If you have seen our Facebook, TikTok, and YouTube channels - it is pretty obvious that we love to share our adventures with you. Vacations and road trips are all about stories and experiences, and what better way to plan a trip than by seeing what other folks have had fun doing? Our Office Manager Elaine recently got in on the fun, and while she's not keen on taking videos, she LOVES to snap pictures. All that said, she took a birthday trip touring the Wabash Valley Wine Trail and brought her camera along. This trip was full of good times and even better wine.
Before ever hitting the road, Elaine mapped out the trip and made an itinerary. She said when she completed her research, she realized the trail would take about 6 hours’ worth of drive time and that it would make for a perfect weekend trip. She would not recommend trying to hit it all in one day, just to space out the driving. Elaine also suggests having everywhere you want to go mapped out prior to leaving, and what the hours of operation are at each location because they vary. During her adventure she went to Homestead Vineyards, Fox Creek Vineyards, Berryville Vineyards, Lasata Wines, Irene’s Vineyard, and Cameo Vineyards, along with many other tourist destinations. She and a friend got through it all in two days and did it very simply, by highlighting all their destinations on an Illinois Map and then entering them in Google Maps.
The first day started out at Jovalou Cuisine & Cocktails for breakfast in Fairfield. From there, Elaine made the trip to Sam Dale Lake in Johnsonville for a little exploration. Afterwards they headed over to Edwards County to visit Homestead Vineyards in West Salem. Then it was off to Berryville Vineyards in Claremont for a glass of wine in rural Richland County. From there, Elaine and her friend stopped into Ophelia’s Cup in Olney for lunch and coffee, which is a favorite restaurant among locals. Not far outside of Olney lies Fox Creek Vineyards, where the folks pouring the wine also served up a TON of laughs! Next, they made their way north to Newton where a picture next to the Burl Ives statue is a MUST (yes, the music and movie star is from Jasper County).
The last county of day one for the ladies was Lawrence County, but it was full of several stops. Red Hills State Park is gorgeous, and they spotted MANY folks taking boats out for fishing. They also stopped at the Lincoln Trail State Memorial, which is great for anyone who loves history and Honest Abe. The traveling two-some then visited their last winery of the day, and loved the selection at Lasata Wines in Lawrenceville. From there it was time to grab a bite to eat, and many folks in Lawrenceville will point you to Coco’s Café & Wine Bar at New Leaf. From light salads to heavier homestyle meals, they have a wide variety for everyone. The night cap was actually a drive over the Wabash Cannon Ball Bridge. It’s a legendary attraction in the area, with some tales that say it’s haunted. For more on that bridge, you can read up HERE.
Day two began at Irene’s Vineyard in Oblong (right on the edge of the Jasper and Crawford County line). Elaine and her friend decided to stay for lunch, which they say may have been the best decision of the trip because the food was amazing! The next stop was due north at Cameo Vineyards in Greenup, where a wine flight was exactly what the doctor ordered. From there it was on to Casey to check out all the Big Things in a Small Town, and the always delicious Tetzel Prime for an early dinner. The ladies capped off the night with a stay at the Eighteen Ninety Sleepover, before heading home the next morning.
When we asked Elaine about her favorite memory from the trip, she had one simple answer. “While in the area be sure to take the drive across the Wabash Cannon Ball Bridge, it is by far a neat and interesting experience, and a bit of an adventure,” she said with a smile.
Hopefully Elaine’s wine-themed journey will spark your interest in visiting the Wabash Valley Wine Trail sometime soon. Remember while planning your trip, check the wineries website for their hours of operation and upcoming events. Please drink responsibly and enjoy the trail!