New Feature! Reading Rendezvous (#1)

Monday, September 14, 2015

Reading Rendezvous is a weekly feature created by the Fern Team for the Book Blogger Creativity Project that acts as a travel guide, highlighting places we would like to visit and recommending books that take place there.

This is the first post of a new feature created by our group for the Book Blogger Creativity Project that was started by Nori. In order to introduce everyone involved in our group, we are doing our first post as a group kind of. Each of us will be featuring an author from the state we are from!

So, since I am from South Dakota, the author that I would like to feature is Laura Ingalls Wilder! She was originally born in Wisconsin, but she did live in South Dakota for awhile around the time when she would have been 12. Her family moved from Plum Creek, MN to what would someday become De Smet, SD.

So with that said, my place of interest in South Dakota that I would like to feature is De Smet, South Dakota!

While there isn't much to see in De Smet (trust me, I've been there), there are several attractions centered around the Ingalls family!

The first attraction is the Laura Ingalls Wilder Historic Homes Tour! You get to see the Surveyor's Shanty, which is the first house Laura and her family lived in when they moved to the Dakota Territory!

They also still have the original school that Laura attended in the area and a replica of the first school that Laura taught in.

Then they have the final home of Ma, Pa, and Mary (Laura's blind sister) Ingalls which was built in 1887 and still stands today filled with items belonging to the Ingalls family!

There are over 50 sites you can visit on your own that are mentioned in her books. One of them being the De Smet cemetery where you can find the final resting places of several members of the Ingalls family as well as some other names you may see mentioned in the books. Another of them being Silver Lake, which I actually don't believe is there anymore.

They also have the Ingalls Homestead that you can do activities at that the Ingalls family had to do. For example, during the winter of 1880-1881, the residents of De Smet had to twist hay into sticks for fuel and grind seed wheat into flour to make bread because the supply trains couldn't get to them.
Another example is making a corn cob doll. Before Laura's mom made her doll she called Charlotte, she played with a corn cob wrapped in a handkerchief. Each person gets to shell an ear of corn with an old-fashioned corn sheller and wrap it in a 'blanket' to take home.

Here are some pictures of me on an elementary school field trip to the homestead! I'm the one in the Pooh sweater.

The book that features both South Dakota and De Smet by Laura Ingalls Wilder is

By the Shores of Silver Lake by Laura Ingalls Wilder
(Little House on the Prairie #5)
Publisher: Harper & Row, Publishers
Publication Date: October 14, 1953 (originally published in 1939 I believe)
Pages: 291

Summary (from Goodreads):

The adventures of Laura Ingalls and her family continue as they move from their little house on the banks of Plum Creek to the wilderness of the unsettled Dakota Territory. Here Pa works on the new railroad until he finds a homestead claim that is perfect for their new little house. Laura takes her first train ride as she, her sisters, and their mother come out to live with Pa on the shores of Silver Lake. After a lonely winter in the surveyors' house, Pa puts up the first building in what will soon be a brand-new town on the beautiful shores of Silver Lake. The Ingallses' covered-wagon travels are finally over.

Check out what places and authors the rest of my group featured!

Sheridan @ I Turn The Pages

Tamara @ Tamaraniac

Katherine @ Neon Yeti Reads

What do you think of our new feature? Does it sound like fun? Try it out!


  1. That's so cool that she's from where you live! I wish I had an author come from my area! Awesome post! Great job, Team Fern!

    1. I'm pretty pumped that there was a relatively well known author that I could feature for this. I googled a list of authors from South Dakota, but I can't believe that I forgot about her! She would have worked for people from a lot of states actually.

  2. I LOVED Little House on the Prairie when I was in grade school! I vividly remember checking the books out from the library at school.

    But you know, I never knew it was set in South Dakota! (Or it just slipped my mind!)

    1. I think they're all set in various states throughout the midwest, but at least one is! I loved these books in school too. We always had Laura Ingalls Wilder sections in grade school where we would have to do projects based on these books. In 4th grade I made a Charlotte doll for a project! And when I say I made a Charlotte doll, I definitely mean that my grandma got her hutterite friends to make me a Charlotte doll.

    2. I think I totally made a Charlotte doll too haha


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