Monday, July 14, 2014

ingalls homestead, de smet, south dakota

we first heard about the laura ingalls wilder homestead in de smet, south dakota, from a friend because she visited with her kids last year. her family had read the little house on the prairie books together and then made the road trip out west. they loved it. while i never read the books as a kid (i know, deprived childhood), i am a big fan of history, historic buildings, and classic literature (the latter if only in theory). so my interest was piqued. turns out, the homestead is close-ish to my husband's family, who we visit every fourth of july.

so i gathered what little information i could online, then called and booked us a night in a covered wagon.

if you know me, you know i don't even like being outside on a covered patio in hot, buggy weather, let alone camping in it, so this was an enormous risk to my personal comfort. i am also kind of lazy when it comes to doing life experience type stuff, so this was a huge reach for my effort comfort level as well.

nevertheless, the history buff in me trumped the indoor girl. i excitedly announced to my family at dinner that night, "guess what everyone? we're going to the little house on the prairie! and we're going to sleep in a covered wagon just like the pioneers!"


that statement fell like a lois lane souffle. the first response was from my 8-year-old who said, "do we have to?"

but i am happy to report that after five minutes of being there (no exaggeration), the same 8-year-old hugged me and said, "mom, you were right. this place is awesome."

and it was pretty awesome. it was in the middle of nowhere. it was 74 degrees and sunny. there were no bugs. the wind swirled around us like a silk ribbon as we walked the prairie paths and swept every ounce of stress away with it. the place was pure detox.

and it was beautiful; i took a thousand pictures. i thought long and hard about how to whittle them down for this post, and in the end decided to show you the design-y ones since this is, after all, a design blog. and then i recanted and put in a bunch of skies and grass and my kids and some kittens. i do have a hard time staying on blog-topic sometimes.

alright, i'm going to stop talking now and let you enjoy the scenery.

homestead vistas:

our accomodations:

the dugout:

'laura's travels' exhibit house:

guarantee i was the only visitor taking a shoefie:

ma's little house:

barn kittens!! (aka the absolute best part because they totally let you snuggle them):

flindt's garage:

this is where i totally geeked out over a pendant light. oh good grief get in my house!

west bethany church:

obligatory pictures of my kids running in front of a door (and 'fluffy the kitten' who watched them):

little prairie schoolhouse:

 (because all good lessons end with tobacco...)

i have to admit that as i was taking those thousand pictures i was a little less than attentive to the actual history lessons going on in the various buildings, so i can't really tell you much about them other than they're pretty. that was enough though, right?

(and hey, if you got here because you googled the homestead and want more information about it, and by some miracle you're still reading at this point, please feel free to comment below and i'd be happy to answer any travel questions)!

bottom line is, go. you'll love it.

"i am beginning to learn that it is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all."
~ laura ingalls wilder


  1. ermergerd! joy proudy was just there a couple weeks ago and instgrammed pics of her kiddos that were to die for...this place looks magical...i so want to go!

    1. yes! magical...that is really the best way to describe the feeling there. so peaceful!! your little ones would love it.

  2. Laura, you are a girl after my own heart! I just recently did a modern day prairie girl basket for a silent auction at my daughter's school and Little House on the Prairie was heavily featured! This looks like so much fun. We will have to go. (And, seriously, with that light?! How much trouble will I get in if I bring it home?:)

    1. how fun!! yeah, for sure your family would love this place then. and if you take that light, i'll cover you! hahaha. i am seriously thinking daily about how i can get a replica for my office...

  3. Yup, just goes to prove I was right when I put "start a travel fund" at #3 on my list of things I want to tell my children and grandchildren. And the pace at this place looks perfect for just about anyone!

  4. They will never forget that trip! What a great experience! Also, the voice of your writing is so endearing. You are wonderful. :)

    1. aw, thank you so much steph! you are pretty darn wonderful too. :)

  5. Great photos!! I can't wait to share this with my mom, she loved these books as a girl! I'd love to visit someday.

  6. Oh my gosh, this is crazy amazing! I'd love to visit this some day. I've read those books so many times. My Mom actually read them so much that she named me after her.. I'm Laura Elizabeth. A little dorky I know, but it would be so awesome to visit!! xo Laura


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