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Friday, June 2, 2017

Discovering S.D. Communities: Wessington Springs

When we moved to South Dakota, and I began venturing around the countryside as a reporter, I found so many great small communities with fantastic hidden gems. 
I'm featuring one of my favorite communities for the first of many summer outings my family and I are taking. In conjunction with Jacob's third baseball game, we took a road trip to Wessington Springs, S.D., a community of just more than 1,000. We arrived an hour early for the game, and I suggested we stop by Shakespeare Garden.
This amazing garden, up on a beautiful hill on the west side of town, turned 90 years old in April. It is home to thousands of flowers and gorgeous landscaping, AND the only structure with a thatched roof in South Dakota.

Derek and Jacob visit with Kathy Dean at the Ann Hathaway
Cottage in Shakespeare Gardens in Wessington Springs, S.D.
(Photo by Anna Jauhola)
A little about the history of the garden on a plaque as you enter the historic landmark. (Photo by Anna Jauhola)
The shining jewel in the garden is the Ann Hathaway Cottage, which is registered as a National Historic Landmark, and - of course - features the thatched roof. Unfortunately, the cottage wasn't open when we visited the garden. But, we met Kathy Dean, a community volunteer who was working on removing plants around the cottage to make a clear path for sprinkler heads. Dean is one of many volunteers who help take care of the garden and cottage, and was full of friendly information. 
The Shakespeare Garden's annual music in the garden events begin in July, and I'm excited to venture back to the beautiful town in the hills. The cottage will be open then! And I'm so excited to see it. 
Since we couldn't visit the cottage this time around, we took a slower walk through the garden to enjoy the crazy variety of flowers and plants, such as: irises, daisies, peonies, snapdragons, and hastas. The garden offers several benches for resting and viewing, a little pond with a fountain, and - my favorite - a tiny fairy garden.

This is one of two fairy gardens you can discover at the
Shakespeare Garden! (Photo by Anna Jauhola)

It was a fun treat to accidentally discover this tiny little village, complete with houses, garden furniture, fences, and fairies. I was just tickled. 
I'm pretty sure I could visit Shakespeare Garden a hundred times and still be excited to stop by just to enjoy its beauty. The people of Wessington Springs truly have a treasure hidden within the edge of its western residential area.

The grounds are open to the public during daylight hours. The cottage is open by appointment, but also during special events - like the music in the garden, which will take place every Thursday in July. 
Oh, one more thing. Thank You, volunteers, for keeping this amazing landmark in such great condition for the public. And to Kathy, who took time to visit with me and my family. We will be back! And on our next trip, hopefully we can take the day to see a few other places in town.

P.S. Jacob's game was awesome! He's on the Rookie team and they defeated Wessington Springs 25-15. Jacob scored a run and tagged one player out when he played second base! 

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