Monday, March 29, 2010

Road Trip

Two words that will make my day. Road Trip! In this day and age of compressed vacations and sometimes reasonable airline fares, many people now abhor travel by vehicle for any extended trips. Not me, I was raised on family vacations where each summer my father would pack us in the car and we would see as much of the country as we could. No Interstates back then, so you actually got to see towns and local scenery. I remember driving Rt. 66 all the way to California and back. Even if it is just a one day trip, I enjoy getting off the beaten path and just driving old highways and country roads. so this past summer my wife and I took a road trip with some friends of ours. I look forward to the day I have plenty of time and don't have to rush, but like most people I only have so much vacation time and on this trip, I was trying to squeeze what should have been a month long trip into 10 days. So sit back and enjoy the view because we will cover a lot of ground.

June 11, 2009 we left Edwardsville and drove to Mitchell South Dakota. Why stop at Mitchell? Because it is home to the world famous Corn Palace. The Corn Palace is just one of those must see attractions that is a great piece of Americana. The World's Only Corn Palace is Mitchell's premier tourist attraction. Some 500,000 tourists come from around the nation each year to see the uniquely designed corn murals. The original building was built in 1892, and the current building is the third to be built, each being bigger and replacing the previous one. The Corn Palace is decorated with several colors of dried corn and grains creating murals. The theme of the murals is changed regularly. The building itself is used for several purposes including a basketball arena the local high school prom, trade shows, staged entertainment, and the Shriner's Circus.

Admission is free, and it is very interesting to learn how each year they redo the entire outside of the building with specially grown colored corn and other crop plants. The design is also changed annually. There have been an amazing amount of famous entertainers and politicians that have appeared at the Corn Palace.
Many unique events are held at the Corn Palace each year including the South Dakota State Basketball championships. USA Today Newspaper rated the Corn Palace as one of the 10 best places to watch high school basketball.
So what else is there in Mitchell. There is the Mitchell Prehistoric Indian Village. The Prehistoric Indian Village is an archaeological site where scientists are excavating a Native American village, believed to be ancestors of the present Mandan residing in North Dakota, that is buried near Lake Mitchell. The excavation site is unique in that it is enclosed by an Archeodome, a climate controlled building built over the excavation, that allows scientists to continue their excavation year round. There is also a small museum of Native American art and history nearby. There was not enough time to visit that site as it was late and we were leaving early in the morning. You could probably see all there is to see in a full day, but after driving 12 plus hours, we only had a few hours to see the Corn Palace.

 Mitchell is a town of about 16-17000 residents. They do have some nice historic homes and looks like many well kept towns I have visited. They did have a nice Cabela's store along the highway that was next to my hotel.
Although not your average storefront in the Midwest, you know you are in the true west when you start to see places like this along Main Street. I love it when you can go to the general store, saloon, and casino all in one stop. Heck, there is still a place to tie your horse up out front. So yes, Mitchell is my kinda town.

1 comment:

  1. What a great post! Thanks so much, and I'm glad to hear you enjoyed Mitchell and all it has to offer.

    SD Office of Tourism