First known as Hillyo, Hill City was the second town in the Black Hills in conjunction with the 1876 discovery of placer gold deposits in Spring creek. The town that bustles during tourist season only slows down a bit as it has something for everyone, from an authentic 1880 steam train to Teddy Bears to dinosaurs to wineries to great food to bed and breakfasts. 605 explored just a few ideas for a day in “the Heart of the Hills.”
HILL CITY EST. 1876
FOR LUNCH OR DINNER
133 E. Main St.
Alpine Inn is a Black Hills staple. This fine European dining experience is “steeped in mellow old-world charm.” Founder (or “Matron Saint” of the Alpine Inn) Waldtraut “Wally” Matush refers to the warm atmosphere as Gemütlichkeit.
Wally came to the United States from Stuttgart, Germany in 1961 and moved to Hill City in 1970. She acquired the Harney Peak Hotel in 1974, and after housing a variety of businesses, it became the Alpine Inn in 1984.
The world-renowned eatery on the corner of Main and Elm Street has been in the family for three decades, and now daughter Monika “is on the helm.”
Ethnic German and contemporary dishes are their game, including a large lunch menu that is known for items like Schnitzel (breaded pork served with German potato salad, sauerkraut, red cabbage, and German bread) and Reuben (grilled pastrami, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, and Thousand Island on German bread, or “Make it Red” by trying red cabbage instead of sauerkraut).
Sides include the famous German Potato Salad, Kaes Spaetzle, and German Bread, which are all Matush’s recipes.
Their “streamlined evening menu” simply features Filet Mignon (bacon-wrapped filet mignon served with a baked potato) or Kaes Spaetzle Primavera (German dumplings and Swiss cheese served with fresh vegetables and Texas toast).
Luckily for patrons, Alpine Inn is open year round (except for a few weeks in early January when they take a break for updates). Be ready for a wait, as it’s typically packed, especially during busy seasons.
“It changes, like right now it’s going down, but we still are busy on the weekends,” said Matush. “And if the weather is nice, people come from Rapid City on the weekends, especially.”
Don’t even think about leaving without ordering one of their 32 homemade desserts.
“You must try the Bread Pudding,” said Matush.
With the authentic experience and people, it seems there will be lines for decades to come.
“Oh, I love people,” said Matush. “I love to entertain, and [that] is how it all started.”
Open Monday through Saturday 11 a.m. – 2 p.m., and 5-9:30 p.m.
HERE ARE JUST SOME OF THE SPECIALTY DESSERTS:
»BELGIUM STRAWBERRY WAFFLE
A Belgium waffle, topped with vanilla ice cream, strawberry sauce, hot fudge, and whipped cream.
The Alpine Inn is renowned for its bread pudding, made with no raisins or nuts and topped with hot caramel.
»GERMAN WHITE CHOCOLATE MOUSSE
A creamy white chocolate mousse layered with golden pound cake, fudge, caramel, toasted coconut, and pecans.
French pastry layered with a Bavarian cream filling, lightly iced and drizzled with chocolate.
»TIRAMISU (ALPINE STYLE)
A light Italian dessert of golden pound cake soaked in amaretto, brandy, and cappuccino, topped with an Italian ice cream, and dusted with cocoa. [This dessert contains alcohol.]
OVER 15 OPTIONS FOR DINING.
FOR A TREAT
23835 Mill Iron Dr.
Located in the heart of the Black Hills right off of Highway 16, swing by and explore over 2,000 varieties of candy.
South Dakota’s largest candy store, properly named Candyland, is full of classic and current sweet goodies.
“We have a lot of nostalgic candies; stuff you probably haven’t seen since you were a kid,” said manager Wendy Bobbe.
There are also current types of candy to create new memories.
Feeling adventurous? Try something out of the edible insect section (crickets, worms, scorpions, etc.).
Still feeling adventurous? Stop by the soda section, which has around 140 varieties.
“We have so many different flavors of soda,” continued Bobbe, “from old to weird, like ranch flavored and ‘Pimple Pop.’ Of course there are also classic sodas everyone enjoys. There’s just a lot of different options to pick from.”
Some of the best sellers are chocolate-covered snacks.
“We have chocolate-covered anything under the sun, like Twinkies, bananas, bacon, pickles, licorice, strawberries, caramel apples,” said Bobbe. “Pickles and bacon are the most popular by far.”
Before or after patrons peruse South Dakota’s largest candy shop, they can stop by the café for drinks like an Americano, a Cappuccino, or an Italian Soda, and more.
Still hungry? Candyland has ice cream, like Mint Chip, Berry Pop Rocks, and Huckleberry, and Candyland makes its own fudge.
“We use real cream and butter, so it’s really delicious and creamy,” said Bobbe.
Along with other sections like licorice and popcorn, they’ve added a few new features.
“We just added in different jams, jellies, and dips, like barbecue sauces,” she said. “Also new are soup mixes.”
Get in to Candyland in December, as after Christmas it is closed through April.
But before you leave, stop by the “Candy Train” by the exit and throw in a quarter for one more treat.
Open Saturday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
TREATS WITH SANTA
Tell your Christmas list to Santa Claus December 15 from noon – 3 p.m. and decorate cookies or participate in a coloring contest.
10,000 TEDDY BEARS AT THE TEDDY BEAR MUSEUM.
THINGS THAT ROCK
156 Main St.
Cori Gallucci and her mother, Shari, started Things That Rock in 2012 with a passion for stones and gemstone jewelry. Wanting to go full time, Cori and her husband, Michael, recently bought Shari out and have become the new owners of the company, which focuses on wellness.
“We as a store definitely have an emphasis on the metaphysical property of the stones,” said Michael. “That’s sort of our bread and butter. You’ll find that every rock shop in the area sort of has its niche, or at least its specialty, and that would be ours.”
The store also emphasizes they’re more than “just another rock shop.”
Other product lines include salt and onyx lamps, books on geology and spirituality, singing bowls, meditation tools and aids, aromatherapy featuring essential oils, diffusers, and a fully-equipped beading store.
“We’ll be doing beading classes throughout the winter,” said Cori.
When it comes to their inventory, though, the couple stresses that they’re very involved in what’s on their shelves.
“Every item here is hand-selected by us, which means you’re going to get something of great quality,” said Michael. “It’s also something unique, and that’s the great thing about rocks, in general, is every single rock is totally unique.”
The store will be moving down Main Street next to the Hill City Harley-Davidson store.
Michael said, “Look for an expansion of [our selection] of herbs, the apothecary side to our business. There will also be more to come [at the new storefront] in terms of herbal supplements, more teas, and herbs for health and wellness.”
Open Tuesday through Thursday 11 a.m. – 5 p.m., and Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. – 6 p.m
DECEMBER 5 & 8
BRAIDED BOHO NECKLACE
DECEMBER 12 & 15
DOUBLE WRAP LADDER BRACELET
DECEMBER 19 & 22
Classes are free and are held 1-5 P.M. on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Everything for class will be available at the store (25 percent off), and you are welcome to bring your own supplies. They have six spots available and recommend that you sign up in advance: (605) 574-9096 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
1880 TRAIN STARTED BY WILLIAM HECKMAN IN 1957.
When you make a stop at Naked Winery and Sick-N-Twisted Brewery, make sure to not take yourself too seriously. That’s how owner Rob Livingston likes it.
“I think when you’re here, it’s pretty relaxing,” said Livingston. “We don’t take anything too serious. We make serious wine, serious beer, but we like to have fun and enjoy it; take the pecksniffery out of the wine and the beer tastings.”
The facility has 48 wines and over 20 beers on tap.
“[Visitors] can either do the wine or the beer together,” he said. “So if one person likes wine and the other likes beer, they can do both at the same location.”
As one could imagine from the branding, the names of the wines and beer go along with the same vibe.
A wine drinker? Have a tasting that includes Booty Call Sweet Blush, Cougar Semi Sparkling White, Oh! Orgasmic Cabernet Sauvignon, or Foreplay Chardonnay.
“Probably our most popular is our Burlesque Blackberry wine,” said Livingston. “It’s a very popular wine as far as that goes. And then we’re definitely known for our dry reds.”
Thirsty for a beer? Get a flight of offerings like Panty Dropper Porter, Nut Hugger, and Naughty Redhead.
Host private gatherings in the Tank’d Up Club Room, like bachelorette parties, bridal showers, birthday parties, and more.
You won’t go hungry, as the winery and brewery has a menu with items like Stuffed Pretzels, Stone-Baked Pizzas, and their house sandwich, the Norma Jean (toasted French bread, ham, provolone cheese, tomato, lettuce, onion, topped with mayo and their secret sauce).
Check out their website and social media for events, like the Naughty or Nice Party, Casino Night, and many more. Every third Saturday is Naked Comedy, which features local and traveling comedians.
“We have a comedy series, and we have murder mystery dinners, dueling pianos, or medieval dinners,” he continued, “or some type of dinner show the first Saturday of every month.”
Open Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. – 8 p.m., and Sunday 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.