Monday, July 30, 2007

Allerton Park, Monticello

Entering the gates of Allerton is a magical experience. In fact, the grounds of Allerton Park never fail to transport my head to a more child like view heavily influenced by novels like "The Secret Garden." In the spring the peonies and irises dazzle. In the summer you are likely to see brides and magical animals appear in the gardens. Surely fairies must be living along the river banks. From one minute to the next and one season to the next the art, gardens, mansions and wild spaces transform and reveal incredible beauty. Allerton Park is a place I visit a lot. It is my most favorite place in Central Illinois. I would live in the subdivision immediately outside the gates if I could. In the 12 years I've been visiting this grand magical park I've never seen it all. The park is so big and complex it will probably take many more years to appreciate it all. I take my son there in all seasons and it is my favorite backdrop for photographing him.

Allerton Park was named one of the seven wonders of Illinois this year. Allerton deserves that recognition. It is an amazing asset to Central Illinois, but surprisingly if you go on a weekday you are likely to be alone. I love to be alone there with my son. He can run until he drops and I don't have to worry about his safety very much. This wonderful park is free to the public, easy to get to, and inspiring. Promise me you'll go before too long.

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