A History Major Walks Into a Farmhouse

Being a traveling history major is the best thing in the world. I like everything about being on the road. I like finishing books at the bus stop (and buying more at every town). I like watching movies in the bus and wondering either what the start or the end of the story is. Best of all, I love ending up at random inns and motels all over the country.

Today, I ended up at this small place called The Daughter’s Inn. It is only as big as a house, which is not weird, because it was, in fact, a house. (Don’t you think that’s a brilliant deduction coming from a history major? Thank you. I do too). It looks and feels like a traditional rural farmhouse, with a wraparound porch and thick plank floors.

Being a self-avowed history freak, when I stopped by town to review the coursework for my masters in history online (did I mention that’s why I’m a traveling history major?), I passed by the library. Okay, no, I think my earlier paragraphs give away the fact that I would have passed by the library anyway. I will not even let you guess whether or not I stopped by a bookstore.

While there, I picked up a book on the history of farmhouses for no real reason. It was one of those large, coffee table books with a whole lot of pictures and small bits of random trivia.

First off, I discovered farmhouses in the United States are as old as the Colonial times. They were built in that squarish, straightforward fashion because, apparently, that style was easy for those old-time farmers to build as a family.

(I should add here that after reading that bit, I wandered around The Daughter’s Inn, knocking on the planks and muttering easy to myself).

The Daughter’s Inn is traditional in most respects: I’ve mentioned the porch, and it also had the dormer windows. The kitchen was gigantic, as fits a house that had to feed farmhands, and the large dining room has trestle tables (long tables with benches) rather than individual ones. This makes the design more German than anything, I think.

What makes this Inn different, however, is the presence of a tower room. The wraparound porch also has a small circle nook that adds to the charming design. Also, which is just me being nitpicky, the farmhouse is pale yellow instead of white.

I stopped the ghosts of the Daughter’s Inn (they call themselves the Souls, but they are so quiet and well-behaved I just call them the ghosts) to ask why there was a tower room. I recounted the history of the farmhouse, described its different appearances, then just went on to see if they would lose interest. To their credit, they didn’t.

The noisiest of them is Eoin, Owen to you commoners, and the most willing to speak. I had stopped them on the porch going in, so Eoin went back into the yard. The other three followed him. Eoin stopped at the edge of the yard, and looked up at the Daughter’s Inn, as if contemplating my history lesson. After a while, he smiled and came back.

“It’s The Daughter’s Inn,” he answered. (To my history major self, that was rather aggravating). “Would you like to come inside? Tea is at 4.”

They did tell the history of tea, so I am content.

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