The Kirby Wellness Walk at Allerton Park has been extended an extra week. The Walk has been suspended for this week, January 2-6, 2018, owing to the dangerous weather conditions predicted to continue. The Walk has been extended to next week, nightly Tuesday through Saturday.
The Wellness Walk is certainly worth the effort required for warm dressing. The Mansion is lovely in winter. The giant bonfire photo posted on Facebook of the Winter Soltice Bonfire stirred regret for having missed the Park in such festivity.
At least two local television newscasts promoted the Walk and Mansion activities with live feeds the prior to the opening event. Social media marketing hit a receptive audience. Traditional news feeds, print and on line, were also exploited.
The Friday Showcase was advertised to begin at 5:00. By 4:30, wreath making classes were underway in the Visitors Center, the sun was setting, the light show was turned on, fires blazed in two fire pits and each window of the Mansion danced with light and activity. Overhead string lights created a canopy that defined the fire space, provided friendly ambiance and lighted the way to the dazzling tunnel.
This fairy-land light tunnel then opened to the meadow giving a splendid look at the night sky in one direction, or a beautiful panorama of the Mansion and its mirror reflection in the small lake.
On nights when the Mansion is not reserved and no activity can be seen within, the window shades are drawn and rooms unlit. For the benefit of the Wellness Walk, blue and white ground lights flood the walls and cast angular shadows. The Mansion seems slightly ominous and hulking, like an aging relic of the Gilded Age. The Mansion has had a full schedule of ticketed weekend activities, many of which were sold out.
Since Robert usually traveled abroad during the winter months, during Robert’s absence, the Mansion probably burned only essential lighting. Much like during Robert’s residency, the drawn window shades of the Mansion and dim interior lights spoke to their master’s absence.
In the bright lights of Opening Night and other nights of hosted events, the Retreat takes on an air of vitality, life and expectation. Lights flicker as busy shadows criss cross within. Indistinct murmurings and crescendo laughs beckon an invitation inside to retreat from the cold.
Here’s hoping for warmer weather next and this extended opportunity to visit Allerton Park in a new light. Enjoy our local Wonder of Illinois and Kirby Wellness Walk at Allerton Park and Retreat.