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Unexpected Delights--Giant City State Park

Posted by Sue Swinger-Ellbogen on February 23, 2015 at 11:45 AM

Giant City State Park located in Southern Illinois near Carbondale.

The road twists and turns with increasing woodlots turning into forests of towering trees with underbrush and fallen limbs and branches covered by snow. The winding road has a beauty that is stark and forlorn with a solitary wild turkey attempting to peck through the deep snow for food. Iccles hanging from the snow-packed roofs, trees coated with sparkling ice, grass covered with shards, bushes bent with hoarfrost, mounds of snow on sides of the road along the massive bluffs that hold evidence of human habitation from 10,000 years ago presents a lonely path through the Giant City State Park on the way to the Park Lodge for their famous Sunday fried chicken dinner.


My daughter and son-in-law always find interesting places to take me when I visit. Usually a remote park where we can hike and spot wildlife but when the temperatures are brutally cold like this month it is difficult to find the ideal hiking spot. I thought the drive would be the most interesting and picturesque part of our trip but not so. The rustic lodge at the center of the park is beautiful with original sandstone and white oak timbers being intact after various remodels since 1927. The lodge is big and airy with wildlife tastefully preserved and hanging from the timbered walls. A life-size mounted buffalo stands in the lobby of the lodge offering an exciting experience for children of all ages. Numerous tall windows on the main floor and on the mezzanine level provide light and shadows on the rough-hewn wood floors and stairs that cast the old lodge as the perfect spot for a mystery novel. The sandstone blocks, arched doorways and behemoth beams provide a medieval feeling that is appropriate given the history of the park and the lodge. How does ‘Mystery in the Old Lodge’ sound?


February 22 will always be a date that our family will remember in sadness but adventures like this one help to remind us that life is for living and exploring and discovering unexpected delights. I can’t wait to go back in the springtime. 

Categories: The Storybook Lady

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