Sunday, June 14, 2009

· The Tree House Loft

Above pictured is a pleasant—always cheerful—teenager comfortably occupying The Tree House Loft for four nights during the first week in June. Her parents felt that their daughter would enjoy having her own relaxing place. The Loft, with its half bath, is upper level in the Chessie Lee's Peas Suite, and is an optional space. This contented young lady is an avid reader, and found the shelving unit next to the bed useful. 

Most recent guests in the Loft were a sparkling young girl and her lively little brother, for three nights. They looked through the shelving unit to see between the pine posts behind it, to view the TV on the lower level. On the night prior to their leaving date, the excited boy told us that the pillows up there are like parachutes!  
(This had us rather curious, so after they left we went up to see for ourselves. Sure enough, Sam could imagine parachutes out of those pillows! And Linda noticed that the parachutes hadn't bumped into any flying birds as they went down—No feathers to be found.  :-) 
On the main level, the oldest brother claimed The Nook; while the youngest, 2-year old brother slept on an air mattress behind Mom and Dad's bed. On more than one occasion, the parents said that Chessie Lee's Peas was perfect for their family.

(Photo at top was provided by the girl's mother with permission to post. This family also loved the suite and said they will be back!)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

· Beaches / Trails At Sylvan Lake

Sylvan Lake
Harney Peak from Palmer Gulch Trailhead
If you will be visiting the Black Hills in late June through August, perhaps early September, chances are you will find the perfect climate for outdoor swimming! Sylvan Lake has a beautiful small beach, which, if it were visible in the first photo above, would be found somewhere between the elongated granite mounds on the left. 

Sheridan Lake and Pactola Lake both have beaches. One of the lakes in Custer State Park has a somewhat larger beach, pretty as can be. In Hot Springs you will find Evans Plunge, which is an indoor/outdoor facility warmed by natural 'hot springs', and features waterslides. Hot Springs is in the southern Hills (about 45 miles from centrally-located Hill City). Hot Springs may be approached via a scenic drive through Wind Cave National Park, where you might want to take advantage of the cool underground caverns. No doubt there are other splashy places around here, too. You might try asking some of the locals where they go for a swim!

Back to Sylvan Lake, it is certainly a favorite in the near vicinity of Hill City (approximately 10 miles), extraordinarily picturesque. The water goes from shallow to fairly deep in the designated swimming area, so probably something agreeable for everyone regarding temperature, not excessively cold in the summer months. The beach is also in close proximity to a trailhead leading to the top of Harney Peak (second photo above), extremely popular with visitors and locals alike...about a 3 to 4 hour hike. Amazing views up there!
(The peak is not visible from Sylvan Lake.) Another spectacular hike can be found below the dam of Sylvan Lake. It is the Sunday Gulch Trail and descends between massive granite mountains on concrete and boulder steps, with supportive railings placed strategically. 

After swimming and/or hiking one might expect a bit of an appetite. Conveniently near the Sylvan Lake beach, a picnic area is equipped with tables and fire grates for grilling hotdogs and other grillables. On the opposite side of the lake a souvenir store offers a small take-out eatery and an outdoor patio for picnicking. There is a fine dining restaurant nearby as well.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

· The Bear Den

... for children in the Bluma Madle Suite at
Mountains To Prairies Bed and Breakfast

The brilliant expression of imagination, below,
we show by permission of the happy 'campers'...

The two youngest folks whom you see at breakfast
created the above fanciful nest ...

Monday, June 8, 2009

· Tea for Two, and Three

The Mother-Daughter Tea Party of May 9
(see blog of Saturday, May 16)
was a happy and rewarding occasion.
A similar Tea was subsequently planned for May 16,
for the same mother...with another daughter!

The green pottery teapot is just right for two or three.
It was handmade by the daughter of hostess, Linda,
and helped provide a relaxed and casual atmosphere.

The mother's own heirloom porcelain
teacups and saucers were brought and used,
giving the Tea Party an elegant feel, as well,
to match their pretty attire.

Though mid-May B&B guests were coming and going,
Linda wanted to arrange one more Tea Party.
One (of three) arrived early, enthusiastic to help
with table setting and arranging fruit, nuts and sweets.
This was her Mother's Day gift to her Mom.

Memories are made of these things...

Saturday, June 6, 2009

· Kids at B&B and Smiling Bear Antiques

The children of 5-night guests in the Bluma Madle Suite
considered the suite's Bear Den a daily
vacation destination!

The children enjoyed an education
involving certain antiques (awaiting prices)
which were scattered upon a table in the dining room.
One of the children, below, models a wire egg basket.

The other child is learning the safety features
of an antique grater, which help avoid grating fingers.

In the photo below, the children have discovered
a series of concrete bear tracks next to the porch,
arranged for skipping one to the other.

Goodbye wasn't so easy after all!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

· Mickelson Trail Near Hill City

Just south of Hill City along the Mickelson Trail,
here is one relic of laborious pioneering history...

Visitors may also discover similar sights while
strolling north along the Trail.

Two springtime guests, in the Bluma Madle Suite,
enjoyed a walk on the Mickelson Trail before breakfast.
A short distance from Hill city, going north,
they spotted a few foxes at early-morning play.
They were fortunately quick with the camera...

No, that is not a contortionist fox,
but rather it is two fox pups,
one diving in and the other wiggling out.

Some of the locals who live next to the Trail
are unabashed beggars for affection...

And below is part of a Breyer horse collection
belonging to a recent 11-year old guest, 
who found a vacant shelf useful for corralling the herd.
She and her grandmother stayed in the
Chessie Lee's Peas Suite for 7 nights. Delightful pair!
The grandmother is an experienced, energetic hiker
living in the Colorado Rockies—
and while vacationing here,
she kept herself fit on the Mickelson Trail.