Laura Homesites Open for the Season 2017

The Laura Ingalls Wilder Season has officially gotten underway again. If you plan a Laura trip before they open, make sure you call ahead. The homesite museums that are not fully open, may or may not be able to accommodate you by opening the museum, etc. or giving lists of what there is to see.

Independence, Kansas
Independence, Kansas

2017 Opening Dates

Pepin, WI – Opens May 12, 2017

Independence, KS – Opened March 1, 2017

Walnut Grove, MN – The visitor/gift shop stays open all year round with reduced hours in the off season. April 1, 2017 the ground open and the hours expand to include weekends. They add Saturday 10:00am – 4:00pm and Sunday Noon – 4:00pm. May 1, 2017 they expand weekend hours again to Saturday 10:00am – 5:00pm and Sunday Noon – 5:00pm. June 1, 2017 hours extend to 10:00am – 6:00pm daily.

Dugout Site normally not open until May, but this year it reopened this week. The date is dependent on weather conditions, if there is still snow or if it’s flooded it won’t open as early. Call ahead and check.

Burr Oak, IA – Opened May 1, 2017 MonSat limited hours through May. Hours expand with Memorial Day.

DeSmet, SD –
Memorial Society – Opened limited hours in January – April, expand to Saturday during May, and then go to 7 days a week June 1st.

Ingalls Homestead – Opened Memorial Day Weekend for regular hours 9am -7pm every day with activities from 10am -6pm. They host school visits M-F through May so if you plan on a visit before they officially open next year, you may not be out of luck.  Visitors are welcome to join up with a school group, but should call or email first to get specific times as they vary daily.  800-776-3594 – mail@ingallshomestead.com

Mansfield, MO –
Opened March 1st, 2017

Malone, NY
Opened Sat., May 27, 2017

Spring Valley, MN
Regular hours on Memorial Day Weekend, Sat., May 27, 2017.

Keystone, SD – Opened June 1, 2017

Vinton, IA – Since they are kind of in a different situation, being part of an institution that has to be open all year. They don’t have stated open hours, but will gladly give a tour by appointment. Pat Barr wrote “We  will give a tour any day Monday through Friday. They may call Justin Ruegg at 319-472-5221, Extension 1226 or myself at 319-472-5221, Extension 1110.”

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.

Packing Up: The Life of Laura Ingalls Wilder

I’m posting a more in-depth description of one of my programs each month.

Check them all out. Which one would you like to see most?

Packing Up 3

Packing Up

This was my first successful alternative to the General Laura program and it remains really successful. It’s slightly shorter than the General Laura program and includes more storytelling. It also offers even more chances for children to come up on stage to directly join in than the General Laura program.

It is staged for Laura as a young farm wife and includes props packed up in a trunk.

Program Specifics

It’s 1894 and we find Laura, Almanzo, and their daughter Rose living in a small house a couple of blocks from Ma and Pa’s Third Street house. Disaster and disease have pushed the Wilders around the country from South Dakota to Minnesota to Florida and back again. Now they are back in De Smet to regroup before they take one more fresh start in Mansfield, Missouri. Find a rich description of this time in the forward of the book On the Way Home and the short story “Grandpa’s Fiddle” from an adult Rose.

We find Laura a week or so before they leave going through an old trunk to see if there is anything they can leave behind. Each thing she pulls from the trunk reminds her of a story. Through these stories she tell about her life.

While it is a good choice for any age group, this is the program that I most often recommend to groups with a younger audience or to an audience that doesn’t have a lot of previous background on Laura. I can change the level the information is pitched at and I’ve presented it to great applause from early elementary school to adult groups.

Alternatives for Presentation

I appear in costume as Laura in the 1890s and it is done in the first person (I speak as if I was Laura).

This program can be done both with an accompanying PowerPoint presentation and without one when presented in areas where projection wouldn’t work well. When done with the PowerPoint which includes photos taken at all of the Laura Ingalls Wilder homesites and museums, it requires the ability to present in PowerPoint which means being inside, with electricity and a place to project. I can bring my own projector along or I can use yours.

For both versions I need a table up front and space to move around it.

The program is a live show so length can vary, but it normally takes between 45 and 50 minutes. I prefer to have at least 10-15 minutes for questions afterward, but that is optional and if I need that long, longer, or shorter depends on whether it’s a talkative group or not.

Sound interesting?

If this sounds interesting to you, ask a local museum or library to have me come and present Packing Up: the Life of Laura Ingalls Wilder.

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.

April 2017 Laura Ingalls Wilder Events

Sarah S. Uthoff, "In the Pioneer Kitchen With Laura Ingalls Wilder"
Sarah S. Uthoff, “In the Pioneer Kitchen With Laura Ingalls Wilder”

April is a big month for Laura Ingalls Wilder programs, but you don’t see as many events. We do have two this month including one I’ve been looking forward to all year.

South Dakota State Historical Society History Conference
April 28 – 29, 2017| Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Missouri Cherry Blossom Festival – Marshfield, Missouri – Reunion of the TV show cast – Alison Arngrim, Dean Butler, and Charlotte Stewart – April 27-29, 2017

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.

Top Ten Posts March 2017

Here are the blog posts and pages that have had the most views last month. Take a look maybe there is something there that will interest you too. :)

Laura and the Half-Pints
Travel Times Part 2 Disney Books
T-Shirt of the Month March 2017
This American Life Radio Show
Schedule of Presentations
This American Life Radio Show
Registration is Open for South Dakota Laura Ingalls Wilder Conference
Birthdays
Anderson House 2017
Cassandra Cooper Writes Another Book
Laura Ingalls Wilder Events Around the Country
Program Descriptions

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.

April 2017 Presentations

April is always a busy month for presentations and this year is no acception. Check and see if there is a program coming near you.

  • Clarksville Public Library – Clarksville, IA – Packing Up – Saturday, April 1, 2017 – 10:00 am
  • Clinton Women’s Club – Clinton, IA – In the Kitchen With Laura – Thursday, April 6, 2017 – 12:00pm
  • Roland Public Library – Roland, IA – A Day in a One-Room School – Saturday, April 8, 2017 – 11:00am
  • One-Room School Program for classes Monday, April 17, 2017. (Not open to the public)
  • Des Moines Public Library, Central Branch – Des Moines, IA – In the Kitchen With Laura – April 18, 2017 6:30pm
  • One-Room School Program for classes Wednesday, April 19 and Wednesday, April 26, 2017. (Not open to the public)

That’s it for this month so far, but 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.   Learn more here:
https://trundlebedtales.wordpress.com/booking-a-program
Find descriptions of the various programs available:
https://trundlebedtales.wordpress.com/program-descriptions

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.

Anderson House 2017

Unlike some other Laura homesite towns, Pepin, Wisconsin, can boast two motels and assorted bed and breakfasts, so you may not want to look elsewhere. However, if the Laura stop is just part of your visit and you’re looking for a place to enjoy the views and relax you may consider staying in the next big town to the south, right on the other side of the Mississippi River in Minnesota. There are a variety of places to stay in Wabasha (setting of the movie Grumpy Old Men) including a chain motel with a pool, but if you want something with a little more old world charm Anderson House might be right for you.anderson-hotel-by-permission3

Rich Heritage

Anderson House was built in 1856 as a hotel. It was the kind of hotel that even within living memory had the bathroom down the hall. This was the kind of hotel that Laura and Almanzo on their car trips might have stayed in. It was that kind of place full of period charm. It’s featured in both editions of The Little House Guidebook by William T. Anderson. One feature that it was especially known for was checking out cats for you to have in your room for the duration of your visit. It was even the subject of a picture book. How many places do you stay can say that? I’m glad I got to stay there twice during this period. Sadly it was no longer a sustainable model and with the economic downturn it closed its doors in 2009Anderson Hotel Ext

Fresh Start

In 2011 the historic hotel was given a fresh start when it was purchased by local business owners, underwent some remodeling and reopened to the public. Sadly the restaurant is no longer part of the business, but an expanded retail space and conference style meeting area is.

anderson-hotel-by-permission1

Plan Your Visit

Anderson House is now part of a larger conglomeration of various properties to stay in near Lake Pepin.

http://eaglesontheriver.com/lodging

According to their website: “The Historic Anderson House Hotel is a great place for a large family reunion and/or weddings. The staff has worked with large groups helping them get the right place to stay.” It’s right downtown in Historic Wabasha about a block from the Mississippi River. Even if you don’t plan to stay you can check out their giftshop for unique souvenirs of the area.

It is important to note that the guest rooms are on the second and third floors and an elevator is one update they haven’t made.  Be prepared to carry your luggage up steps.

All rooms now have their own private bathroom, central heat and a/c, and flatscreen TVs with expanded cable. Free wifi is offered throughout the hotel and rooms come with a complimentary breakfast. Some rooms even have whirlpool tubs and there are levels of rooms similar to a bed and breakfast. So personally I recommend calling when you make a reservation to make sure you are aware of and pick the right options for you.
Because tourism is rather seasonal there in the SE corner of Minnesota, the hotel is open from the last weekend in February to the first of November and closed over the winter months.
 anderson-hotel-by-permission2

Reservations

To make a reservation call 800-482-8188 or 651-565-3509 or book your room online.

Website
http://eaglesontheriver.com/lodging/historic-anderson-house-hotel

Online Reservations
http://eaglesontheriver.com/reservations

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.

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.