Illinois

I’m officially an Illinois author!

I have a couple of interesting announcements for you today! First of all, I have been added to the Illinois State Library’s official list of Illinois Authors. You can find my listing among those of other writing Illinoisans, including Sherwood Anderson, Gwendolyn Brooks, Earnest Hemingway, Upton Sinclair, Carl Sandburg, and more!

Illinois Reads

I have also become an official Illinois Reads Ambassador. Which, honestly, doesn’t mean a whole lot– other than the fact that I will be receiving marketing materials from them to share. So, you might be hearing more from me about Illinois Reads programs and Illinois authors in general in the future.  Continue reading “I’m officially an Illinois author!”

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a corn country rendition of van Gogh’s Starry Night.
Illinois, Places to Write

Places to Write | Eli’s Coffee Shop; Tremont, Illinois

It’s been a while since I posted in my Places to Write series. I guess I just haven’t had much time for writing in new and interesting places since I got a “real job.” I finally have a new place to add.

I’ve been helping my sister put together a website for her small business. She has also started a new beauty blog as part of her website. Samantha had no previous website or blogging experience, so there has been a bit of a learning curve for her. We’ve been talking about the project for months without getting much work done, so we finally got the idea to get together at a coffee shop once a week (kids not invited!!) to work.

a corn country rendition of van Gogh’s Starry Night.
A corn country rendition of van Gogh’s Starry Night.

Continue reading “Places to Write | Eli’s Coffee Shop; Tremont, Illinois”

Biking, Illinois, Nature

Instagram stories: Life on the prairie

I like Instagram, but I’ve found that I don’t particularly enjoy following people I actually know. I’m friends with most of them on Facebook, and many of them automatically share their Instagram photos to Facebook (including myself). It gets old, after a while, seeing all the same photos twice. I have considered unfollowing all the people I know on Instagram and following only complete strangers.

Central Illinois prairie.
My latest Instagram posts are photos from a long bike ride out on the Central Illinois prairie. The corn is just now cropping up, but before I know it, I’ll be riding my bike through green canyons of corn.

Continue reading “Instagram stories: Life on the prairie”

Illinois, Travel

Funk Prairie Home and Gem Museum, Part II

As promised, here is part two of my photos from the Funk Prairie Home and Gem Museum in Funks Grove, Illinois. Yesterday, I shared several images from the house portion of the tour. Today, you get to see photos of part of one of the largest gem collections compiled by a single individual in the whole entire world.

 

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According to our tour guide, scholars from all over the world – including the Smithsonian! – have visited this collection and have told him that even they don’t have specimens of some of the things that you will see in this museum. And, unlike some of those other museums, this one has an array of rare items that they will allow you to touch, including a baby mammoth tooth! Continue reading “Funk Prairie Home and Gem Museum, Part II”

Illinois, Travel

Funk Prairie Home and Gem Museum, Part I

This weekend, I visited the Funk Prairie Home and Gem Museum in Funks Grove, Illinois. It was a very interesting tour full of historical and scientific stories. What writer doesn’t love a tour that includes storytelling? I took almost 200 pictures while I was there. I wish I could share all of them with you, but that would make for a very long blog post. So today, I will share selected photos from the house tour portion of the tour, and tomorrow I will share pictures from the gem collection. Enjoy!

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Admission to the Funk Prairie Home and Gem Museum is free. However, you do need to call in advance to schedule a tour. It is well worth the advance effort! Continue reading “Funk Prairie Home and Gem Museum, Part I”

Illinois, Lakes Rivers and Streams, Rivers, Travel, Video by Mandy

The sights of East Peoria & Peoria Heights

It feels like I haven’t blogged in ages. The last time I wrote to you, I was visiting my sister down in Peoria. We had a great visit and spent some time seeing the sights around East Peoria and Peoria Heights. First we took the scenic route down Peoria Heights’ Grand View Drive, which winds along a very high bank of the Illinois River with a sweeping view of the river on one side and gracious mansions on the other. One of our favorite homes on Grand View Drive is a modern castle complete with turrets on beautifully landscaped grounds.

Castle house on Grand View Drive in Peoria Heights, Illinois
We all argued over who would get the turret bedroom if we were to buy this castle house in Peoria Heights.

After we drove all of Grand View Drive, we headed across the river to East Peoria. My brother-in-law drove us on a precarious bridge that ran over the interstate and up onto another high bank above the river. Once we reached the top of the hill, we drove our car through another neighborhood of sprawling houses overlooking the river. These were not quite as impressive as the ones we saw in Peoria Heights but were still nicer than anything I’ve ever lived in. Plus the view of the river was amazing Continue reading “The sights of East Peoria & Peoria Heights”

Illinois, Lakes Rivers and Streams, Rivers, Travel

Traveling the Illinois River Road

Mandy Webster at Marshall State Fish and Wildlife Refuge near Lacon on the Illinois River
This is me at Marshall State Fish and Wildlife Refuge near Lacon, IL on the Illinois River

Today I am blogging to you from my sister’s kitchen table in Peoria, Illinois. We took the scenic route down from Wisconsin yesterday, straying from I-39 just south of the Abraham Lincoln Memorial Bridge at LaSalle-Peru. We headed west a few miles until we hit highway 26 and drove the Illinois River Road south the last several miles into Peoria.

We were in no hurry to arrive at our destination, as my sister and her boyfriend were working and wouldn’t be home until after 5:30, so we thought we’d take our time and look at some sights along the way. The Illinois River Road turned out to be a beautiful ride, although we didn’t get to see quite as much of the river along the way as I had hoped we would. Continue reading “Traveling the Illinois River Road”

Flowers, Illinois

A weekend in Southern Illinois

Just got home from a weekend in Southern Illinois, where it stormed and rained all weekend. An F3 tornado hit the St. Louis airport, which is just an hour East of my family (I was visiting for Easter.) Anyway, I got some really pretty pictures I want to share with you. It wasn’t exactly a huge vacation, but it was travel all the same!

So, I pulled off I-57 at the Watson/Mason exit Thursday and was greeted by a long line of stopped cars waiting for a road crew to let traffic pass. They were resurfacing the road in between storms. Anyway, I snapped a few pictures of the overflowing Little Wabash River while we were stopped. It’s funny how the river ebbs and flows… one day, it’s flooded, the next day you can see the fields again… and still one day later, it’s flooded once more.

Little Wabash river

There was still snow on the ground when I left my home in Wisconsin Thursday, so I couldn’t believe just how green everything was once I got down south. I’m back home today, and we still don’t have any green trees here yet!

Continue reading “A weekend in Southern Illinois”