Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Wisconsin Tour

Eric has a lot of family in Wisconsin--he mostly grew up in Madison and his Dad is from Door County (the "Thumb" of Wisconsin). We had hoped that we'd make several trips to Wisconsin this year since we're only four or five hours away from family there but, unfortunately, those plans didn't work out. We did manage to fit in one quick trip last week before returning home to finish packing.

We spent one night on the south shore of Lake Superior where Eric once spent a summer. Very beautiful country. We then headed out to Sturgeon Bay and had a great visit with Eric's dad and his family. The kids insisted on going swimming in frigid Lake Michigan. We have some pictures on the way (I hope!) of Margaret and Joseph at a really fun farm museum feeding animals and riding tractors.

After Sturgeon Bay we headed for Madison and since the kids were pretty fried from so much visiting we decided to make a stop at the Horicon National Wildlife Refuge. It was a lovely couple of hours wandering through the marsh and checking out some wildlife.

After two nights in Madison we took a slight detour to come home north along the Mississippi River. That part of the country is so beautiful and it is awesome to see how wide the river is just a little south of here--and we're way north of where the river gets really big! Along the way we took an hour-long rest stop here:

Recognize that house? This is the house where Laura Ingalls Wilder was born. It's a replica, actually, but it is accurate and it is on the actual spot. This park land was donated and the house built in 1974. The house is tiny. The Ingalls family lived in it when their first two daughters were born (Mary and Laura) and then moved back after a failed attempt at living in Kansas (Little House on the Prairie) with a third baby (Carrie) before moving on to Minnesota (On the Banks of Plum Creek) and, finally, South Dakota (By the Shores of Silver Lake and on). I was completely in love with all the "Little House" books growing up and we've read already read the first few to Joseph. He loves them too and both kids had a great time visiting Laura's first house.

This house was the setting for Little House in the Big Woods but you have to look really hard to discover that this used to be dense woods--the edge of the Great North Woods. It has since been cleared for farm land.

And, yes, Eric was humming the Little House theme song from the television series every time Margaret went running across the field.