Getaway Guide: One-Tank Trip To Carbondale

September 1, 2012 6:00 AM


carbondale Getaway Guide: One Tank Trip To Carbondale


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.

Getting ThereFrom downtown St. Louis, cross the Mississippi River on I-70 into Illinois until you merge right onto I-64 east/IL-3 north. Look for the signs for Louisville/St. Clair Avenue. Continue on I-64 east, until you reach exit 50 for IL-127 toward Carlyle/Nashville and turn right onto IL-127 south. Turn left onto IL-127 south/IL-13 east/IL-154 east. Take the first right onto 13 and into town. To explore a beautiful neighborhood, turn left onto Walnut Street, which is registered as a National Historic District. t least 50 homes on this street are registered with the National Historic District, and some date back to the early 1850s. While these are all private homes, and not open to the public, the drive is beautiful, and right on the way to Woodlawn Cemetery, the final resting place for several civil war heroes. Turn left on South Washington Street and right on Main Street to stroll the final resting place of Civil War heroes. At the center of the cemetery is the mysterious stone coffin, known as the “Sarcophagus,” which hosts an unidentified body rife with ghost stories.


longbranchcoffeehouse Getaway Guide: One Tank Trip To Carbondale

(credit: Longbranch Coffeehouse/Facebook)

Longbranch Coffeehouse
100 E. Jackson St.
Carbondale, Illinois 62901
(618) 529-4488

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.

Where to Go

siucarbondale Getaway Guide: One Tank Trip To Carbondale

(credit: SIU Carbondale/Facebook)

Southern Illinois University
Carbondale, Illinois 62901
(618) 453-2121

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.

Marberry Arboretum
Wall Street and Pleasant Hill Road
Carbondale, IL
(618) 529-4147

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
(618) 995-2411

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.

Related: Best Spots to Spend a Summer Day in St. Louis


vonjakobvineyard Getaway Guide: One Tank Trip To Carbondale


Von Jakob Vineyard & Brewery
230 Highway 127 North
Alto Pass, Illinois 62905
(618) 893-4600

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.


treshombres Getaway Guide: One Tank Trip To Carbondale


Tres Hombres Mexican Restaurant
119 N. Washington St.
Carbondale Illinois, 62901
(618) 457-3308
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.


mississippiflyaway Getaway Guide: One Tank Trip To Carbondale

(credit: Mississippi Flyaway/Facebook)

The Mississippi Flyway
1925 W. Main
Carbondale, Illinois
(618) 529-9363

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.

Related: Top Piano Bars in St. Louis

Lisa Payne-Naeger, a native of the St. Louis area, is a freelance writer, blogger, political activist and a homeschooling mother of two children. Her work can be found at

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