Explore the Vrooman Mansion
Filled with an abundance of historical sites and surrounded by rolling green farmland on all sides, Bloomington, Illinois is an interesting and beautiful city to explore. As the county seat of McLean County, this diverse city has a vibrant community with a rich history in agriculture, politics, architecture, education and innovation. With the headquarters of multiple businesses and two prominent universities, Bloomington has been attracting talent and ideas for decades. Did you know that Abraham Lincoln spent time in Bloomington, IL, before his presidency?? There is even a commemorative monument on the grounds of Vrooman Mansion where he and Steven Douglas used to give speeches while campaigning!
As you can imagine, the city celebrates its memorable past, and you can experience it firsthand by staying at one of its most historic, iconic, and unique homes that is now a bed and breakfast for you to enjoy.
Bloomington is in the heart of central Illinois, just two hours south of Chicago or three hours north of St. Louis, MO. Unique in its location, it appears at the crossroads of interstates I-55, I-74, and I-39, along with historic Route 66. But if driving is not your forte, you’ll also find the Central Illinois Regional Airport and a stop along the Amtrak Railway. Known for its background in aviation, historic museums, local zoo, and a Shakespeare festival, the city has a lot to offer its residents.
Whether you are a regular visitor to its businesses or colleges, driving through on a road trip, or are new in Bloomington to catch a show or event, choosing a memorable and comfy place to stay is one of the most important parts of a fun vacation or romantic getaway. When you book the only bed and breakfast in Bloomington, IL, you can rest assured that your experience at the mansion will be just what you dreamed.
Vrooman Mansion is the only true B&B in the city, and has seven suites, each with their own private bathroom, in addition to multiple unique common areas for guests to explore, If gourmet breakfast is why you love to stay at a bed and breakfast when you travel, then look no further. Their ability to tailor your breakfast to any dietary restrictions, while maintaining their high standards and unique cuisine, truly sets them apart. Located in the historic Dimmitt’s Grove neighborhood, you’ll find this once historic residence as a vibrant B&B and special events venue. The expansive west facing portico is the ideal spot to enjoy breakfast or a beverage during the spring through fall months. Plus Vrooman Mansion is a short 15 minute walk to downtown Bloomington where you’ll find amazing locally owned restaurants, unique music venues, and art galleries from some of the most talented in the community. You will also be a short drive to several attractions and historic sites, such as the David Davis Mansion, local breweries and wineries, the Constitution Trail, and Miller Park Zoo.
Providing a peaceful and relaxing night’s rest, the unique and antique-filled guest rooms boast vintage-style elegance with many comfortable modern amenities, such as free WiFi, USB plugs by your bedside, and luxurious bathrobes to borrow. Down the hall you’ll find a quaint coffee closet, filled with complimentary coffee, tea, soda, water and snacks. But if you need something more, they offer optional packages of charcuterie trays, champagne, chocolate covered strawberries, or s’mores by the fire.
The innkeepers and their staff treat everyone with genuine respect and care, making sure that you leave well rested and with a multitude of memories and historic inspiration, which is another reason why you should check-in. Every space is marked by history that spans influences in agriculture, education, the arts and even politics. The common areas like the parlor, music room, library and study offer comfort, style, and elegance. Vrooman Mansion is ideal for weddings, showers, anniversary parties, and cocktail events that wow guests and provide unique spaces for conversation.
Staying at Vrooman Mansion gives you the opportunity to explore the nearby hiking spots, tour local colleges and universities, discover history, and experience local music, art and food… all while resting in a peaceful and gorgeous setting that takes you back in time.
You should know that Bloomington, Illinois was founded as the village of Blooming Grove in 1822. The city was initially located on the edge of a large grove of trees occupied by the Kickapoo people. Note that the first European-American settlers arrived in the 1820s.
And Bloomington was officially named as the county seat on Dec 25, 1830, after the creation of McLean County. The first group of non-native settlers changed the name of the region from “Keg Grove” to Blooming Grove. In honor of the original name for the town, you’ll now find a local craft brewery by the same name, which you can stop at, off of the paved Constitution Trail.
Many farmers and agriculturalists were attracted by the greenery and fertile soil. As a result, agriculture became a crucial factor for the local economy, and the legacy of Vrooman Mansion contributed to that as well. Carl Vrooman lived in the mansion in the early 1900s and was the Assistant United States Secretary of Agriculture under President Woodrow WilsonDuring this time, President and Mrs. Wilson visited Vrooman Mansion and spent time at the antique dining room table, still in the mansion today where their gourmet breakfast is served.
The agricultural boom and railroads helped turn downtown Bloomington into a prosperous commercial center. But like Chicago, it also fell victim to fire. In 1900, a police officer discovered a roaring fire in a small laundry across the street from the famous City Hall and Police Station. While he sounded the alarm, the fire was out of control and destroyed most of the downtown.
However, it was designed and rebuilt and was even better than before. In fact local architect Arthur L Pillsbury helped redesign a majority of the downtown area, and even designed the foyer and stained glass windows inside Vrooman Mansion. Not long after the town was revived, in 1926, the famous Highway 66 was founded and soon became a preferred route for travelers.
Bloomington, IL, is host to many historical and natural attractions that both tourists and residents enjoy. You will find many natural parks within driving distance as well as Miller Park Zoo, the Genevieve Green Gardens at Ewing Manor, and the Bloomington-Normal Constitution Trail. With its prominent and unique place in history, Bloomington, IL, celebrates its past and provides many fun and exciting things to do throughout all four seasons.
For example, an excellent first stop in the city is the famous McLean County Museum of History which includes the Cruisin with Lincoln on 66 Visitors Center. The museum is housed in the architecturally remarkable Old Courthouse building. On this square during the summer months you’ll find free concerts, a weekend farmer’s market, and special events the First Friday of the month where you can tour local businesses and art galleries based on a unique theme.
A few blocks north of the square you can also visit the Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts (BCPA). It is an anchor of the downtown cultural district and hosts over 500 events each year, providing a stage for nationally acclaimed performances and local artists.
You can experience a wide range of entertainment within the spacious 1,200-seat auditorium, including Broadway shows, Summer Solstice Concerts, and special holiday performances. A few blocks southeast of the popular McLean County Museum of History, The Castle Theatre is another great attraction. It is a renovated and stunning performance arena from the past. Originally built in 1916, this theater flourished as a notable movie palace for several decades.
Today, the plush and decadent interior that once served as a great movie theater is now a popular and sleek concert venue. Keep in mind that The Castle Theatre is a preferred stop for emerging national musicians and regional musicians, bringing in various genres, from indie to country and many more in between. And right down the street you’ll find bars and restaurants you can enjoy before or after the show.
The Constitution Trail is one of the largest features of the city. Feel the cool breeze and excitement and take in breaths of fresh air while riding your bike, jogging, or walking through this amazing paved trail.
The beautiful tree-lined trail covers more than 42 miles. It takes you through the old and memorable Illinois Central Gulf Railroad and many forested and residential areas in the community. First opened on May 6, 1989, the trail links to the historical Route 66 Trail in McLean County. You can relax and unwind as you ride your bike and can also indulge in a little physical fitness. And if you don’t have a bike, you can rent one from Vrooman Mansion so you don’t miss this opportunity.
And part of the trail winds through Uptown Normal and Illinois State University where you can pause for ice cream, lunch, or a beverage at one of the many locally owned restaurants. You’ll even find the infamous Children’s Discovery Museum, perfect for any little travelers with you on your trip!
There is no better place to experience central Illinois, than Bloomington-Normal, and no better place to make your home away from home, than Vrooman Mansion.
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