A Lovely Bed and Breakfast
Just approximately 25 miles from Austin, MN, St. Ansgar, Iowa is barely off the Laura Ingalls Wilder trail. While there wasn’t anything on my life list to cross of in St. Ansgar it is a very well preserved and still active little town. Its active main street (complete with antique shops and a soda fountain) and neighborhoods of big Victorian homes (still with the large trees lining the street), look much like the old photo postcards you see of DeSmet, SD.
While I was there, I stayed at the Blue Belle Inn, a bed and breakfast that also serves as a tearoom at lunch time. The outside is painted in the colors of the blue belle flowers (probably closer to the Virginia variety of blue belles which is what we grow at home rather than the Texas version). The rooms are decorated after classic children’s books. If you only go for tea, you can tour any unrented rooms.
Anne’s House of Dreams
I stayed in “Anne’s House of Dreams,” after the book by L.M. Montgomery. Although the owners’ style of decoration seems to fall closer to buying things related to rather than creating a setting from the book, I did enjoy it. I should warn you if you want to stay in that room that it is in a smaller house behind the main Victorian which has some advantages, but it is also the room that is designated handicapped accessible, including the shower (which can be a wet surprise if you haven’t used one before).
The big news is that they have a Laura Ingalls Wilder themed room. They call it “Plum Creek” and besides many of the books scattered around they have a framed original Sewell book jacket and their version of Laura’s red velvet dress (not a very close one) on a dressmaker’s dummy in the corner. Plus several versions of quilts mentioned in the series are used as quilts, pillow, and wall hangings. You can see their page for the room here:
A final room of special note for Laura fans is the one for “Heaven to Betsy” named for the book by Maud Hart Lovelace, another SW Minnesota author who is also enjoyed by many Laura fans.
Other Laura Bed and Breakfasts
This is the third b and b I’ve found with a Laura room (the other two are in Tracy, MN and Springfield, MO) if you know of any others please let me know!
UPDATED April 8 2017: I added the headings, the signature block and made a few minor edits for corrections.
Sarah S. Uthoff is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales striving to bring the History, Mystery, Magic and Imagination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other greats of children’s literature and history to life for a new generation. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, and find her onFacebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.