The Daily - Into October, 2023 - Starved Rock and Rockford IL

9/30/23 - Saturday

Brenda, My, Yahsin and I pack up Lexi and we depart for Starved Rock state park at 7am. We arrive just as the lodge opens, around 9am. We hatch our hiking plan. We soon learn the canyons are all dry so no “signature” photo ops of wispy waterfalls. No problem, the temperatures are still pleasant, the canopy filters the sunlight and we discover the element that will consume most of our hike - mushrooms!!!

Starved Rock Mushroom Hunting

Starved Rock Mushroom Hunting

Starved Rock

Starved Rock

We spent 5 hours hiking, taking photos and enjoying the trails, canyons, river overlooks and forest. Then we had our post hike picnic - another great spread of food - Chinese bbq pork, meat dumplings, fruit, moon cake, nuts and other treats.

We drive north to Rockford and check into the Airbnb, a cute older home. En route we see signs for Oktoberfests and upon settling in we decide to go to the local Oktoberfest just north of our house. Held in a large community center, we enjoy German food - sausages, roast chicken, schnitzel, sauerkraut and dark beer. There’s a German music band playing and occasional dancing. Affterwards, we did facial masks, took silly pictures and hung out. So much great fun together.


10/1/23 - Sunday

We walk to the Norwegian for breakfast - it is a traditional Norse restaurant about a half mile away. On the way back we walk the street that flanks the river but there are houses blocking the river view. These houses are quite large! Along Harlem street, we spot what looks like chestnut fruits from various trees. We gather several pounds to take home to roast. We would later discover these are not regular chestnuts but rather Horse chestnuts that are poisonous to eat. Oh well, they looked so pretty and tasty!

We check out of the house and drive to the Anderson Japanese garden. The grounds are nice but we are hampered by the bright sunlight at 9:00. The gardens open from 9-5, so no opportunity to catch that golden light. We still enjoyed our meditative exploration of the gardens, taking our time to reflect at each water feature.

Rockford - Anderson Japanese Garden

Rockford - Anderson Japanese Garden

We have a mid afternoon reservation at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Laurent House but we finished earlier than planned at the Japanese Gardens, ate our picnic leftovers at the riverside park and drove to the house with hopes of getting on an earlier tour. The tour guides were very nice and let us participate in the 1pm tour. We learned about the Laurents, their relationship with the architect and toured the house built specifically for accessibility - a person in a wheelchair. Closed and private at the front of the dwelling that faces the street, the home opens up in the back with an expanse of curved windows, bringing the feeling of being outside to anyone in the house. I learned that Frank Lloyd Wright designed this house when he was north of 60 years old! He experienced a prolific life and career.

Rockford - Laurent House

After the Laurent house tour, we set off for home. I got home and packed my bag for Monday’s journey to Charlotte.

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