Warm one day, cool the next. Yep, it’s fall in the Midwest and soon the leaves will let us know there’s no turning back. It might be a harsh reality, but it’s beautiful to witness, especially in central Illinois. Come to Bloomington-Normal and stay at Vrooman Mansion bed and breakfast for an amazing leaf-peeping experience.
It’s amazing because it’s happening everywhere. With our many parks and trails and tree-lined streets, leaf-peeping is hardly a challenge, but when you’re in search of the perfect picture or the picture-perfect autumn experience, a specific place and precise location help. Here are our favorite five places to enjoy the essence of fall in and around Bloomington.
- Constitution Trail (Bloomington-Normal): This is our 43-mile urban trail with multiple branches, meant for multiple uses. Bordered by trees, bikers, hikers, and strollers get to experience fall’s splendor.
- Hidden Creek Nature Sanctuary (Normal, IL): It makes sense that a place that’s a natural home for wildlife and stellar bird-watching territory is going to be a place that showcases the colors of autumn.
- Sugar Grove Nature Center (McLean, IL): Eighteen acres of white and bur oaks and sugar maples create a lovely seasonal picture. Seven miles of hiking trails define a path through prairie, woodland, and savanna habitats. The center also supports programs, exhibits, and events, including the Autumn Celebration on Oct. 26. It is linked to Funks Grove, home to maple sirup with the old-time spelling. Funks Grove, about 11 miles south of Vrooman Mansion, provides photo-worthy scenes as well, look for Funks Grove Church and Chapel in the Trees and see what we mean.
- Merwin Nature Preserve (Lexington, IL): Expect to see beautiful foliage thanks to grand oak trees. Less than half-hour northeast of us, it gives the in-the-wild feel via an easy two-mile loop trail. And to make it more picture-perfect, you’ll walk along the Mackinaw River.
- Moraine View State Park: In addition to acres and acres of trees, this geographically interesting recreation area boasts a lake that’s perfect for swimming, fishing, and boating. The park has horse trails as well as hiking trails, great picnicking and camping areas, and an archery range. East of Vrooman by less than 18 miles (25 minutes), this is a fun and exhilarating day trip.
But our absolute favorite place to enjoy fall colors is our own back yard. Vrooman is surrounded by trees, offering lovely shade in the summer and riotous color in the fall. They add to the grandeur of the setting, and we encourage guests to bask in it.
Reserve your suite now. Prepare to enjoy the views from your room; relax on the veranda sipping warm cider in a crisp air; stroll the grounds, enjoying the crunch of the leaves underfoot. Take advantage of our autumn special, designed to help you embrace relaxation. Give yourself permission to take time in October or early November (peak leaf-peeping here may be late this year) to wind down and rest, like a tree preparing for winter.