Fun things to do – outside!!!

So this beautiful weather has me spending more and more time outside, and it got me thinking.  Sure the quad is beautiful, but sometimes it just doesn’t cut it! I want to share with you the beautiful (kind of campus secrets). These are, in my opinion, the best places to escape to the great outdoors!

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Curtis Orchard

The first time I went to Curtis Orchard was with my sorority during my freshman year. We all piled into the upperclassmen’s cars, and after a few miles, we came to a land of not only about 20 different kinds of apples, but also pumpkins, a petting zoo, and (my boyfriend’s favorite) apple cider doughnuts. Curtis Orchard is definitely an autumn must – there is nothing like apples off the tree! Not that I eat about 5 when I am out in the fields picking them or anything. Curtis Orchard is definitely something to think about if your friends have a car or even around the time of Dad’s weekend!

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The Farmers Market

Unfortunately, I only discovered the Farmer’s Market this summer, but I am so glad I did! The farmer’s market is in Urbana and is open on Saturday mornings to the early afternoon. You can find anything from flowers, jewelry, different types of yummy breads, honey, meats, cheese, and of course the best fruits and vegetables around! There are plenty of buses that go to downtown Urbana, and I would definitely recommend making a trip when the weather is nice.

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The Arboretum

Lucky enough for us at Illinois, we have the Arboretum right on campus on Lincoln Avenue. I had never even heard of an arboretum before coming to Illinois, and it really remained a mystery until I actually went there. The best way I can describe it is basically a paradise of flowers and trees.  You honestly feel like you are in a different world, especially because it is kind of a well kept secret. It usually only has a couple other people around! There are tree-lined paths that lead to various gardens. There are also more than a few surprises along the way, but I don’t want to spoil them for you!

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Allerton Mansion

Allerton Mansion is in Monticello, a small town between Decatur and Champaign off of I-72. It is about a 20 minute drive from campus. The mansion was previously owed by Robert Allerton in 1900, and then he donated it to the University of Illinois. I was actually lucky enough to stay there for a week during Leadershape, a program through the Illinois Leadership Center over the winter of 2009. I also went there with my dad during the spring. I would definitely recommend seeing the garden of the mansions during the spring or summer, as the gardens and the lake and the trails around the mansion are open to the public for you to walk around and enjoy!

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