Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Out and about

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...


  1. Isn't it amazing what beautiful places have stood here for 100s of years and we know nothing of them. I, too, love to travel around my hometown...we found a new lake last week nearby and we were beside ourselves. Then we were told that rare birds migrate there and I was even more excited. Making the time to get out and explore is so worth it.
    Thanks for the tour!
    Hope all is well. I'm terribly sorry about your father. My wishes and hugs to you. xo

  2. Anne, so sorry to hear of your Dad's passing. Glad during all the family stuff you were able to take in new sights, sounds & present it all here in such beautiful composition.

    I plan on taking a few trips this summer, ~3 hours from home too... there truly is so much beauty in one's own backyard ;-)

  3. French Lick is a gem, isn't it? My husband and I visited several years ago, and friends of ours stayed in that area just recently. If you have the chance to go back again (hopefully under happier circumstances), you might enjoy touring or staying at West Baden. It too was an incredibly popular place in its heyday and has been meticulously restored to its full glory. I just love discovering new places that are practically in my backyard!


Your thoughts are always greatly appreciated. Thank you for visiting!


Related Posts with Thumbnails