April In Allerton Park (Part 2)

A trillium flower in the woods at Allerton Park, Illinois, April 16, 2016.

A trillium flower in the woods at Allerton Park, Illinois, April 16, 2016.

Exit 164 on Interstate 72 looks like an ordinary exit off of a central Illinois highway into fields of corn and soybeans.

In truth, it is a magical doorway.

Follow the signs through Monticello or take the back way, like I did, west on Old Route 47. After a short drive with three turns, two pillars announce the entrance to Allerton Park.

Keep your eyes open. Pay close attention.

You might catch a glimpse of the magic,

spinning and dancing, twirling and laughing,

to the tune of the woodland frogs.

The park was the estate of Robert Allerton. He gifted it to the University of Illinois in 1946. Visitor and historical information can be found on the Allerton Park web site. The grounds contain the mansion and other buildings, formal gardens, sculptures, lawns, and woods. The Sangamon River runs through the center of the property from west to east.

The Brick Wall Garden near the parking lot was set up for an evening wedding on Saturday, April 16th. Wedding guests in formal attire waited to enter the garden as I passed by on my way to the woods.

I spent the evening walking on the path west of the formal gardens. The woods south of the path are the flood plane of the Sangamon River. In the spring, the ground can be covered with water and then sprinkled with ponds.

The Death of the Last Centaur sculpture sits on the top of the first hill west of the formal gardens. The April 15th, 2016 photos of the bluebell flowers in the woods were taken on the east side of the hill. On April 16th, I explored the woods to the west of the sculpture. Blue-eyed Mary flowers took the place of the bluebells. Frogs sang in the ponds. The trees threw long shadows as the sun set.

Spring-beauty flowers in Allerton Park, Illinois, April 16, 2016.

Spring-beauty flowers in Allerton Park, Illinois, April 16, 2016.

A Daffodil flower in Allerton Park, Illinois, April 16, 2016.

A Daffodil flower in Allerton Park, Illinois, April 16, 2016.

The entrance to the Brick Wall Garden at Allerton Park, Illinois, April 16, 2016. The folding chairs in the garden were waiting for an evening wedding.

The entrance to the Brick Wall Garden at Allerton Park, Illinois, April 16, 2016. The folding chairs in the garden were waiting for an evening wedding.

Virginia bluebell flowers in Allerton Park, Illinois, April 16, 2016.

Virginia bluebell flowers in Allerton Park, Illinois, April 16, 2016.

Virginia bluebell flowers in the woods at Allerton Park, Illinois, April 16, 2016.

Virginia bluebell flowers in the woods at Allerton Park, Illinois, April 16, 2016.

Virginia bluebell flowers in the woods at Allerton Park, Illinois, April 16, 2016.

Virginia bluebell flowers in the woods at Allerton Park, Illinois, April 16, 2016.

The woods in Allerton Park, Illinois, near sunset, April 16, 2016.

The woods in Allerton Park, Illinois, near sunset, April 16, 2016.

Blue-eyed Mary flowers in the woods at Allerton Park, Illinois, near sunset, April 16, 2016.

Blue-eyed Mary flowers in the woods at Allerton Park, Illinois, near sunset, April 16, 2016.

Blue-eyed Mary and Virginia bluebell flowers in the woods at Allerton Park, Illinois, near sunset, April 16, 2016.

Blue-eyed Mary and Virginia bluebell flowers in the woods at Allerton Park, Illinois, near sunset, April 16, 2016.

Blue-eyed Mary flowers in the woods at Allerton Park, Illinois, near sunset, April 16, 2016.

Blue-eyed Mary flowers in the woods at Allerton Park, Illinois, near sunset, April 16, 2016.

Blue-eyed Mary flowers in the woods at Allerton Park, Illinois, near sunset, April 16, 2016.

Blue-eyed Mary flowers in the woods at Allerton Park, Illinois, near sunset, April 16, 2016.

Blue-eyed Mary flowers in the woods at Allerton Park, Illinois, near sunset, April 16, 2016.

Blue-eyed Mary flowers in the woods at Allerton Park, Illinois, near sunset, April 16, 2016.

Blue-eyed Mary flowers in the woods at Allerton Park, Illinois, near sunset, April 16, 2016.

Blue-eyed Mary flowers in the woods at Allerton Park, Illinois, near sunset, April 16, 2016.

Blue-eyed Mary, buttercup, and violet flowers and a creek in the woods at Allerton Park, Illinois, near sunset, April 16, 2016.

Blue-eyed Mary, buttercup, and violet flowers and a creek in the woods at Allerton Park, Illinois, near sunset, April 16, 2016.

Blue-eyed Mary, buttercup, and violet flowers and a creek in the woods at Allerton Park, Illinois, near sunset, April 16, 2016.

Blue-eyed Mary, buttercup, and violet flowers and a creek in the woods at Allerton Park, Illinois, near sunset, April 16, 2016.

Blue-eyed Mary flowers in the woods at Allerton Park, Illinois, near sunset, April 16, 2016.

Blue-eyed Mary flowers in the woods at Allerton Park, Illinois, near sunset, April 16, 2016.

Virginia bluebells in the woods at Allerton Park, Illinois, near sunset, April 16, 2016.

Virginia bluebells in the woods at Allerton Park, Illinois, near sunset, April 16, 2016.

The woods in Allerton Park, Illinois, near sunset, April 16, 2016.

The woods in Allerton Park, Illinois, near sunset, April 16, 2016.

Virginia bluebells in the woods at Allerton Park, Illinois, near sunset, April 16, 2016.

Virginia bluebells in the woods at Allerton Park, Illinois, near sunset, April 16, 2016.

Virginia bluebells in the woods at Allerton Park, Illinois, near sunset, April 16, 2016.

Virginia bluebells in the woods at Allerton Park, Illinois, near sunset, April 16, 2016.

Virginia bluebells in the woods at Allerton Park, Illinois, near sunset, April 16, 2016.

Virginia bluebells in the woods at Allerton Park, Illinois, near sunset, April 16, 2016.

Blue-eyed Mary and Virginia bluebell flowers in the woods at Allerton Park, Illinois, near sunset, April 16, 2016.

Blue-eyed Mary and Virginia bluebell flowers in the woods at Allerton Park, Illinois, near sunset, April 16, 2016.

Virginia bluebell flowers and The Death of the Last Centaur sculpture in the woods at Allerton Park, Illinois, near sunset, April 16, 2016.

Virginia bluebell flowers and The Death of the Last Centaur sculpture in the woods at Allerton Park, Illinois, near sunset, April 16, 2016.

The Death of the Last Centaur sculpture in the woods at Allerton Park, Illinois, near sunset, April 16, 2016.

The Death of the Last Centaur sculpture in the woods at Allerton Park, Illinois, near sunset, April 16, 2016.

The Death of the Last Centaur sculpture in the woods at Allerton Park, Illinois, near sunset, April 16, 2016.

The Death of the Last Centaur sculpture in the woods at Allerton Park, Illinois, near sunset, April 16, 2016.

The Death of the Last Centaur sculpture in the woods at Allerton Park, Illinois, near sunset, April 16, 2016.

The Death of the Last Centaur sculpture in the woods at Allerton Park, Illinois, near sunset, April 16, 2016.

The entrance to the woods west of the formal gardens at Allerton Park, Illinois, near sunset, April 16, 2016. The Death of the Last Centaur sculpture is at the top of the hill in the distance.

The entrance to the woods west of the formal gardens at Allerton Park, Illinois, near sunset, April 16, 2016. The Death of the Last Centaur sculpture is at the top of the hill in the distance.

The woods in Allerton Park, Illinois, near sunset, April 16, 2016. The singing of frogs and the chirping of a bird can be heard in the background.

Take care and thanks for reading.

Sarah

ps. There are four more photos from April 16, 2016 in the post Counting Blessings.

About Sarah

nature, outdoor, and health enthusiast, book reader, and runner
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7 Responses to April In Allerton Park (Part 2)

  1. Shady_Grady says:

    Come for the pictures. Stay for the history. I always learn a lot when I stop by here.

  2. zirah1 says:

    Great post. Love the close-ups of the flowers and have never heard of Blue-eyed Marys. The place reminds me a little of the Cheekwood Estate in South Nashville, not too far from where I grew up. It was later turned into a museum and arboretum w/ gardens and grounds for people to roam. Used to love to go over there at certain times of the year to catch all the flora and fauna and sit outside and eat lunch.

    • Sarah says:

      Hi Zirah 🙂
      Thanks for visiting and your kind thoughts! I find it really interesting to look at the flowers close up. 🙂 There is so much intricate detail. I had forgotten about the blue-eyed Mary flowers before the visit last spring. I am sure I walked in that part of the woods since it is on the same path with the bluebells. They were sparkling in the evening light. It is hard to describe what it was like. The air was filled with the sounds of singing frogs. It was louder than it seems in the sound on the video. The evening light was filtered through the trees in patterns of light and shadow. The blue-eyed Mary flowers were twinkling like magical dust scattered on the forest floor. The air was warm with a hint of cold. I felt like I had entered an enchanted forest. 🙂 Enchanted in a good way. 🙂
      Cheekwood Estate sounds like a fun place to visit. I will put it on my list of places to look into visiting. The list is long, but you never know. I collect maps of the places I would like to go which is like planting seeds in my mind so the ideas can grow. 🙂

      • zirah1 says:

        Love the way you describe your experiences in Nature…..really paints an image for the reader. And I, too, keep a list of potential places to go…….fun to consider ” what if…..” 🙂

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