I think the phrase that has been uttered more than any other since we started full-timing is, “I wish we could stay here longer.” We’ve only been to 4 states and yet we’ve seen some amazing beauty.
We didn’t know what to expect at Sangchris Lake State Park in Rochester, IL, which is just outside of Springfield. We had driven for hours across the flat prairie land of northern and central Illinois which is really quite beautiful—there’s just so much of it. For a girl who was raised in Wisconsin and has lived most of her adult life in Michigan, the flat, open country makes me feel very vulnerable. My family feels the same. We are used to the safety of thick forests. Still we enjoyed the ride and saw some of the most amazing country when our GPS took us 10 miles out of our way into some very remote but beautiful farm country that is around Sangchris Lake. The sunset was beyond description as we found our way to the state park. We were only one of 4 campers so we had our pick of sites choosing one that backed up to the lake. We stood in awe as we watched the last rays of the sun peek over the horizon showcasing the fall colors and placid lake.
It started raining in the night and continued to do so throughout the next day. This greatly limited our activities around Springfield but we still were able to enjoy some of the Lincoln attractions.
Our first stop was the Lincoln Home National Historic Site. We toured the Visitor Center and Lincoln’s Home. The neighborhood around the home has been restored to its 1860 appearance. It was very quaint but with the rain and Jenna being on crutches, we opted to put it on our list of places to visit again. The home itself was worth the stop. This house, the only one that Lincoln ever owned, was the site where he accepted the Republican nomination for the Presidency of the United States of America and the home he left to become the 16th President. The rooms of what was then considered a large home knew many joys and much grief. He also penned the famous “House Divided” speech at the writing desk that is on display in his bedroom.
We kind of went back and forth all morning as to whether a stop at the Lincoln Tomb would be worth the time. It definitely was. It’s a beautiful structure that is nestled in a cemetery of rolling hills and trees. The tomb is a tribute to Lincoln, his wife and sons, the states that represent his ancestors, the states in which Lincoln lived and the Presidency of the United States. It doesn’t take long to visit this site but you leave not only with a solemn awe of this great President but also with a renewed pride of being an American.
We only drove by the State Capitol but it is very beautiful and we made sure we drove around the entire block.
We were encouraged by the locals to visit the Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum but it would have been over $50. We’ve decided that for the most part, we had better stick to the free or very inexpensive attractions. We have a lot to see and it’s amazing how quickly we can go through the money when sightseeing.
We all really wish we could have stayed longer in the Springfield, IL, area after only 2 nights here. There is so much more to do! Sangchris Lake State Park is at the top of our all time favorite state parks list. We hope to visit again.
Sangchris Lake State Park, Rochester, IL: http://dnr.state.il.us/lands/landmgt/parks/r4/SANGCH.HTM
Lincoln Home National Historic Site: http://dnr.state.il.us/lands/landmgt/parks/r4/SANGCH.HTM and http://www.nps.gov/liho/index.htm