Sunday Afternoon in the Park

Sunday afternoon

Sunday afternoon… just perfect for walking!


Hi Friends!

A beautiful, late summer Sunday afternoon is best celebrated with a long, leisurely walk. Our destination was a surprise (a most wonderful one!), a place that holds dear memories for us. We headed west toward Geneva, Illinois in the lovely Fox River Valley, to the Fabyan Forest Preserve.

We shared the sunshine with families out for a stroll, sweethearts carrying a blanket and a picnic basket, cyclists, nature photographers, history buffs, fishermen, and kayakers. As the seasons begin to change, we are all making the most of  the warm days before they slip away.  Warm memories will help chase away the winter chill!

The natural beauty attracts people to the Fabyan Forest Preserve, but there is so much history here, too. This area was originally part of ‘Riverbank,’ the large country estate of George and Nelle Fabyan, on the west bank of the Fox River. While living here on over 300 acres, the Fabyans rebuilt their home, added a private zoo, a Roman-style swimming pool, a grotto, arbors, and a Japanese Tea Garden on small island in the middle of the Fox River.

Come join us on our walk…

Our first stop is always the historic Fabyan Windmill.


This 68 foot tall, five story structure was built in the 1850s by Louis Blackhaus, a German craftsman. Now carefully restored to working order, it is known as the best example of a Dutch windmill in the United States. It still operates by wind power. At one time, there was a bakery in the basement that used the freshly ground flour for baking for the Fabyan family estate.



The Fabyan Windmill has been honored on a U.S. Postage stamp for grinding grain for the nearby community during war-time rationing. Tours of this historic windmill are available May 15-October 15, 1-4pm.


Next, we will cross the footbridge over the Fox River, stopping often to admire the flora and fauna that live near the river.




The quiet beauty of this small island in middle of the river takes my breath away each time we visit.


As we approach the Japanese Tea Garden, I have to stop and admire the hydrangeas spilling over the simple wooden fence.

(I must remember this fence. Wouldn’t it be just perfect in an old-fashioned cottage garden?)



The Japanese Tea Garden dates back to 1914. It was designed as a place for quiet reflection and appreciation of nature.

The garden is open to visitors on Wednesdays and Sundays, from May 1-October 15th.

On Saturdays, it is reserved for garden weddings and wedding photography.DSCN3141



So much quiet beauty just fills me with inspiration…

Soon our garden will have Japanese Anemones.

Each time they bloom, they will remind me of our visits to this lovely garden.DSCN3138

Walking past the stone grotto, and through the lush, green arbor, leads us to the Fabyan Villa Museum.

George and Nelle Fabyan purchased this land, with it’s 1850 farmhouse, in the early 1900s. They called their home ‘The Villa.’

In 1907, architect Frank Lloyd Wright re-designed the home in his well-known Prairie School style.

Today the Fabyan Villa Museum welcomes visitors to tour this beautiful, historic home.



Frank Lloyd Wright added a south wing, three verandas, and large eaves when he re-designed this country estate. Bands of windows, geometric window motifs, an open floor plan, and wood spindle screening are some of the hallmarks of Wright’s Prairie School design.


Container plantings accent the Prairie School design.


It was such a lovely place to take a Sunday afternoon walk in nature.

We always look forward to visiting the Fabyan Forest Preserve.


We will go back again for a colorful Autumn walk. I’m really hoping for a Winter walk, too.

This special place will be so pretty with a blanket of fresh fallen snow sparkling in the sunshine!

Scatter joy!

♡ Dawn

                                       P.S.  Where is your favorite place to walk in your area?


12 thoughts on “Sunday Afternoon in the Park

  1. Hi Dawn! A trip to my old stomping grounds! I recognized the windmill at once but, can you believe it, we never visited the rest of the gardens nor home in the 2 1/2 years that we lived there??!! I guess it’s time to return for a bit oif nostalgia. Thank you for sharing this today. Just beautiful! We really missed out! xo

    • Hi Karen! I thought of you as we were walking along. There was a family having pictures taken of their little ones by a photographer under the arbor. So sweet! It would be a fun place to walk with your grandchildren (and take pictures, of course)! Sending sunny wishes! ♡

  2. What a beautiful, gentle way to start an Autumn day in The Shire ~~~ I love the working windmill, and that FLW had a hand in this estate too {a favourite architect of mine} Sheer bliss to stroll here, and I do look forward to seeing it again in the snow! You are going to just love your Japanese Wind Anemones when they flower for you next year. There are so many varieties to choose from now, and the clumps do spread {be aware of this when planting} and are just perfect as they billow and dance on the late Summer and Autumn breezes ~~~waving~~~

    • Hi Deb! We love to walk at the Fabyan Forest Preserve! I’m always drawn to walking by the water. It’s such a peaceful feeling! I’m excited to add Japanese Wind Anenomes to our garden. They would be so pretty along our white picket fence! So grateful that you helped me identify these beautiful blossoms, dancing in the wind in your garden. Waving back! ♡

  3. Good morning Dawn! WOW! This park offers an international tour from Dutch-inspired structures to Japanese gardens! This is indeed a great place to get away, not too far!

    Our favorite places to walk here are at the lakes. We live in Minneapolis, so there are many urban area lakes surrounded by lovely parks and outrageously beautiful homes. Great gardens as well flank the shores and seeing the people and their dogs walking is a fun activity. I would have to say however, that one of my all time favorite places to walk is the sea shore.

    So good to see you again!!! Anita

    • Good Morning, Anita! You would love the Fabyan Forest Preserve! There are so many wonderful photo opportunities that we had to keep pausing our walk to take pictures. You are so fortunate to have so many lakes nearby, Anita. Minneapolis is one of my favorite places. Such beauty and such friendly people! Have a great week! ♡

  4. This looks like a really wonderful place! To far away for me I am afraid. We have many parks and rail trail nearby which is the daily go to walk. We especially like this is nearby with one walk up hill to a lovely peacefilled view. Another that is more flatland but equally peaceful and beautiful and teeming with history. Another nearby place is This place also has a Tea Garden, it is under a lot of renovation at this time. The Gardens are so lovely- hard to think people lived with so much simple elegance back then. Thanks for sharing.

    • Welcome, Carol! So happy that you stopped to visit today! Thanks for sharing the links. It was so nice to take a ‘virtual’ walk through your favorite places. It would be fascinating to walk at Ganondagan, and learn more about the Seneca people. The Sonnenberg Gardens must be a beautiful place to walk! Both would be leisurely walks for me… since I would have to stop and take lots of photos along the way! I think our New York readers will fall in love with your favorite places, too! Heartfelt thanks, Carol. ♡

    • Aloha, Anne! So happy to hear from you! Your postcard from Maui arrived yesterday. We were thrilled to hear about your ziplining and snorkeling adventures! I just love the way you are embracing retirement, Anne! Looking forward to your next adventure!! ♡

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