Schoolhouses for Laura

In honor of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s birthday – February 7, 1867 – here is a collection of schoolhouses from around the United States. Here are some of Laura’s houses in South Dakota & Kansas & Missouri, the Ingalls Homestead in South Dakota and in Wisconsin.

Laura Ingalls remains one of my favorite authors and historical figures. Happy Birthday, Laura.

sweetsimple

Road Trip Report 13

Brief notes on the trip, state by state, with sights, places, and photographs.

Wisconsin

In Wisconsin we drove south on Highway 35 from Prescott to Onalaska. Highway 35 is a National Scenic Byway also called the Great River Road that runs along the Mississippi River on the western border of Wisconsin. The hills roll through beautiful green, lush country. In between the small, mostly vibrant towns are gorgeous overlooks and rest areas with historical markers. This road truly made Wisconsin one of the most pleasant parts of our journey.

Entering Wisconsin.

Entering Wisconsin.

Most of the towns welcomed us with the population count on their signs, some under 100. However, these towns never seemed to lack something happening – even on a Sunday. Many have galleries that attract artists and tourists. Ice cream parlors tempt that passers-by.

One reason for taking this route was to visit Pepin, Wisconsin, birthplace of Laura Ingalls Wilder. We had seen her homes in Kansas, Missouri, and South Dakota, and this one in Wisconsin fit perfectly into our schedule. Pepin, Wisconsin is 0ne of the larger small towns on the highway. In town we stopped at the Laura Ingalls Wilder museum (free admission), which is mostly a museum of early Pepin history and pioneer days. However, the museum also had interesting Little House paraphernalia such as a Little House board game (who knew!?) and dolls of the book characters. It warranted a short visit.

Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum in Pepin, WI.

Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum in Pepin, WI.

From there we headed out 7 miles on County Road CC to visit the Laura Ingalls wayside, where there is a reconstruction of the Ingalls’ family home (the one from  Little House in the Big Woods).  The drive is enjoyable and the wayside is peaceful. The unfurnished log house is open to the public. Surrounding corn fields and rural farm country enable visitors to imagine what Laura might have seen in her childhood days.

Historical marker at the wayside.

Historical marker at the wayside.

Little house reconstruction.

Little house reconstruction.

Side/rear view.

Side/rear view.

The interior. This is the loft where the Ingalls girls slept.

The interior. This is the loft where the Ingalls girls slept.

Cornfields behind the house.

Corn fields behind the house.

Another corn field view.

Another corn field view.

If you are in the area, Pepin is definitely worth a visit, as is the 7 mile drive to the Laura Ingalls wayside. You’ll have to drive back to Pepin to find a highway. Before you leave town, get a cup of coffee at Grand River Roasters. It’s excellent. The snacks are delicious and there is wi-fi.

We continued on WI-35 for a while, enjoying the views and the many towns. Eventually we had to veer off and head towards the interstate. Why an interstate? We had an important mission in Milwaukee, WI that we didn’t want to miss.  That story is tomorrow’s post. It’s my favorite part of the trip.

Road Trip Report 11

Brief notes on the trip, state by state, with sights, places, and photographs.

Upper Peninsula, Michigan & Wisconsin

After leaving Mackinaw City, Michigan we drove over the Mackinac Bridge to the Upper Peninsula (U.P.) of Michigan.  (In this post, the U.P. and Wisconsin are combined because it was a full day of driving for us.)

After we crossed the Mackinac Bridge.

After we crossed the Mackinac Bridge.

Unfortunately it was a rather dreary day, though we were glad it was a planned driving day and not an outside sight seeing day.  We drove US-2 across the U.P. Along the way we saw many, many advertisements for pasties (pronoucned “pass-ties, I think) which are a signature U.P. breakfast.  It’s sort of like a handheld breakfast pie with sausage, bacon, cheese, eggs, and other meat depending on the recipe. Much of the route passed along Lake Michigan and through the Hiawatha and Ottawa National Forests. We passed many abandoned motor courts and through small crossroad towns. One of the biggest towns was Manistique, where we had breakfast at the Cedar Street Cafe.

Pasties everywhere in the U.P.

Pasties everywhere in the U.P.

Although this picture doesn't offer much proof, it was a beautiful view, especially when the sun was shining.

Although this picture doesn't offer much proof, it was a beautiful view, especially when the sun was shining.

Almost missed it. Wisconsin seems to hide its welcome signs (at least out of drive by photography range).

Almost missed it. Wisconsin seems to hide its welcome signs (at least out of drive by photography range).

Wisconsin was just as dreary in terms of the weather, but we soon entered farm country where there are beautiful big, red barns everywhere. US-41 took us to WI-64, with our destination of Brunet Island State Park in Cornell, Wisconsin. We did enjoy the farm country, even with the rain. I could look at barns all day long. One of our favorite parts of the day was towards the end. We needed groceries for camping. Based on the size of the dot for the town on the map, it looked like Medford, WI was the biggest stop before Cornell. Hoping for the best we turned off WI-64 when we saw a “County Market” sign.  As it turns out, we stumbled upon a community owned supermarket! It was as big as normal (chain) grocery stores, clean, well stocked, organized, affordable. We were psyched, especially because we hadn’t found any local grocery stores on our travels yet.

Farm along WI-64.

Farm along WI-64.

As we approached Brunet Island State Park, the sun started to shine before setting for the day. And it was the perfect evening for a campfire!

Hooray for sun!

Hooray for sun!

So it may not have been the most exciting road trip day, but we were still glad to see more of the Great Lakes region.

Next up: Minneapolis, MN!