy and Phil have a great place where you can sneak back into history. Johnny and I stayed in the Badlands 1880s Cabin. It is definitely the rustic experience that other reviewers had described. No lights, outhouse, wood burning stove, no running water - you live exactly as if you were in 1880. We did arrive later than expected so it was dark by the time we had reached Scenic, SD. If you are using a GPS, do not follow its directions to the exact address and location of their ranch. Because it was very dark, we couldn't see any signs, just dirt roads. We had to call Amy and Phil twice because we couldn't find the place. They were gracious enough to help us find the them and informed us to look for their 'Circle View Ranch' sign. This made it much easier to find. We very much enjoyed the experience especially when we woke up in the morning to find the view that was surrounding us. You walk out to find Badland features right outside the door. It was a pleasant surprise. I definitely recommend a stay to those who want the experience of South Dakota, its history, and the Badlands all in one place.
We had a really great night in the cabin! It's in such an amazingly beautiful setting, a mile away from the Amy and Phil's farm, by the river. It's really comfortable inside, we cooked our dinner on a camping stove we bought with and went to bed listening to the coyotes yipping in the fields. Its so close to Badlands National park that you can spend all day there and not have to worry about a drive home at the end of the day, and has a store selling everything you could possibly need in scenic, which is a 3 minute drive. Thanks for having us!
Had a great time. Thank you for your hospitality!!
What you see if what you get and that's not a bad thing at all. In fact, this was a unique experience to spend a night in silence far from the maddening crowd. And even though the weather was lousy, I was completely warm and dry. There are little to no amenities, but the place is clean. Just remember to bring food and water and some firewood. Also the drive back to the cabin is not bad at all and the ranch is close to the park. This is a much better choice than staying in the park.
I had a great time at the homestead! I personally loved being a bit isolated but being able to go up to the ranch if needed. I enjoyed chatting with Amy and Phil about the history of the cabin over breakfast. They also gave me tips on touring the badlands. Their kids are very friendly and sweet, as are their donkeys, cat and dog! Overall, a very welcoming family. Remember, the homestead is a cabin, therefore do not expect a hotel room. There are mice and it does stink like mice feces and urine. You can tell they do clean it but with a building that old, there is only so much you can do to keep the critters out. We had storms both nights (making us very happy we didn't camp!) so we weren't able to use the fire pit outside but we did use the stove inside. It was so cozy! I couldn't have selected a better place to stay in the badlands if I had tried. I am grateful that Amy and Phil are preserving a place with so much history and sharing it with people to make more memories. Tips: The trail to get to the river is behind the fire pit. There is a hook in the kitchen doorway that we ended up suspending our food from. Good luck getting it there, mice!