Sights to See: Gateway Motor Sports

Tiffany Garavaglia
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Accommodations, Attractions, Life's A Trip, Motorsports, Museums, Sports, Summer

It’s time to start planning for vacations this year! ILLINOISouth is home to many great sights and has something for everyone. This combined with our restaurants and dining options you can make a whole trip out of our Sights to See!

On this edition of Sights to See check out Gateway Motor Sports. This family-friendly activity will have you on the edge of your seat with some racing fun! Located only 15 minutes from St. Louis, Gateway Motor Sports Park and its surrounding amenities provide a weekend full of fun!

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ILLINOISouth Brewery & Wine Tour

Tiffany Garavaglia
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Beer, Life's A Trip, Wine, Wineries

It’s never too early to start planning for the nicer weather that is coming soon. What’s a better way than soaking up some rays spending a day sitting outside sipping wine or trying a fresh brew? ILLINOISouth has several options when it comes to wineries and breweries (we even have a distillery!)

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Last Minute Shopping in ILLINOISouth

Tiffany Garavaglia
0 comments
Holidays, Shop Local, Shopping

Holiday Shopping

The season of giving is in full swing and if you still haven’t been able to find that perfect gift, let us help! ILLINOISouth has great shopping all though out our 22 counties. Check out some of the great places to pick up a great gift for someone special (and maybe something for yourself as well!)

Western Counties

St. Clair Square Mall
Fairview Heights
St. Clair Square is home to many national stores such as Abercrombie & Fitch, Bath and Body Works, Build-A-Bear, and Champs to name a few. They also have a food court to grab a bite to eat in between shopping.

Spinach Can Collectables in Chester

Hero’s Hideout in Granite City

Basket Case Boutique in Lebanon

Central Counties

The Crescent Moon
Carlyle
The Crescent Moon is 4,000 square feet of useful things! This shop offers high quality furniture, home décor, gifts, and seasonal items.

Byrd’s Nest Gift Shop in Centralia

Floral and Flair in Du Quoin

Eastern Counties

Rhoda’s Doll and Toy Emporium
Carmi
A shop full of dolls and toys, Rhoda’s Doll and Toy Emporium is known for their unique selection of doll clothes.

The Willow Tree in Fairfield

The Potter’s Shed in Louisville

 

If you are looking for a one of a kind keepsake from our counties check out the Holiday issue of our Tourism Times to see how we celebrate the season.

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Celebrate the Solstice

Tiffany Garavaglia
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Uncategorized

Spend some time this weekend celebrating the Winter Solstice at Cahokia Mounds. During each solstice, visitors gather to celebrate the season with a Sunrise Observance. The next event is Sunday, December 18, 2016 at 7:00AM.

A solstice happens twice a year when the sun is at its most northerly or southerly point. This day in the summer is in June and Winter is in December. The Summer Solstice has the most sunlight of the year and the Winter Solstice has the least amount of sunlight.

Cahokia Mounds celeb

Cahokia Mounds - Collinsville

Cahokia Mounds – Collinsville

rates these events each with a gathering at the “Woodhenge” solar calendar. There are no rituals or ceremonies but guest have the ability to stand in the same place that the Mississippian people once stood to watch the sunrise according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Visitors are also able to purchase gifts from the gift shop for handmade jewelry, ceramics, and more.

The event is free, but donations are encouraged.  The Interpretive Center is open from 9:00AM-5:00PM Wednesday-Sunday.

 

 

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Pumpkin Season in ILSouth!

Tiffany Garavaglia
1 comments
Fall, Halloween, Holidays, Orchards

Western Counties

Relleke Farms
1526 Bischoff Rd.
Granite City, IL

­­Weekend Hours: 10am-5pm

Activities: Barrel Train Rides, Bounce Houses, Camel Rides, Corn Maze, Crying Chicken Roller Coaster, Face Painting, Giant “Wild Thing” Slide, Haunted Barn, Hay Rides, Jungle Maze, Krazy-Korn Palace, Mini-Golf, Petting Zoo, Pony Rides, Pumpkin Painting, Pictures, Pumpkin Chucker, Pyramid Slide, Sand Art, Spider Town, Spin the Pumpkin Ride, Train

Website: http://www.rellekepumpkinpatch.com/

 

Eckert’s Millstadt Fun Farm
2719 Eckert Lane
Millstadt, IL

Weekend Hours: 9am-6:30pm

Activities: 70 Foot Mineshaft Underground Slide, Carnival Rides, Corn Maze, Fort Eckert Playground, Haunted Hayride, Jack-O-Labber (Pumpkin Cannon), Jumping Pillow, Live Shows on the Grand Stage, Miniature Golf, Petting Farm, Pig Races, Push Pedal Tractors, Uncle Aubrey’s Fun House, Tire Swings

Website: http://www.eckerts.com/

 

Pumpkin Blossom Hill
5483 State Route 154
Red Bud, IL

Weekend Hours: Friday & Saturday –  9am-6pm; Sunday – 10am-4pm

Activities: Arts/Crafts Store, Corn Maze, Face Painting, Kettle Corn, Mechanical Bull, Playground

 

 

Central Counties

Rainbow Ranch Petting Zoo
9906 Rte 15
Nashville, IL 62263

Weekend Hours: Friday & Saturday –  9am-5pm; Sunday – 12-5pm

Activities: Corn Maze, Exotic Petting Zoo

Website: http://www.rainbowranchzoo.com/

 

McConauchie Manor Farm
9360 Brinkman Rd.
Carlyle, IL

Weekend Hours: Friday & Saturday – 10am-10pm; Sunday – Closed

Activities: Barrel Train Rides, Corn Maze, Hay Rides, Petting Zoo, Playground, Pony Rides, Pumpkin Chucker, Tire Mountain

Website: http://mcmanor.com/

 

Schwartz Orchard
19425 Copple Road
Centralia, IL

Weekend Hours: 8am-6pm

Activities: Corn Maze, Straw Maze

Website: http://schwartzfruitfarm.com/

 

 

Eastern Counties

Dorney’s Pumpkin Patch
R.R 2 Box 14
Lawrenceville, IL

Weekend Hours:

Activities: 20 Foot Slide, Bounce House, Choo-Choo Express, Corn Maze, Dark Straw Crawl, Hay Ride, Gourd Slingshot, Gold Mine

Website: https://www.facebook.com/Dorneys-Pumpkin-Patch-125952200840589/

 

Shreves Pumpkin Patch
2142 County Road 150 N
Barnhill, IL

Weekend Hours: Friday & Saturday – 10am-6pm; Sunday – 12-6pm

Activities: Corn Maze, Hay Rides

Website: https://www.facebook.com/Shreves-Pumpkin-Patch-161136953913734/?fref=ts

 

Streif’s Country Market
Highway 45 North
Flora, IL

Weekend Hours: Friday – 3:30-6 pm; Saturday & Sunday – 9am-6pm

Activities: Corn Maze, Straw Maze

Website: https://www.facebook.com/StreifPumpkinPatch/

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Happy Campers

Tiffany Garavaglia
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Accommodations, Summer

Tis’ the season for all things outdoors: beaches, grilling, and of course camping. ILLINOISouth has plenty of options when it comes to pitching your tent and making summer memories. Take a look at what our Western, Central, and Eastern Counties have to offer.

Western Counties

 

Cahokia RV Parque

4060 Mississippi Ave., Cahokia, IL 62206

1 - CahokiaWith close proximately to the St. Louis area, Cahokia RV Parque has been a popular destination for travelers since 1991. The campground is open all year long and includes amenities such as a propane station, on-site laundry, outdoor swimming pool, children’s playground, and a RV storage area for winter months. There is also an onsite restaurant, Sawmill BBQ serving up home cooked barbecue Monday through Saturday from 11AM to 8PM.

Tent camping rates start at just $20/night and RV camping at just $40/night. To check current rates or to find out more information, you can visit their website at http://www.cahokiarvparque.com/

 

Randolph County Recreation Area

4301 South Lake Drive, Chester IL 62233

2 - RandolphThe Randolph County Recreational Area boasts a plethora of outdoor activities including fishing, hiking, picnicking, boating, hunting, and of course camping. The campground is located just 5 miles northeast of Chester on Randolph County Lake. This lake is over 65 acres and is stocked with walleye, saugeye, channel catfish, redear and bluegill sunfish, and rainbow trout. The lake also contains game fish such as largemouth bass, green sunfish, bullhead, and crappie.

After a day full of outdoor activities, travelers can unwind at one of the many campsites. Rates start at just $10/night. To check current rates or to find out more information, please call (618) 826-2706.

Central Counties

 

Ramsey Lake State Recreation Area

PO Box 97 Ramsey Lake Road, Ramsey, IL 62080

3 - RamseyThe Ramsey Lake State Recreation Area is located on the beautiful shorelines of Ramsey Lake. Campers can enjoy great fishing and hunting, as well as take in the picturesque landscapes. The area also offers hiking trails and secluded picnic areas. Not interested in a full camping experience? This location also offers cabins for your comfort and convenience.

Rates for campsites start at just $10/night and cabins start at just $45/night. To check current rates or to find out more information, please call (618) 423-2215.

Coles Creek Campground

801 Lake Road, Carlyle, IL 62231-9703

4 - CarlyleCole’s Creek Campground is located on the eastern shore of Carlyle Lake. Campers can enjoy this 26,000-acre lake for the scenic views as well as the recreational activities. Aside of fishing for white bass, bluegill, crappie, channel catfish, largemouth bass, and freshwater drum, visitors can use the walking and biking trails or just enjoy the shoreline of Lake Carlyle.

This location features 119 campsites all with electric starting at just $16/night. To check current rates or to find out more information, please call (618) 594-5253

Eastern Counties

 

KOA Campground

1248 East 1250th Road, Casey, IL 62420

5 - KOAThis campground is known for its close proximity to everything the “Land of Lincoln” has to offer. The campground also features a pool for guest convenience or your can rent a boat for the day to fish on the lake. Unwind each evening in the game room or by catching a hayride. Memorial Day to Labor Day visitors can also enjoy biscuits and gravy every Saturday morning, pancakes on Sunday mornings, and an Ice Cream Social every Saturday night. There are 3 different ways to stay at KOA including tent camping, cabins, and RV camping.

Rates vary according to needs of your stay. To check current rates or to find out more information, please visit: koa.com/campgrounds/casey/

Hamilton County State Fish & Wildlife Area

8 mi. southeast of McLeansboro off Rt. 14

6 - HamiltonThis campground is located on Dolan Lake and is about 8 miles from McLeansboro. This 75-acre lake has 3 miles of shoreline and a maximum depth of 18 feet. The campsite features both tent and trailer sites with electricity, sanitary dump stations, and a shower house. There are also 5 cabins with heating and air conditioning on site for added comfort. After a day on the lake, picnicking at one of several shaded picnic areas, or hiking one of the trails, the campground offers a concession stand for a quick bite before retiring to your site for the evening.

Tent camping starts at just $8/night and cabin use starts at just $45/night. To check current rates or to find out more information, call (618) 773-4340.

 

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Three New Counties: Meet Clark County!

Alex Matthews
4 comments
Attractions, New Counties, Summer, Tourism Times

I went down to the crossroads…but not the ones Clapton sang about. I’m referring to Marshall, IL – the crossroads of I-70, the Lincoln Heritage Trail, The Historic National Road (Hwy 40), and IL-1. Marshall is nestled just minutes from Terre Haute, IN, and is the Seat of Clark County – one of three new counties covered by ILLINOISouth Tourism. Clark County is home to rich history, pristine parks and plenty of unique attractions.

Archer Inn in Marshall, IL

Archer Inn in Marshall, IL

“Marshall is the kind of town that makes you want a hot dog and an ice-cold lemonade on a summer night” says Jennifer Bishop, Economic Development Director, and Head of the Marshall Chamber of Commerce. “Summers here are incredible, from concerts on the Courthouse lawn, to the seemingly endless parade of boats heading to Lincoln Trail and Mill Creek Parks each weekend; the town just comes alive!”

National Road Display at Harlan Hall

National Road Display at Harlan Hall

This Summer will be one to remember……. Jennifer and her team are planning a “Walldogs” mural-painting event June 22 – 26 welcoming over 100 artists from around the world to paint 16 murals in town. Visitors can sign up to help with the painting, or just observe. A Vendor Fair sponsored by the local Gaslight Art Colony and other festivities round out the event. The new murals will join an existing mural commemorating the Historic National Road.

Across the street from that mural is Harlan Hall, a gorgeous three-story brick building, established as an opera house and delivery stable in 1872. It now houses the Illinois National Road Welcome Center, as well as meeting and event space. Another historical spot can be found under the water tower, at 717 Archer Ave. Archer House is an inn established in 1841, that on several occasions housed a young lawyer named Abraham Lincoln when he held court in Marshall.

How abo

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie at West Union Café

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie at West Union Café

ut grabbing a bite at the West Union Café? The Café is the recipient of not one, but two “Best of the Wabash Valley” awards – and is the only eatery that has won two. One for their broasted chicken, and the other is for their homemade pies. I opted for chocolate/peanut butter…save room for dessert.

Nearby Martinsville typifies the heart of rural America. The charm is felt from the retro water tower to the two side by-side parks just off the main drag. Linn Park, across from the city’s Veteran’s Memorial Park, is home to the small town’s array of summer events and concerts.

Can you think of a better way to celebrate a small town than with really big things? I’m talking gargantuan, tremendous, colossal, and in some cases the bona fide World’s Largest things…

Casey, near the western border between Clark and Cumberland Counties, is among the most unique towns I’ve seen. Visitors will find The World’s Largest (as verified by Guinness) Rocking Chair, Mailbox, Golf Tee, Pitchfork, Wooden Shoes, Wind Chime, Knitting Needles and Crochet Hook. These and other incredibly large items like a giant #2 Pencil can be found throughout the town with more on the way.

World's Largest Mailbox in Casey, IL

World’s Largest Mailbox in Casey, IL

All of these big things can inspire a big appetite. We’d recommend a tiny store called Moonshine. This small, quaint shop is about 12 country miles out of town and is world-famous for shelling out some of the best burgers in Southern Illinois. They’ve even made national T.V.!

 

This article originally appeared in the 2016 Spring Summer issue of the Tourism Times. Click Here to read the current issue online or request your FREE printed copy!

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Golf is in Season in ILLINOISouth

Tiffany Garavaglia
0 comments
Recreation, Sports, Spring

 

The weather is getting warmer and the days are getting longer. ILLINOISouth is known for many things and our amazing golf courses are no exception! We have put together a short list of courses for you to take a look and get playing! For a full listing on all of our courses, please click here.

Western Counties

ArlingtonArlington Greens Golf Course
200 Arlington Drive
Granite City, IL
(618) 931-5232

Arlington Greens is an 18-hole public golf course featuring open play, league play, lessons, outings, and tournaments. The course has 7,200 yards with a par of 72. Also located on site is an all-weather and grass driving range, putting and chipping greens, as well as a clubhouse and a banquet room. Arlington Greens is proud to be the home course of the Collinsville High School Golf Team.

 

AnnbriarAnnbriar Golf Course
1524 Birdie Lane
Waterloo, IL
(618) 939-4653

For over 23 years, Annbriar Golf Course has been offering 18 holes of public play on over 226 acres. The course has 6,800 yards with a par of 72. Annbriar is also equipped to host a variety of events including banquets and weddings. The clubhouse features the Smokehouse restaurant as well as a fully equipped Pro Shop. Golf Digest has rated Annbriar one of America’s Top 500 “Places to Play”, making is a great choice when thinking about where you want to tee off.

 

North CountyNorth County Country Club
703 W. Market Street
Red Bud, IL
(618) 282-6590

This 9-hole course provides a challenging, yet rewarding playing experience with zoysia fairways, sand traps, and two lakes. The course is 2,800 yards with a par of 35. After some time on the course, players can stop by the clubhouse for food, drinks or to purchase golf accessories. Guests can also rent the clubhouse for private parties.

 

White Oak Golf Course
545 Rec Area Road
Marissa, IL
(618) 295-2889

White Oak Golf Course is a 9-hole course located within the Marissa Recreational Area. The course is 6,100 yards with a par of 36. Tee times are not required to play on the course.  After a round, players can also enjoy the two lakes for fishing, picnic grounds and a wooded site for camping.

 

Central Counties

Indian SpringsIndian Springs Golf Course     
21347 IL 185
Fillmore, IL
(217) 538-2392

Indian Springs Golf Course is an 18-hole championship course nestled in beautifully landscaped terrain. The course is over 6,200 yards with a par of 70. Indian Springs provides a challenge to the most seasoned players, but also offers a relaxing a peaceful environment for the casual player. The course also features banquet facilities with seating for up to 200 people.

 

RoladnRoland Barkau Memorial Golf Course
1501 North Waterworks Road
Okawville, IL
(618) 243-6610

Get ready to experience the beauty that Southern Illinois has to offer on 18-holes of great golf.  The Roland Barkau Memorial Golf Course features over 6,500 yards with a par of 71. The front 9 follows the natural lay of the land while the back 9 invites players to a more open style of golf. There is a restaurant on site to grab a bite to eat as well as a Pro Shop open daily.

 

Twin OaksTwin Oaks Golf Club 
21900 State Route 127
Greenville, IL
(618) 749-5611

This 9-hole course features rolling hills, mature Oak trees, and water hazards on a beautifully maintained public course. With over 3,100 yards and a par of 36, the course proves perfect for beginners and intermediate golfers or those that want to play a quick round.  The course also makes a perfect location for your next fundraiser event or family reunion.

 

St. ElmoSt. Elmo Golf Club
R.R. 2
St. Elmo, IL
(618) 829-3390

St. Elmo Golf Club is a 9-hole course semi-private golf course. The public is welcome and memberships are also available. The course is 3,200 yards with a par of 36. The clubhouse features a restaurant and a Pro Shop selling clothing, hats, and merchandise.

 

Eastern Counties

RichlandRichland Country Club            
5499 North IL 130
Olney, IL
(618) 395-1661

Located in Olney, Illinois this golf course features 18-holes. The par 71 layout offers two very different nine hole tracks. The course has over 6,100 yards with four different sets of tees, offering play to all ages and skill sets. Richland Country Club also features a driving range, a pool, and a full-service bar.

 

Mt CarmelMt. Carmel Municipal Golf Course
700 Park Road
Mt. Carmel, IL
(618) 262-5771

The 18-hole Mt. Carmel Municipal Golf Course in Mount Carmel is a public golf course that opened in 1920. The course measures over 6,300 yards from with a par of 71 and features 4 sets of tees for different skill levels so all skills are welcome on the course.

 

Casey Country CLubCasey Country Club 
203 North East 13th Street
Casey, IL
(217) 932-2030

This 9-hole course is known for its famous landmark. The World’s Largest Golf Tee is located here along with 2,500 yards of great golf. The par for the course is 35 and it also features a clubhouse with snacks, souvenirs, and a Pro Shop.  The clubhouse is also available to rent for events.

 

CarmiCarmi Country Club
833 County Road 1350 N
Carmi, IL
(618) 384-5011

Carmi Country Club is a 9-hole regulation course. The course is extremely tight and tee times are only reserved for weekends and holidays. The course is 2,700 yards with a par of 35. Players may also choose to play the double loop 18 making the par for the course 71. The course features a clubhouse with a full bar, pub style meals, and a Pro Shop.

 

For a full listing on all of our courses, please click here.

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Belleville Christkindlmarkt

Alex Matthews
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Events, Holiday Guide, Holidays, Shop Local, Shopping, Tourism Times, What's Happening

101_0221_lo

An Assortment Of Goods From Around The World

ChristkindlmarktLogo Be sure to visit the second annual, authentic German Christmas Market held in the Public Square, downtown Belleville. Modeled after the German open-air markets, CHRISTKINDLMARKT (Christ Child Market) features merchants from Europe and across the Country, selling their items. Gifts, food, drinks and local/ regional specialties will be sold in individual wooden booths/chalets in a festive environment.

Live Reindeer

Live Reindeer

Children can enjoy free Trolley rides, Gingerbread creations and of course Santa! Live Reindeer will appear on Saturday, December 19 from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. and Sunday, December 20 from 11:00 a.m. – 1 p.m.

For adults, beer and gluhwein (hot spiced wine sold in souvenir mugs) will be served along with authentic German food.  A heated tent will be set up for eating and drinking–with entertainment Friday and Saturday evenings.

The Markt is open daily through December 23 and admission is FREE!
Sunday – Thursday, 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.,   Friday & Saturday: 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Click Here or call 800-677-9255 to learn more.

 

Entertainment

Entertainment

This information originally appeared in the Holiday Tourism Times Seasonal Guide. Click here and sign up to receive three issues every year at no cost!

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11 November Events

Alex Matthews
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Events, What's Happening

Can you believe that it’s November already? Boy, how time flies!!!

We still have bellies full of Halloween candy and, contrary to what the Hallmark Channel would have you believe, there’s still a little bit of time before we go into “Ho Ho Ho” mode.

In the mean time, let us highlight a few great events coming up around ILLINOISouth in the next few weeks!

Happy Days: A New Musical • November 5 – 7
Open House Theatre, New Athens

Art & Wine Walk • November 7
Downtown Belleville

Winter Rendezvous • November 7 – 8
Fort de Chartres, Prairie du Rocher

Wood Carvers Show • November 7 – 8
Belle-Clair Expo Center, Belleville

Olde Tyme Christmas • November 13 – 14
Downtown Vandalia

Toast of Marissa • November 14
Marisa

Beer Pairing Dinner • November 15
Hidden Lake Winery, Aviston

The Nutcracker Suite Ballet & Concert • November 21 – 22
Scottish Rite Bodies Cathedral, Belleville

Craft Show • November 21 – 22
The Holiday Motel, Olney

12th Annual Native American Holiday Market • November 27-28
Cahokia Mounds, Collinsville

Girls Day Out • November 21
National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows, Belleville

On top of these great events, there are several other fun, family events before the communities turn their Christmas lights on at the end of the month. CLICK HERE for our online calendar to find out more!!!

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