Laura Ingalls Wilder Tour

During the first week of August, we celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary by taking the girls on their first long "car trip vacation." We chose to take the "Laura Ingalls Tour" because they so love to read about and pretend to be Laura and Mary Ingalls.

Our first stop was Pepin, Wisconsin, where Laura was born and spent a portion of her preschool years. Then we ventured down to Burr Oak, Iowa, where Pa and Ma managed a hotel after grasshoppers had destroyed their crop in Walnut Grove.

And then it was onto the famed Walnut Grove (Minnesota) itself! There we toured a wonderful museum in town and then headed out to the dugout site on Plum Creek. We marveled that we were standing on the site of their actual house, wading in the creek, and then climbing the tableland, all of which Laura described so well in On the Banks of Plum Creek.

The next day, we headed a couple hours west to De Smet, South Dakota, where the Ingalls family actually lived for most of Laura's childhood and youth. We saw several restored buildings at the museum site and the Ingalls home in town - a beautiful dwelling on its original site. And then we went out to the homestead claim, where the top two rules were TOUCH EVERYTHING and CLIMB ON EVERYTHING...directives with which the girls happily complied!

We drove back on I-94 and ventured to some non-Laura sites, including the Jolly Green Giant statue, the SPAM Museum, and Niagara Cave - all worthwhile stops as part of this grand adventure that we will all remember forever. :^)

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