My wife and I travel to the Starved Rock area in Northern Illinois quite often (see previous articles). It’s gorgeous and great room/cabins in the grand lodge in the park. We also love to go in to the quaint town of Utica. Historic town with so many cool things to see but always relaxing.
This was our first chance to stop at August Hill. The winery itself is a few miles away but the tasting room is right downtown. It is amazing. A beautiful mod feel that would fit in anywhere in a huge metro or Napa. Still it is in a tiny town.
A fantastic tasting setup in a stunning room. You can get small plate food items hand carried into the gorgeous lounge area if you wish to buy wine by the glass or bottle and relax. Plus wine! Guess what? The wine is excellent as well. Often not true of these smaller Midwestern wineries. This is outstanding (and yes I’ve been all over the world as a fighter/travel writer). I love the Chambourcin (in fact there is a bottle staring at me in my office!) Try it. Now check out the pictures and enjoy. Talk after the jump.
I can’t say it enough. Come to this area and definitely come to August Hill when you do. Trust me. I travel all over and it’s world class yet warm and classically Midwest. I should add that the staff was amazing. Great service. Great knowledge. Go!
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I started going to Starved Rock State Park In Utica Illinois when I was little. My wife and took the kids here to hike when they were little. We have stayed in the Lodge and cabins several times and it is fantastic. A grand early 20th century lodge that is both elegant and rustic. Great food and just gorgeous. I’ll do a piece on it and review another time but just want you to get a taste.
As a proud Native American the park itself has a great significance (one nation starved another on the rock, hence the name) so for me it’s always a great hiking trip. Just a place I connect.
We also love going to nearby Utica to shop, eat and hit the wineries. Look for more pieces on that soon as well. For now I just want to give you a taste of the lodge and trails in the park from a recent trip my wife and I took. I’ll also post more links and info on the history then.
So when I was a kid, this place made the paper. People were mad that they had a candy window for neighborhood kids at an old bar. It was awesome. I moved away to a small farm town but always came back to it. We still go quite often and have dinner. Live music and great food in one of the oldest neighborhood bars in Illinois. Take a look and then go there so you can be part of American History. Tell them I sent you.
I grew up taking trips to the Arthur/Arcola area here in Illinois. It’s always been interesting to see the amish lifestyle and eat the fantastic food, Plus the great craftsmenship of their furniture. We also have many friends in the area.
Take a look at the pictures and what I’m talking about then get yourself to the area! From the cool Beachy’s Bulk Foods to the great buffet and it’s awesome gift shop. Plus seeing the horse and buggy travel of everyday life. Enjoy.
I love this town. Over the years I’ve been there many times. For business, wrestling tournaments/ teaching martial arts seminars and dance comps with my daughter. This was the first time we have just gone to chill and write about it. We will be back again and again.
From the cool native history along the Fox River that runs right through downtown to the many Underground railroad sites, there is a wealth historic sites to see. The Baker Hotel is anther great one and gorgeous. I plan to stay there next trip and write about it( a few pics of it here). Shops, pubs and fine dining all can be found in the gorgeous downtown. Old buildings, redone buildings and the classic Arcada Theater (caught Stephen Pearcy from Ratt live while we were there. Great place and got to hang out with one of my HS wrestling training partners .Sometimes our travels give us a chance to catch up). All this with beautiful Fox River roaring in view.
This trip we stayed at the Hilton Garden in that we have stayed at many times. Always great. Cool modern art look in the lobby. Decent pool and fitness and nice rooms. Nice quiet location and always a good experience. It has great conference space and great service. Nice quiet seating areas to relax, read and check your messages on wifi. We will go again(and again). Next time the Baker though just because we write about travel lol.
Take a look at the pictorial and see for yourself( a saddle shop right downtown!)
Ernest Tubb was a country music pioneer and Nashville staple/legend. He also had this record shop. Right on Broadway in downtown, it’s been a cool destination for decades (in it’s 69th year!) Albums, cds and live music right there. Souvenirs and old memorabilia it is true Americana and should not be missed! Surrounded by bars, restaurants and honky tonks it’s great place to stop ,look and learn when you wander downtown. Take a look!
This place is just too cool. You really just have to go in and experience the vibe. Not many places left like it. For my fun, live as we do it follow us on twitter @combatsportlife (we follow back). Contact us to get featured on twitter or here.
Everybody knows route 66. Route 150 covering just three states has some great sites as well. Full disclosure: I can hit it with a rock from my home! Like 66 has a ton of cool small town restaurants. One of the best and a true treasure is The Little Nugget.
Just outside Danville Illinois, it is a gem. Funky outside with roadside murals and cool inside. Part steakhouse and part dive bar. A rare and cool place in this day and age. The food is great, the prices are great and the roadside experience is priceless!!
The back has a grill and is more of supper club environment. The front is straight roadside bar. It’s as cool as it gets if you love roadside Americana. You should definitely take a road trip on 150 and check it out. Take a look at the pictures and see for yourself.