So, when he gave a scenic byway the title of the "world's most beautiful drive", he knew what he was talking about.
It may surprise you to know that he provided that designation to a road right here in Illinois: Grandview Drive in Peoria Heights. In 1910, while being driven around the Peoria area, he remarked of Grandview Drive:
“I have traveled all over the world, and this is the world’s most beautiful drive.”
Having driven the road yesterday, I can attest that it is, in fact, a beautiful drive (although I'm hard pressed to say it's more beautiful than a drive along Route 1 in California, or French Riviera).
I've posted some pictures of the drive to the right, and you can view all my photos here.
Also in Peoria Heights is a 200-foot water tower that allows tourists to take an elevator up to an observation deck to enjoy unobstructed views of Grandview Drive, the Illinois River and the Peoria-area countryside. It's quite a view.
People, such as me, who grew up in Chicago or the surrounding suburbs, aren't always aware of the natural beauty that can be found right here in the Prairie State. A quick day trip, a short drive, and a worthwhile mini-vacation, can reveal some of the most beautiful landscapes in America — and, according to Teddy Roosevelt, the entire world."
I also encourage you to read Marathon Pundit's recent post about Peoria Heights and its significance as a town along the historic Ronald Reagan Trail.