Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Visiting The Von Hoffman House In Medora, North Dakota

This is a continuation of a travel series to The Great West.  To start at the beginning, go HERE, HERE, and 

While visiting the sweet little town of Medora, North Dakota I was able to tour two historic homes:  The Von Hoffman House and the Chateau De Mores.  This week I will cover the Von Hoffman House and next week I will show the Chateau.

The Von Hoffman House is located right in the center of town across from the Medora Children's Park on Broadway and 5th.  It was built in 1884 by Peter Brock who owned a brick factory.  The style of the house is "common-bond brick".  I never knew there was such a thing.  Peter also built the Catholic Church:  both the house and church are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. 

The home was built for the town's founder, Marquis de Mores's in-laws:  Louis and Athenais Von Hoffman.  I guess the Marquis didn't want the in-laws staying in his own house when they visited so he built them their own home.  😀.  JK,  actually it was the Marquis wife who had the home built for her parents as well as the Catholic Church.

The house was only occupied one summer in 1885 and then never used by the Van Hoffman's again.

In 1890 James Foley moved in after a fire destroyed his home.  The wife of the Marquis, Medora de Mores, transferred ownership of the home to the Foleys in 1914.  Three generations of the Foley family lived in the home and they were servants to the de Mores family.

In 1969 the house was sold to the Harold Schafer Gold Seal Company and turned into a Doll Museum.  Schafer then gave the house to the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation in 1986.  The house was restored in 2012.  Furniture was donated from Foley Family descendant Jim Davis.

The home features some of the original furnishings and also furniture from the time period.  In addition, correspondence from Theodore Roosevelt to his friend Joe Ferris and his family is also displayed in this home.  If you're wondering who Joe Ferris is, you might want to take a look at last week's post where I walked through the town of Medora and showed the highlights like the "Joe Ferris Grocery Store".

The tour of the home is self guided but there is also someone always on the property to answer any questions you may have.

I love old homes, so snooping around one all by myself was a real treat.  There are signs up throughout the home explaining how what rooms and objects were and what they were used for.

I just loved this old stove in the kitchen!

The dining room was so pretty!

I only took one picture of the upstairs.  I don't remember why.  

The Von Hoffman House is free to the public but there is a donation box located by the door.  They are open every day 12-5 during the tourist season.

Have a Great Day!  Amy

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Monday, January 10, 2022

How To Style Cozy Knits with Stylish Monday

On the second Monday of every month a group of style bloggers and I pick a theme, style an outfit based on that theme, and then do a link up together where you can join too!  This month's theme is "Cozy Knits".

This month the ladies of "Stylish Monday" and I are showing off our "Cozy Knits".  I live in Wisconsin where we have some pretty cold winters, in fact, the day these photos were taking it was frigid -12 degrees...Brr!  Cold days like this call for some very warm clothing so I grabbed one of my oldest knitted sweaters in my closet plus a pair of thick leggings.  I added the tall boots instead of booties to help keep my legs warm.

My favorite way to style cozy knits is with leggings.  I find thick sweaters add a lot of bulk to my frame, especially since the majority of my body weight is above my waist, so I like to wear something "thinner" on my lower half like leggings or skinny jeans.

My eggplant-colored leggings are from Stitch Fix and are named "Kennedy Skinny Pants".   I can see why they call them "pants" as they are a high quality thick Ponte knit, but they are as tight and stretchy as "leggings" so I call them "leggings",

 Although I do prefer to wear a longer top/sweater with these leggings, I don't find I need to have my butt completely covered as I would if I had a cheap, thin pair of leggings on.

My cowl neck sweater is super old.  I've shown it to you many times before on this blog.  You can check out these posts HERE and HERE if you're interested in seeing other ways I've styled this sweater.  It's a very basic sweater in a natural color, so it never goes out of style and there are so many different ways I can wear it.


Joy -   Joyous Styling    cozy knit are so yummy in the colder temperatures, this sweater knit skirt is on sLe under 23.00 dollars, I love it so much I have it in Ivory.


Lucy - Lucy  Loving how this cute crochet cardi ties together the whole jumpsuit look.  Making it feel cozy and fun- for the perfect casual chic styling!


Julie - Fashion Trends and Friends and Instagram FashionTandF -  I’m loving all the knitwear sets that are totally on-trend for the winter!  Think elevated sweatsuit - sweater material joggers and a cute matching sweater top!  The sets are so comfy, cozy and easily split up to be styled with other pieces!  Don’t you love having lots of styling options?!  This is the perfect trend for winters in Illinois!


Nicole - High Latitude Style - I have loved knit jumpers all my life. My late mom knitted many of them when I was a kid. I remember a bottle green one with white shoulder section and orange embellishments, a citrus A-line, and a matching skirt and cardigan ensemble in red with green and black stripes. She used acrylic yarn and created super soft, cozy pieces. Her girlfriend, however, knitted wool sweaters. They were so itchy.


Michele - On Instagram as Seechele_styles - Kicking knits up a notch in my knit sustainable cream boots with a thrifted cream knit ribbed turtleneck.   


Andy - Pearls and Pantsuits - Trend alert! Cable knits are having a moment, so I splurged on this neutral colored cable knit dress from Stitch Fix, and styled it with my tall suede boots. It’s a cozy look, and perfect for winter! Pop on over to the blog to see a few more knit pieces and for my style tips for knitwear for pear shapes.


Suzanne - Ask Suzanne Bell - I finally bought a Shacket, and better yet, she’s a sweater! Truly, one of the most versatile pieces I've bought all season, I've found this multi-functioning knit piece can be worn as a jacket, sweater, tunic or layering piece - how fab is that? And since today's post is all about knits, I thought I'd show you a few ways I've styled this neutral-colored plaid wonder this past week.


Nancy -  Nancy’s Fashion Style - Knit dresses! Can’t do without in winter, they are just so cozy and warm. This one is a bit older but I love to wear it, especially with sneakers. Can it get any more comfortable?


Emma - The Style Splash - I probably spend half the year in knitwear of some kind so I have acquired quite a collection over the years. This bright orange sweater with frill detailing is hard to beat though - I love the colour, plus it’s super soft and cosy. It’s great to pair with another bright hue or team with neutrals.


Shelbee - Shelbee on the Edge - This leopard coatigan is one of my favorite knit pieces that I own. I wear it literally all fall and winter long with all sorts of different outfits. Stop by my blog to see what I have styled underneath…hint…it’s more knits!

And Me!

Amy - Amy’s Creative Pursuits -  Living in a cold climate, I survive the winters in cozy knits like this thick cowl neck sweater and warm leggings.

Have A Great Day! Amy

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Wednesday, January 5, 2022

The Sweetest Little Town In The West: Medora, North Dakota

This is a continuation of a travel series to The Great West.  To start at the beginning, go HERE, HERE, and 

One of the joys of road trips is discovering small towns you would miss if you simply flew to your destination.  In all our years of travel, we have come across many lovely small towns, but none has touched my heart as much as Medora, North Dakota has.  

Medora is located right next to Theodore Roosevelt National Park.  In fact, you could walk right into the park from Medora.  This town has so much rich history that I will uncover in the next three weeks, but I don't think it would exist today if it were not for Theodore Roosevelt National Park.  Only 112 people live in Medora year round.  During the tourist season, the population increases only to serve the needs of the tourists who arrive to visit the National Park.

It's a quaint, beautiful town that seems fairly untouched by modern architecture.  Yes, there are newer buildings/hotels raised up to serve the tourists, but many of the original buildings are still in-tact and used.  The beauty of Medora lies in its location as it is surrounded by the gorgeous buttes that make the park famous.   

Medora was founded in 1883 by the French Nobleman Marquis de Mores.  You will learn more about him in later posts as I visited two of his historic homes when I was in Medora.  Today's post is all about the restaurants we ate at and other sites and things there are to do in Medora.

Because Medora is so small, there are not a whole lot of restaurants to eat at.  I think we managed to visit every one except the fine dining one at the Rough Rider's Hotel.  

The first one we visited after spending the morning at the park.  It's called the "Little Missouri".  The lower half appears to be an old-fashioned saloon and the upper half offers both inside and outside dining.  It was a beautiful day so we chose to eat outside on the deck pictured below.

We had great views of the buttes and the sweet town below.

We were very pleased with the food.  Hubby got a Reuben and I got a wrap,

We also ate at "Boots" which is famous for their Bloody Mary Mix burgers.  They also offer indoor/outdoor dining.  We initially were going to eat outdoors but there were a lot of flies, so then we chose to eat indoors...but there were still a lot of flies.  We think the problem was that they had only one door which opened to the outside instead of two, which let all the flies inside.  I literally had to keep a napkin constantly covered over my food to keep the flies from landing on it.  But other than that, the burgers were fantastic!  

We were absolutely blown away by this outdoor playground which was designed to look like an old Wild West town.  If I could only say one thing about the town of Medora it would be that it is very family friendly.  It reminded me of Branson, but far smaller and less touristy of course.  Safety is so important to me when we travel.  We have been to cities where I did not feel very safe.  Here, we walked the streets after dark and never had to worry.  And there are so many family-friendly activities to do here, and more are being added in 2022 like a "lazy river and zero entry pool" and more attractions at Point to Point Park. I would love to bring my grandchildren here someday.  I think they will love it!

This is the Old Town Hall Theater where shows are held.  The most popular show is the Teddy Roosevelt Show where a Teddy Roosevelt impersonator discusses his life and his time spent in Medora,  I was unable to see that one on my first visit, but I hope to see it on a return trip.  

The theater was built in the very spot of the old town hall where Theodore Roosevelt himself visited in 1902.  There is a statue and commemorative plate outside the theater.

I know this is going to sound silly to some but one of my favorite things about Medora was that there were plenty of PUBLIC RESTROOMS!  I can't tell you how many small towns we have visited where someone had to go to the potty and every business in town has a sign up "No Public Restrooms".  Seriously, tourist towns, listen up.  If you want to attract more tourists make more public restrooms and more FREE parking.  

I thought this beautiful flower garden in front of one of their Public Restrooms was picture worthy!  And the view of the buttes with the Rough Rider Hotel in the background was stunning.

My husband is a HUGE pizza lover so he was pretty excited to see "Badlands Pizza & Saloon".

This establishment has zero flies 😁 and also offered both indoor/outdoor dining.  I really liked their set up to and I found it very efficient.  You don't sit down at a table and have a waiter wait on you.  You place your order at the counter, receive a number, then you sit down.  They bring the food to your table when it's ready.  Ordering before you sit down allows more people to be served during busy tourist times.

The indoor dining establishment is beautiful.  We were there during the off-season and late at night, so we had the whole place to ourselves!

And the pizza was fabulous!  They let us divide a small pizza in half because we both wanted different pizzas.

There were only two restaurants in town open for breakfast:  the fancy Rough Riders Hotel and the Cowboy Cafe.  We ate breakfast at this restaurant everyday.  They never opened until 7:00 am and we were always the first people standing in line waiting for them to open.  They have a very limited breakfast menu, which allows tourists like us who just want to get in and out as fast as possible so they can go to the  National Park.  We loved the ambiance of the place and thought the food was great and the service amazing. 

Unfortunately the museum was closed for the season the week we were there.  According to its website they have a " treasure trove of frontier/farm/ranch memorabilia including extensive barb wire collection, history of Billings County and restored pioneer days courtroom/jail, collection of military and western firearms."  Admission ranges from $1.00 - $3.00.

I was so excited to see a "Wind Garden".  I've never heard of a "Wind Garden" before but I found it very peaceful and beautiful and wondered where I could find one of these architectural pieces for my own garden.  The garden is located behind the Harold Schafer Heritage Center which is "part bar, part museum , part art gallery, and part indoor-outdoor spaces which features one of the best group patio settings in Medora".

This cute "Mercantile" shop intrigued me so we stopped in for a peek.   It's actually a coffee shop and we were surprised to find two of the performers from the "Medora Musical" serving coffee.  We later found out that all the cast performers are required to hold another job in the Medora community.  That seemed like it would be kinda hard to do but it was fun meeting the cast members up close.

The town of Medora is famous for its Rough Riders Hotel.   Apparently Theodore Roosevelt himself stayed here on some of his visits.  I tried to book a room here, but they were all full.  I have no idea what the cost would be to stay here, but we peeked inside the windows and both the dining room and lobby looked very luxe.  The lobby has a floor to ceiling hearth and a beautiful tin ceiling.  The walls hold the largest private library available to guests to read of books on and by Theodore Roosevelt.

The hotel is named for the calvary unit led by the 26th president.  It was originally built in 1884;  Roosevelt gave a speech from a balcony at the hotel that still exists today.

Next to the Rough Riders Hotel is a post office, bank, and church all complete with western charm.

This is the Town Square Patio and Showhall.  There are free shows held in the town square all summer long.  On the day we arrived in town we could hear someone singing gospel tunes all the way at our motel.  It sounded very lovely.  There are also food carts, picnic tables, and public restrooms in the square.  The building behind the canopies is where the "Gospel Brunch" is held.  I was unable to attend this one, but I did peek in the window.  The tables were beautifully decorated and they serve a great big brunch paired with gospel songs and stories from the same performers of the "Medora Musical".  I really hope I can attend this brunch on another trip to Medora some day.

We found this old covered wagon filled with beautiful flowers.

Across the street from the "North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame" is this "Bucking Bronco" statue.  The museum "strives to preserve the history and promote the culture of North Dakota's Native American, ranching, and rodeo communities by informing and educating people of all nations and cultures about the state's rich and colorful western heritage."

Unfortunately this was yet another place I did not have to visit when I was in Medora.  Boy...this town has a lot of things to see and do!  We were there primarily to visit the National Park, but it's almost as if we could spend a week there just to see all the shows and museums.

A little side note for you:  It was in this square, sitting on a park bench in the shade, that my daughter called and told us about the birth of our newest grandson Elisha.   I will always remember getting the news on this beautiful day in this lovely spot.

This is the Joe Ferris general store.  Joe was a friend of Theodore Roosevelt and the president lodged in a second floor room when he stayed in Medora.  The store was built in 1885.

If you notice in the picture above I am reading a sign telling the history of the store.  These signs are EVERYWHERE in Medora.  You could literally spend an afternoon just reading the signs and learning all the history of this western town.  They also have Historic Walking Tours where a paid guide takes you on a 50 minute journey through town sharing the most colorful characters of the towns past.  

The statue of the town's founder is located in front of the Harold Schafer Heritage Center.  I will share more information on Marquis De Mores in the next two weeks.

This is the Medora Depot.  The railroad reached the Little Missouri River in 1880.  This building is actually a replica of the original one as a historical marker.  There are many old photographs and more "signs" sharing how the railroad was used and influenced the town of Medora.

Across the street from the Medora Depot and Railroad Historical Marker is a "Fudge and Ice Cream Depot".  They had a lovely flower garden on the side of their building.  I did stop in for some fudge, but it was the end of the day and all they had left was white chocolate...yuch!

And finally, the Medora Firehouse.  This town even makes the local fire department look cute!

Our fall 2021 vacation was not the one we planned, but it sure turned out to be a pleasant surprise.  I never would have ended up being in Medora, North Dakota had it not been for the pandemic.  But I will say, I'm glad everything worked out the way it did because I LOVED IT THERE!  I hope I encouraged some of you to make this sweet little town a spot to visit on your travels...then again, I'm afraid of letting too many people know about this place because I don't want it to become over crowded and changed.  I loved it because it was so peaceful, beautiful, safe, and there was so much to do I couldn't even do it all in one trip!  And did I mention how much history there is to this town?  😀.  I can't wait to go back and explore more.

Have a Great Day!  Amy

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