Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Pepin Surprise

In July of 2011, Sharon and I took a Laura Ingalls Wilder tour.  We wandered from Pepin, WI (setting of Little House in the Big Woods) to Walnut Grove, MN (setting of On the Banks of Plum Creek) and ended up in DeSmet, SD (setting of On the Bank of Silver Lake & more).  Sharon designed pink tank tops for us to wear on the tour.  The front read, "Shaking Our Fist at the Storm." (Sharon and I love pretending we are Pa in The Long

Lots of available parking!

Sharon and I are both Wisconsin gals and couldn't wait to see what Pepin was like.  Our cheery mood was immediately dampened as we approached the LIW museum.  The museum was marked with a poorly painted, plywood Holly Hobbie esque cutout.  In the museum's entryway was a huge Mississippi paddle boat replica, reminiscent of Mark Twain and Showboat.  Sharon asked me, "Did I miss the book, Little Paddle Boat on the River?" There was no explanation why the river boat was there.  It just was.

We cautiously continued into the museum.  We found a definite theme.  There was lots of stuff, but none of it was authentic.  The "curator" had painstakingly typed descriptions of each item on index cards.  The cards had faded to a dirty yellow. 

There was a molting fur coat draped over a wire hanger.  Little bugs swarmed around the shoulders.  The index card read, "This bear skin coat is kinda like the buffalo skin coat Pa wore in Little House on the Prairie.  (Seriously, why was Pa always wandering off into a blizzard?  He wore the buffalo coat when he dug himself into a snow bank, ate all the girl's Christmas candy, and then discovered he was just feet from his family.  Imagine that!  Hahaha.) 

There was a wheat platter labeled, "This is sorta like the platter that that was rescued from the fire (in the First Four Years) but not really.  Sharon and I kept wondering, where was all the real stuff?  (Turns out it is all in DeSmet)

(Eydie didn't mention our fellow tourists who seemed to be totally enthralled with the displays.) 
Realtors, this little cabin is move-in ready--quaint
and filled with prairie charm.
Sharon and I left the nearly empty museum to visit a replica of the Ingall's log cabin.  The log cabin is actually next to a way side: so you can pee, walk your dog, buy a soda, and then take a ten second tour of an empty cabin.  We then dragged ourselves to Lake Pepin thinking a scenic view would lift our sagging spirits.  Nope.  There was an orange snow fence barricading the lake.  We took a photo through a tear in the fence.

Sharon and I still had time to kill before lunch, so we decided to do some shopping.  We went into what appeared to be a quaint shop full of extremely sharp cookie cutters and scythes.  As we turned to escape, the owner greeted us, wearing a leather apron and a tight vest.  (Yes Prairie Friends, he was also wearing pants and a shirt.)  He wanted to chat about his craft and seemed a tad creepy.  We backed our way out the door as Sharon talked to the owner in a low, soothing voice about how she used to rose maul wooden boxes.  (Actually is is spelled "rosemal", and the guy wasn't a tad creepy.  This guy looked like an axe murder.  I hadn't left our exact itinerary with my family.  If I hadn't gotten us out of there our bodies wouldn't have been found in years.)    

Luckily a good friend of mine (Thanks Keila!) recommend a fabulous restaurant in Pepin, the Harbor View CafĂ©.  The restaurant is committed to sustainability and purchases fresh ingredients from local famers.  Everything is homemade and delicious.  Over lunch, Sharon and I talked about how we could give Pepin a make over when we retire.  But for now, we will continue working towards the grand unveiling of our etsy site. 

Prairie Eydie

There is still enough time this summer to grab a friend and take a road trip.  Make some memories and have some fun!

1 comment:

  1. Ha! Years ago we took our then 8-year-old daughter on this same exact trip, minus the cafe which I don't remember seeing. We topped our day with a night at the Trempeleau Hotel--great food, lovely river view, six or so un-air conditioned rooms sharing one bathroom in the hall and a gazillion trains passing through during the night, about a hundred feet from our windows! Breakfast at a little cafe down the street was highlighted by a huge beetle crawling out of the bowl of jam packages, across the table and onto my plate!