Friday, September 14, 2012

De Smet, South Dakota

A few months ago, we did a Little House on the Prairie road trip, just the four of us (yes, we took Peaty).  Yes, these crazy Texans drove all the way from home all the way up to Minot AFB, ND.  Mileage total of 4,100 miles!  Yes, that's 4,100 miles of prairie loveliness for this Laura Ingalls Wilder fanatic!!!

As a continuation from my post about our first stop on our own little prairie tour near Independence, Kansas...I did promise to write and share more about our prairie adventures!  After we left the The Little House on the Prairie Museum, we took a very scenic route through the Flint Hills of Kansas--a scenic byway I suggest you not miss!  Kansas commonly is thought of as dull, flat, and not very attractive.  I completely disagree with that statement!  We found so much beauty and peace while driving throughout Kansas.  Part of the beautiful Flint Hills has been preserved.  We intentionally took this scenic route so we could stop at the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve.  Unfortunately, we got there after closing hours.  But we were able to walk around the front of the premises and snap a few photos and take in what Laura's prairie once looked like all over millions of acres of the United States.  
Going through Kansas, I can understand why Pa (Charles Ingalls) and others followed suit to homestead this beautiful state.  Not a tree in site, for the most part, which made for ideal farm land.

We stayed overnight in Manhattan, Kansas--home of Ft. Riley and Kansas State University, aka: K-State.  Nice town!  We plan to stay a night or two next time we venture up that way again.  However, not without our mountain bikes!

The boys looking at the river, on a trail we found in Manhattan, KS.

We crossed into Nebraska, which is miles and miles of corn.  The architecture of the barns are quite beautiful, and they were everywhere!  The barns we saw seemed similar in Nebraska, South and North Dakota.  I am sure that is because most settlers were of German or German/Russian descent, and also Scandinavian descent (especially up in North Dakota).  In what I have researched, the type of barns that I photographed the most were the gambrel style which is indicative of a German settler.  I'm going to do another post on barns and share photographs that I took while we drove up north.

We finally made it to our destination, De Smet, South Dakota--the home of the Ingalls Family.  They were the first family to settle in the town of De Smet.  Laura would live here with her family until she married Almonzo Wilder.  Most of Laura's books in her series took place in De Smet.

We had quite the shock of arriving at Ingalls Homestead to high winds, dark clouds, and temperatures barely above 60 degrees!!!  BRRRRR!!!!  And to think we were going to tent camp.  We opted for a stay in town (only a mile away) in a nice hotel.  While we were disappointed to not be able to camp out on the prairie, we should have known that way up north it's way colder than Texas!

We looked around for a few minutes, and decided to secure a hotel room and get dinner.  The next day we went back and spent a few hours at the which I will write about in part two.  

And at this point, if you are still reading, thanks!  This was a long post!  But I want to share how wonderful this vacation was to our family.  You don't have to take a trip to a crowded, popular attraction to enjoy yourself.  I rather found it to be quite relaxing and amazing to take the back roads, to take in history, and to take out time exploring around different parts of the U.S. we had never seen.  Until next time...


Tesha said...

Oh my goodness that looks like so much fun! I love Little House on the Prairie! I probably would of names Shayla Laura if my husband would of let me :) So glad you had a blessed time together. Praying for you my friend!

Tammy said...

We live about 2 hours from DeSmet :) That is a long trip if you went all the way to Minot! Wowee! Looking forward to part 2 of the post.

kerry Beck said...

Thanks for stopping by How to Homeschool My Child. This trip looks like so much fun. I always wanted to do this when our kids were young, but we never made it. Now, I'll wait for grandkids to take a Ingalls vacation.


Debby@Just Breathe said...

Sounds like a wonderful car trip. I love trips like that and I marvel at the open space. The United States has so much to offer and see. Have a wonderful weekend and thanks for stopping over.


My girls are grown ... and I miss homeschool field trips. :)


Cherishing My Days said...

How beautiful, Shannon. I love your family pics at the state signs. :) I just love love love prairie. There is something about being able to see for miles.

Kelsie said...

I'm about a year late, but I just ran across your post because of a train of things off the Modest Mom pertaining to Laura Ingalls Wilder. I live in South Dakota (about 45 minutes away from DeSmet). I'm a huge Laura nut! Anyway, looks like you had a fun vacation! If you ever come back to visit us again, try to come in June or July. You can experience the Laura pageant DeSmet puts on every year. (The book it's based on rotates every few years.) They always do a great job! God's Peace to you!

Shannon said...

Kelsie... thank you for your kind comment! Yes, we missed the Laura Pageant. I'd love to go to that and Laurapalooza. So nice to meet another fellow Laura fan. Good bless :-)