Princeton and Ottawa, Illinois

8/12/22

Today we went to another small town about 40 miles away, Ottawa. (I’ve noticed a definite trend in the Midwest of town names that sound like other places around the world, whether other city names, state names, or even country names. In fact, on our way back from Ottawa, we stopped for lunch and an art exhibit in Peru, Illinois—population 9,777.)

Ottawa was another cool little town with a distinctive main street lined with locally owned shops. We dropped off some children’s bikes Rick was donating to a fundraising event at the locally owned bookstore, Prairie Fox Books. Afterward we crossed the street and said hello to the owner of a local artsy shop called A Mess of Things. Rick seems to know most people in Princeton and nearby towns, and if he doesn’t know them, he will strike up a conversation and meet them!

Of course we saw a Little Free Library in Ottawa as well.

This afternoon and evening, I relaxed around Rick and Sarah’s beautiful homestead, taking a short walk around the yard next to the cornfields, by the barns and beehives. As I entered the small wooded area behind the house, I saw a deer watching me curiously.

I enjoyed the beautiful big skies, and we dined outside again at dinner tonight, sharing more stories of life and travel, while watching the sun set and the fireflies return.

My time in Princeton has been a lovely and unexpected sojourn. Tomorrow afternoon I’ll board the train back to Chicago for one more night, before entering the new-to-me state of Wisconsin!

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