We took a day trip last October to Woodstock, Illinois. There is a lovely park there in this perfect compact square with great parking. But it wasn’t the park per se that drove us there. It was the knowledge that much of the movie Groundhog Day was filmed there, and we were on a pilgrimage of sorts. I will watch anything by Bill Murray, and he has a sort of ‘if-you-can’t-beat-em-join-em attitude’, about it, much how I am with Star Trek.
Weather-wise, we got lucky. If you’re into the crisp as an apple, leaves flying around autumn days, this one was perfect. We parked across from the Woodstock Opera House.
In the film it was the hotel where Andie McDowell’s character stayed. It also has a wonderfully trimmed door, suitable to share with Norm and his Thursday Doors.
In the 80’s I visited the opera house with a friend and co-worker for two concerts. If you are ever in the area, it is worth your time to see it inside and out.
Did I mention what a spectacularly beautiful day it was?
We entered the park with coffee and cameras. I sat with a particularly hot coffee while he wandered. We were surprised to find that the park is special in other ways as well, being a veteran’s memorial park.
On the opposite side of the park we found the restaurant from the movie, but the storefront and name had changed. Some things, though, we were happy to find had not changed. Like the gazebo where Bill Murray and Andie McDowell danced.
I told my daughter about it excitedly, how we went up inside and took pictures, and how cool it was to be there where they danced in a film I’ve seen 20 times. That’s when I lost her attention. She sort of glazed over.
So I finished telling the story to my son, including how before we left the town, we stopped on the street where Bill Murray’s bed and breakfast was, and took a couple of photos. I think that’s when I lost him as well.
In all fairness, I suppose I understand where I lost their interest, though one of them wishes they lived in the shire in Middle-earth where the Hobbits live. I won’t say who.