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Joy in the Heartland

Life-Changing Road Trips Through God’s Living Fields of South Dakota   

Author Lonnette Kelley tells her story of two “at-risk” seniors traveling through southeastern South Dakota during the 2020 global pandemic. You will be inspired as she weaves her moments of struggle, surprises, laughter, tears, and joy throughout small towns, beautiful scenery, and must-see attractions. After spending six months on the road and shooting 1600 photos, Lonnette realized this experience was something she needed to share. 


Lonnette invites you to experience her ten awe-inspiring road trips. Within a fifty-mile radius of Sioux Falls, 51 hearts and 300 photos are waiting to be discovered. Joy in the Heartland will be your guide as you search each unique trail. Lessons will be learned, history uncovered, and moments experienced that will last forever! 


Joy in the Heartland will encourage everyone to step away from the distractions in life and rediscover picnics, hot dog roasts, wildflowers, cornfields, playing in the prairie grass, or fishing. That's what this book is about–an invitation to discover joy!


Joy in the Heartland is your go-to book for the location of trails, a list of photos, community information, and recreation areas of this epic adventure. Whether you are an individual or team choosing to join this exciting hunt, you will select one of the Ten Trails of the Heartland, take a good look at the photos listed for that trail, and begin your search.


The goal is to explore and gain a better understanding of each community as you seek the heart and one or more photos from each town.

Joy is just need to find it!

Join the hunt & rediscover the Heartland.

Joy in the Heartland book cover

Amazon #1 New Release

These stories will inspire you to plan your own South Dakota adventure. Inside, you will discover:

  • Ten South Dakota road trips, within a 50-mile radius of Sioux Falls.

  • A photo hunt guide to 51 hearts and 300 unique photos.

  • Interesting tidbits about South Dakota towns.

  • Beautiful scenery and peaceful moments.

  • Encouragement for families to explore together.

  • Ways to gather your special memories.

Traveling the Trail of Hearts

These 10" x 10" hearts won't be too hard to spot. You're likely to find them attached to a building, a tree, something of great value or historical interest, or anywhere else that might be considered the heart of the community. 

You can see each heart and all 300 photo sites from your car as you drive calmly through city streets, so there is no need for trespassing on private property. 

All the photos featured in the book were taken by the author in 2020, with an eye toward selecting various shots that would have longevity. However, in a world that seems to be in a state of constant change, some treasures may disappear over time. In that case, you are welcome to be creative and search for you own unique photo opportunities.

Ice Cream shop displaying red heart
Family walking outdoors

51 travel destinations in the Dakotas

The goal of the book is to bring families together through the joy of travel. It encourages us to avoid thinking solely on ourselves by focusing on the world around us. Our legacy includes the memories we make while traveling with family or loved ones. Your search for the heart and tidbits of information will help introduce you to 51 neighboring towns within a 50-mile radius of Sioux Falls,  in southeast South Dakota, and is sure to create a hunger to learn more and understand the blessings and beauty of this wonderful region.

“Adventure isn’t hanging on a rope off the side of a mountain. Adventure is an attitude that we must apply to the day to day obstacles in life.”

-John Amatt–

Traveling the Dakotas

Sioux Falls and the Dakotas give Lonnette Kelley an experience of spiritual healing that she wants to share with the world. Join the traveling duo in Joy in the Heartland on their quest for connection with nature. You'll be surprised at the journey this book takes you on.

In a darkened world, Lonnette was able to find joy– and you can too!

Author Lonnette Kelley with her book Joy in the Heartland


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