Originally this blog showed up under Rock 'n Tree Ranch and was started to follow our journey as we traveled while mystery shopping. Over time it became very eclectic and hard to navigate. While all the old posts are here the new posts are separated out to numerous other blogs that you can link to on the right. Thanks to all my loyal followers
Monday, April 24, 2017
LAURA INGALLS WILDER HOMESTEAD, DE SMET, SD
there are many who do not know who Laura Ingalls Wilder, aka: Half Pint,
was. The “Little House on the Prairie”
books and tv series have been popular for generations.
This is the
second of the Ingalls homestead we have visited in all our years of travel
together. The first was just a few
buildings, no interpreter and very few information kiosks.
This one in
De Smet, SD was far from that. It is an
interactive location and well worth the rough ride down the dirt road to get to
We knew we
were in for a fun and interesting day when one of the first things we saw from
the parking lot were people riding in a covered wagon.
guest services center, complete with modern facilities should you need them, is
at the top of the hill near the parking lot and that is your first stop. They have a nice gift shop there where you
can buy the usual gift stop stuff including “brag rags” as I call the
t-shirts/sweat shirts I purchase as my souvenir as we travel. Of course I had
to have one. I adored all the Laura
Ingalls books as a child, including “Farmer Boy” which most people do not connect with the
Little House Books, but it is the story of “Manly” Wilder as a child.
Once you pay
your $12 fee per person to enter you are given a mapon how the place
is set up and are set free to wander the grounds as you wish.
We chose to
start at the interpretive center near the welcome center and work our way
around the grounds in a clockwise direction. To do so we walked past this watch
center contained some of the history of the Ingalls family, a covered wagon,
excerpts from some of her books and photos.
It was interesting to a Laura Ingalls fan such as myself.
the hill from the interpretive center are two styles of structures, both are
earth sheltered, one being a soddy such as the Ingalls had lived in for awhile.
was an one room cabin similar to another home they had lived in.
soddy you climb back up the small hill to a view of the barn, house and stable
that Pa built for Ma in stages.
This is the
area the interactive activities start.
The farm does have animals, which you are allowed to interact with. One group of teens were busy petting the
animals in the barn as we walked by and a cat watched them carefully through
its own private window.
life during that era are everywhere on the grounds.
entered the different buildings employees filled us in on the history of the
building or building replica. They
explained how the house was built in stages, how various items were made and
used and answered questions.
stable area you can learn how rope and corn cob dolls were made by doing it
yourself. A visual demonstration of how long it took to grind wheat to even make a single biscuit and a lesson on making hay knots.
If you have
read the series you know the family got snowed in with no firewood and they had
to knot hay to keep warm until the menfolk got home. To see the lessons given on site on these skills you can view our video here . .
You get to take the product of your labors
home with you.
This is also
where you get to opportunity to drive a cart, ride a pony or catch the covered
wagon to go to school.
school you are in a one room school house and are given a lesson on how classes
is over you ride the covered wagon back to the stable/garage. There is a church off in the distance as
well, but it was near closing time so we opted to not walk the long distance to
various photos you might have caught glimpses of covered wagon like structures
other than the covered wagon you ride to the school. These are overnight bungalows that you can
rent by the night to stay on site. There
were a few families there when we were that had done just that and said they
were comfortable, but basic.
If you are a
fan of Little House on the Prairie you will enjoy this location, or at least we