Red and photographer for the Blessings on State Bed and Breakfast, Tiffany Warmowski, headed to the Illinois College Campus to explore the grounds and learn a bit of interesting history behind the founding of the college. The first president of Illinois College was Edward Beecher who left his position at the Park Street Church in Boston (Red loves when it can tie things to home!) and helped shape the new College with New England traditions and academic foundations. His sister, Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of the influential anti-slavery novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, visited the campus, and his brother, Henry Ward Beecher, preached and lectured here. Beecher Hall, the first college building in Illinois, was built in 1829 and is still used today. Red just loved exploring the campus with Tiffany so much that they decided to head to another campus nearby to check out Tiffany's Alma Mater, MacMurray College. MacMurray is home to a beautiful campus and also the Annie Merner Chapel.
The Innkeepers of the Fountain Chateau Bed and Breakfast explained to Red that no stay would be complete without a visit to the Burr Oak Winery in nearby New Lisbon, Wisconsin. Owner, Steve Kennedy, while stationed in Germany, really liked the architecture. He wanted the winery to be made of real stone, wood and glass. This winery features eleven stained glass windows from a local church built in 1882, one of those windows was given to the church in memory of church members serving in the Civil War. Burr Oak opened in 1997 and definitely worth the stop!
It was a beautiful day to visit the lagoon on the campus of Northern Illinois University with the innkeepers of the Parkside Bed and Breakfast ~ Red was hoping to see the geese but it was a very quiet, serene day. Just up the hill, Red admired the architecture of Altgeld Hall and Swen Parson along with the Dog outside Still Hall. Red enjoyed the company and they compared notes about the Lagoon that they were overlooking. Red was intrigued and took a break from the touring and enjoyed a few moments reflecting at the edge of the beautiful Lagoon. Now Red just needs to pick a major so it can enroll here and enjoy a view like this every day!
The Red Chair enjoys the view from the 7th hole at Hidden Lake Country Club, only less than a mile away from the inn and built along the Mautino Fish and Wildlife Preserve which was really neat. Mautino Fish and Wildlife Preserve offers great hiking, biking, walking and fishing opportunities as well as spectacular nature viewing. The best part of all is that it was so close to the Chestnut Street Inn, that Red could easily visit both the Golf Course and the Preserve, allowing for Red to really enjoy the outdoors on those beautiful summer days.
The Justin Trails Resort is home to two 18-basket professionally designed championship disc golf courses. After a quick lesson from the Innkeepers, Red set off with discs in hand to practice on their Classic Course, which has been ranked #1 in the state. Red was determined to eventually play their larger, Big Brother Course that features amazing vistas and fantastic challenges that keep the course exciting! On the last day Red decided it was time to see what it was made of and took to the course with the innkeepers. Turns out a bit more practice would be best but hey, Red found a great new hobby! Red will definitely be back again someday, and would love to take on the course again.
The Red Chair loved learning all about the history of the Ringling Brothers in Baraboo Wisconsin and discovered the winter quarters for the Ringling Brothers Circus were housed in many buildings along Water Street in Baraboo. Now this area is owned by the Wisconsin State Historical Society and is where Circus World Museum resides. This is also where, with the encouragement of the innkeepers of the Ringling House Bed and Breakast, the Red Chair made its official Circus debut! Red watched most of the big top show before its act which featured trained horses and dogs, a juggler, a trapeze act, unicycler, clowns, two elephants, live music and a ringmaster (Red's future job). Then came Red's debut with the chair balancing act, the whole big top cast was there to cheer Red on. Could there be a career change in Red's future?!
While visiting The Livingston Inn in Madison, Wisconsin, Innkeeper Peggy took Red on a tour of the beautiful State Capitol building. The Red Chair felt stately while poised on the steps of this building which is celebrating its 100th birthday this year.
HH Bennett was the photographer who put Wisconsin Dells, WI on the map. Innkeepers of the Bowman's Oak Hill Bed and Breakfast brought Red to met "Victoria", a chair used for portraits in this original studio right on Broadway and heard all about "Leaping the Chasm" and how it was a shutter speed marvel of its day. Being big into photography, Red was just fascinated!
Getting to help out the Innkeepers of the Valley Springs Farm Bed and Breakfast in Reedsburg, Wisconsin, was one of the highlights of Red's stay! It loved bottle feeding the calves and assisting with milking the cows. It also loved walking the gardens and helping to pick the ripened fruits and veggies that they will serve for breakfast the next morning. Every bit about it was so unique; it's not every day you get to actually stay on a working farm!
Hidden Serenity Bed and Breakfast is located near the Northern Kettle Moraine State Forest in Wisconsin and Red was anxious to discover what that really means. A trip to pristine Mauthe Lake was a great introduction for the Red Chair! Dipping all four feet in the water and sitting at the end of the pier while kids were fishing and others were kayaking on the lake, Red could see why people love the peaceful waters and surrounding woods. But it was the trip up Parnell Tower in the heart of the forest that really helped Red understand what this area is all about. From high above the trees Red could see the way that the glacier had made its mark on the land. Hills called Kames, Moraines, Eskers and the stunning Kettles dot the landscape and Red was in awe. The National Scenic Ice Age Trail winds its way through the forest and Red has to admit, it is a great workout!
This blog is maintained by the participating innkeepers of the Red Chair Travels project.
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