Monday, June 4, 2018

A Trip to a Little House (or two)

Books With Bean, author homes, road trips

We did many fun and amazing things on our vacation last month but one of my favorite was definitely visiting Rocky Ridge Farm, the home of Laura Ingells Wilder, where she lived with her husband Almonzo and daughter Rose from the late 1800s until her death . It was so cool to see the white farm house that is written about in the Rose years books but also see where Laura wrote the Little house books. On the property there are actually two houses. 

The first is the farm house where Rose grew up and where Laura and Almonzo lived for some time. This is the house talked about in the Rose year books and where Laura wrote the stories that would go on to become: By the Shores of Silver Lake, The Long Winter, Little Town on the Prairie and These Happy Golden Years.

The second is the stone house. This is a small Sears catalog house the Rose had built for her parents in their later years. This house is where Laura first began to write and where she wrote her first draft of her stories titled When Grandma was a Little Girl. Which would go on to become Little House in the Big Woods, Little House on the Prairie, and By the Banks of Plum Creek as well as Farmer Boy, a book about her husband Almonzo’s life growing up in upstate New York.

These houses were very different from each other but both very little. Not in over all size but simply in the size of some of the rooms. In the Little House Books Pa refers to Laura as Half Pint, and she really was quite small. Laura was just under 5 foot tall and Almonzo wasn’t much taller. As they made the Farm House themselves the made all of the things inside sized to themselves as well which made the house feel extra small to me since I am 5’ 9”. The counters were shorter then normal, the window seat smaller, and the beds positively tiny. I loved looking at it though. It was a beautiful house with some really cool things like a small library in the corner of the parlor which also has several amazing large windows the showed beautiful views of the outside. Also really neat was the kitchen with its unique cabinets and interesting pass through between it and where the dining table was. 

The second house, the Stone House, was a catalog house that was sized normally in proportions with taller ceilings and that sort of thing but was smaller in overall size at only one story. It was also less full of furniture because when the Wilders moved back into the farm house after living in the Stone House for a few years they took all of their new furniture from the stone house back to the Farm House with them. It was still really cool to visit, as it was where Laura first started writing her books.

Besides just the two houses on the property there is also a lovely visitors center that built in 2016 to replace their old, tiny museum. It has the gift shop and a small but well put together museum about Laura’s life and the life and journeys of her family in the books as they moved from Wisconsin, to Indian Territory, to Minnesota, to Iowa (a part of her life not written about in her books), and then out to Dakota Territory. There is also a section about Almonzo’s life and family during Farmer Boy. Besides just telling about the lives of Laura and her family, the museum had an amazing collection of artifacts that belonged to Laura and her family. From clothing and household items to Pa’s Fiddle and original hand written drafts of Laura's books which were really interesting.

Books With Bean, author homes, road trips

*note from Carol
We will be having a Road Trip post about visiting Rocky Ridge farm soon, so stay tuned for more Little House fun! 


  1. This sounds so lovely! Would love to visit the Little House sites - on my bucket list for someday!

  2. That would have been so interesting. I wasn't aware of how short they were.

  3. Almanzo's childhood home is kind of near where we live, so we've been to it--the kids (and I!) were so surprised at how smallish it all seemed to us--when you read the book, you kind of visualize this huge farm. It was really interesting to get to see it, though! :)