Sunday, October 11, 2009

Little House in the Big Woods

As a girl I read all the Little House books, and endlessly played 'little house' with my friends Clare and Laura. Laura always got to be Laura Ingalls because she had the right name. (No one wanted to be Nellie Olsen). I have copies of all the books and re-read them every now and again. I've read the first few books (before they get too 'girly') with the boys, which they enjoyed - I was surprised - they liked the accounts of making bullets, travelling in the wagon, and the stories about hunting!

I'm in Rochester Minnesota again for business. I left San Jose bright and early at 6:30 so ended up with an afternoon at leisure so I decided to make a trip to Pepin, Wisconsin, to Laura's birthplace.

The drive from Minneapolis to Pepin was gorgeous: I took the Great River Road, along the Mississippi until I got to Pepin. Lake Pepin, which the Ingalls family crossed while it was frozen, is part of the Mississippi River, and again, was just beautiful in the crisp autumn day.

Pepin itself is a very small town. It boasts a Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum, but it didn't really have anything of Laura's: just some contemporary stuff. The Little House itself is no longer there, but a replica is on the site.

The little house is indeed tiny, and still seemed isolated, although it sits on one of the main roads out of Pepin. There are no woods any more, the area is really agricultural now, but it was peaceful and pretty, and I was glad to spend my afternoon in Wisconsin.

Tonight there is snow forecast in Minnesota - I'm glad I bought my coat, but fear I didn't bring enough knitwear - what an opportunity missed!

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