Our next day was a whirlwind of sightseeing before heading back east.
The day started with Mount Rushmore. Essentially, you only pay for parking. The plaza and grounds are a self-directed tour and although crowded, the concourse is designed to handle the mass of people. We never felt closed in. Souvenirs are reasonable priced and Chris picked up a cap for less than $15. There is a museum in the lower level and a theater showing a short film about the design and construction of the monument.
After walking the path around the base of the mountain, it was lunchtime. We expected to be gouged and surprised that the food court offers a good variety of choices at more than reasonable prices. Our pot roast lunch, with two sides and a drink was less than $7.00 each and delicious. .
A bit of a drive through, and just outside the park, is the Crazy Horse Monument.
Chris was here as a child and it hadn’t been started yet. This is not part of the National Park Service and is funded through private donations. The entrance fee is per person (three or more is a flat fee) and there is a charge to take their char-a-bunk to the base of the mountain. If you are interested to learn about Native American culture, they have an extensive museum. It is a work in progress and when complete, the grounds are destined to include a college campus open to anyone but offering a free education to Native Americans.
Tours to the work site at the top are available during the week.
There are actually two antique stores between Mt Rushmore and Crazy Horse. Of course, we stopped at each. Interesting but no purchases made.
Heading east, we made a quick stop at Wall Drug. (For those familiar with Pedro’s South of the Border on the east coast, Wall Drug is the equivalent tourist destination. Lots of souvenir shops and eateries.)
Soon we headed out to the Badlands of South Dakota. Not knowing what to expect, Anthony thought we’d drive straight through the nineteen or so miles along the northern ridge, take a few pictures and be on our way.
There is a fee to enter and the park clearly states that you can go off the designated path but are not responsible for injury or death. “Beware Rattlesnakes!” signs are posted at several points throughout the park. The roads are very well maintained, wide enough for campers to easily pass and designed with plenty of pull overs / pull offs to safely get out of the car and take in the sights. For the adventurous, camp grounds are available and there is a bison reserve further south in the heart of the park.
Over four hours later, we exited with hundreds of beautiful photos and great memories of a natural wonder.
In all, a beautiful, hot, sunny, hot, long, hot, day. Our goal was to stay overnight at Al’s Oasis, a series of stores, restaurants, hotels and antique mall (Old West Trading Post) right off the highway. As all the hotels were booked, we ended up at the very nice and comfortable AmericInn a few towns over.
Bright and early, we hit the Old West Trading Post. We entered with low expectations of western gear and country goods. While they did carry those items, the majority was a vast mix of items of different eras and styles. They also had quite a bit of deco items and more than reasonable prices. We were tempted to buy more than we did. It is also much larger than it appears. Definitely a place to stop if you’re in the area.
Old West Trading Post Purchases
Another day of driving and we ended up at Antiques Minnesota, Burnsville, Minnesota. Purpose built as an antique mall in the late ‘80’s it is well designed with a good mix of merchandise with over 350 dealers. There were several items of interest and we purchased a repousse deco trinket box. The ladies on the counter were very friendly and told us about antique stores in Stillwater.
Following the advice from the staff at Antiques Minnesota, we drove to the Midtown Antique Mall in Stillwater. A large three-story building located in the heart of the city, it is well stocked and offers a plethora of merchandise at fair prices. We picked up two Fortune Magazines to add to Anthony’s growing collection and a lady’s travel case.
In true Driving For Deco style an impromptu stop brought us to the Hixton Antique Mall, Hixton, Wisconsin. As it was late, the store was already closed but seemed to have promise. As there are four other malls close by, we decided to stay the night.
The next morning we arrived just as the mall opened. The layout is a bit odd as it is a converted school. There are some “hidden” rooms, nooks and crannies that begged to be explored. It is easy to get turned around here and we needed to do some back tracking to be sure we covered everything. Many items at fair prices, Chris picked up a cute deco terrier statue, a Kensington casserole, and a deco-style polar bear statue. There were several other items we contemplated but ultimately passed on them. In all, a great find and well worth the stop.
A few blocks away was Village Peddler. Not a lot of what we collect but we did pick up a couple of Harlequin saucers.
Still a few more blocks away and we arrived at Cobblestone Cottage. A strange mix of new decorator items in a well-appointed entrance and then a bare-bones warehouse style mall to the side. The only purchase was some delicious fudge to curb our appetite.
Down the road a bit and we arrived at Millers Antiques and Auction Company. It seemed geared more toward mid-century, and automotive collectibles. We were tempted by an unusual etched glass accent lamp and a beautiful deco glass frame with a picture of Clark Gable but there were no bargains here. We left empty-handed.
Across the street was another store that just opened. A former dinner club, they have wine tasting available for shoppers. We don’t know if that is such a good mix. Please don’t drink and antique!
Back on the road we made it to original destination, Antique Mall of Tomah. A bright, clean, well laid out store with a variety of merchandise and fair prices. The staff was professional but unlike Antiques Minnesota, they lacked in a sense of humor. Anthony picked up a Eveready electric candle and Chris picked up a small lacquered deco box.
Another day down and long hours of driving, we were ready to pack it in for the night. Bright and early we were off again to visit an old friend.
Midland Arts & Antiques is a multi-level mall housed in an old factory and with little ventilation. Many of the dealers have thoughtfully provided fans to keep things comfortable. Prices are all over the place but we always manage to pick up a few things. This time, we walked away with two Westinghouse leftover containers, a Kent sugar bowl and a colorful deco cardboard candy box.
A not-so-easy drive across Indianapolis brought us to the Main Attraction Antique Mall. Medium sized with a friendly staff, it is bright and attractively laid out with reasonably priced items. Unfortunately, there was nothing of interest for us and we walked away empty-handed.
Another old friend, Exit 76 Antique Mall, was our next stop. This is a large mall and although we discussed many items we walked out with just a Harlequin saucer. While checking out, the salesman asked where Chris was from. Ends up that the salesman once lived in the same area in New Jersey. It’s a small world.
Next stop, Webbs, or rather, what was once Webbs. This store is under new management and now called Centerville Antique Mall. Large and on the rustic side, with lots of glassware and “smalls” at reasonable prices. Anthony purchased a couple of vintage Vanity Fair magazines and a deco painted humidor.
Off to Dayton, Ohio and the Antiques Village. Our haul? Two bound volumes of 1948 Fortune Magazine (each with three magazines) for the price less than one would normally sell and a hard-to-find Kensington humidor. This is another large mall so be sure to have your walking shoes on. It was about this time our energy started to wane.
Our next adventure, the Ohio Valley Antique Mall just north of Cincinnati. This store has some of the best hours for shopping convenience, 9-9. We did well here taking home a 1937 Philco Bullet radio, Silex Lido coffeepot, one 1932 bound Fortune volume (six issue), two 1940 bound Fortune volumes (three issues each) and two 1942 bound Fortune volume (three issues each).
Though our plan was to hit The Heart of Ohio Antique Mall the next day, we decided to call it quits and head home. This was great trip filled with many memories of sightseeing and antiques as we went driving for deco.
Chris & Anthony (The Freakin’, Tiquen’ Guys)
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