Sunday, September 22, 2019

Visiting Rocky Ridge Farm in Costume

As a child I read all the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Of course I did, that's really no surprise. I'd get wrapped up in the world of Laura and Mary and long to be a pioneer back then. It majorly influenced my play. Whenever cousins came to visit, we'd don our sunbonnets, load up our playthings in a little red wagon, and "move out west" where we'd then set up housekeeping in our playhouse, which we pretended was our new cabin.

Yet, despite the fact I live, and I have always lived, in the same state where Laura wrote the Little House books, I never actually got to visit the Laura Ingalls Wilder home. That is, until yesterday.

My mother and youngest two siblings visited the home and museum about a month ago on their way home from vacation. Of course, when they told me about it after returning home, I had to give them a hard time for going without me. It was very quickly decided that we must go as a family this fall. 

This weekend was the "Wilder Days" event at the home, Rocky Ridge Farm, and we decided that was as good of an excuse as any to make the drive to the southern region of the state and visit the historic site!

And because dressing the part makes visits to historic sites even more fun, my sister and I opted to dress up for our day trip. Since we were going to visit Laura's home, my sister wore the Laura dress I made her for her birthday last year. Since Laura, Almanzo, and their daughter, Rose, moved to Rocky Ridge Farm in 1894, I decided to wear my blue paisley 1890's dress.

Part of the fun of visiting the site during an event was the spirit of festivity in the air when we arrived. The farm was alive with music! There was a fiddle competition, in honor of Pa, on the front yard of the white farm house. On another stage, near the Rock House, there was a stage where local bands were playing country, folk, and bluegrass. It was all a wonderful sound track to the day.

Our first activity was to visit the white farm house Laura and Almanzo built after buying the farm. I didn't take any pictures inside, but I loved it! Old houses really make history come to life for me.

My sister brought along a ball of yarn and a crochet hook, which she kept in her pocket throughout the day. as we waited to tour the house, she worked on her crochet chain - homework for the crochet class she's taking.

The crochet was tucked away, back in her pocket, whenever there was something more interesting to see or do, but it was out again for the short tram ride to our second stop of the day - the Rock House.

Rose built to the Rock House as a gift for her parents in the late 1920's, and they lived there for part of their retirement before moving back to the white farmhouse in the mid 1930's. The first few Little House books were written here.

After touring the Rock House, we walked the 3/4 mile path back to the farmhouse for our final stop of the day - the museum. The trail follows the approximate path Laura and Rose would have taken while Rose lived in the farm house, and Laura and Almonzo in the Rock House. During this time, Laura and Rose worked on some books together, so their walks back and forth to see each other were many!

There were no pictures allowed in the museum, but it was awesome! Along with photographs and original belongings of the Ingalls family, the museum also held several garments Laura made for herself! There was a stunning white lawn dress she made around 1900 with tucks and inset lace. I walked all around the glass case, looking at it from all angles. I'm not sure I'll ever be skilled and patient enough to make something as intricate as that dress (the lace insets looked seamless!), but I definitely want to make myself a lacy white Edwardian era dress now!

 All in all, I enjoyed the day, I enjoyed the time with my family, and it just makes me happy to have finally visited the place where the Little House books were written!


  1. That looks like so much fun. I've talked to people who have been to the Rocky Ridge Farm and brought us back some postcards from the gift shop, but I did not know there were dresses in the museum that were made by Laura!! That would be so awesome to see!
    I love y'alls outfits though. They look perfect posed in front of the old farm house.

    1. It was so much fun! I didn't know there were dresses made by Laura either until my sister told me. They were a treat to see!

  2. I just finished re-reading the series, so I really appreciated the wonderful photos of the real-life places. What I didn't know until recently is that several other related series have been written--one about Rose, another about Laura's mother Caroline Quiner, and others about Laura's grandmother and her great-grandmother. Although written by authors not related to Ingalls, they are all very well-researched and based on facts about them, and are similar in style to the original series. The "Rose" series is written by Roger Lea MacBride, who was sort of an adopted nephew to Rose, and was very close to her. I enjoyed all the books so much I want someone else to discover them! And your outfits are perfect for the visit.

    1. I need to re-read them now I think! I read the books about Laura's mother, grandmother, and great grandmother when I was a teenager, but I never did read the books about Rose. After visiting Rocky Ridge however, I think I need to go ahead and read them.