The Best Secret in Peoria

The Best Secret in Peoria

When I was a young pup, I dreamed of racing European one-day classic events. And even though I lived in Peoria, I had many courses--all of them practically in my back yard--that I imagined were similar to those across the Atlantic.

Imagine six-foot to eight-foot-wide surfaces. Fast, hair-raising descents on paved, gravel and somewhere-in-the-middle passages. Eighteen miles of my favorite hills. My favorite challenges.

 

These were the winding, unimproved roads that helped make me the bike rider I am. These are the roads that keep me the rider I am.

I've seen plenty of deer, turkey, foxes, coyotes, hawks and owls here.

There is some amazing artwork here too. Lots of intricate stonework.

This is the heart of Peoria. This is Springdale Cemetery, a hidden treasure nestled on 220 acres just northeast of Glen Oak Zoo. The Rock Island Greenway runs through it, but there's a lot more to this special place than a quick transit from Peoria Heights to downtown might suggest.

Fall photos here are a must, though all seasons have their charms. During Victorian times, people didn't go to parks--they packed a lunch and went to the cemetery. History is everywhere.

Don't ride? Adventure awaits for hiker and dog-walker alike. Don't want to go by yourself? You know where to find me. I go there every week--and nearly as often to the nearby Mexican bakery Panaderia Ortiz.

Affordable pastries and coffee. The great outdoors in the middle of the city. Does it get any better than this?

Does it need to?