Check out these unique destinations that reflect the genuine character of our region.
Paradise Cove Park
Corner of Hubbard and Carver St., Winslow, Ill.
The village of Winslow has a lovely, small park called Paradise Cove, located just off the highway at the center of town.
It was started in 1989 as a project to attract tourists, and features a covered bridge, waterfall, gazebo and an artesian well that produces 26,640 gallons per minute. The well has supplied all of the village’s water since it was drilled in 1917. The waterwheel, added in 1960 and replaced in 2007, provides a wonderful scenic photo site.
“The flow of the artesian well does not freeze,” says Ralph Douglas, a trustee on the Winslow Village Board.
However, when winter air temperatures drop to 10 degrees below zero, a stunning ice chute forms around the falling water.
“We will, at times, have a frozen waterfall, which is quite pretty,” Douglas says.
Most of the labor and materials for park construction were donated.
The covered walking bridge, added in 2001, earned the Governor’s Hometown Award for the Winslow community.
“We’re open year round,” Douglas says. “We have people come out here and take wedding and graduation photos, and we also get people coming in here on tour buses.”
Riverside Ice Arena
365 Locust St., Belvidere, (815) 547-5711, belviderepark.org/riverside-ice-arena/
Area residents have an opportunity to skate on the same sheet of ice as the Rockford IceHogs.
Beginning Nov. 25, Riverside Ice Arena will open for a second season. The arena, an outdoor ice rink that hosts hockey leagues and broomball tournaments, was part of a $3 million Doty Park upgrade completed last year.
“The Belvidere Park District has been working on this project for more than four years,” says Gabriel Castillo, recreation marketing manager for the Belvidere Park District.
The rink offers skating lessons, skate rentals, open skating and adult hockey leagues.
Riverside Ice Arena is a full-scale NHL rink and the Belvidere Park District is a partner of the Rockford IceHogs, who held a practice on the ice last season. They’re scheduled to practice there on Dec. 13 at 6 p.m. Fans can watch for free and stay for autographs afterwards.
Despite the rink being outside, it only closed four days last year due to weather. Two of the days were because of unseasonably mild temperatures.
The ice rink will be open until March 5, depending on weather conditions.
656 Pleasant Ave., Beloit, Wis., (608) 362-9099, angelmuseum.org/the-angel-museum/
What started as a Florida vacation ended with a new passion.
While on vacation in 1976, Joyce and Lowell Berg visited an antique store, where they fell in love with an Italian bisque figurine of two angles on a seesaw. Once they saw those angels, they wanted more and more.
Since then, Berg has collected more than 14,000 angel artifacts, which are now on display at the Angel Museum in Beloit. Located in the refurbished St. Paul Catholic Church, the museum has become one of the more popular visitor attractions in Beloit.
Berg, founder of The Angel Museum, believes it’s the largest private angel collection in the world.
“It feels like a little bit of Heaven when you walk in,” Berg says. “People come from all over the world to see this angel collection.”
The angels range in size from one-eighth of an inch to life size. They’re made from more than 100 materials, ranging from porcelain to macaroni.
“The angels are just so sweet and my husband and I got caught up in the different types of figurines,” Berg says.
The Bergs found their angels in a variety of places, including antique shops, flea markets, estate sales and auctions.
Angel Museum is also home to more than 600 black angels donated by Oprah Winfrey. The angels, which were gifts from her fans, are on display.
Hours: Th.-Sat. 10 a.m.-4 p.m.