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4 Fall in IL

Fall In Illinois

It’s time to enjoy the fall colors of nature in Illinois.  I recently visited Kankakee County, where you will discover many fall colors.  I had a picture perfect day to take in the colors of the trees. I visited the Kankakee River State Park which has over 4,000 acres where you can hike, bike, and fish. Taking in the fall scenery is a great way to relax and enjoy the outdoors. I could have easily spent all day viewing the scenery, but I decided to move along to view more places before my drive home.  It  was suggested I see the newly opened Frank Lloyd Wright’s Bradley house right on the river path. 

Wright in Kanakakee (Bradley House)

Tours are available to view the Bradley home, a sight to see for all Frank Lloyd Wright enthusiasts. If you enjoy a neighborhood feel, stroll along Kankakee’s Riverview Historic District. The Riverview Historic District has many Victorian homes and English gardens along the river that reminds you of a bygone era.  

After lunch I decided to check out the local corn maze. I needed to walk off a few of those onion rings.  So I headed to The Fall Gathering out in the Kankakee Valley Park District ( This maze is 10 acres large and takes about an hour to walk through. I made it to a few markers and turned back, call me chicken!  The haunted maze is October 23rd & 30th if you like to be scared.  The maze is open on Saturdays and Sundays from 1-5PM, $5.00 per person.

The Fall Gathering

I spent a great day in Kankakee county and will be returning soon.  There is so much I missed, like the Barn Quilt Tour, and The Historical Society, and the land of the original Dairy Queen. I was told the original was torn down, however there is still a DQ standing in its place.  On my next visit to Kankakee County I will start at DQ, since I missed dessert last time.



5 Cathedral of Clouds

Long, long ago, in another century in fact, I sought inspiration in chapels of pine and spruce. I sometimes went there for solitude, sometimes for friendship, but in each visit, I was able to exchange my carbon dioxide for the oxygen so generously provided by the green things which were my host.

This past weekend, I was privileged to attend the consecration of love shared by a young man and a young lady. One was a grown up lady, who I remember as a child, and the other, a new acquaintance. They chose a larger, leafier setting for their ceremony, on a point jutting out into a manmade lake, but still surrounded by a canopy far older than any of those in attendance.

They were married at Picnic Shelter number 3 at Wayne Fitzgerall State Park, near Sesser.

The shelter and picnic area overlook Rend Lake, a large manmade body of water created and maintained by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. There are a number of features found near the lake, including an artist colony, a golf course, and a resort facility, including modern cabins that look right out over the lake.

If you are interested in a weekend getaway, some good fishing, a little golf, a wedding, or a work related conference, you might check out the website at You can also call them at 1-800-633-3341.

The park is located along Illinois 154. If you are traveling along Interstate 57, take exit 77 west toward Sesser. The turn for the park is on the right. The golf course is on the left. You can see a humongous golf tee and ball as you approach from any direction.

The drive to Rend Lake is gorgeous when our leaves turn. Our hot, dry summer has caused some of the trees to color already.   I’ll be exploring more of our “leafy” adventures in future blogs. There is plenty of green space to be seen as illustrated by the Artist who created the cathedral of clouds.

Enjoy your travels!

-Bill Byrnes

6 The Great Pumpkinfest

The City of Highwood, IL is ready to make pumpkin carving history, as host of the Great Pumpkin Fest of 2010.  The four-day festival will bring people from all over together as they attempt to break the Guinness Book of World Record for the most jack-o-lanterns lit in one location.  Plans call for 32,000 pumpkins to light up Highwood on Saturday October 23rd to break the current world’s record set in 2006 of 30,128 pumpkins in Boston, MA.

Great Pumpkin Fest 2009

The four-day Great Pumpkin Fest kicks off on Wednesday, October 20th and will culminate on Saturday, October 23rd with the grand lighting.  The family fun festivities leading up to the record breaking pumpkin lighting will offer plenty of opportunities for people to come and bring their own jack-o-lanterns or carve pumpkins and place them in the display, and then take them back home after the Record Breaking attempt.

Each day of the festival will include the Highwood Evening Gourmet Farmers Market at City Hall Park (17 Highwood Ave), vendors galore, live music on multiple stages, hay rides, a haunted house, pumpkin carving stations, massive pumpkin displays, lighting of the towers,  and much more!

•Wednesday October 20th – 5pm pumpkin pie baking and eating contests at City Hall Park, 6pm kicks off the lighting of the first pumpkin wall of the fest.

•Thursday, October 21st, 4-7pm Pumpkin Dinner and BBQ at Scouts Park benefiting the Wounded Warrior Project(   Military and wounded warriors eat for free.  There will be a Pumpkin Catapult, live music, and pumpkin carving.

•Friday, October 22nd, 3pm-8pm- Carving Night, get your carve on all night! 3-6pm Trick-or-Treating throughout the business district, specials at designated restaurants, taverns, and businesses throughout Highwood, 6:30pm Thriller Dance at City Hall Park.

•Saturday, October 23, 9am-8pm – 9 am Midtown/Athletico Pumpkin Run, 11 am Pumpkin Regatta featuring giant pumpkin flotillas on Lake Michigan, 2-4pm Dress Your Pet Halloween Costume Contest at School of Rock Park, and from 4-5:30pm The Great Costume Parade starting from the School of Rock Park.  From noon-8 pm a day full of pumpkin carving and counting, food, children’s entertainment, live music,and haunted house hay rides, etc.  The festivities culminate at 6:30pm with the lighting and grand display to break the Guinness Book of World’s Record for the most jack-o-lanterns.  At 8:00 pm we will announce the record totals!

Anyone looking for Halloween fun, click on the link for full details

Ciao –