One of my favorite things about blogging is when other people interact with my posts by leaving comments.  When I posted about my South Dakota relatives on Wednesday I didn’t know I would get such great stories from my readers in return.  It was definitely an unexpected bonus!  If you don’t normally read the comments, I highly recommend that you go back to that post and read them (click here).  Several people left some great family stories of their own!  Maybe you’d like to leave one too, it’s not too late.

Although my family’s farm is in Arlington, when we visit we usually stay about 20 miles east in Brookings, South Dakota with my cousin Yvonne.  Arlington’s population is 894, Brookings’ population is 22,943.  So obviously Brookings has a little bit more to offer.

Brookings is home to South Dakota State University as evidenced by the numerous people milling around in Jackrabbit attire.  It definitely has a ‘college town’ feel, but with a ‘farm town’ twist.  By the way, in 2015 Brookings was ranked as the safest college town in the United States, so if you have a kid that will be going to college soon maybe give this one some thought.  Although we’ve been to Brookings many times, Debbie and I have never really explored the place at all.  So we decided to change that last weekend and be tourists for a day.

brookings title 2

I have to confess, the addition of the title on that photo was a little tongue in cheek.  You see so many of these sorts of lists on pinterest, 10 things to see in Amsterdam or 1 day in Paris.  But hey, if you are ever going to be in Brookings, be sure to pin that photo!

We started our day with a visit to McCrory Gardens, a botanical garden and arboretum that is operated by the University.  They have 25 acres of formal display gardens and another 45 acres of arboretum.  Debbie and I only visited the formal display gardens, which were quite lovely.  I especially liked some of their more unique plant pairings, like these ornamental grasses planted with ornamental cabbage.


They had an area devoted to interesting color combinations too.

color combo

My sister really liked the sunflowers …

sun flower

and these ornamental grasses …

ornamental grass

I think Debbie’s garden style leans more towards a prairie garden with wildflowers, while I am more a fan of cottage gardens.  This spot with its little cottage and white picket fence was definitely my favorite.

cottage garden

After touring the gardens, we met back up with my mom and her cousins Elaine & Yvonne for lunch at a locally famous hamburger joint called Nick’s.  The burgers really were delicious!


Before heading out to the family farm for the afternoon, our cousin David picked up Debbie and I and we stopped off at the local winery that was on the way, Schade’ Vineyard & Winery in Volga, South Dakota.

Schade' winery

We admired their grape vines…


took a selfie with our cousin David (he was trying to help us improve our selfie skills, he says it’s all about finding your good angle, but I still haven’t found mine) …

selfie by david

and we tasted some wine, including some interesting local specialties like Buffaloberry wine (hmmm, no) and Strawberry Rhubarb.  All of their wines are made with locally grown fruit.  I did bring home a few bottles of the Raspberry-Apple wine.

In addition to the wine, I also brought home some sweet corn from the family farm and a chest cold.  The corn is long gone but the chest cold has been lingering all week so I haven’t gotten much done out in my workshop.  But I’m definitely starting to feel better today and the temps are supposed to drop back into the 70’s this weekend, so it should be a good time for me to get a few pieces of furniture done.  So be sure to stay tuned next week!

14 thoughts on “brookings.

  1. Brookings looks like a great little town. Loved seeing the grapes right on the vines. Wonder what Buffaloberries” are? The mental picture that conjured up wouldn’t make me want to try it!


  2. You’re having all kinds of family fun! Love the “Sully’s Irish Pub” sign (since my third boy is Sully). 🙂 My aunt lives in Brookings and my parents have been on a road trip to New Mexico and Colorado. They will stop for a visit in Brookings on their way back home, so I sent them the pic and said they should go there! My Dad’s side of the family is McGinn, Gallagan, Sullivan (hence Sully) and Murphy. Just a wee bit Irish. The winery sounds good too. Did you actually try the buffaloberry, or were you turned off by the name? Nice selfie by the way 😉


    1. We did try the buffaloberry wine and neither of us liked it. The strawberry rhubarb was not bad but I didn’t like the plain rhubarb wine.


    2. Maybe your Sully should consider South Dakota State simply so that he can hang out in that bar. I bet you don’t even like to think that far ahead 😉


      1. It would be a good option, but you’re right, I don’t want to even think about it! He could be the “Norm” of Sully’s 😉 Although by the time he graduates, Seth will be 57, so yeah, we’ll be ready, ha! Henry’s heading to the Jr. High this fall and turning 13 and I’m already sweating it!


  3. Glad you survived the car trip. Your visit to the botanical garden would have been my favorite thing. Never seen that many ornamental cabbages together very striking. Well that and eating a great burger. Love to have some of those beautiful blue skies you’re experiencing out there. It has rained everyday for the last two weeks. And the forecast for the next week is more of the same. It’s nice to have the rain to cool things off but it’s the gloomy and dark cloudy days that are starting to get to me. I’d like to be Bert from Mary Poppins and jump into your sunny photos.


    1. I loved the way the cabbages sort of flowed through the flower bed in a curvy line. Of course, one would need at least 25 – 30 plants to recreate that look which isn’t very realistic for most of us. Still, it’s a cool idea. As for the blue skies, we had absolutely gorgeous weather the entire time we were gone but today it’s a little rainy here. We’re expecting another beautiful sunny weekend though!


  4. Sitting here in the UK and longing for a road trip in the USA I really enjoyed your trip to Brooking with so many wonderful photos and interesting places to visit. Thankyou for reminding us that there are still towns like this still in existence despite what the media is showing us. I hope you are soon feeling well. Best wishes. Hilary


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.