Two weeks ago my husband, Ben, and I took the shorties to one of my favorite ever places in Central Illinois – Allerton Park in Monticello. I first went there as a teenager for a student government retreat. It was winter and we got to stay overnight in the house. It was beautiful and magical fodder for my young imagination 🙂 My next visit wasn’t until a couple decades later (yikes) before Jack and Abby were born. We took Pauly and went with Ben’s parents. It was spring/summer and the gardens were in bloom. So now I’ve seen it in all seasons and it’s beautiful all around. One of the best things about it is it’s contrast. You get there by driving through flat farmland (just like you get anywhere in Central Illinois), but once you turn down the lane and enter the property through the woods it feels like you’ve been transported somewhere else. Go here or here for some history.
The kids behaved so well for this adventure, especially considering the drive was an hour and a half each way and they missed their normal nap time. Highlights included Asian Beetles (biggest swarms I’ve ever seen – any weird black dots you see in the pics below are beetles!), Jack and Abby saying “Hari Hara”, crawling in the tall grass in the Fu Dog garden pretending to be lions, and “taking tickets” at the gates to the sunken garden (kudos and good karma to those friendly strangers who played along and handed the kids “tickets”). Very good times!