Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Day Five

De Smet, SD
-0- Miles

Mum's car was fine. The owner of the B&B (Andy) had me pop the hood and he fiddled with the battery wires. That seems all the car wanted, much like certain people I could mention. *ahem* It has been fine since then.

First stop was at the museum/gift store right next door to the Surveyors' House. I purchased my tour ticket there ($8.00 per adult) and waited until our tour guide (TG) was ready. TG took an older couple and me through the Surveyors' House pointing out certain items and doing her spiel. We were not allowed upstairs in the Surveyors' House, but that was okay. They had a nifty set up with a mirror at the top of the very steep stairs reflecting the room back down to us.

The next stop on the tour was the Brewster/Bouchie schoolhouse recreation (it's a few steps behind the SH). It was pretty much as I imagined it would be. A few more steps and we were at the original school that Laura and Carrie went to school in. It had been moved around and used as a house, but it was finally bought by the LIW people and is the midst of being returned to its original state.

(For some unknown reason I didn't take photos of either schoolhouse. You can see a bit of the Brewster schoolhouse peaking out to the right of the above photograph.)

After the schoolhouse we got into our vehicles and followed TG to Charles and Caroline Ingalls' last home. You can see the upstairs in this house as there is a outside staircase. The interior staircase is too twisty and rickety for regular use. As it happens, it is only three doors down from the great B&B we stayed in. Those two homes and the schoolhouses are the only places on the guided tour.

After the tour ended Mum and I went to the Ingalls' Homestead. We, or rather I, didn't go to do the touristy stuff. All I wanted to see was the cottonwoods and marker stone at the site, so that's what we did. It's a very peaceful and pretty plot of land of about an acre. It was really awesome to see the five cottonwoods that Charles planted are still standing and healthy. It doesn't cost anything to see this area.

Last, but not least, was a visit to the De Smet Cemetery. Oddly enough there are no signs leading to it like you might expect with any regular cemetery (there are signs directing you to the Ingalls' graves once you're inside the cemetery). In spite of that we had maps and easily found it. Charles, Caroline and Mary Ingalls are interred there as are Carrie (Swanzey) and Grace (Dow). Also buried is the little boy of Laura's who died when he about two weeks old. I've always wondered why Laura and Almanzo didn't have any more children, but I suppose we'll never know.

No photographs are allowed in any of the homes, museums and gift shops. That was a bit of a bummer but understandable.

It was too early to have dinner, so Mum and I did a little driving around. We saw Lake Thompson but didn't go into the fee required area. The lake is much larger than I imagined it to be. The Lone Cottonwood still stands, alive, between Lake Thompson and Lake Henry. I didn't get a photograph of it as I didn't think about it until after we got back to the B&B. We also saw two pheasants which was the first time either of us had seen one in the wild.

We then headed back to the Surveyors' House so I could go through the gift shop. I managed to keep my spending just under $60.00.

A note about the Prairie House Manor Bed & Breakfast. Mum and I were in the bedroom with twin beds (Chantilly Lace). They were quite comfortable. There was a choice of several hot breakfasts that were really good. They have a total of six bedrooms with different sleeping arrangements depending on how many are in your party and if they want to share beds or not. The price of the B&B was comparable to a hotel/motel yet so much better. I can't recommend Andy and Jenny's hospitality enough. And no, they aren't paying me to write this.

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