Always wanted to visit “The Wild West?” You’re in luck, it still exists! When you visit Medora, North Dakota, you will be instantly transformed because this REALLY a quintessential western town. This charming vacation oasis is full of historic architecture and is loaded with Western culture and fun for the family. It’s full of western saloons, book stores, and local stores full of western wear and fun knick-knacks. Theodore Roosevelt called this city and region one of his favorite places, and his presence is still visible all over this town, including names on buildings, shops, and statues of him on practically every corner. Not to mention the gorgeous National Park named after him.
We even purchased a “Teddy” Roosevelt to bring back home.
We stayed at The Rough Rider Hotel, named after the volunteer cavalry unit that was led by Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th President of the United States. Western charm meets comfort at this hotel and included comfortable beds and a large walk-in double shower.
In the lobby, you can enjoy sitting by a cozy stone fireplace surrounded by tons of books including the private library of Theodore Roosevelt and many books about this former president.
This was the first time we had a dine-in experience since COVID-19 began so we were super excited for this meal at the hotel’s restaurant and it did not disappoint. We had both breakfast and dinner here but slightly preferred breakfast, even though both were delicious. The French Toast and Omelet were standouts. There are also many handwritten letters from Teddy Roosevelt that adorn the walls of this restaurant, making it a most unique dining space.
The next morning, we got up early with hopes of seeing lots of wildlife as we drove through the Theodore Roosevelt National Park. This beautiful area is where the Great Plains meet the Badlands. We took the Scenic Loop Drive and enjoyed the landscape as well as the wildlife who live there. We spent time watching feral horses, adorable prairie dogs and white-tailed deer. However, the prize encounter was the behemoth king daddy bison who was luckily just chilling. Don’t miss the South Unit’s colorful Painted Canyon.
The Badlands Overlook is a great way to see the changing colors pf the canyon. Another historic place to visit is Elkhorn Ranch. We traveled through rain and mud and beside a pair of playful donkeys to see the Maltese Cross Cabin, where President Roosevelt once lived. Only the entry gate remains. After Theodore’s mother and wife died on the same day and in the midst of grief, he discovered this ranch where he built a cabin and would sit on the porch to read, write and enjoy nature. Visiting this area makes it obvious why President Roosevelt found solace there.
We visited during COVID-19 and we had a bit of rain, so we missed two popular activities of the region, the Medora Musical and the Steak Fondue Dinner. What is Steak Fondue? Huge steaks are stacked on a pitchfork, dipped in boiling oil and then grilled! Next time….