T-Shirt of the Month March 2017

When I post my video diaries I always get comments about my Laura clothes. No, not my period dresses, but my Laura Ingalls Wilder t-shirts that I wear for travel and Laura trips. I thought everyone might enjoy a closer look at them. So enjoy our new monthly series where we look at a Laura shirt each month.

Clothes are one of those things that I once kept as a firm line not to cross as part of my efforts to restrict my Laura collection to a reasonable size. That totally failed when I discovered how great it is to have a Laura t-shirt on when traveling. It really makes it feel like your trip has already started once you get in your car.

Nellie's Restaurant T-shirt
Nellie’s Restaurant T-shirt

One of the things the actual town of Walnut Grove has done to mirror the TV town is to call the local restaurant Nellie’s. On the show Mrs. Oleson opens a restaurant to give Nellie something constructive to do. It ultimately brought in the character who would become Nellie’s husband. The real restaurant doesn’t look much like it’s TV counterpart.

Nellie's Restaurant Exterior
Nellie’s Restaurant Exterior

It was on my list of things to do to eat there, but I hadn’t made it for several trips. When I finally made it, I made sure to buy the t-shirt.

Sarah at Nellie's Restaurant
Sarah at Nellie’s Restaurant

It was a fun mom and pop style restaurant. I had a lovely breakfast. I hope you make it on your next Walnut Grove trip.

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 on  FacebookTwitterGoogle+, LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

Laura and the Half-Pints

This is a huge update and rewrite to remind people that I’m onit like a bonnet. Are you?

Sarah's Notebook

I missed the debut of TV Land’s mockumentary “Laura and the Half-Pints.” I hadn’t seen it on their schedule when I found a reference to it being available on their website. I finally got it to see it. It’s funnier in concept than delievery, but I think “I’m on it like a bonnet” deserves to be a Laura fan catch phrase.

UPDATED March 4 2017

Laura and the Half Pints Screen Capture Laura and the Half Pints Screen Capture

“Laura and the Half-Pints” features a “band” in the style of “Spinal Tap” who feature prairie dresses and beards. All of them are named Laura. It’s a heavy metal band – with no fiddle. Their goal is “to bring the prairie to the people.” It’s strictly based on the TV show. Sadly the mockumentary quickly disappeared after its original roll out.

I was disappointed when it first came out because we didn’t have cable in 2006 when it came…

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Audubon County, Iowa

I couldn’t believe I finally got to see Albert the Bull.

Sarah's Notebook

The first half of my experiment worked, so I’ll be including photos a little bit more often from now on. The second half didn’t, but that will have to wait for another day.

Anyway, I was giving a program recently over in Audubon, Iowa and I wanted to let everyone know who much I enjoyed the trip. First, I should explain that we raise Hereford cattle (they are beef cattle, red with a white face, blaze down the back, belly, and stockings). So it’s long been a lifelong dream to see Albert the Bull, the largest Hereford in the world. This gigantic statue sits outside of Audubon in it’s own park. I thought I had seen some large cement Hereford bulls before (there is a lovely one in Minnesota on the way to Pepin), but I was wrong. They wouldn’t even look like calves next to Albert. He’s HUGE! The informational display…

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Top Ten Posts February 2017

Here are the blog posts that have had the most views last month. Take a look maybe there is something there that will interest you too. :) I’ve added a couple of extras this time because I like them and I removed one because the page and the post have the same information and I didn’t think we needed both.

Sarah on Ingalls Homestead in April
Sarah on Ingalls Homestead in April
Registration is Open for South Dakota Laura Ingalls Wilder Conference
6th Annual Laura Ingalls Wilder On-Air Birthday Party
February 2017 Laura Ingalls Wilder Events
Mary Kopsieker RIP
Laura Ingalls Wilder Events Around the Country 2017
In the Kitchen With Laura Project February 2014
Black Squirrels
Trading Card 2017
Where did Albert come from?
Registration is Open for CSAA 2017
Almanzo Farmstead Events Malone 2017
Homestead Images on Quarter
Oregon Trail the Game
Oregon Trail Again
What comes next?

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 on  FacebookTwitterGoogle+, LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

March 2017 Presentations

We officially kick off our 2017 Laura Ingalls Wilder event and program season. I just have one booking for March, but bookings are still coming in.

trading card 2014

I’m excited to start in State Center and it’s very appropriate to have In the Kitchen With Laura there since it’s the home of one of the best grocery store museums I’ve ever seen.

  • Gutekunst Public Library – State Center, IA – In the Kitchen With Laura – Tuesday, March 21, 2017 – 7:00pm

But even if there isn’t a program scheduled near you, it’s not too late. If you’d like me to come present near you make sure to tell your local library, museum or civic group. I’m really excited about my “In the Kitchen With Laura” program for this summer. If you are looking for a program, check them out.  Learn more here:
http://www.trundlebedtales.com/programs.html

And check out my brochure.

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 onFacebookTwitterGoogle+ LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

One More On the Way: Niland Cafe

I’ve posted about the famous Lincoln Highway (now roughly followed by US 30) before, but it wasn’t more than a few years ago that I learned there was a Jefferson Highway (now roughly followed by US 69) too that went north-south. (The Lincoln Highway goes east-west.) The Jefferson Highway had the advantage of a neat nickname. It was known as Pine to Palm. Where these two once mighty roads cross is the little town of Colo, Iowa.

colo-hamburger

Bypassed For Bigger Roads

Much like Route 66, in the dilemma depicted in Cars, towns that once made their living off travelers stopping found themselves drying up as they were bypassed and larger and newer restaurants, gas stations, etc were built to cater to the interstate traveler. These Lincoln Highway gas stations establishments were actually small garages – where they could fix cars as well as pump gas – despite being a lot smaller than those we know today.  They had a porch extending out from the building and usually featured those globe top gas pumps that are prized by collectors today. (Those globes lit up and helped guide motorists in at night before the days when it was always as light as daylight by a gas station.) One famous manufacturer of the pumps was the Tolkheim company that designed all sorts of pumps for various purposes right here in Cedar Rapids, Iowa – visit a display on them at Ushers Ferry Historic Village.

The Mom and Pop Cafe

lincoln-and-jeffersonNearby was often a mom and pop style cafe and sometimes the type of motel that was small individual cabins. You will sometimes see these buildings still there or preserved as museums or rotting by the side of the road. It’s much rarer to find one up and working. There is the Youngsville Cafe near the turn off 30 to Vinton, Iowa, but this is the only example I know of where you can actually eat in the real cafe (now themed with Lincoln and Jefferson Highway artifacts) AND stay in the real hotel. The gas station is just a regular type museum that displays artifacts from the two roads that you can view from the outside.

The pole above is inside the restaurant. It dates to a time before roadsigns when highways were designated by painting on telegraph, telephone, or electrical poles whichever were close to the road. The L is the symbol for the Lincoln Highway and the JH symbol is for the Jefferson Highway.

Cabin Type Motel to Stay In

This motel isn’t QUITE that old. This version of the motel was built in the 1940s as one of the first “modern” motels in Iowa which basically meant the cabins were smashed together in a row sharing interior walls. Six units were restored to resemble the 1940s period in 2008, except with updates like bathrooms, wireless access, cable and self-controlled heating and cooling.

Reed/Niland Cafe

Named for two sets of owners, Reed/Niland Corner was originally started in the 1920s. In 2003 it was restored to the 1940s and serves a roughly 1940s style menu. They advertise “hot beef sandwiches, ham and bean soup with corn muffin and homemade pies.” Plus milkshakes from a real milkshake machine.

http://www.reednilandcorner.org

I’ve stopped there twice and eaten there once. It’s worth a stop, especially if you’re tracing one of the routes or if you’re passing nearby on the modern Highway 30.

If you’ve read  A Little House Traveler, these are the types of places where Laura and Almanzo would have stopped on their journeys, so try it for yourself.

**I will note that service was not great at the cafe when we were there. They were understaffed. I understand that, but we were not offered any of the apologies that servers normally give to customers in that situation (we were there before a large group came in and only got a chance to order well after them). In fact, we were pretty much ignored for long stretches of time. I had to get up and walk over to the waitress for her to take our order. After we finished we had to wait a long time for the check even after hunting down the waitress again to ask for it until finally we gave up and asked at the cash register to get our bill. I have not had anyone else I’ve talked to about the cafe who had had this kind of experience, so we probably just caught them on a bad day, but I thought it was fair to say.

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 on  FacebookTwitterGoogle+, LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

Conference Tweets on Twitter

Attend conferences via Twitter.

Sarah's Notebook

twitter I am quite taken with Twitter. I love the conversations I have there and I think they really add a lot to both conferences you attend and those you only wish you could. While I really think you should join, you DO NOT have to read the tweets that come out of a conference or any other event with a hashtag, I take you through step by step in my new video.

Find my Twitter feed here:
https://twitter.com/Trundlebedtales

And as a bonus, check out this History of Hashtags (You Have to Sign in With Facebook):
http://www.marketingprofs.com/chirp/2013/12104/the-history-of-hashtags-infographic

UPDATED February 25 2017: I added a note, the Twitter logo, and updated my signature block.

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…

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