A New Chapter in Hot Springs, South Dakota

Moving can be a transformative experience, offering new perspectives and opportunities. Recently, I transitioned from the balmy atmosphere of Charleston, South Carolina, to the contrasting climate of Hot Springs, South Dakota. With the onset of winter and temperatures dipping to around 40 degrees Fahrenheit, the cold was palpable, especially as I watched a local high school football game. Wrapped inadequately, I quickly realized I’d have to learn how to gear up for these colder temperatures.

The main catalyst for this relocation was my 16-year-old son’s job and schooling prospects. The timing felt right, given that I work remotely and my lease in Charleston had ended. Although the shift has been drastic, I’m determined to stay optimistic and immerse myself in the local culture.

Mark Gingrass and his son att the Hot Springs, SD Bowling Alley called Winner Circle.
Mark Gingrass and his son att the Hot Springs, SD Bowling Alley called Winner Circle.

Adapting to a Different Lifestyle

South Dakota has introduced me to new climatic conditions and prompted me to reassess my social habits. Earlier, I was inclined towards frequenting restaurants, bars, and breweries. But here, I’ve found solace in quieter spaces like coffee shops and the comfort of my home. This change in environment has clarified my priorities and redefined my idea of genuine fun.

Wandering Bison Coffee Shop – A Haven in Hot Springs

Stepping into the Wandering Bison in Hot Springs, South Dakota, is like entering a warm embrace, especially when the chill of the South Dakotan air nips at your heels. Tucked away in the heart of the town, this coffee shop embodies comfort, character, and camaraderie.

First things first, let’s talk about the baristas. Olivia, Kailyn, and Ava are not just any baristas; they are the heart and soul of the Wandering Bison. Their expertise in crafting the perfect brew is paralleled only by their infectious enthusiasm and genuine warmth. Each visit feels like a reunion with old friends, thanks to their welcoming smiles and impeccable service. The owner, Heather, is

Now, onto the ambiance. The Wandering Bison exudes character from every nook and cranny. It’s the ideal refuge for many activities, whether hunkering down for a work session, diving deep into homework, or simply seeking a cozy corner to unwind with a book. The gentle hum of conversations, the soft tap-tap of laptop keys, and the comforting aroma of freshly brewed coffee create a symphony of sensory delights.

But the experience doesn’t stop at coffee. The food menu is a delectable journey of its own. Each item, crafted with love and fresh ingredients, complements the beverage offerings perfectly. Whether you’re craving a hearty sandwich or a light pastry, Wandering Bison ensures your taste buds are in for a treat.

In summary, Wandering Bison isn’t just a coffee shop; it’s a community haven. It is a testament to what a coffee haven should be – inviting, delicious, and bursting with character. In Hot Springs, missing out on this gem would be a disservice. So whether you’re escaping the cold, seeking a friendly face, or just in the mood for an impeccable cup of coffee, Wandering Bison has got you covered. Here’s to Heather, the heart and soul behind this beloved haven! Your community appreciates and celebrates you! Cheers! ☕🎉

Political Observations in a Red State

One thing that stands out in Hot Springs is the political atmosphere. Initial interactions indicate a general lack of interest in politics among the locals. Most people don’t seem to engage in political conversations as passionately as I might. Being in a predominantly Republican state has its own dynamics. Interestingly, many prefer not to discuss their affiliations, while others might drop casual political phrases or one-liners.

South Dakota, on the whole, leans conservative, and Hot Springs is no exception. The state’s Republican dominance is evident, with most elected officials aligning with the GOP. This can sometimes make it challenging for dissenting voices or differing opinions to be loudly heard. One observation about Hot Springs, and perhaps similar rural towns, is that many residents haven’t traveled extensively outside their known locales. This limited exposure can sometimes shape a narrower worldview, affecting political perspectives and opinions on national or international issues.

Recently, I became a registered resident of South Dakota and have chosen to affiliate with the Democratic Party.

A Glimpse into Rural America

Hot Springs is a far cry from bustling urban life. The community relies heavily on volunteers, given the limited official infrastructure like fire and police stations (there is a small police station here). The natural environment is close-knit, leading to a prevalence of hunting, fishing, and even occasional wildlife visits.

However, a notable observation is the limited exposure of the locals to the world beyond South Dakota. Many seem to stay within their state or even their district. It’s surprising to meet individuals who, despite being in their late fifties or sixties, have visited only a handful of states.

Despite the limited exposure, local Facebook groups paint a vivid picture of the beauty of South Dakota. The Badlands, Black Hills, and Needles Highway are popular highlights. But it makes me wonder if these admirers of South Dakota’s beauty have ever ventured to exotic locations like Colombia’s jungles or the Grand Canyon’s grandeur. Diversity in experiences shapes perspectives, and exploring other places can only enhance appreciation for one’s home.

Mark Gingrass at the Grand Canyon
Mark Gingrass at the Grand Canyon

Engaging in Politics and Community

Navigating political conversations can be a delicate dance. While I may have liberal views, it’s essential to understand different perspectives. While individual perspectives, such as liberal views, bring richness to the dialogue, they must be balanced with an understanding and appreciation of alternative viewpoints to foster meaningful conversations.

The economic dynamics between big corporations like Google or Apple and small businesses differ vastly. Finding a balanced approach that safeguards workers’ rights while not stifling entrepreneurship is crucial. Companies like Google and Apple, giants in their sectors, often become the focal point in corporate responsibility and influence discussions. Their vast resources allow them to shape markets, influence political agendas, and sometimes even sidestep regulations. The conversation around such corporations is nuanced. On the one hand, they drive innovation and offer employment to thousands; on the other, they can potentially overshadow small businesses and influence policy-making.

My time in South Dakota has emphasized the significance of community. The warmth and kindness I’ve experienced are unparalleled.

In Conclusion

This journey has been enlightening and filled with learnings and rants. Adjusting to a new place has challenges, but it is also an opportunity to grow, understand, and connect. Here’s to many more observations, rants, and experiences in Hot Springs, South Dakota.

Tour with mark – Cold Brook

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