8 Sensational Summer Stops in Piatt County
Wander through this east-central Illinois agricultural county from any direction, and you’ll run into Monticello, the county seat named after Thomas Jefferson’s Virginia home.
“There’s always something to do in Monticello,” says Callie Jo McFarland, director of community development for the city. “We encourage visitors all year to come and explore our community, especially for the many activities that occur during the summer.”
Monticello is a convenient place to visit, just off Interstate 72 and not far from the University of Illinois in neighboring Champaign County. Monticello is also equal distance from Decatur and within 50 miles of Bloomington, Illinois.
McFarland notes the downtown area is a National Historic District, with the courthouse bordered by several diverse, independent businesses and restaurants. Venture away from the square and you can visit Eli Field model air park, hike on trails at Valentine Park or see fuzzy animals at Sundrop Alpacas in nearby Bement.
Monticello hosts many events and festivals, including the Monticellobration on the third weekend in September. Visitors can also attend the 66th Annual Piatt County Trail Blazers Rodeo June 25-27 at the arena on Old Route 47 near Monticello, and the annual Apple Dumpling Festival held each August in nearby Atwood.
Scroll through the slideshow to discover eight sensational summer stops for your itinerary.
2. Allerton Park & Retreat Center
The former residence of artist/philanthropist Robert Allerton at the turn of the 20th century, the property was donated to the University of Illinois in 1946. Today, you can hike 14 miles of trails, stroll through sculpture gardens and view thousands of woodland and prairie acres. Guests can also dine in the Greenhouse Café and stay in one of several lodging options. Programs open to visitors include outdoor concerts, themed dinners and tours. Allerton is open daily, 8 a.m. to sunset with free admission, but donations are appreciated.
See more: Allerton Park is an Illinois Wonder