Visitors Guide
Seasonal Itineraries

Seasonal Itineraries

Posted on 01/20/2023 by Tyler Pletsch

Spring into Summer!

Accommodation – Cabins at Hidden Lake Winery: Tucked away in the woods, Hidden Lake offers a remote getaway with ten cozy cabins to choose from.

Day 1

Getting outdoors and enjoying some wine is the perfect way to pass the day when the weather warms up. Twelve Oaks Vineyards just south of Carlyle is the perfect place to sip on award-winning wine, all while enjoying an amazing view of their scenic property. Bretz Wildlife Lodge & Winery is another great spot for vino, and their South African lodge concept is unlike anything you’ve seen in our region. Eventually, you’ll need to eat – and there is no place better than Popeye’s Chop House in St. Rose for a sit-down dinner that will leave you stuffed.  Cap off the evening with one last tasting at Hidden Lake Winery and watch the sun set while sipping lakeside!

Day 2

Head south to Centralia for some great coffee at a unique railroad-themed destination, RAIL Coffee Room. Be sure to walk a couple of blocks to Crooked Creek Winery DOWNTOWN, a recently new destination featuring Cooked Creek wines. DOWNTOWN offers a wine bar, full bar, and live entertainment in their outdoor portion coined “The Yard.” Be sure to visit Schwartz Orchard to pick fresh strawberries in late spring/early summer. For dinner, Stonewater at Castle Ridge has a wide food and drink selection including flatbreads, wine, and way more!


Falling for Downstate Illinois

Accommodation – Victorian on Main: This unique lodging option allows you to stay in an 1895 Queen Anne Victorian home in Fairfield. Pick from multiple rooms including the Squirrel’s Nest, the Tower Room, and others!

Day 1

Discover fall foliage while hiking through Beall Woods State Park in Mount Carmel. This old-growth forest also includes a 15-acre lake with great bass and panfish angling. Get refreshed in West Salem by visiting Homestead Vineyards and sampling some wines including their Flowerpower varietal. If you are wanting a great-tasting burger or seafood, Jovalou Cocktails and Cuisine in Fairfield will is MOST DEFINITELY worth a Google search. You’ll find that basically every patron has rave reviews.  

Day 2 

One of the best activities for admiring fall foliage is a nice kayak ride on East Fork Lake in Olney. When you’re finished, head to Possum Patch Farms and shop for home décor in their barn shop followed by some pumpkin picking and other family-fun activities! From there, head east to visit Lasata Winery in Lawrenceville and find some unique pairings including their Raspberry Romance or their Summer Strawberry. End your journey at COCO’s Café and Wine Bar in Lawrenceville. This venue includes indoor and outdoor scenery. Enjoy cocktails, wine, espresso, comfort food and live music on Friday evenings.




Holiday Happenings

Accommodations – Holiday Inn, Shiloh: Right off of Interstate 64, the Holiday Inn & Suites in Shiloh is located in a shopping mecca. There are boutiques, restaurants, and national chain retailers within walking distance of the hotel. 

Day 1

Start your day in Columbia for breakfast or lunch at Café on the Abbey where you will find great bakery items, seasonal espresso drinks, and a unique food menu. Go shopping at the POP-UP SHOP, an initiative by the city to help local retail entrepreneurs to test their brands. This shop has a large rotation which creates the chances of finding one-of-a-kind items or gifts! For wine lovers, head to the Weingarten in Belleville and enjoy a wide variety of wines from around the area and the world. Once the sun sets, head to the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows for their Way of Lights display, a tradition for thousands of folks for more than 50 years.

Day 2

Explore downtown Belleville and walk through the Christkindlmarkt where you can shop from dozens of vendors boasting items from baked goods to home décor. Go back in time by watching newly released movies at the historic Lincoln Theater, followed by a great dinner at Tavern on Main in Belleville. Before heading in for the night, head to the World Wide Technology Raceway for the only holiday light display in Illinois that you can experience by driving through on a NASCAR track.


*This article comes from our 2023 Visitor's Guide. Visit our page to learn more, read online, or request a physical copy.**


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