Weekends away for family obligations (my dad's funeral, Passover) have provided opportunities to see new and wondrous sights, both natural and man-made.
The first of such excursions, where we stopped on a whim and spent a glorious night, was French Lick, Indiana. The French Lick Springs Resort is a wonder from the Victorian era, which has been fully restored. Above is the grand staircase leading down to the veranda behind the hotel.
The spring house was built at the time of the hotel (1870's) and is the focal point of the rear garden.
The spring was dubbed, "Pluto" and its waters were thought to be restorative for the body, both internally (as a laxative) and as a soothing bath.
The sulphur odor is quite strong, a dramatic contrast to luxury of the hotel and its amenities.
The front facade, with its covered staircase, had remained the same since the turn of the century. The hotel is listed among the "Historic Hotels of America." Our guest room was the most comfortable and lovely room I have ever stayed in.
The opulent lobby was equally impressive!
Yesterday, while driving back home from Chicagoland, we stopped outside Monticello, lllinois, at the Robert Allerton Park, also a relic from the Victorian era.
The park consists of a mansion, cottages, formal gardens, and pristine woodland. The 1,500 acre grounds were donated to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and are used as a public park, conference and retreat center.
The house is gorgeous, but not overdone. Areas for rest and play are around every corner. I imagine Victorian ladies, dresses grazing the ground, parasols perched overhead, strolling the immense estate on fine spring days, such as the one we had while there.
The mansion, as it is known, is not open to the public, much to my dismay. It is reported to contain an incredible collection of art and antiques. Mr. Allerton was a parton and benefactor of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Statuary is scattered throughout the estate, both in the formal gardens
and in the middle of the woods.
Preservation is an ethic and a movement I feel very strongly about, and it does my heart good to see that such incredible relics from the past as the Allerton estate and French Lick Springs Resort are taken care of for generations to come.
Each of these destinations is about 3 hours from my house. I have always like the concept of being a tourist near one's own place of residence. There is beauty everywhere, if one only knows where and how to look.
Until next time...