Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2023-12-13
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

TRAVEL IN ILLINOIS Four towns in DOWNSTATE ILLINOIS well worth the time
by Owen Keehnen
2017-05-10

This article shared 1752 times since Wed May 10, 2017
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Vacations don't need to be expensive. Road trips can be thrilling, educational, and most importantly, a lot of fun. Exploring the sights, sensations, and hidden treasures of almost anywhere can be an unforgettable experience. Recently I took a drive through Indiana, Kentucky, and Tennessee. On my return trip I drove north through southern Illinois. So many places downstate were full of surprises. Here is a quick rundown of just four of them.

Cairo is a town of profound desolation located at the southernmost tip of Illinois at the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. Visually, Cairo is a wonder, a modern-day ghost town with an almost otherworldly vibe. Many buildings here are abandoned and in various states of collapse, a condition made all the more surreal by an abundance of Japanese Kudzu, a vine which seems poised to consume the town. When Charles Dickens visited the town in 1842, he was moved to make Cairo the model for his nightmare city in the novel Martin Chuzzlewit ( 1846 ). Cairo also plays a major role in Neil Gaiman's novel American Gods ( 2001 ). In stark contrast to the general dilapidation in Cairo is Magnolia Manor, an opulent and preserved estate which hints at the town's former grandeur as a seat of river commerce. When visiting Cairo be sure to visit Fort Defiance Park, located at the lowest point in the state where the merging of the two iconic rivers is visible. FYI: Just across the Mississippi River in Kentucky, is Wickliffe, site of Wickliffe Mounds, the remnants of a Native American village dating from 1100-1350 AD.

Originally named Calhoun, Springfield is an interesting mix of grandeur with a touch of kitsch, the state capitol as well as a former thoroughfare for Route 66. I found both areas of interest fascinating. The capitol grounds downtown and the state buildings are imposing and impressive as is the surrounding statuary. In addition, there is the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, Lincoln's Home, Lincoln's Tomb, the Illinois State Library, and the Illinois State Museum. Also be sure to check out the Old State Capitol Building ( 1839-1876 ) and Lincoln Square, site of several notable events including the starting point for the ill-fated Donner Party in 1846. Down the street from Lincoln Square is Recycled Records, a browser's paradise offering three floors of records and assorted collectibles. While in Springfield, be sure to stop by Shea's Gas Station Museum and check out the array of Route 66 and filling station memorabilia. And no visit to Springfield would be complete without a meal at the Cozy Dog Drive-in, another iconic remnant of Route 66 with lots of keepsakes from the thoroughfare's, and the diner's, heyday. The Cozy Dog is also the home of the original corn dog on a stick.

To the north is Lincoln, Illinois, another town which was once part of Route 66. The town square is pure Americana, dominated by a handsome city hall building with the unexpected sight of a phone booth on the roof. ( The phone booth was used years ago as a severe weather lookout. In questionable weather a fireman would man the booth and call downstairs at the appearance of a funnel cloud to sound the tornado alarm. ) The Lincoln Heritage Museum is here as well. The giant Abe Lincoln on a wagon at the outskirts of town makes for a fun photo op. There is also a Watermelon Lincoln Monument which commemorates Lincoln's christening of the town's new railroad with a slice of watermelon. This was the only town in the nation named for Abraham Lincoln before he became President. If you want to do an Abraham Lincoln tour of central Illinois be sure to add this one to your list, which should also include Springfield, Mt. Vernon and New Salem.

Bloomington was another mandatory stop on my downstate trek. For tourism, this town of approximately 80,000 features the David Davis Mansion ( Supreme Court justice ), The Prairie Aviation Museum, and the McLean County History Museum. Bloomington is also the home of Beer Nuts! However, on my Bloomington stop I was most eager to visit Evergreen Cemetery and check out the grave of Dorothy Gage, the niece of Frank Baum ( she died as a five-month old infant ). Gage was the inspiration and namesake for the Wizard of Oz. Baum hoped his books would be a way to memorialize the infant and honor her unrealized future. Baum's heroine, Dorothy Gale, was supposedly further defined by a newspaper account of a young girl picked up in a tornado and found face down in a mud puddle. Evergreen Cemetery is also where Bloomington notable, Adlai Stevenson Sr. ( U.S. vice president ) and Adlai Stevenson Jr. ( governor of Illinois/U.S. presidential candidate in 1952 and 1956/U.N. Ambassador ) are buried.

TRAVEL IN ILLINOIS Great River Road, National Forest, Wine Country, Indian Mounds, Eclipse

www.windycitymediagroup.com/lgbt/TRAVEL-IN-ILLINOIS-Great-River-Road-National-Forest-Wine-Country-Indian-Mounds-Eclipse/59097.html .

OUT! Chicago, Illinois LGBTQ Visitor's Guide available

www.windycitymediagroup.com/lgbt/OUT-Chicago-Illinois-LGBTQ-Visitors-Guide-available/58901.html .

TRAVEL with Cory Jobe: Trying to be 'amazing' Advertising campaign reaches out to LGBTs

www.windycitymediagroup.com/lgbt/TRAVEL-Trying-to-be-amazing-Advertising-campaign-reaches-out-to-LGBTs/59092.html .

TRAVEL in ILLINOIS LGBTs in Oak Park and Western Cook County

www.windycitymediagroup.com/lgbt/TRAVEL-in-ILLINOIS-LGBTs-in-Oak-Park-and-Western-Cook-County/59095.html .

TRAVEL IN ILLINOIS Oak Park: The Village Wright Built

www.windycitymediagroup.com/lgbt/TRAVEL-IN-ILLINOIS-Oak-Park-The-Village-Wright-Built/59096.html .

TRAVEL IN ILLINOIS Four towns in DOWNSTATE ILLINOIS well worth the time

www.windycitymediagroup.com/lgbt/TRAVEL-IN-ILLINOIS-Four-towns-in-DOWNSTATE-ILLINOIS-well-worth-the-time/59094.html .

Getting Out: LGBTQ events and mainstream treats

www.windycitymediagroup.com/lgbt/Getting-Out-LGBTQ-events-and-mainstream-treats/59093.html .

And here is a PDF of the entire Windy City Times with pull-out section inside:

www.windycitymediagroup.com/images/publications/wct/2017-05-10/current.pdf .


This article shared 1752 times since Wed May 10, 2017
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Out and Aging
Presented By

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Baby Tate grows up with 'Sexploration' 2024-01-10
- The multitalented pansexual artist Baby Tate has plenty to say on her Sexploration: The Tour. She's packing up her "Wig" and traveling to Chicago to perform an inclusive set of songs such as "Luv Everybody" at ...


Gay News

Disney exhibition chronicles a century of entertainment history 2023-11-21
- Disney100, a large-scale traveling exhibition marking the 100th anniversary of the Walt Disney Company, has opened at the Exhibition Hub Art Center, 2367 W. Logan Blvd., in Bucktown. Hundreds of props and artifacts from the company's ...


Gay News

Club Q shooting survivors to speak at Chicago's Beer Culture Summit 2023-10-15
- Last November, Jessica Fierro traveled back to Colorado after speaking at the annual Chicago Beer Culture Summit. Just one week later, her family changed forever at Club Q, a gay nightclub in Colorado Springs. Her daughter's ...


Gay News

Newsom ends California's travel ban against anti-LGBTQ+ states 2023-09-14
- On Sept. 13, California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that he signed SB 447 by Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego), which ends the state's restriction on taxpayer-funded travel by state agencies and departments ...


Gay News

After HRC's State of Emergency declaration, Canadian government recognizes threat of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation 2023-08-30
--From a press release - WASHINGTON— Just two months after the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) issued a National State of Emergency in response to the unprecedented and dangerous onslaught of anti-LGBTQ laws passed across the country, the Canadian government has updated ...


Gay News

Stonewall veteran Miss Major visits Brave Space Alliance 2023-08-09
- Miss Major, a Black transgender activist who has fought for more than 50 years for her trans/gender nonconforming community, is on tour to call attention to anti-trans and anti-LGBTQ+ laws across the country. Traveling with her ...


Gay News

Illinois Poor People's Campaign to join faith leaders from 30+ states on Capitol Hill to demand action 2023-06-18
--From a press release - WASHINGTON - Poor, impacted people, advocates and faith leaders with the Illinois Poor People's Campaign will travel to Capitol Hill June 19-21 to highlight poverty as an American death sentence and demand action to end murder ...


Gay News

Travel consultants release best and worst countries for trans rights 2023-06-06
- Asher & Lyric have released "The 203 Best (& Worst) Countries for Trans Rights in 2023." This new study is an accompaniment to its annual LGBTQ+ Travel Safety Index to specifically address trans issues. The countries ...


Gay News

Yucatan adventures--with an LGBTQ+ twist--await in Mexico 2023-06-05
- The Yucatan region lies between the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea in southeastern Mexico. It is home to the states of Campeche and Quintana Roo, and features a variety of destinations appealing to LGBTQ+ ...


Gay News

WORLD Zero Discrimination Day, African countries, facility damaged, travel items 2023-03-10
- On Zero Discrimination Day this year (March 1), under the theme "Save lives: Decriminalize," UNAIDS showed how the decriminalization of key populations and people living with HIV saves lives and helps advance the end of the ...


Gay News

SAVOR Peruvian spot Tanta; fundraiser for The Evolved Network 2023-03-09
- One of the best things about Chicago cuisine is that you can travel the world without ever leaving the Windy City. The River North spot Tanta (118 W. Grand Ave.; https://www.tantachicago.com/) embodies one such example. Tanta ...


Gay News

The Haunted Halsted Halloween Parade turns 25 2022-11-02
- The legendary Haunted Halsted Halloween Parade returned for the 25th time on Oct. 31. Kicking off at 7:30 p.m. from Halsted Street and Belmont Avenue, the parade route traveled north before looping back to a large ...


Gay News

Esquire: Chicago has three of the country's 'most fun' LGBTQ+-inclusive bars 2022-10-27
- Esquire magazine's editorial staff curated a list of the "most fun and inclusive LGBTQ+-friendly bars"—and the choices may seem surprising. The magazine chose the Uptown spots Big Chicks and Carol's Pub as well as the Andersonville ...


Gay News

ATTRACTIONS SkyBridge Michigan opens as world's longest timber-towered suspension bridge 2022-10-25
- SkyBridge Michigan is now open as the world's longest timber-towered suspension bridge. After more than a year in the works, SkyBridge Michigan made its debut to the public on Oct. 15, hosting thousands of guests on ...


Gay News

Philadelphia hosts street renaming ceremony for gay tourism expert 2022-10-11
- On Oct. 11, Philadelphia officials will honor the late civic pride booster, celebrated author and former Visit Philadelphia President/CEO Jeff Guaracino by renaming a portion of South 13th Street after the tourism marketer and LGBTQ+ trailblazer ...


 


Copyright © 2024 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.

All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 
 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor


 



Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.