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Did you know Illinois is home to an abundance of breweries that produce some of the tastiest craft brews in the country? Illinois’ brews are making headlines and being enjoyed by craft connoisseurs and casual beer drinkers alike. One Land of Lincoln brewery even holds the title as one of the “Top 50 Places to Drink Beer in the USA” by Beer Advocate.  That place is The Blind Pig Brewery.

Belly up to The Blind Pig Brewery Bar

Belly up to The Blind Pig Brewery Bar

Located in bustling Champaign, Illinois, in the heart of the Land of Lincoln region, The Blind Pig serves up an assortment of craft brews that wow locals and attract visitors from all over the country. The type of brew flowing out of The Blind Pig’s 14 taps is constantly rotating, but you can be sure at least four taps are always dedicated to The Blind Pig brews. The other 10 are microbrew taps from other outstanding breweries, many of which are located in the Midwest.  In addition to what’s on tap, The Blind Pig has more than 100 different types of bottles available – ciders, gluten free beer, you name it!

Located in the heart of Champaign, The Blind Pig is an ideal place to stop on a guys' getaway

Located in the heart of Champaign, The Blind Pig is an ideal place to stop on a guys’ getaway

The brewery is Champaign’s first all-grain brewery since prohibition and is a staple in the community. To celebrate its success, The Blind Pig Brewery hosts an annual festival dedicated to 10 tasty beers. Not only are these beers delicious, but they have a kick. Each beer featured in the festival is nine percent ABV and above.

The Blind Pig Brewery's beer garden is open during the warmer months, complete with awesome views of Champaign's downtown district

The Blind Pig Brewery’s beer garden is open during the warmer months, complete with awesome views of Champaign’s downtown district

Next time you’re thinking about taking a trip with the guys, think about Illinois’ breweries! For a complete list of microbreweries throughout the state,  click here.

–The Illinois Office of Tourism

Winter in Illinois is a time for fun in the snow, and what better way to enjoy the seasonal delight than skiing and snowshoeing? The Morton Arboretum, located in the Chicago & Beyond region, is one of the top destinations in the state for taking advantage of snow dusted terrain.  Rentals are available onsite at the Visitor Center Area, or you can bring your own skis and snowshoes.

Ski the trails at the Morton Arboretum and explore the beauty of winter in the Chicago & Beyond region

Ski the trails at the Morton Arboretum and explore the beauty of winter in the Chicago & Beyond region

The arboretum’s towering trees and 1,700-acre landscape provides an unbelievable backdrop for a crisp winter adventure. From 7 a.m. to sunset, explore the snow-covered grounds in a winter wonderland. There are multiple locations and routes available. Particularly for family fun, the Conifer Collection shows the great diversity of coniferous trees that grow in the region – and is a great option for kids!

The snow-covered acres at the Morton Arboretum make an ideal winter destination.

Aside from the snow-covered trails, the arboretum also offers a variety of other events and activities for families to enjoy, like tree houses! Yes, tree houses. These are perhaps some of the most enticing facets of discovery at the Morton Arboretum for kids. Through “Tree House Tales,” visitors can see and enter a “magical village” exhibit of six whimsical tree house structures. Enter a world of imagination through the houses like the White Oak Cabin or the Empress Tree Castle, while learning the individual histories of the different trees through a variety of interactive features.

Morton Arboretum is open year round, and the abundance of activities grows with each season.

-The Illinois Office of Tourism

Beall Mansion

An escape to the Beall Mansion Bed & Breakfast Inn in historic Alton will result in sweet chocolate dreams. Every stay at the Southern-style inn includes a complimentary 24-hour all-you-can-eat chocolate buffet. Yes, that’s right, an endless buffet of succulent chocolate available to you whenever you’re craving something sweet. The smorgasbord features more than 21 different types of chocolate treats, such as dark chocolate peppermint patties, milk chocolate peanut butter cup minis and chocolate covered toffee crunch kisses.

If never-ending chocolate doesn’t entice you enough, the Beall Mansion is located just steps away from Alton’s rich cultural scene, lively entertainment, wineries and breathtaking scenery. Take a walk near the river to capture images of the famous Clark Bridge, experience a wine tasting at one of Alton’s seven wineries, bike next to gorgeous bluffs on the Great River Road or take in a show at a local theatre. With so much variety, Alton is great for a weekend getaway with friends or romantic retreat with someone special.

Cozy rooms at Beall Mansion make guests feel at home.

Cozy rooms at Beall Mansion make guests feel at home.

The charming town is also known for its expanding culinary scene. If you want to indulge in something savory before your chocolate feast, wine and dine at Tony’s Restaurant. If rich homemade dishes are what you crave, try Castelli’s Restaurant at 255.

External View of Historical Beall Mansion in Alton.

External View of Historical Beall Mansion in Alton.

At the end of your Alton adventure, retreat to the Beall Mansion and don’t forget to stop by the chocolate buffet for a sweet night cap!

-The Illinois Office of Tourism