After our brief stop in Pepin, Wisconsin, we continued on our Laura journey to Minnesota. This included a stop at Sod House on the Prairie . This was a really fun stop! Here you can see several different types of housing that was common on the prairie during Laura’s time, including types of sod housing like the Ingalls lived in at Plum Creek. I remember when reading, On the Banks of Plum Creek, that Ma lamented at having to live in a dugout. Though Laura is a master of description, I still couldn’t wrap my brain around how this whole thing worked. Sod House on the Prairie filled in some of those gaps for me.
The sod houses had their challenges, but looked surprisingly more livable than I had imagined. It was a hot sunny day when we visited, but the prairie winds kept you feeling cool and inside the sod houses with their packed dirt floors, shade, and open windows it was even cooler. We were the only ones visiting at the time we were there, so we could take our time checking everything out at our leisure. Though this site does not operate as a bed and breakfast anymore(what a neat experience that would have been!), there are bonnets and aprons to help you get into character during your visit and to snap a few fun photos. The homes are furnished with period items to try out and explore as well. The kids loved looking through the braille books like Mary’s, sitting at the tables, trying out the beds, and climbing ladders to look in lofts. One of their favorites was encountering the free roaming cats and kittens that have made the houses their homes.
After Sod House on the Prairie we went to Plum Creek to see where the Ingalls’ dugout was! This was my favorite stop of the whole road trip…..I think. 🙂 It was amazing to wade and play in Plum Creek, knowing that we were truly walking in Laura’s foot prints! The creek is on a farm that is maintained in its natural condition. They have provided a turnaround, garbage cans and few picnic benches for visitors near the creek, and a foot bridge over the creek to reach the dugout site, which is marked by a sign. Other than that, you are welcome to climb down into the ankle deep creek and play in nature to your heart’s content. The water is clear, the trees are beautiful and provide a quiet little retreat where you can walk in the waters and look for pretty rocks or find minnows and frogs. We stayed here for a couple hours just enjoying ourselves. We packed a lunch as well to munch on. For that, we walked across the foot bridge to read the sign marking the dugout site and to see the beautiful prairie behind it and try to imagine where Ingalls’ beautiful house may have been. (To see many more of our pictures from this stop click here to see a previous post.)
Following our stop at Plum Creek, it was on to De Smet, South Dakota!