Saturday, September 6, 2014

A Visit to THE Little Town on the Prairie Part 2

Welcome back to part 2 of my De Smet journey.  Our second day began with breakfast and saying goodbye to The Prairie House Manor Bed and Breakfast that we stayed at while in De Smet.  This bed and breakfast was once the Banker Ruth residence and is truly a grand home.  Our stay there was lovely and the food was delicious!

This photo taken with a tripod wrapped around a stop sign. 
Once we said good bye we were off to the Ingalls Homestead Laura's Living Prairie.  As much as I LOVED all of the history, family stories, artifacts, and being in actual homes that Laura lived in I really loved this hands on prairie visit.  If you have children this place is a must stop on your Little House list of places to go as everything here is hands on.

Before actually getting onto the grounds of Laura's Living Prairie we stopped at the Laura Ingalls Wilder Memorial Site.  Here still stand 5 cottonwood trees that Pa planted on his homestead.  I must say that I was in heaven.  Being where Laura once played, under the trees Pa planted, with the wind rustling the leaves and the sun shining through them I didn't want to leave.  It was beautiful and these photos don't even do it justice.

Our first stop at Laura's Living Prairie was the look-out tower.  On our way Katie befriended a little black cat who led us up the stairs.  Here we could look out over the land that was the Ingalls family homestead in 1880.  Simply beautiful.

The next stop on our tour was Laura's Travels Exhibit, the Dugout, and the Burvee Shanty.  The dugout mentioned in On the Banks of Plum Creek always intrigued me.  After going in this one I have a new respect for Ma and the family.  I can't even imagine staying in here for one night let alone many.  I'd take the shanty any day.

This original claim shanty was built in 1878. 
Inside the claim shanty.  This is a palace compared to the dugout. 
The hayroof barn.  There were even kittens, a rooster, and a calf to greet you in here. 
Ma's Little House and the Livestock Barn came next.  I could just imagine living in this little house on the SD prairie.  It was just perfect.  The livestock barn gave me a surprise I wasn't expecting.  I walked in and was immediately overcome with emotion.  The smell of hay, dirt, and livestock took me back to my childhood on my grandparents' farm.  I haven't been in that barn for probably 15-20 years.  I was brought to tears.  Funny how things happy when you least expect it.

This photo taken courtesy of the self timer and a stump of wood. 
Next, we took a wagon ride to the "Little Prairie School" and attended a class.  Kids would love this!  They can help lead the horses and wear clothes of the era in the school house.  Super fun.

Thanks for the photo Katie!

I had a little editing fun with this selfie. 
West Bethany Church was built in 1905.  It was a short walk through the prairie to get to it.  The clouds and sun just made for a beautiful photo.  I couldn't help but take one.

I have one last photo to share courtesy of Roland, Laura Ingalls Wilder Specialist.  Isn't that just a fun job title?!  I am so glad that Katie and I were both able to live one of our childhood dreams together.  If you have ever thought about visiting De Smet or any of the other Laura Ingalls Wilder museums and towns I would highly encourage it.  I hope you've enjoyed my little trip the the Little Town on the Prairie.  I know that I enjoyed it and I can't wait to go back with my boys.  Thanks for stopping!

If you've enjoyed my De Smet journey stop by Katie's blog to see her take on our trip.  She is also heading to a few other Laura Ingalls Wilder spots so be sure to follow her on her adventure. 

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