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JCP Travel Map

Explore the work of Jonathan Chapman through featured locations.

The Prairie House

My family and I have an annual trip, four years running, to a friend's cabin near the Hayward Lakes area of Wisconsin.  Time away from the city, gathered with friends and family at the lake is a welcome addition to summer.  We're certainly happy to have friends who generously extend invites, as this is something I have memories of and feel fortunate to share with my own kids.  One year ago this past Labor Day weekend had us cabin bound with a slight detour in our accommodation plans.  During this visit we would spend the weekend at "The Prairie House," an adjacent property near our friend's cabin that is described in the following words:

"The Prairie House, circa 1800, is located among ponds, streams, small waterfalls, and butterfly gardens.  This natural animal and bird sanctuary is surrounded by 16 acres of wavering prairie grass and wildflowers, located in the quiet isolated center of 360 acres of northern Wisconsin pine forest.  Created for solitude, harmony, history, and romance." 

This property is owned by our friend's brother Jim, who is not only a kind and generous man, but also has fine taste in design and building.  The Prairie House is a retreat of sorts, a place that invites you to take a step back, a place where time seems frozen in an era where simplicity was less about fashion and more a product of making the most of what your immediate environment had to offer.  Bearskin rugs, oil lamps, fur traps and pelts on the walls; we spent the first few hours as if in a museum--amazed at the time and thought that went into recreating the past. 

While our kids spent their time chasing through grasses, dipping toes in the front porch pond, and wrestling vintage candies from each other, my wife and I relaxed and enjoyed this little voyage to the past.  The images above capture a little slice of our time in the early 1800's and were passed along as a thank you gift.  A gift of visuals I happily spent time shooting.