Make the city disappear in less than two hours with a scenic drive through rural southern Illinois. From early spring through lush, green summers and well into this area’s stunning fall foliage season, this gateway to the south is like nothing you’ve explored. Stop in at a local winery for one of the most deliciously unexpected wine regions the country has to offer, and don’t miss out on exploring the capital of southern Illinois from historic building to ever-growing university.
100 E. Jackson St.
Carbondale, Illinois 62901
During your tour of Carbondale, stop in at Longbrach Coffeehouse for the best coffee in town — nothing beats its pile driver — a smoothie or some fresh organic juice, and pick up breakfast, lunch or dinner that’ll have you forgetting this place is vegetarian. All entrees and appetizers are priced below $10 and the menu is vast and varied from biscuits and gravy to granola at breakfast to pizzas, Moroccan tajines and Thai curries for lunch and dinner. Longbranch is open until midnight on Saturdays for salsa dancing for a little extra fun if you miss out on the delicious breakfasts served until 4 p.m. here.
Southern Illinois University
Carbondale, Illinois 62901
Southern Illinois University-Carbondale hosts students from all over the United States and more than 100 countries, all bringing a great variety to this campus’ offerings. Don’t miss out on the school’s ever-popular Saluki basketball games, or a romp in the new Saluki Stadium for a football game. Visit the university’s History Museum, the Surplus and Vergette galleries, and don’t miss out on a show at Shryock Auditorium or McLeod Theater. Throughout the school year, the university offers an abundant calendar of events, sure to satisfy a wide range of interests, and the summer Sunset Concert series can’t be beat for a true small-town collegiate day out. Click here for a calendar of events.
Wall Street and Pleasant Hill Road
The Marberry Arboretum is another illustration of Carbondale’s historical stories. Roughly 25 acres of the Marberry farm, formerly a peach orchard, was transformed into a spectacular home for trees, collected from around the world during World War II, by William Marberry. His love of plants and artifacts resulted in the culmination of one of Carbondale’s most beautiful attractions. The arboretum is open to the public from dawn to dusk.
Fern Clyffe State Park
Route 37, P.O. Box 10
Goreville, IL 62939
Fern Clyffe State Park is a great place to spend the day whether you like to fish, hike or are just looking for a great spot for a picnic. Its 2,430 scenic acres are rich with history just south west of Carbondale. It features 18 trails for the hikers, and equestrians will find beautiful and scenic exploration options as well. Enjoy the lake stocked with largemouth bass, bluegill and channel catfish, and set up a picnic fish-fry style at the picnic tables here.
Von Jakob Vineyard & Brewery
230 Highway 127 North
Alto Pass, Illinois 62905
Uncork the good life and take a trip to little Germany by experiencing Von Jakob Vinyard and Brewery. There you can relax, unwind and enjoy spirits and lunch and dinner dining along with beautiful scenery any time of the year. Sit on the decks and enjoy the outdoor fireplaces. Dine on appetizers or a smoked barbecue sandwich with some of Von Jakob’s prized wines or handcrafted beer. Enjoy live entertainment Saturday and Sunday afternoons from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Click here for a calendar of events.
Tres Hombres Mexican Restaurant
119 N. Washington St.
Carbondale Illinois, 62901
www.trescarbondale.comMexican food varies so much from region to region in the states, but few will argue with how scrumptious southern Illinois does it. Maybe it’s a Paula Dean-style approach, or maybe it’s the outside patio perfect for parties, but nobody does it up like Tres. The bar features a full booking of live entertainment and full service on the patio seven days a week. Click here for a calendar of events.
The Mississippi Flyway
1925 W. Main
Just a few miles west of downtown Carbondale, off Route 13, the Mississippi Flyway serves up late-night meals, drinks, ambiance and a game of pool in the bar to wrap up the trip. Whether you are in the mood for a hot wing platter or an Angus Steak burger sandwich, you will be at no loss for variety, or a good time at the Mississippi Flyway. The bar is stocked with domestic and imported beers, a vast wine selection, as well as a great selection of frozen and mixed drinks. It also serves breakfast until 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
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