Copan Lake was a good, central place to be for our next few activities. It was a decent stopping point as well, and it pointed us north a little so that we’d go through Missouri instead of Arkansas as we continued.
Do you KNOW who lives in that part of Oklahoma? The Pioneer Woman! One of my personal travel goals for the year was to make it over to The Mercantile, Ree Drummond’s fancy store. If you’re not familiar with her, she’s a blogger and star of her own Food Network show. And she just started a magazine. Oh, and the store. I’ve been following her through her various endeavors for years and years, even dragging a friend (hi, Melissa!) with me to a food show that came to town just so I could see her live cooking demonstration, hear her sing like Ethel Merman, and stare at her like a stalkery weirdo while she signed autographs for other people. Now that I’ve made myself look obsessed I’ll show you the photos I took of the bathroom at The Merc. That… didn’t come out quite like I’d heard it in my head. It’s too late to pretend that I didn’t take a photo of the toilet, humor me and have a look anyway.
They had real house-looking toilets, subway tile, lil’ hooks for your bag, paper towels in baskets, and wood everything. Even the baby changing table was fancy, for cripes sake. Look at that thing! It looks like a fold down desk you’d see in… a place where they have fold down desks. I guess that they ARE for baby “business.”
Ree’s photography peppered the walls in the whole building, and the bathroom was no exception. I imagine that the giant black and white canvas portraits of everyday life are some of her favorite shots.
The merchandise was as varied as a circus. You could buy a set of cast iron skillets, a wooden bowtie, and a stoneware wiener dog plate. Toys and sundries surrounded tools and decore.
They also sold Pioneer Woman brand jeans and those lovely flowing floral printed tops she always wears. All of this could be expertly wrapped at their gift wrapping station in the rear of the store.
There was also a cafe and candy shop upstairs. I had heard that the Pioneer Woman herself is found sometimes just hanging out up there at the cafe tables, chatting up fans and customers.
I had also read that some of the kids worked in the various areas, and her husband Ladd’s father sometimes greeted people at the door. This day provided no members of the Drummond family. *womp womp*
Look at these neat little tables! Every inch of this place was a labor of love.
There is also a restaurant inside The Merc. We weren’t interested in eating there, it was kind of early in the day and we have food allergies. When we left there at 10am the line just to get INTO the restaurant for lunch was all the way down the block. Grown people and small children were huddled together in blankets under giant propane heaters waiting for their turn to shuffle into the building. You’d have thought that Ree herself was in the kitchen cooking the food and hand feeding folks.
I’m glad that we got to experience The Mercantile. Who knows, maybe we’ll end up in that part of town again some day.
That afternoon we headed into Kansas to meet someone near and dear, more so than that Pioneer lady. It was Vicki!!!
I “met” Vicki about 15 years ago on a guinea pig forum called Cavies Galore. Once the forum dissolved we found each other as Facebook friends. She has the best status updates, by the way. Her long declarations of love on her children’s birthdays are some of my favorites. We’ve picked her homeschooling brain on several occasions (all FIVE of her kids are/were homeschooled). This was the first time we’d met in person and it was long overdue. She is just as wonderful as I’d always thought that she would be! We really need more visits – LONGER visits.
We met up at the Little House on the Prairie house just to make things interesting.
It’s actually just a collection of buildings on the site where the Ingalls family once lived. The current owner built a little cabin that may or may not look like the one Laura Ingalls Wilder had lived in when she was there. There was also an old post office and a little school house that had been moved to the property in an effort to save them from demolition.
It really was lovely! More new experiences and more new faces. I can only hope that we’ll recreate this wonderful day again soon.