Visitors Guide
Take a Road Trip Across Downstate Illinois on Historic Route 50

Take a Road Trip Across Downstate Illinois on Historic Route 50

Posted on 10/13/2021 by Elizabeth Vatole

Day 1

Begiclassic carsn in O’Fallon with a visit to Gateway Classic Cars, the world's largest classic and exotic car sales company which features a 1956 Chevrolet Bel Air, 1933 Ford Coupe and much more. Then, fill up your tank and take a seat on the patio at Sweet Katie Bee’s, a bakery and café. Enjoy delicious breakfast items such as a hashbrown-crusted quiche or delectable crepes made with locally sourced eggs and wash it down with a refreshing brewed iced coffee. Before hitting the road again, show your love for your pet and swing by Furchild, the pet boutique for all your dog, cat, and pet lover apparel and décor.

The next stop is in Lebanon for shopping on historic Brick Street. Browse art, antiques and American craft at Tiadaghton House or find your inner goddess while trying on the latest fashion trends at Minerva Boutique. For nighttime entertainment, see a play or musical at the local theater, Looking Glass Playhouse. Join the locals as they celebrate the theatres 48th season with productions of Me a Tenor (November 11-21), Disaster! (January 27 – February 6, 2022), The Audience (March 10-20, 2022), and Oliver! (May 5-15, 2022). 

Day 2

kids running a bridgeStart your day off right by driving to Carlyle, home of the largest man-made lake in the state. Once there, explore the historic General Dean Suspension Bridge. As you walk along, revel in the natural beauty of the Kaskaskia River, keeping an eye out for Bald Eagles, which are especially prevalent during migration season in January and February.
Next, soak up the atmosphere at the South African themed lodge, Bretz Wildlife Lodge and Winery. Enjoy comfort foods such as homemade onion rings or “The Lodge Dinner.” After your belly’s full, indulge in their complimentary wine tasting in the Kudu Room. Sample diverse wine flavors such as Passionate Cheetah: Sweet Red, Kalahari Sunset: Semi-Dry Blush, Serengeti White: Dry White, and many more.

After that wine break, head to Salem to search for a unique treasure at the Rusty Nail, known for their seasonal décor, candles, as well as arts and crafts. Lastly, head to the Holiday Inn Express & Suites Salem for a restful night’s sleep.

Day 3

Once you’re up and running, take a drive to Charley Brown Park in Flora. Here you can check out two popular attractions. One is a rocket ship that is surely Instagram worthy, so make sure to snap a selfie! The other is Little Toot Railroad, a 15” gauge live steam railroad! Adults and kiddos alike love to take rides on this quarter scale replica train, which has become a southern Illinois staple over the last several decades. As a note, the track requires maintenance and construction periodically, so make sure to check out their Facebook page before visiting. Next, learn about the city’s history and check out their miniature, professionally built train display at the Flora Depot Museum.

white squirrelThe journey continues to Olney, home of the White Squirrel, and full of small-town charm. View several new beautiful murals painted throughout town. Once hunger sets in, grab a bite from Hovey’s Diner, known for their special seasoned chili or big burgers.

After eating, head to East Fork Lake, Miller Grove Park or Robert Ridgway Bird Haven for some fantastic outdoor time, and to catch a peek of the town’s famous White Squirrels. Be sure to stop by the White Squirrel Shoppe for unique souvenirs. 

Finally, head to Lawrenceville to unwind and recharge with a deep-tissue therapeutic massage at The Mandarin Spa. After your worries have been massaged away, indulge in an espresso, a glass of wine, beer, a hand-crafted cocktail or a light meal at Coco’s Café and Wine Bar

After visiting Lawrenceville, your trip down Historic Route 50 is complete. We hope you enjoyed your adventure. Make sure to take a ton of pictures and tag us – we love to hear your stories!

Photo Credit: Bridge


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