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Bookish Summer Travel

My summer was rather bookish in a new way. I visited four book-related places. 

I don't have a lot of experience with personal travel, but as I have work opportunities, I'm learning to take advantage and include some personal travel, too. That's how I was able to visit two incredible museums in Minnesota.

Walnut Grove, Minnesota: I was invited to present at the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum during their family festival. Walnut Grove is where the Laura Ingalls Wilder book On the Banks of Plum Creek takes place. I was thrilled to share with the guests a bit about my book The Laura Ingalls Wilder Companion: A Chapter-by-Chapter Guide as well as some Little House trivia. I think everyone enjoyed!

Can you zoom in to the picture I'm holding? Those are a clue to one of the Little House books. Can you guess which one? Do you remember the story?
The images are a well and a candle. Remember the scene from Little House on the Prairie? Pa and Mr. Scott were digging a well. Mr. Scott didn't test the air quality of the well with the candle and...

(There is a related activity in The Laura Ingalls Wilder Companion for readers to safely test how fire needs oxygen to burn. It's one of the 75 activities included.)

In addition to touring the museum, I also visited the banks of Plum Creek and the site of the Ingalls family's dugout home. A dugout is a home built into the side of a hill. Pioneers literally dug out the hillside, built a front wall from sod and roof, and moved in. The Ingalls family dugout collapsed long ago. However, a roped off area showcases the location and size of their dugout. 

Read more and see more about my visit to the Laura Ingalls Wilder Wilder Museum at my other blog.
Mankato (Deep Valley), Minnesota: Since I was in Minnesota, I had to visit another place I'd read about. Deep Valley was the fictional name Maud Hart Lovelace gave to her beloved town of Mankato which she wrote about in the Betsy-Tacy books (a series that grows up with the character based on the author's childhood much like the Little House books do) as well as one of my all-time favorite books Emily of Deep Valley
My friend had been to the homes before and set up our tour. We also visited some additional sites familiar to Betsy-Tacy readers. We visited the bench on the big hill and even had lunch in Lincoln Park. Another day we visited Lake Minnetonka where Betsy and Joe honeymooned in Betsy's Wedding.
Magical! If you don't know the books...get to know them. Like I said, I adore Emily of Deep Valley

Prince Edward Island, Canada: To celebrate our twentieth anniversary, my husband suggested we go to Prince Edward Island. I knew about Prince Edward Island almost exclusively from books by L. M. Montgomery like Anne of Green Gables and Emily of New Moon and The Blue Castle. However, it was the Anne of Green Gables movie (from LONG AGO) that made me really want to visit. 

The beauty.
It took us two days of travel (about 20 hours) each way from our home in Pennsylvania. But the trip was lovely. Our PEI time included six lighthouses and multiple homesites affiliated with Lucy Maud Montgomery. Honestly the museums were underwhelming (as I had been told they would be). With agriculture being one of its top industries (along with tourism), it's mostly rural--and gorgeous. We also visited a few (six!) lighthouses among other things. 

Not that you asked, but my favorite homesite was Maud's birthplace. It was a small, humble house (in the center of the collage). I will boldly share my least favorite homesite was at the national park. Why? There was no discussion, no talk, no interaction with the workers there. With a 2-minute talk, they could have clarified questions that needed clarifying. (I had to seek someone out to help me understand why this real house that had significance to Lucy Maud Montgomery became a museum that handed tourists a map of the house that included labels such as "Matthew's bedroom" and "Anne's bedroom" when these were fictional characters.) However, I did enjoy our walk through Lover's Lane and the Haunted Wood while there.

In case you're curious, the sunset pictured is from the Cape Tryon Lighthouse. We drove down a one-lane dirt path to get there. And we were the only ones there. Incredible.

Bangor, Maine: After 11 hours in the car on our way to PEI, we reached our first destination of Bangor, Maine. After dinner we drove around town and made our way to the (former) home of Stephen King that now houses his work (according to Trip Advisor). It was beautiful. My favorite sculpture was the leaping frog, but the front gate included spiders! Like others, we took a quick pic.
I know I usually focus on reading, writing, and teaching children's nonfiction here on the blog. However, I still wanted to share about my bookish summer with you all. Isn't it amazing how real places become important settings in so many books?

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  1. Hey, Annette, it sounds like you had a wonderful summer visiting all these book-related places. At the end you drove through my neck of the woods--at least for all my growing-up years--Maine and the Maritime provinces. I 've never been to PEI but lots to Nova Scotia.

  2. I had forgotten about the Betsy Taco books. I loved them! I am now reading and listening to the Little House books for the FIRST time (how did I miss them) and thinking about your activity book. Glad you had a good bookish summer. Carol Baldwin

  3. I love those Little House books on audio with Cherry Jones as the narrator. So glad to have reminded you of Betsy-Tacy!!