Here goes what can truly be called Blog# 1, so let's kick this pig...
Morris Illinois -
Morris is located in North Central Illinois, approximately 65 miles South West of Chicago. It boasts a population of 13,636 according to the 2010 census, and is nestled along the Illinois river. In addition to the Illinois River, the I&M Canal also passes through the city.
Morris plays host to not one but two state parks, as well as a nature preserve. At the South end of the downtown area, bordered by the Illinois river and the I&M Canal is the William G. Stratton State Park. This park is primarily a location for boat launching for the River. As you head west out of town on old stage road you find Gebhard woods. Gebhard is bordered by the I&M Canal on one side and Nettle creek on the other, and is the home to the Gebhard Woods Dulcimer Festival (http://www.gebharddulcimer.org/).
Images from Gebhard Woods -
Downtown Morris has a very "Rockwellian" atmosphere and feel, with its older intact buildings and quaint shops. Understand that I myself am a transplant to this area, and upon my first visit to Morris's Liberty street, the picturesque town looked to me as something straight out of a Norman Rockwell painting. There are many places and side streets to explore, there is the Canal port area, the Grundy County courthouse, to the west is the old Gebhard Brewery (Currently undergoing rehab by it's new owners).
Photo's of the downtown area -
Beyond the city..
As you head further out from the main town into the larger Morris area there is more to explore. If you go south of the river and east you will find Goose Lake Prairie Nature Preserve. Here you will find a Tallgrass prairie with 7 miles of trails to hike. Wild grasses and flora abound in this nature preserve, as does a plethora of wildlife. There are several ponds throughout the preserve and it has been home (at least for the last few years) to a pair of Sandhill Cranes. During the summer months the welcome center has a butterfly room and there are two predominant structures. The first is the old barn as you are first entering the park, and the second is the Cragg Cabin.
Images From Goose Lake Prairie:
To the north of the river is Cemetery Road, along which you can find Evergreen Cemetery. Evergreen is the final resting place of Chief Shabbona.
Further out Cemetery Rd you will find a horse farm and the Aux Sable Access at Lock 8 along the I&M Canal. The Canal has several access points throughout the Morris area, and helped play host to the building of the Morris township. For more information on the canal, please visit my friend Joe's blog site at - http://myselfandmemuledriver.blogspot.com/ . Joe is a Canal aficionado and often blogs about his adventures along the canal banks. He also has a book available at - http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/2984749