It was always exciting when my Maternal Grandparents asked if I would like to go with them for a hike. I was enthusiastic about these hikes because not only did I get to spend an entire day with my grandparents, but I got a nice big breakfast out of the deal (which is a big deal when you have that bottomless pit stomach thing going on as a child/teen).
Growing up in Illinois where it is flat as a sheet of paper and mostly cornfields and farms you wouldn't believe the hidden charms and beauty the state has to offer. When most people think of Illinois, they think of President Lincoln or Chicago,not prime farmland and rural tranquility. It is unfortunate that the northern part of the state is losing prime farming land to large developers of carbon copy housing and urban sprawl.
Surprisingly, Illinois has some of the most unique State Parks with waterfalls, caverns, lush trees and breath taking views. The one place I remember the most is White Pines State Park in Oregon, Illinois. The trek over to the park took well over an hour from where we lived at the time. My grandfather, a retired farmer, enjoyed the leisurely jaunt to the park as he marveled over the farmland along the way. Close by was the John Deere Historical Museum and historic sites rich in Indian History and Chief Blackhawk.
Once we arrived at the park our first stop of the morning was the White Pines Inn where one could dine on an all you can eat feast called The Paul Bunyon Breakfast. This breakfast included: Two country eggs, two buttermilk or blueberry pancakes, toast, American fries, two sausage links, and a strip of bacon. If you were still hungry all you had to ask and they'd keep the food coming!
We would eat until we groaned, then it was time to hit the hiking trails to work off all of the food we had just consumed. After several hours of getting lost on trails, laughing and enjoying each other's company, it was time to hit the gift shop to purchase some trinkets as a momento of our time together before heading home, which always included a stop along the way for another meal.
The inspiration for this blog post was inspired by the September 1, 2008 Etsybloggers Blog Carnival which is graciously hosted by our dear friend Lily at Tulip's Treasure Box. We were asked to Choose one of these two topic to write about:
1. "Something You Did When A Child That You Will Always Remember"
2. Labor Day Weekend: What you do on this holiday in honor of you, the American worker? Do you have plans, traditions?