One evening, Rhonda and Bill Swenson were spending quality time together, having only been dating for six months.
Bill turned to Rhonda and asked, “What do you think about a bed and breakfast?”
Rhonda imagined going on a trip and spending time with him at one. “That sounds like fun,” she said.
Bill thought about the house he had just inherited, conceptualizing the Spearfish Bed & Breakfast. “Yeah, I think it’d be a good location.”
Rhonda paused, her dreams of being pampered dashed. “Oh, you mean for the house? Yeah, it would be. It’d be a lot of work.”
Outside of Spearfish, the 1920 house saw Bill and his brothers grow up. At the time, it was only a three-bedroom, one-bathroom house.
Today it has five bedrooms and six bathrooms.
“You cook?” Rhonda asked. He had never cooked for her.
“No, you do,” he said.
“In three minutes’ time, I went from getting to go to a bed and breakfast to running one,” said Rhonda, laughing at the memory.
They began renovating the house, dedicating hours of work every day for four and a half years. They did everything themselves, save for new heating and air conditioning.
“We tore everything out,” Rhonda said. “We did all the plumbing, all the electrical. We took it down to the bare bones.”
During the day, they did contract work for others before coming home to put in more time on their own project.
After plenty of trial and error, Rhonda says they arrived at the final layout through a concept made from two-by-fours on the floor.
“The house isn’t that big from the outside, and people are always shocked when they come in as to how we were able to fit everything,” she said.
In the end, each of the five bedrooms had their own bathroom plus one extra.
Spearfish Bed & Breakfast opened up in 2014.
Stay in Solitude
Four of those bedrooms and bathrooms are available for renters, each named for something historical in the area.
“We try to give everybody a dose of history of the area while they’re here,” said Rhonda.
Every room has a queen-size bed, a tv, a mini-fridge, a private bathroom, and soundproofing.
On the main floor, Lookout Landing is handicap accessible.
“We named that one lookout landing because you’re looking out at Lookout Mountain from the window,” said Rhonda, explaining that the lookouts kept settlers safe back in the day.
Upstairs are three more rooms: Wheels Up, Lucky Boy, and a suite, Robbers Roost.
Rhonda says Wheels Up is a favorite amongst pilots for the aerial décor and the view: the runway at a nearby airport.
Lucky Boy is the smallest room, named for a mining company that had a gold claim on the property. This is also the most popular amongst travelers that simply need a place to sleep.
“It’s for people who are looking for a place to shower, sleep, and relax while they’re here,” she said.
The largest of the bunch, Robbers Roost, features a private deck and a view of Robbers Roost, a spot along the ridge where thieves would historically hide out.
Breakfast, Country Style
“I do a big country breakfast,” said Rhonda.
Every morning, the breakfast varies. Some of the main features are french toast, biscuits and gravy, pancakes, and omelets in a bowl.
“Someone else is going to clean up the table, and you just get to go out and have fun.”
The meal is always served with either sausage or bacon, fresh fruit, yogurt, juice, and coffee.
“I do everything from scratch,” she said. “I was taught from my mom and my grandma.”
Cowbells to Wedding Bells
When the house was such a hit, the Swensons decided to tackle something new.
“The barn was built in 1906,” explained Rhonda. “We’re remodeling it. We wanted to keep the barn around because that’s historic as well.”
The barn will be an event space for things like small weddings.
Sit back and relax in the hot tub or the two-person sauna on the property.
And if that goes well, Rhonda says, they may add five summer cabins on the property, transitioning from a bed and breakfast to a specialty resort.
“People that come to stay with us come for the quiet,” said Rhonda.
And they want it to stay that way.
Rhonda left off with, “We want you to feel like you’re at home.”
For more information, visit spearfishbedandbreakfast.com.