Deadwood, South Dakota
The Iron Horse Inn was the only hotel on our 4-week road trip that had the bonus treat of being a hotel, plus casino. Of course that is only a bonus if you love casinos, which I don't.
And most of the people I know who do enjoy casinos, would not have stepped foot in this one. So that is why I am focusing on the horse feature. I do like horses and above the hotel door, there was a horse figure on the metal sign and an even more awesome carved horse above!
The inn, is on the left side of the building. It began as a 1-story feed store in 1893. Horse wagons used to load up in the basement and exit over a ramp, into the street.
Two more floors were added in 1896 and the building became a hotel in 1921. Later, the Wooden Nickel Casino moved into the adjoining building. It all looked pretty sweet, sitting on the edge of town, near the tree covered hill.
The side of the building shows the stone that came from a nearby quarry. Our room was on the third floor, third window from the right.
I know that, because when I zoom in, I can see the dirty window. A bird must have flown close by, on a windy day.
Small Door Leads to Grand Things
For such a big building, this was a modest hotel entrance. The glass block around the door was added during a renovation in 1937. Who knows how long ago the horseshoes were pressed into the cement.
When we opened the door, it was quite a jolt to be greeted with the 1970's pink and teal paint and shimmering chandeliers. I had expected a western lobby with saloon style decor. In fact where was the lobby? All I saw were glowing slot machines in the dim light. (Camera flash brightened things up!)
There it Is!
We turned the corner and found the little cage, where the woman clearly dealt with more gamblers than hotel guests.
I had a feeling the cute western "bank teller" look, was more about guarding money than decor. I was eager to get upstairs to our room and see if the stale carpet smell disappeared, as we climbed.
Up We Go
"Just one night." I easily assured myself. I had to laugh when we headed down the narrow hall, where the two end doors made a "V".
Our room on the right was 302. I couldn't wait to see what "$109. would get us in Deadwood.
What can I say, the room was cozy. The double bed was squished between the wall and a bedside table. The blue counter around the sink coordinated with fancy blue trim above.
The linens were fresh... I am a good tester. The window helped enlarge the room. However, I had to pull the shade down to cover up some of the unpleasant stain on the glass. Then I could stare out, longingly.
We gazed across at the Franklin Hotel, with the doric columns holding up the bar terrace. The grass is always greener. We headed over and had a drink on the terrace and even watched the evening "Shoot Out" on the street below.
Kind of hokey, but I won't be a snob. I'm sure there are some local thespians who don't mind the job. The Franklin was a step up from our non-gracious casino atmosphere. But it didn't exactly look to luxurious. That's not what Deadwood's about.
For a Friday night in Deadwood, it was on the mild side. We enjoyed wandering and then settling in, at the Saloon #10 for good people watching.
We ate a late and surprisingly good dinner, upstairs at the Deadwood Social Club. We made sure we were good and tired before heading back to our tiny room.
Gas for Breakfast
We woke, both surprised that we'd slept well. Where were all those motorcycles we'd expected to hear?
There had been no kooks stumbling down the hall. Our good nights rest, gave us confidence to try breakfast at Lee Street Station, which was connected to our hotel.
We actually enjoyed a decent breakfast served by the feisty and funny Tami. She gave us a list of her rules, which reminded us not to yawn or harass the cook. We enjoyed the view through the garage doors.
We also kept an eye on all the locals who came to eat and chat with each other. I didn't even mind the blinking and clinking coming from the casino entrance. Everything's more tolerable when you're heading out.
The best part of the hotel was the exterior stonework with the carved horse... even though his face does look a little terrified. But what will I really remember most?
I guess the cringe factor. Smelling the stale air and hearing "Celebration" and other oldies piped into the dim casino's atmosphere. It wasn't a comfy stay and I'm afraid I'll mostly remember that. But I'll force myself to focus on the horse!
My New Year's Resolution for 2014 was to start documenting some of the memorable overnights I've had in some very odd and curious motels and hotels. Like the adventures in my Dining Blog, I have learned to enjoy the surprises that happen when you step out of the comfort zone, far away from the well-known chains.
I began with a few entries recalling my very first home away from home memories from my youth. Then, I started sharing about some of the quirky and unforgettable motels, hotels and inns that my husband and I have discovered in recent years.
The best part about this challenge was making some lists with Don and getting on the road in search of new overnight adventures. I gave myself a 2-year goal to write up 90 stories and the goal was met. Now we just keep on adding!