Blogging briefly here from South Dakota where a portion of the love2learn reviewers are getting together for fellowship and conversation. Mary Daly and Ana Braga-Henebry are hosting three additional families and it's been an amazing visit. Hope to catch up a bit on our whirlwind of a week as well.
The Chesterton Conference was really wonderful: engaging talks, good friends, fun conversation (with lots of laughter) and LOTS more. I particularly enjoyed the talks by Geir Hasnes (on Sigrid Undset - I think he pushed me over the edge to finally go and read Kristin Lavransdatter) and Dawn Eden. Can't say I'm biased or anything (wink,wink), but that recitation of the first book of the Ballad of the White Horse moved me to tears.
Minnesota Mom graciously hosted us for dinner (great Margaritas by the way!) and it was a real treat to meet her beautiful family. That little Camille! :) John pointed her out and said "That little one - she wants the world!" My immediate thought was - how like St. Therese.
We caravaned with the Dalys to South Dakota where we spent a lovely day in de Smet before heading across the state to visit Mount Rushmore and other sites in Rapid City.
Here is a brief list of some lovely places we visited throughout the state. Overall we took loads of pictures - hope to upload some eventually:
The Surveyor's House and the Ingall's home (a little pricey - but nice to experience the real thing - too bad they don't let you take pictures inside!)
The Train Depot Museum - this museum has forever confirmed in my head the notion that free little museums put together by enthusiasts are often my favorite. Loaded with goodies of all sorts and SO friendly!
Along the I-90
There's a little Fatima family shrine at a little parish along the 90 a little East of Mitchell (a large billboard makes it easy to spot). It includes many beautiful outdoor statues and memorials, a cute little outdoor chapel, a beautiful church and a tiny cloistered Carmelite Monastery (with an adorable little bookstore). This made a nice little break in our driving. This was Fr. Fox's parish for many years (my husband went on one of his Fatima pilgrimages for teens many years ago).
The Missouri River:
There's a gorgeous spot overlooking the Missouri River on the East Side with a huge rest area and a permanent Lewis and Clark exhibit. The view is absolutely breathtaking!
We liked the Badlands so much that we drove through the loop both directions of our trip. It takes about 60 minutes (compared to 20 minutes on that section of freeway) but what an hour! Of course it didn't hurt that we had a bit of prepping by our friend Mary who is currently working on a Geology textbook. We are so very blessed! We were all awed and amazed at the strange beauty of this land, but it was particularly fun to see Frank's great enthusiasm (captured on film - hope to share later).
They've totally redone the entire viewing area at Mt. Rushmore. The new set-up accomodates so many people and allows for closer viewing (and fun photos!). Ria brought her sketch book and a pencil and got many interesting comments and glances. We stayed for about four hours and enjoyed it very much. One of the neatest parts was driving up because the mountain roads slowly reveal the entire monument beginning with only Lincoln's face from the side. There was a great deal of cheering from our car! :)
TO BE CONTINUED...