We have enjoyed our time with my brother and sister-in-law Jim and Phyllis German along with my nephew Sean, his wife Cara and their children: Emmy and Kelton. Monticello, Illinois is a beautiful town with lovely restored homes and buildings on the national historic list. I enjoyed attending Kelton’s t-ball game and Emmy’s softball game. Both children show great promise as ball players. It was fun to watch the adults interact as many of them grew up here and played ball like their children are now.
We spent a few hours one afternoon visiting Allerton park which was built as a private residence in 1900 by Robert Allerton and is now owned and managed by the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. The grounds are open to the public and we enjoyed seeing the outside of the Georgian-inspired manor house. Emmy and Kelton had fun looking at the large fish along with the frogs in the ponds. We walked through the formal sculpture gardens and followed paths to various works of art located on the grounds. I especially enjoyed seeing the kitchen garden with some herbs up and ready for use. This garden is watched over by a Fu dog statue which added interest to the garden.
Monticello also offers hiking/biking trails. We took a short walk on the tree shaded Sagamon River Trail where the railroad used to run. It takes you to the river and the old railroad trestle which crosses the Sagamon River which was running a little high.
One afternoon was spent visiting shops in and around Arthur, Illinois. This area has many Amish families and many of the shops are owned and run by them. As we shopped and drove we saw many horse drawn carriages with families going about their daily travels.
The Abraham Lincoln Museum in Springfield, Illinois is excellent! We watched two shows about the President and had an overview of his life from birth to death. There are nine other exhibits including his early life and the White House years with a room filled with reproductions of dresses worn by Mrs. Lincoln as well as other women in Washington at that time. There’s a lot of information about the Civil War. We found many photo opportunities including life like figures of the Lincoln family and a replica of the log cabin Lincoln grew up in.
Across the street from the Museum the Union Railroad Station has been restored like it was in the early days of Springfield. There’s a public area with benches all around encouraging people to come and stay awhile.
While in Springfield we also toured Lincoln’s Tomb where all of his family but one son is buried. His other son is in Arlington Cemetery. We have enjoyed our stay in Illinois.