My Laura Ingalls Wilder Road Trip

A couple of weeks ago, I went on a road trip.

I have loved Laura Ingalls Wilder since I was 10 years old when I read the first Little House book. 

Although I can never meet her, I can visit her home sites or in some cases the area of her childhood homes.

I live in MO so I visit Laura and Almonzo's home place just about every year. I like seeing her adult  homes, but of course I wanted to see the others.

Independence, Kansas and the Little House on the Prairie Museum

First,  I went to Independence, Kansas to find a simulation of what her house on the prairie would have looked like.  Included on the site were buildings from that area and era.

The place provided a cabin fully  furnished (on the right) that Laura's family would have lived in (not the actual cabin though) and two buildings from that pioneer time: school and post office.  And there was a little museum.

Cabin life for pioneers always humble me. With the outside temperature over 100 degrees I was humbled even more imagining people living there. The cabin was actually cooler inside than the outside temperature which I was not expecting. But, it was still hot. I loved standing inside this tiny house imagining how pioneers lived.  I felt very grateful for my air conditioned home.

Burr Oak is a wonderful little township or village.  The guide was wonderful and knowledgeable about Laura and her family and their time in that area. I learned new things about the Ingalls family,their time living in a hotel and (Ma Ingalls) working at the hotel as a cook.

This is the hotel.  The Ingalls' family live here for a while. Ma Ingalls worked as a cook and of course the girls helped too. The hotel was a private home turned into a hotel. It is actually larger inside than it looks on the outside with its upstairs and basement kitchen.

Men travelled plenty (at that time) to work and would stay at this hotel. One humorous thing (to me) was that because there were so many men needing accommodations, the men had to sleep 3 to 4 a bed. Oh and the full size bed... was smaller than the beds today.  I still laugh imagining 3 or 4 men sleeping in those beds.

I've now been to three home sites if you count Missouri--and I do.

Oh and I always learn things about myself when I travel and they're not always pretty.

I learned:

1. No offense to my Iowa neighbors or Iowa's corn crops, but fields and fields of corn and hundreds of miles of road combined put me on the brink of insanity. I won't eat corn for a year and I mean it.

2. It's a given that I WILL get lost in a major way on every trip I take. Being lost usually includes back roads that may make you think--Deliverance

3. Don't touch your GPS screen accidentally. You can't always go back and entering your destination again may or may not work properly, hence, Deliverance.

4. I'm a better traveler if I eat very little food.

5. I'm a snob and like to stay in nice hotels and will not consider motels which I'm sure are plenty nice but had a bad experience once and I'm a snob.

6. I love my daughter even more (if that's even possible) for going with me even though she knows my navigation skills are sad.  It was very nice to have her along. Thanks, Dr. Lovely Daughter.

Have you visited a home site of one of your favorite authors? If so, who and what did you learn that you didn't know?



  1. I love Laura Ingalls Wilder! Thanks for sharing your pictures. :)

    Too much corn! Ha!

  2. Thanks for sharing. Lucky you to be able to check your favorite out this way,
    Since my favorite is still living I'm afraid a vacation of this type would be considered stalking :o)

  3. Hi Teresa .. love those sorts of places .. where there's a museum and replica items, or the old real ones .. and replica houses ..

    GPS & getting lost .. ?! Not fun .. glad you made it home! Thankfully for Dr daughter probably ..

    Lots of info and inspiring thoughts .. cheers Hilary

  4. I watched all the Little House on the Prairie shows and loved the books. Great memories from my childhood. Thanks for reminding me!!

  5. Never read the books, but I have seen the show. Sounds like some great history. And miles of cornfields would make me nuts as well.

  6. I love all of Laura's books and used to watch the Little House shows. And I live right here in MO and haven't even got down to Mansfield yet to see her home! I do want to go. Your trip to see the other homes sounds like fun except for the getting lost part! Glad you made it home safely.

  7. This is awesome! My mom and I have always wanted to do these LIW travels.

    It makes me break into a sweat just thinking about what the pioneers used to wear. Long-sleeved shirts and pants for the men and long-sleeved, high-necked dresses over multiple petticoats for the woman. All year long. Yeesh!

  8. This sounds like a wonderful adventure. I've never done a trip so organized as this, but I try to see places of interest when I can. Offhand, I can only remember going to Edgar Allan Poe's house in Richmond, VA when I lived there.

    I'm a nice hotel snob like you. When I was on the road I stayed in plenty of little off the wall places and some of them were very nice, but some were downright creepy and disgusting. I've found that you can't go wrong with a place like Marriott or the like most of the time.

    Tossing It Out

  9. Sounds like a totally awesome adventure, including deliverance. :) I'm so with you on miles and miles of corn. I once swore I saw the real scarecrow. :)
    Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

  10. What a great adventure to share with your daughter. I felt myself wanting to go, too. I love LIW, all her books, and am also fascinated and humbled by pioneer life. Did you make it up to MN? Maybe I'll start by visiting the site here.

  11. Miles and miles of pine trees with a tiny wedge of sky are what make me nuts, so I get the corn. It's hard to imagine the hardships from that time. I'm guessing later generations will think we lived through hardships, too.

  12. I just love her books. This is one holiday I may just consider doing. Thanks for the heads up.

  13. What a wonderful trip! It's amazing to think how hard these people worked and still they flourished. Awesome!

    One of these days I want to visit PEI and the house of Anne of GG :)

  14. How fun....well, except the corn fields in Iowa. I totally can relate!

    Too bad you didn't make it all the way up here! :-)

  15. This is a pilgrimage I hope to make someday, and reading your adventure makes me want to go even more than I did before.

    I love your list of things you learned - especially the corn. You are very funny!


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