Great Faces, Great Places

Meet Two Great Faces Behind Mount Rushmore National Memorial Today

Cheryl Schreier & Blaine Kortemeyer

Every year, over three million travelers make their way to Mount Rushmore National Memorial. This destination isn’t just one of South Dakota’s great places—it’s one of the nation’s truly remarkable monuments. Mount Rushmore is a special place for all visitors, and one that takes on different meaning and significance for all who see it.

For Park Superintendent Cheryl Schreier, she can still remember her first time visiting as a child. Even though she’s now responsible for managing the park, that same admiration for the sculpture continues to this day

Ask Park Ranger and military veteran Blaine Kortemeyer what he thinks of when he hears Mount Rushmore, and he’ll tell you all about the lighting and flag lowering ceremony. This nightly event serves as a salute to our nation’s veterans and those currently serving and is something all guests should witness.

While it has been almost 80 years since the completion of Mount Rushmore, the memorial continues to inspire guests from around the world. And thanks to individuals like Cheryl and Blaine, visitors can keep expecting this same incredible experience for years to come.

Read more about Mount Rushmore in the official South Dakota Vacation Guide. Download your free copy

Finally, you can learn more from local artist Burlap Wolf King, the musician featured in the video above. Watch his Open Mic video.

Cheers to this Great Face Who’s Crafting Many of South Dakota’s Best Wine and Beer

Sandi Vojta

Say hello to a fifth generation winemaker, brewmaster, and proud South Dakotan: Sandi Vojta. She, along with her husband and partner Matt Keck, own and run Prairie Berry Winery and Miner Brewing—both rooted in Hill City plus a recent expansion east to the vibrant, downtown Sioux Falls.

Sandi has made a name for herself crafting some of the most popular libations in the state. Whether it’s the sweet taste of their world-renowned Red Ass Rhubarb or one of the featured ales on tap at Miner Brewing, you know you’re getting some great. We think it has something to do with the locally sourced ingredients and South Dakota inspired flavors.

“Sourcing local fruits, local grains, local hops, local yeasts—that is top priority for us. That is what we focus on. We like to provide and we like to source local as much as possible. It’s part of our culture. It’s part of being ‘South Dakota.’”

When they’re not busy brewing up their next award-winning wine or beer, Sandi and Matt can be found exploring the outdoors, riding the trails on their mountain bikes, or catching a show at the Black Hills Playhouse.

Lovers of wine, beer, food, and pretty much anyone who loves having a great time, should make sure to include Prairie Berry, Miner Brewing Co., or Prairie Berry Eastbank in Sioux Falls, as part of their trip to South Dakota.

Read more about Hill City and the rest of the state’s winery and brewery scene in the official South Dakota Vacation Guide. Download your free copy

Finally, learn more about local artist Elsa Rae, the musician featured in the video above, by watching her Open Mic video.

The Top-Chef Winning Great Face Treating South Dakota to World-Class Confections

Chris Hanmer

Ask any South Dakotan where to find the most decadent sweets in the state (or anywhere on this planet really) and you’ll undoubtedly hear CH Pâtisserie’s name thrown into the mix. With their handcrafted chocolates, caramels and other luxurious treats—it’s easy to see why.

Opened in the spring of 2013, CH Pàtisserie is the product of Top Chef: Just Desserts season two-winner Chris Hanmer and his wife, Caryn.

While you may not think of South Dakota as the place to get European delights like French Macarons or the bevy of elegant pastries found on the Petit Gateau menu, that’s exactly what you’ll find at this tasty spot located in the heart of downtown Sioux Falls.

But before any of the accolades, gold medals, or Bravo series, Chris was just a kid working his way up in the kitchen. So how does one go from a 15-year-old, peeling potatoes in the back of a country club, to becoming a World Champion Pastry Chef and proprietor of one of South Dakota’s most acclaimed confectionary shops?

Just ask Chris.

“Something really spoke to me about working in the kitchen,” Chris explained. “The more pressure there is, I tend to get better.”

It's what led him from that country club in California, across the world and working his culinary magic at world-class hotels in Las Vegas, constantly climbing and to becoming one of the best at his trade. After Top Chef, it was his wife that led to Chris finding his calling in the land of Great Faces, Great Places.

“My wife and I decided it was time to start our own business and we just knew this was going to be the right location for us in South Dakota.”

If you’re a traveler with a sweet tooth, you’ll definitely want to make CH Pàtisserie a part of your itinerary.

Read more about the state’s food scene and the Sioux Falls area in the official South Dakota Vacation Guide. Download your free copy

Next Up: Backpacking

Photographer Carl Johnson traversed the Badlands for three days without a human encounter.