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
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.
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
Eckert’s Millstadt Fun Farm
2719 Eckert Lane
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
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
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
McConauchie Manor Farm
9360 Brinkman Rd.
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
19425 Copple Road
Weekend Hours: 8am-6pm
Activities: Corn Maze, Straw Maze
Dorney’s Pumpkin Patch
R.R 2 Box 14
Activities: 20 Foot Slide, Bounce House, Choo-Choo Express, Corn Maze, Dark Straw Crawl, Hay Ride, Gourd Slingshot, Gold Mine
Shreves Pumpkin Patch
2142 County Road 150 N
Weekend Hours: Friday & Saturday – 10am-6pm; Sunday – 12-6pm
Activities: Corn Maze, Hay Rides
Streif’s Country Market
Highway 45 North
Weekend Hours: Friday – 3:30-6 pm; Saturday & Sunday – 9am-6pm
Activities: Corn Maze, Straw Maze
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.
Cahokia RV Parque
4060 Mississippi Ave., Cahokia, IL 62206
With 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
The 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.
Ramsey Lake State Recreation Area
PO Box 97 Ramsey Lake Road, Ramsey, IL 62080
The 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
Cole’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
1248 East 1250th Road, Casey, IL 62420
This 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
This 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.
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.
“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!”
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.
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.
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.!
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.
Arlington Greens Golf Course
200 Arlington Drive
Granite City, IL
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.
Annbriar Golf Course
1524 Birdie Lane
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 County Country Club
703 W. Market Street
Red Bud, IL
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
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.
Indian Springs Golf Course
21347 IL 185
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.
Roland Barkau Memorial Golf Course
1501 North Waterworks Road
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 Oaks Golf Club
21900 State Route 127
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. Elmo Golf Club
St. Elmo, IL
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.
Richland Country Club
5499 North IL 130
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. Carmel Municipal Golf Course
700 Park Road
Mt. Carmel, IL
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 Club
203 North East 13th Street
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.
Carmi Country Club
833 County Road 1350 N
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.
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.
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.
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!
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
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
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!!!
Travel on the King’s Road…King Louis XV of France, that is! French colonists gave this name to the Kaskaskia-Cahokia Trail (KCT) in the early 1700s. More than 300 years later, the road is still used today in southwestern Illinois.
In this region, the Illinois, Missouri, Ohio, Kaskaskia and Meramec Rivers converge with the Mississippi, and throughout history provided reliable transportation for exploration, settlement and trade. Overland trails were used to access interior lands beyond and between the rivers.
The KCT can be traced to American Indian people around 11,000 BC, who over time built large civilizations with mound cities along the trail. When the French established permanent settlements at Kaskaskia and Cahokia, they named these villages after the native Illini people.
Other forts and settlements grew over the next 100 years along the east side of the Mississippi River Valley. This first road spawned other routes that led to Illinois becoming the 21st state in 1818, with Kaskaskia serving as the first state capital.
The 60-mile long corridor connects visitors with many opportunities to discover the region’s diverse history. Explore the evolution of native cultures, French colonial roots, Revolutionary War era settlement, early Illinois statehood, westward expansion, European immigration and agricultural significance along the Trail.
The dramatic bluffs of the scenic Mississippi River Valley shape the natural landscape of the Trail. Rolling oak-hickory forests, prairies and farmlands including quaint, historic villages and rural back roads make this 60-mile journey one you will never forget.
In 2014, the Illinois General Assembly proclaimed the Kaskaskia-Cahokia Trail as an Illinois Historic and Scenic Route. Monroe, Randolph and St. Clair Counties and their respective municipalities, are working together to improve and promote this historic and scenic corridor for the world to explore, appreciate and enjoy.
Call our office today (800.442.1488) to request a brochure detailing the attractions along the trail or email firstname.lastname@example.org for other inquiries.
It’s a brew-volution, and your old best friend Bud should be wiser for it by now. Well, if you’re starting to prefer wheat, fruit- or pumpkin-flavored beers brewed in smallish batches, you won’t mind that poke at the region’s biggest, all-American (Belgian) brewery. (I mean, what’s this strawberry-rita swill the maker of the so-called Great American Lager is trying to make us swallow nowadays?)
Craft beers are the rage all around. A new proponent of the “designer” beer is Bill Meier of Excel Bottling Co. in Breese, makers of Ski and more than a dozen other soda flavors. Excel launched a new division, Excel Brewing Co., just shy of two years ago. One variety is Lefty’s Lager, named for the grandfather who founded the local bottler in 1936.
Soda sales are declining, says Meier. Meanwhile, beer industry experts say the market share of craft beers has risen sharply, more than 20 percent in the last two years. To coin a phrase, looks like Meier et al. are in the clover… well; hops, that is.
Increasingly, beer makers are coming out of their basement or garage operations to fashion brews that are local-local-local. Aficionados of these frosty, foamy adult beverages need only visit the nearest bar or family-owned pizza joint to see that there are at least a half-dozen more options nowadays than Stag or Bud Light. There may be Schlafly from St. Louis, which started almost 25 years ago as not much more than a tap room.
Or there may be a couple varieties from Kaskaskia Brewing Co. in Red Bud… and, if not today, then soon. The new owner has seen sales increase three-fold since he took over the business. In March.
Mature adults prefer a better beer, beer crafters say. The kids? From underage to legal, they don’t really care. Most just want it cheap. You certainly don’t have to be a beer snob to enjoy a superior product, but you also don’t have to put up with weak, flavored yellow water, as some beer crafters call today’s corporate product.
Meanwhile, fresher product just tastes better, notes Meier. So he tries to keep his inventory as low as he can. Would you sell a pizza that’s been out of the oven too long? The four DeGonia brothers sure wouldn’t. But the DeGonia Bros. don’t spin dough; at this writing, the longtime home brewers were planning a microbrewery in a revitalized section of downtown Granite City. (OMG… how about a double chocolate stout?)
Making beer is a labor of love. But to survive in a fragmented commercial market, expansion is key, so long as you don’t get too big or grow too fast. Obviously, craft brewing is economically feasible, with industry observers today counting upwards of 3,000 microbreweries from coast to coast.
Did we say pizza and beer? In O’Fallon is Peel Wood Fired Pizza and Brewery, which hasn’t yet celebrated its first birthday. Neither has Recess Brewing in Edwardsville. Meanwhile in Madison County, Alton will welcome a second location of Belleville’s 4204 Main Street Brewing Co., if it hasn’t already. And in Centralia, you can sample Makraft Brewing Co.’s product at their tap room.
So, let’s click glasses and raise some luscious local foam to our mouths!
This information originally appeared in the Tourism Times Seasonal Guide. Click here and sign up to receive three issues every year at no cost!
The art scene in ILLINOISouth is thriving. Along with museums, galleries and specialty shops, art fairs are a mainstay for many communities across our region. Ranging from small festivals to multi-day events, art fairs draw tens of thousands of visitors and millions in revenue and economic impact to Southern Illinois.
There’s no better time to see art in full display than the fall travel season. Here are four great events coming up that you should definitely check out.
Midwest Salute to the Arts
Fairview Heights • Last Weekend in August
One of the area’s biggest shows, this event features over 100 artists, live entertainment and more. The three-day event fills a ball field at Moody Park at Long Acre in Fairview Heights. Two music stages, interactive children’s area with entertainment, food and cold beverages accompany the art showdrawingthousands of people every year.
While you’re there, take a walk around the park or let your kids play on one of the playgrounds!
Highland Street Art FestivalHighland • 3rd Saturday in September
The Highland Street Art Festival is not your typical art show. Over 50 artists gather to create colorful, complex works of art on the street with chalk. It certainly is a sight to behold! The depth and beauty of these pieces is astounding. A local art expo and standard art-show attractions can be found as well.
Onley Arts Council Fall Festival
Olney • Last Saturday of September
Visit Olney City Park on the last Saturday in September to find art and crafts from local creators! Proceeds from the events vendor booths and concessions support the Olney Art Council’s workshops, performances and more.
While at the event, keep your eyes peeled for Olney’s famous white squirrels. These adorable creatures spend the Fall months scurrying around collecting food for the Winter!
Art in the Park
Highland • 2nd Weekend in October
This annual affair takes place in Lindendale Park amidst an array of fall colors. The natural beauty, and crisp, Autumn air create the perfect setting for an exciting art show featuring demonstrations, food, wine tasting, creative children’s activities and more. Find everything from photographs and paintings to jewelry and sculpture by artists from surrounding areas and beyond!