About 150 miles southwest of Chicago, near Champaign/Urbana, sits the former home of Robert Allerton and his adopted "son", John Gregg. Now a state park run by the University of Illinois, Allerton Park is a great escape from city life that may inspire the gardener in you.
This impressive estate, spread across 1500 acres, was once the Illinios home of Robert Allerton and John Glegg. Art collectors and nature lovers, Allerton and Glegg spent many years designing the gardens and placing their many sculpture acquisitions. In addition to the awe inspiring gardens, there are a number of hiking trails.
Allerton Park is also available for rental for weddings and conferences. Renting the park for a wedding seems to also be the only way to gain access to the mansion and farmhouse.
As an apartment dwelling urbanite, I didn't think I'd take away anything of use from my road trip to Allerton Park. Quite the contrary - when we returned to Chicago I was inspired to plant my own little flower garden on my tiny balcony. It may not be on the same scale as Allerton Park, but my balcony looks much greener this summer.
Images: Jason Loper