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Spring Break - Not Just for Kids Anymore

3/30/2013
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A week ago Central Illinois was on the receiving end of Snowmageddon. With some areas receiving as much as 18 inches, the last thing on anyone’s mind was spring break.  Many of us were too busy digging out our driveways or scraping our windshields to give spring break a whole lot of thought.  But, the reality of the situation is that here we are again, on the brink of springtime and wondering what our crazy Illinois weather has in store for us.

snow

Look familiar?

 

As a kid, spring break felt like a mini summer vacation.  The weather was relatively warm, you had little adventures with your friends, and you did everything in your power to forget that things like homework even existed.  As a grownup, the first signs of spring make me miss those whimsical times.  Unlike some of my friends who are teachers, I don’t get a guaranteed vacation every spring.  It’s even getting easy for me to forget about the concept of a spring break until something comes along and reminds me. 

At first this trend bummed me out.  But after a while I realized that being a responsible adult doesn’t mean that my days of spring breaks are behind me.  I just have to make more of an effort to get the ball rolling.  My workplace may not shut down for two weeks every year, but that doesn’t stop me from having one heck of a long weekend! 

It started out small.  One year I went to a friend’s barbeque on a relatively warm Saturday.  After that we had a nice picnic to celebrate the change in season.  The next year my husband and I upped the ante and took a camping trip in Southern Illinois.  We even checked out some of the wineries in the area.   It turns out that it’s nowhere near as difficult as I originally thought to properly enjoy a little spring break… no matter how many years have passed since your graduation. 

After our camping trip we really got the bug.  We wanted to make the most of our weekends now that snow and winter coats were no longer concerns.  We looked for new and exciting options around town but quickly got tired of what the city had to offer.  Most of the local options had an indoor focus, and we’d had quite enough of that during our months of hiding from the cold.  We were ready for some sun and fresh breezes.  We were ready for some fresh and beautiful landscapes.  We were ready for recreation and adventure.

Luckily Central Illinois has some amazing opportunities, if you know where to look…which we didn’t at first.  Since camping worked so well for us before, we figured it would work again.  We took a day off of work to give us a proper trip and headed out to a campground a few hours away from our home.  The thing about camping, as many of you have no doubt experienced, is that when things go wrong they really go off the rails.  The weather didn’t cooperate, and the local wildlife (and insect life) became a real problem.  What was supposed to be a fun and rejuvenating trip turned into an exhausting experience.  We wound up going home early, tired and dejected.  Clearly we had missed the mark.  Another couple may have given up on spring break at this point, but not us.  We gave our plans some serious thought, and the next time we set off for a spring retreat, we made sure to a place that was sure to be a blast no matter what surprises we encountered. 

If you are looking for that perfect spring getaway, a chance to get back to nature, enjoy some quality relaxation time, and just have some fun with your friends or family, consider a trip to Harpole’s Heartland Lodge. We humans aren’t the only ones who enjoy spring.   After a cold winter, you’ll love exploring miles of trails – on horseback, ATV, or by foot AND watching nature come alive with wildflowers, birds and animals. 

Horseback Riding

Looking for something you have never done before? How about going for a mushroom hunt?  It’s fun, good exercise and allows you to discover the great outdoors while collecting a delicious delicacy.

morel

For my husband and me, any getaway requires a good meal and some great evening activities.  After all, with the weather finally starting to change and the sun staying out a bit longer, why not enjoy everything your weekend has to offer?  When you stay at Harpole’s Heartland Lodge, you do not just have access to beautiful accommodations and the opportunity to get back to nature, you are also treated to a gourmet, home cooked dinner and an amazing brunch.  After dinner, guests at Harpole’s enjoy a scenic, sunset hayride and bonfire.  There is nothing better on a cool spring night then cuddling up by the fire and sharing a s’more. 

Don’t let this spring break pass you by!  Just because you aren’t a kid anymore doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy some quality play time every now and again. 

Nicole Palmisano

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