I’m kind of an outdoorsy guy…not like a cameo wearing hanging out in the deer stand type of outdoorsy guy, I’d shoot my eye out. You’ve heard of a weekend warrior? I’m like an every other (every 3rd weekend) weekend warrior type. I like to mountain bike (regular clothes, no spandex please, baggy shorts, a helmet begrudging, etc), trail run (preferably down hill), kayak (I think the sitting down aspect appeals to me), rock climb (ok….more like rock fall)….what I’m trying to say is….I like doing outdoorsy things. I’m not good at any of them, but I like doing a lot of them. I also like taking pictures of the activities to pretend I’m kind of good at them, which I’m not. Kind of a jack of all trades, master of none kind of things. Except golf. My personal hell would be stuck playing 18 holes somewhere. Seriously -how does one find time to play that sport?
Hang with me…I’ve got a point somewhere in this.
Where was I? Oh yeah. SO…the point of this article was going to be that I think a fair number of people visiting Peoria think that we are in the middle of nothing but cornfields (we are-but don’t tell them. At least we’re not flat like Bloomington) and if you are into outdoor things-this isn’t the town for you.
I started thinking of this when I read an article in Outside magazine that listed some of the best places to live. Some of their criteria included things like access to green space, access to water, community trails, an arts scene, farmers markets (and other hippie things), a great local food and microbrew scene, a college community and pot holes. Ok…I added that last one, but if it was on list, we’d be KILLING IT. But I digress.
So obviously this magazine is maybe more geared towards the younger crowd than the AARP crowd (chill….I’m almost there myself so I’m not dissing it), BUT…let’s looks at those things again.
Access to green space? Peoria has the largest amount of park district land for a city it’s size-of any city in Illinois! Access to water-we have the Illinois River. Sure it’s only 5 feet deep in spots, but it’s still a river and you can still boat on it. Trails? We’ve got a crazy number of trails-anything from the easy Rock Island Trail, to tougher Wildlife Prairie Park, Farmdale, McNaughten Park, Farmdale, Blackbridge, the new Kinsey Park, Forest Park Nature Center, Jubilee College State Park. You literally could not cover the trails we have if you went out every day, all day, for two weeks.
Did I mention I have a Jeep? Not that it has ever seen dirt. It hasn’t. When it did see dirt I promptly took it to the car wash. But it makes me think I might possibly see a dirt trail some day and if so, I’m prepared. Plus-it helps with the pot holes. But more on that later.
Art scene? Ok…I’m going to confese..I know we have one, I now it’s pretty vibrant, and I promise to write an article about in the future. I think they have it on the river front? It’s there…I promise. Did I mention we have a river front museum? Maybe it’s in there.
College scene? Check. Got it. Bradley University and Illinois Central Collge (both of which have a great frisbee golf course by the way).
The local food scene and microbew scene? Jezuz (I’m Catholic….I can say that) .I’m telling you…it’s here. Ok…it’s in two areas (IMHO)…we have the water front/warehouse district and then we have the Peoria Heights area. And Cyds. Never forget Cyds because that place is freaking awesome.
And that leaves the pot holes. Have you seen our pot holes? THEY ARE AMAZING! Ever see those pictures of the moon that show where an asteroid hit? That’s what the pot holes are like in Peoria. Seriously. Sure-you could live in Florida where they don’t have to deal with temperature fluctuations of 75 degrees from one day to the next, and they’ve never heard of road salt, but how boring is that? I like my roads to be like my mountain bike trails (actually a bad comparison. The trails are much smoother). While our Chicago friends complain about an hour commute on smooth roads, we only have to worry about surviving a 15 minute commute (if it’s longer that that for you-sorry-you must live too far away for me to relate to ).
We’ve got it all. We’ve got everything a big city has, just at half the price. Except the property taxes. We’re number one on taxes. Nobody is higher.
I even made a website just for such a think. I don’t know why I did I. I had a free offer from GoDaddy to make a website and I gave it a shot. Next thing I knew it was 2019 and I had created a website. I hope you check it out. It has nothing to do with real estate, but rather everything I mentioned above. It showcases what I think is the best of the best of the Peoria local outdoorsy scene. Not the hard core outdoorsy scene. The every other 3rd Wed type of outdoorsy scene. Here’s a link to the part of the site that showcases some of the local clubs and events going on in the area.