Gebhard Woods Dulcimer Festival Ride 2011

Imagine A Woodstock Where Everyone Is Sober

Relax with the sweet sounds of hammered and mountain dulcimers at the 23rd Gebhard Woods Dulcimer & Traditional Music Festival. Gebhard Woods is a beautiful Illinois state park with trails to hike and ride on, rivers and streams to fish in, and on the weekend of June 11-12, plenty of great music to enjoy learning and listening to.

Concerts • Workshops • Vendors • Food • Jamming Children’s Activities • Old Time Dancing • and more!
Gebhard Woods State Park is located in the quaint town of Morris, which is conveniently located 65 miles southwest of the Chicago Loop.

This festival is not-for-profit and depends on your support. For the sake of future festivals and preserving dulcimer music in Illinois, please consider volunteering or making a donation.

Every year the children of the 60s get together to celebrate their folk music roots. Dulcimers are of course in evidence as are mandolins, violins, guitars, banjos and percussive instruments. Now spread the performers out in tents across a couple acres of forest and you have the Gebhard Woods Dulcimer Festival.

It is delightful to hear the music that makes America’s Civil War come alive for those who were not around to hear it then. This is music without glitter, amplification and jumbo-trons trained on the performer so that an audience a half mile away can participate.

You can sit next to the performers and feel the music resonate in your chest! It is music that is very familiar from what you may have learned in grade school music class. It is the music that got a nation through its most tragic internal strife and helped to heal its wounds thereafter.

The Gebhard Woods is just outside the downtown area of the city of Morris, IL. It is nestled against the I & M Canal path and is half way to the town of Utica, IL. The canal has a rich history and is on display at the various locks along the 61 mile length of the path. The path is now under the auspices of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

Outbound Leg of Ride

Dulcimer Festival Session In Progress

The ride over was completely on streets. We took Bridge Street over to Hansel and then continued to Cemetery Road which takes you right into Morris. The route is colorful and quiet. There is some traffic but initially you are riding through the subdivision about a mile or two west of the Channahon Access point. Afterwards the houses are on multi-acre lots and while some are farms others are horse ranches and still others merely lonely houses on lonelier property.

There is a very large and stately cemetery along the roadway into Morris. We passed a couple riding back from the Dulcimer Festival on their bikes. A group of Harley-Davidson riders came roaring through on their way somewhere west!

By the time we reached Morris it was pretty late in the afternoon. We had made a rather late start not wanting to be disappointed we drove to the festival first to make sure it was in session and the drove back to Channahon to ride back over on our bikes.

We sat and ate our bagels and apple slices while we soaked up the music. A couple of musicians came over and asked about our bikes. We in turn got a chance to ask about their wonderful instruments. One of the musicians sat astride Connie’s bike to get a feel for what it must be like to ride one.

Inbound Leg of Ride

Dollinger Family Farm

Our visit over we headed back along the Canal for about a mile into the downtown area of Morris. The trail was in pretty good shape despite all the rain the night before. We stayed on the streets all the way back to the point where we would take the steep climb near the Dollinger Family Farm on Hansel Road.

The trail at this point is actually taking us away from the Channahon Access because it is winding around the tip of a peninsula. Eventually we head north into the town of Channahon and despite the soreness of my knees from riding on the gravel surface of the trail I feel fine and ready for a ride tomorrow!

Distance: 29.7 miles
Time: 3h 20m 46s