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Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve been a fan of the Little House on the Prairie series. The books, TV show… you name it, I loved it. I would dress up in my little calico dress and bonnet, imagining that someday I’d get to visit “Laura’s Town” (as I affectionally called any place related to Little House on the Prairie.) My sweet husband made my childhood dreams come true when we spent a morning in De Smet, South Dakota during a whirlwind 72 hours in South Dakota last fall. I enjoyed that trip so much that I asked my husband if we could add visiting all 8 Little House locales to our Bucket List.
Since we’re currently stationed in Iowa on a remote assignment, we’re taking advantage of living within just a few hours of 5 of the 8 Little House sites. After all, we won’t be stationed in Iowa again (because there are no active-duty Army posts here and our time in Recruiting is just a one-and-done deal for Andy’s career.) Ironically, the other 3 Little House sites are within a few hours’ drives of major Army posts, so it’s possible we may visit all 8 sites while Andy is still active-duty!
As part of our wedding anniversary camping trip, we decided to mark “Wisconsin” off our “Laura List” by visiting 3 locations: Lake Pepin, the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum, and the Little House Wayside.
Lake Pepin isn’t a lake at all– it’s actually the widest part of the Mississippi River. Imagine what it was like to cross the frozen Mississippi in your covered wagon as you move your entire house hundreds of miles away! (It gives me a new appreciation for a DITY PCS, that’s for sure!)
We also visited the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum in the town of Pepin. To be honest, I’m not much of a museum girl. Most of the artifacts are 19th-century era items donated from locals, with only 2 items related to Laura Ingalls Wilder (quilts that belonged to her and her daughter, Rose.) That being said, it’s still a neat museum, and I would recommend stopping in if you’re in the area.
My favorite part of the trip (and the one I’m going to focus this blog post on) was visiting the Little House Wayside. This cabin is a replica cabin of the one Ma and Pa Ingalls’ Wisconsin cabin (where Laura was born) and sits on the 3 acres of land that the Ingalls’ owned. The cabin is about 8 miles north of Pepin at N3238 County Rd CC in Stockholm, WI. (If you input that address in your GPS, it will take you directly to the house.)
Although most of the land immediately surrounding the Little House Wayside is now open farmland, to get a sense of what it felt like when it was the “Big Woods,” we spent an hour driving around nearby county roads through the dense forest.
The Little House Wayside is handicap accessible; accurate to the old days, the restroom is actually in an outhouse behind the cabin. There’s not a paved path between the house and the outhouse, so be aware if you’re pushing a wheelchair or stroller. (I can’t tell you if it’s a pit latrine or a flush commode since I didn’t use the facilities while we were there 😛 )
The cabin itself is quite small– just the living room, a bedroom, a smaller room (possibly a second bedroom or a storage cellar?) and the loft. I will never again complain about my “small” house that houses just my husband and me, as that tiny cabin accommodated an entire family! And to think, they had no heat, electricity, or Wi-fi! 😉 (This meme though!)
One of the things I found most surprising is how short the Ingalls/Wilders families were! Laura was 4 foot 11 inches and her husband, “Manly,” was just 5 foot 4 inches. For comparison, I’m 5 foot 7 inches and my husband, Andrew, is 5 foot 11 inches. Needless to say, we had to stoop inside the bedrooms!
I took the chance to sneak a peek at the loft. Again, it was pretty tiny!
For such a “little house,” it sure occupies a big place in my heart. (Excuse the cheesy joke– that was all Andy’s idea!) Seriously though, it was a dream come true to not only visit the Little House Wayside but to do so with my own “Manly” 😉
Did you ever read the Little House series or watch the TV show?
If you could transport to any era in history, which would you pick?
(You should already know my choice by this blog post!)