More green adventures
The Anderson Japanese Gardens in Rockford were an hour's drive (and gas is now under $4/gallon). They are walkable and shaded, with lots of lovely hardscape, from boulders to bridges to tea houses. The 12-acre site has pools and an impressive waterfall (a 20 foot steel wall supports it), so the sound of water is often in the background as you walk. The koi seem pretty Americanized -- some looked obese. Garden founder John Anderson often did business in Japan, and was inspired to develop this after seeing the wonderful Portland Japanese garden . Anderson is now the #1 ranked Japanese garden in the U.S. and Europe, according to the Roth Journal of Japanese Gardening . I could have stayed there all day, but instead we finished the day by using the Rockford Park District bike trail that runs along the Rock River, since the weather was good for biking. That trail was a lot less crowded than what we might have encountered had we instead chosen to go into Chicago for a lakefront ride.