One of my family’s favorite vacations took us inside The Little House on the Prairie series. My hope that our family could share a story together and see it come to life felt a little risky. I wasn’t sure if everyone would be interested or if the places we were heading would be worth the stops. It turns out, one way to love a story even more (or at all) is to step inside, and traveling into the Little House books was pretty sweet.
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Note: This family vacation took us from Bloomington, Indiana to our final destination, Rapid City, South Dakota, where we spent time with family at the wonderful (affordable) Palmer Gulch Koa Resort. We spent one full day at each Little House location.
We listened to On the Banks of Plum Creek as we drove through long stretches of pasture and prairie in Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, and Minnesota. Once in Walnut Grove, we ate burgers at Nellie’s Cafe, saw Pa’s bell, dipped our toes into Plum Creek, and pictured Laura and Mary running up and down the tablelands, with plums in hand (they were thick).
We spent a morning in The Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum, saw movie props, replica dugouts, and unfortunately missed the annual pageants (or fortunately- there were no crowds in August. I hear that’s not the case in July).
The audio book and our travels to Walnut Grove complete, we popped By the Shores of Silver Lake into the cd player and headed towards De Smet, South Dakota.
The Ingalls Homestead in De Smet sits on the actual homestead Charles and Caroline bought and built in By Shores of Silver Lake. The vast land and various structures on the homestead are meticulously maintained. We saw the trees Pa planted, the slew Ma fears, and explored a recreated shanty, dugout, and cabin. We made jump ropes and corn cob dolls, washed clothes the old “fun” way (for a minute or two), drove a horse-drawn wagon, attended a lesson at the old schoolhouse, rode horses, played with kittens way past dusk, and ended our full day sleeping in a covered wagon.
Truly, we could have stayed in the stories much, much longer, but the time we had made our travels special. We spent our time together in story, in another family’s and in our own.
Let us know if your family has traveled inside a book and what you discovered!