A couple weeks ago my family gathered in De Smet, SD for a family reunion. I, of course, was beyond excited and found myself talking about Laura constantly. But in the world of Laura lovers and experts, that’s totally normal!
De Smet isn’t unfamiliar to me. I grew up less than an hour away and went to an old-school dentist there as a child. Oh, and, you know Laura Ingalls Wilder. I didn’t fully associate De Smet with Laura until I was older, but it’s still a special place to me.
We rented the lodge at Lake Thompson. It’s a former farm house that was probably built in the early 1900s. The land was privately owned until actually very recently. After the water rose on Lake Thompson (I’m told during one rain), the South Dakota Game Fish & Parks purchased the land to turn it into a state park. The other notable thing about Lake Thompson is that it’s South Dakota’s largest glacial lake at about 18,000 acres, so not small.
It immediately became clear to me how much my family enjoys books, which seemed so apropos a few short miles from where Laura Ingalls Wilder blossomed into a woman.
South Dakota is super windy. The wind’s force was on display during our visit. On day one, there was no way anyone was hopping onto the catamaran. Luckily, that changed by day two.
I didn’t feel an overwhelming urge to see everything Laura-related during this visit because I’ll be back. One thing I couldn’t miss, though, was the Pageant Play.
Skip and Barnum happily pulled visitors along; unfortunately we were pulled along by the mules, Molly and Dolly.
The play was fun, and Claire even payed attention. On the way back to the campsite, Claire practiced her words like Laura did.
Although it was hazy all weekend, we did get to see a pretty sunset over Big Slough, just like Laura saw!
All in all, it was a great weekend, that I hope to repeat again. And one final Laura moment, my uncle suggested we travel to the Ozarks in two years for the next family reunion!