De Smet: Day 2

We woke up this morning to the smell of a good breakfast coming from the downstairs kitchen. The bed and breakfast owners let you choose from a short menu. There was fresh fruit and a trivia book waiting for us. Of course Emily picked it up right away and started quizizing my mom and I. We did pretty good, but was stumped often enough to decide to go back and read some of the books again.

My daughter had ordered Ma’s Pancakes for breakfast. These were shaped into a bear as described in the Little House books. The owners brought a copy of the book with descriptive passage for Emily to read before eating the pancakes. It was a unique moment; one we won’t soon forget.

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After breakfast we hurried over to the Homestead. We wanted to get there early to have the place to ourselves for a bit to get clear pictures, and explore alone. Emily went straight to the barn to say hello to the cat. My mom and I went to the garden to see what was planted and maybe get some gardening tips. While close by, we also got some additional pictures in front of the Homestead house.

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From there we went to wait for the covered wagon to ride over to the school on the corner of the property. While we waited, my mom decided she also wanted to make a rope. Thd docent gave us additional information while the rope was spun.

Finally the covered wagon and donkeys came. (I think I forgot to mention I roped a faux calf during the first day on the homestead. This totally shocked my daughter.) We climbed on the wagon and away we went.

Once the ride got started, the driver asked the two youngest children if they wanted to drive the wagon, my daughter being one of them. She jumped at the chance as she can be a bit adventurous. Being her first time, she did pretty good and we could tell she was having a good time. Several people had a chance to drive on the way to the school.

At the school, there were dresses and bonnets for the girls to get dressed up. Emily, very reluctantly, and I mean very, finally acquiesed and got into costume. Of course, grandma and I had to take a picture to perserve the moment. A local teacher was our docent, describing what school was like in the 1800’s and the chores students were expected to do for the school. Another little girl and Emily got to have an old-fashioned spelling bee (Emily won!).

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On the way back on the wagon, I got the chance to drive the wagon for a bit. The donkeys had been a bit distracted on the way there, and while I was driving, they got spooked and wanted to take off. Luckily the driver was on alert and helped calmed them down quickly. I will admit I was ready to give the reins back after that since I had flashed on the wagon running amok through the fields and everyone flying about. The driver told me it was all fine now and I was doing well. So, I kept going for a little while on high alert.

The last thing, other than shopping at the gift shop, was to walk over to the church that had been relocated to the Homestead. It was a quaint old church we had hoped we would be able to go into. Alas, after walking through a mosquito infested pathway, we arrive to find it locked. Luckily we could look through the window to see the beautiful interior.

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After a quick lunch, we went back into town to make it to the tour of the Surveyor’s House, a replica of the school Laura first taught, the first school in De Smet and then the house Pa built in De Smet for Ma and himself. We couldn’t take pictures in the Surveyor’s House, but it was furnished with authentic and sometimes actual pieces from that time period.

Compared to some of the other places the Ingalls’ lived, the Surveyor’s House was a mansion. The house Pa built was also pretty good sized and most of the furnishing are the authentic pieces. Other than a quick drive out to see Almanzo’s Homestead location and tree stand, this concluded our last day in De Smet. We got back to the bed and breakfast during a rainstorm. I started reading the Long Hard Winter that evening and decided to finish it too. After seeing the Homestead and De Smet, it brought the book to life even more, which is why I couldn’t put it down until I had finished it.

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We left for our last leg of the Trail the next day, which will be the next post.

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