Thursday Doors – Home Again

Following our return from our Glacier Nat’l Park trip, we had a few days back home to unpack, reacquaint ourselves with our kitties, do laundry, etc. etc. etc. Then we did a quick repack and headed to northern Illinois for my sister’s retirement party! She was always the SMART one… she is retiring with 2 pensions!! When I asked her what she was planning to do in retirement, she replied. “Art!” Just awesome, I would say.

After the party, we drove to Starved Rock State Park where The Mrs had made an overnight reservation for us in a cabin. We have stayed there a few times in the past, both in a cabin and in the Main Lodge. We have enjoyed our visits there, and of course, an old CCC constructed lodge is cool all in all. The cabin we stayed in turned out to be the exact same one we had stayed in previously in 2016 (and I posted the door from outside in Thursday Doors back then). Here is the door from INSIDE this time.

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The entryway doors to the Lodge always impress me. These are to the lodging check-in  foyer…

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Parked outside this entry way was another stunning door…

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Thursday Doors happens every week, on Thursday (some kinda conspiracy it seems to me.) To see what doors are in store now & evermore, just go visit Norm 2.0 HERE!!!!!

Bumbling into Utica

The 19th of September (2016) was the second day of our anniversary week mini-vacation. We had stayed overnight in a rental cabin at Starved Rock State Park. This Monday morning we awoke a bit groggy, having been awake for what seemed to be half the night killing mosquitoes… seems the damper of the wood-burning fireplace was open, and three of the screens had bends in their frames big enough for a Fiat to drive through. I had smashed 4 or 5 midnight marauders in the dark after closing off all the portals of entry, and another 14 in the morning light…

We had coffee, tea, and a light breakfast, and by the crack of 11:00, we were on the trail to St. Louis Canyon for a wake-up hike to see the beautiful 80-foot waterfall there. Leaving from our cabin, it was a short walk on a dirt trail before we got to a wooden walkway…

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came to a set of stairs…

 

and then the canyon…

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We took a few photos and enjoyed the quiet, then headed back to the cabin. We had visited  Starved Rock earlier this year, and The Mrs has much more information and several photos of that trip on her blog-site, Graceuncensored. After returning from our hike and having a bite to eat, we decided to do some touristy stuff and go driving to explore the area.  Just about 1 mile north of the park is the little village of North Utica, although, since probably the 1850’s,  it is commonly just called Utica.  Wondering why? Read here !

It took us only a couple of minutes to drive through the heart of the village when we got there, but I saw some interesting doors that I told The Mrs I wanted to photograph for future Thursday Doors postings. I turned down a side street and we parked right near a gorgeous B&B called Landers House.

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There is a house two doors away from LH that caught my eye so I walked there and took a picture of that door first…

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I had taken this picture of the door at 131 and was walking back towards LH visually framing my next picture in my head, when a white-haired guy about my age who was cleaning screens at LH asked if he could help us. I went into a long, wordy, disjointed soliloquy about visiting Starved Rock, and blogging, and Thursday Doors, and taking pictures, and being an historian, and do you think the owner of 131 would mind if I was taking pictures of his front door….

Turns out, the gentleman I was talking to (John Pappas) WAS the owner of 131. He was the “handi-man” in the hire of Landers House B&B, and had recently bought 131, with maybe the intent to open his own B&B, or maybe he and his wife will open a catering business there. And, “no”, he had no objection whatsoever about me photographing his door. Not only did he like the idea of people taking pictures of doors, he COLLECTS old doors! Actually, it is probably closer to the truth to say he rescues old doors from destruction when old buildings are torn down. What a fascinating person! We chatted for at least 15 minutes, and he gave us a quick tour of the LH grounds. I look forward to a stay at LH sometime in the future (to The Mrs: hint, hint…).

We then wandered through the two block long downtown of Utica, coming across this little pub…

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The owner of the pub, Andy Skoog, is of Swedish ancestry, so that must make it a Swedish bar, right? Well, just down the block at the corner is the local Irish pub (Duffy’s Tavern), of course!

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When we were chatting with John earlier, he had asked us if we had been to Matthiessen Park . We had seen the signs, but had not been there. He strongly suggested we make a stop and at least visit the waterfall. Soooo, having completed our tour of “the Utica strip”, we climbed back into the van and headed back south to go visit Matthiessen Park. I will discuss that in a future posting…

Thursday Doors – Starved Rock

I did not post a Thursday Doors last week because The Mrs & I were on a mini-vacation in northern Illinois and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, while my computer was still at home relaxing. My camera, on the other hand, was busy, busy, busy…

We drove to Starved Rock State Park in LaSalle County on Tuesday last week. The Park is located on the banks of the Illinois River near Utica and Oglesby, Illinois. The main draw for most people is the hiking… there are approximately 13 miles of hiking trails throughout the park. The architectural centerpiece is what the DNR website describes as, “… the 1930s-era stone and log Starved Rock Lodge offers luxury lodging, cabin rooms, and fine dining .” The Lodge was constructed by the CCC (Civilian Conservaton Corps) during the Great Depression. My first door this week is the main entrance.

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On the other side of the building, almost directly opposite the main door, is the outside entry to the Back Door Lounge, a small indoor/outdoor bar and grill.

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We stayed in one of the cabins near the main lodge for two nights. Although the doors to the cabins are not overwhelmingly intriguing, the housekeeping staff do an incredible job of keeping the glass clean!!!

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My final door this week is of a door that I assume is an emergency exit from the Lodge, as there in no door knob… or maybe it is a Jedi Only entrance…

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The Illinois Department of Natural Resources estimates that well over 2.5 million people will visit Starved Rock in 2016…

Thursday Doors is a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world. It is courtesy of Norm 2.0

Impending Bloom!!!

Last week, while taking my morning coffee down at the dock, I noticed 2 things (actually, maybe more than 2, but only 2 that are noteworthy). One of the purple lilac bushes was just starting to re-bloom (for the third time this year!). And the chrysanthemum bush closest to the water was just about to bloom… see, Impending Bloom!

 

This past week, The Mrs and I took a mini-vacation to celebrate our 10 year anniversary. We spent 2 nights and 3 days at Starved Rock State Park  outside Oglesby,  Illinois. We hiked, and we ate, and we drove a bit, and hiked some more. And ate more… Then we drove to St. Ignace, Michigan and took the ferry to Mackinac Island, MI. We stayed at a B&B on the island for 3 nights and 4 days. We hiked, and we ate, and we rode bikes a bit, and hiked some more. And ate MORE…Then we drove back home to Springfield, Illinois in 2 days, getting back about 3-ish yesterday afternoon.

The really exciting parts about all this? Firstly, I got lots of pictures of some really great doors that I will be posting for Thursday Doors!! And secondly, I will make three different postings this week to cover the three phases of our trip… In between these postings this week I may hike a bit, and eat a bit… you know the routine  🙂

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