Do you ever forget about special places that are located near you? I know I do. I decided to rectify this by visiting nearby places that I’ve neglected over the years. Even a day trip can feel like a mini summer vacation. So last weekend we went to Starved Rock State Park in Utica, Illinois – about an hour and 15 minutes from my house.
Today is the first Saturday of the month which means it’s Cozy Living Saturday. I’m joining blogging friends to share some of what we like to do during the month of September. For me, that means milking the last bits of summer before fall wisps its way into town!
Starved Rock State Park is known for its miles and miles of hiking trails, along with gorgeous views of the Illinois River and several canyons. It also has a hotel type lodge and individual cabins. Here’s a view of the boardwalk on the bluff overlooking the river.
Here’s another view from atop the bluff. The park is called Starved Rock due to a local legend that says the Illinois Indian tribe was surrounded by the Ottawa and Potawatomi tribes while up on the bluff. They eventually starved to death and only a few members of the Illinois tribe survived.
Some of the trails are sandy and rocky, while others are embellished with wooden boardwalks and steps like this.
Trails are rated for their level of difficulty so it’s easy to choose which fits your level of physical fitness. Dogs are welcome and it’s very family friendly. It’s hard to believe these canyons are located in Illinois just a couple hours southwest of Chicago.
Hubby took a picture of me on one of the large rocky bluffs next to a sandy path. The park wasn’t too crowded which made it perfect for a mini summer vacation – even if it was just a day trip.
I wanted to get people in the photo so you can see how large the rocky bluffs are.
I’ve never been to Starved Rock during the fall but I’m sure the colors are amazing. We’re going to come back in October and probably spend a night here at the lodge with its charming gift shop.
The entire lodge and state park are really quite charming.
Hubby and hiked about 8 or 9 miles and then stopped at the lodge for lunch on the deck. The sign behind Robert says “danger of falling.” That’s how high up we were.
Several cabins are available to rent at the park. Or you can bring a tent or camper and stay overnight at the campground.
An outdoor fireplace and pavilion provide a place for gatherings. I love the moss on the roof.
Inside the lodge is a grand hall with a stone fireplace.
In addition to the main restaurant is a cute little cafe with a chalkboard menu sign.
Taking a mini summer vacation can make you forget about your worries for a while. It’s so great to get outdoors and enjoy a little exercise.
On the way home we stopped at the new Heritage Harbor community in Ottawa. I shared adorable waterfront cottages from there last Wednesday and will share some more this coming Wednesday.
See what my cozy living friends have to share for the month of September!