Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Spearfish: From Recreation to Relocation

Just three short weeks ago, I was packing up my car to make my big move from eastern South Dakota to Spearfish. I have been to Spearfish numerous times to see family in the area and for vacations. In fact, I have wanted to move here for some time. However, even with all my excitement, I was very nervous about my adventure with new people and new surroundings. I spent my drive out figuring out how I would battle my homesickness. I was thinking of things to do, ways to meet people, and planning when I could make my next trip back east. Well, after three weeks, I can honestly say I've hardly had a minute to be homesick. In fact, I'm incredibly excited about my new home and all the wonderful people I've met.

These past few weeks have been crazy, but fun. I have enjoyed the opportunity to tour a number of attractions in town.

I toured the High Plains Western Heritage Center. As many times as I've been to Spearfish, I had no idea there was something like that here. The museum covers a variety of subjects including: pioneering, cattle and sheep ranching, rodeo, transportation, American Indians, and mining. Peggy , Brittany, and their staff were very knowledgeable. There was so much to see! I know I'm going to have to go back a few times to take it all in. However, I particularly enjoyed checking out some of the early women's clothing they have on display. The Transportation Room was really cool too. They have the original stagecoach that ran from Spearfish to Deadwood!  Also, the tri-state view from the upstairs balcony is amazing!

I made it over to the Matthews Opera House and Spearfish Arts Center too. That was a real treat! Shelly gave me a tour of the Arts Center gallery. They have such a variety of artwork from paintings to photography, sculptures, jewelry, bags, etc. There's truly something for everyone.  Sian gave me a tour of the opera house. There is so much history to be told about that building. I would never have dreamed that such a beautiful place was used for packing parachutes in World War II, or playing basketball, or even a shooting range. Obviously, they've made some major renovations since then. Now, the Matthews Opera House is used for live performances, films, art shows, events, etc. I've already had the chance to attend one of their shows. My first week here, I went to see "Diablito Tango". It was great! The acoustics were amazing and they were truly world-class talent.

A visit to the Termesphere Gallery was a fun experience. The drive out to it was beautiful. Once I got there, Dick and Markie were so welcoming. I enjoyed looking at the termespheres though I didn't even come close to seeing all of them. For anyone who doesn't know what a termesphere is, it is a globular canvas hanging from a ceiling motor. These round works of art are an optical illusion. They provide an inside-out view of the total physical world around you on the outside surface of a hanging and rotating sphere. There are so many at the gallery! It was definitely worth the visit.

The D.C. Booth Fish Hatchery was another great place to tour. I've been to the hatchery a few times just because my niece and nephew love to feed the fish and ducks. However, this time Carlos gave me a full tour of all the buildings and the history. All the times that I stood out there, throwing fish food, I had no idea how much history was packed into all of those buildings. The Booth House, which was the home of the first superintendent, is a really neat place to see. Also, they have a replica fish train car, an actual restored Yellowstone Fisheries Boat, and the Von Bayer Museum of Fish Culture. There's a lot more to do there than I ever imagined.

I still have a few places left to visit and I'll be sure to give you the scoop on those as well.

Outside of all of my touring, I've just been enjoying the city of Spearfish. There are so many places to eat. Spearfish has over fifty restaurants! Also, the nightlife is great. I love that there's live music almost every night of the week. Flanagan's, Lucky's, Four Seasons Coffee & Roasting Co., Z Bar, and The Backporch B&B are regulars for live entertainment. The Bay Leaf has now started their monthly open mic night too, and Crow Peak Brewing Co. has special events pretty regularly. It seems there is never a lack of things to do here.

Aside from all that, there's so much to see around Spearfish. There is no better way to relax than a drive through Spearfish Canyon. The city also has a wonderful recreation path that runs just over 6 miles and connects the city parks and out to the mouth of Spearfish Canyon. Personally, I am enjoying that path almost every day when I run. With the creek flowing alongside the path, it's so peaceful. If you're lucky, you'll even enjoy some wildlife. I've seen a number of deer, turkeys, and ducks on the path, and all over for that matter. I know it's the norm for the locals but I still have to stop and take a picture to send to my friends back east whenever I see deer in my neighbor's yard in the morning.

I've thoroughly enjoyed the attractions, food, entertainment, and natural beauty, but Spearfish has something else that sets it apart from other communities, the people.  The people of Spearfish are a friendly bunch who have a certain pride in their community. I can't count the number of people that have taken the time to welcome me. I see this everyday with visitors too. Spearfish residents are more than happy to point travelers in the right direction or make recommendations on where to eat and what to see. They seem to know they found a great place to live. As for me, I'm very excited about my new home and all it has to offer.

- Cortney Slaight of Visit Spearfish, Inc.