Archive for  July 2014

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Take a one-of-a-kind vacation by touring the sites of Frank Lloyd Wright’s famous architecture in Illinois. Some of Wright’s most interesting work is in the Prairie State, from his hometown of Oak Park to Rockford, Springfield and beyond. The famed architect not only erected his famous structures in Illinois, but he also drew inspiration from the state’s landscape to create his design. This Illinois-inspired architectural style is evident in the Wright homes, studios and public structures that visitors can tour today.

Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio

Perhaps nowhere is his footprint more evident than in the Chicago suburb of Oak Park, which Wright called home. At the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio, you can step into the world of Wright himself and see the way his style of design progressed over the years, literally, as he experimented and added onto his own home.

In the studio portion of the property, stand at drafting tables where countless students studied under Wright and admire the unique features that give the building its distinct character.

Unity Temple

Nearby his home and studio, Wright lent his creative mind to design the Unity Temple, widely considered to be one of the most innovative and imaginative structures of the 20th century.

The Temple also holds the distinction of being the last surviving public building from Wright’s prolific Prairie period, and is the oldest Wright structures to be in the hands of its original owners and still used for the same purpose for which it was built.

Dana-Thomas House

The Dana-Thomas House in Springfield is a well-preserved piece of Frank Lloyd Wright’s early prairie style architecture. In the house is a large collection of about 100 pieces of Wright-designed furniture and stunning art glass; a Wright lovers dream!

With 12,000 square feet, 32 rooms, three main levels and 16 varying levels, the Dana-Thomas House will give those who visit lots to explore.

Wright in Rockford

True design lovers won’t want to miss the recently opened Laurent House in Rockford. As the only building ever designed by Wright for a disabled person, it features elements unlike those you’ll see anywhere else.

This single-story Usonian home is both functional and beautiful, built of Chicago Common Brick and Red Tidewater Cypress. It features a solar hemicycle footprint, fishpond, and outdoor connectivity to the natural landscape.

Wright’s buildings and homes spread even further through Illinois. Find all of his listings, when you can visit, and more on

-The Illinois Office of Tourism


Do you have a favorite food destination you always stop at when on a road trip? Do you get a burger and shake, or maybe some other succulent treat? The roadside diners you love originally sprouted up on Historic Route 66, which runs through Illinois. Therefore, it’s no surprise that today Route 66 in Illinois offers loads of yummy dishes for travelers to get their fill while exploring the historic road. Cozy Dog Drive-In, The Palms Grill Café and Ariston Café are just a few of the Route 66 staples that will provide you with delicious food, lots of kitsch and great memories.

Take a bite of the famed Cozy Dogs from Springfield’s Cozy Dog Drive-In

Take a bite of the famed Cozy Dogs from Springfield’s Cozy Dog Drive-In

Cozy Dog Drive-In

The Springfield drive-in is famous for being the home of the Cozy Dog, which is similar to a corn dog. While dining on your mouth-watering Cozy Dog, you can gaze at an eclectic collection of Route 66 memorabilia that the drive-in obtained since its opening in 1949. If you love corn dogs and old-fashioned diners, Cozy Dog needs to be on your list of places to visit!

Atlanta, Illinois- Palms Grill Cafe Pie

The Palms Grill Café

The Palms Grill Café in Atlanta is a revitalized relic from the heyday of Route 66. Originally opened in 1934, some of the Palms Grill’s famous dishes from back in the 30s are still served to hungry travelers today. No meal at the Palms Grill Café is complete without trying the restaurant’s famous pie. There is a reason why it has won state pie competitions, so make sure you order it to find out for yourself!

The front of the oldest Route 66 restaurant, the Ariston Café

The front of the oldest Route 66 restaurant, the Ariston Café

Ariston Café

The Ariston Café is thought to be the oldest restaurant on Route 66. Opened by Pete Adam in the 1920s, the original location was housed on Route 4. Pete relocated the café to Litchfield in 1935 so that it could be on the Mother Road. Today, the Ariston Café is still owned and operated by Pete family. It’s a great place to go to for fish, steak and hearty favorites like onion rings and burgers. With so much history, wonderful service and amazing food, it truly represents what Route 66 is all about.

For more Route 66 foodie destinations, check out

-The Illinois Office of Tourism

Are you an artist, art enthusiast or just someone looking for a new favorite art piece for your home?  You can discover inspiration everywhere you look in Makanda, Illinois!

One of the key places to enjoy Makanda’s art scene is along the celebrated Makanda Boardwalk. The block of storefronts and studios, also known as the “Valley of the Arts,” is a center for local artists and craftspeople to display their prized pieces of work.

Makanda’s Boardwalk features artists from all over the region during its annual Spring Fest

Makanda’s Boardwalk features artists from all over the region during its annual Spring Fest

Located at the end of the Boardwalk, Rainmaker Art Studio displays incredible sculpture pieces made from bronze and copper by artist Dave Daris. He learned his unique metal smith trade while traveling around the Midwest more than 40 years ago. Dave showcases his awe-inspiring pieces in his studio and in the one-acre garden that rests directly behind the property – make sure to wander into the garden to view his full collection!

To see more local work, visit Visions Art Gallery located just down the Boardwalk. It features hand painted glass, wood working, painting, photography and pottery by more than 60 local artists. Visions Art Gallery is a great place to see a variety of mediums all in one place and find what speaks to you.

Visitors who work up an appetite while wandering along the boardwalk can savor delicious sandwiches at the Makanda Country Store. Remember to save room for the store’s hand-dipped ice cream cones – you’ll thank us later! The Country Store also has a variety of local and international specialty items like jams and coffee to take home.

Enjoy hand dipped ice cream cones from the Makanda Country Store

Enjoy hand dipped ice cream cones from the Makanda Country Store

What are you waiting for? Start planning your art-filled trip to Makanda at

-The Illinois Office of Tourism

Did you know Rock Island, located on the banks of the Mississippi River in the Quad Cities, hosts a free-admission Grand Prix every Labor Day Weekend? That’s right! If you’re looking for a family-fun getaway, plan a trip to Rock Island for this memorable event.

Rock Island Grand Prix Winner (Photo Credit: Quad Cities CVB)

Famed as the world’s largest and most prestigious street karting race, the Rock Island Grand Prix welcomes more than 30,000 spectators to watch some of the best drivers in the world go head-to-head. The drivers show off their finest racing skills to win one of the top nine coveted spots. Between races, fans can meet the professional drivers and get their autographs, which is a great souvenir to take home after the Grand Prix wraps.

Grand Prix drivers racing to the finish (Photo Credit: Quad Cities CVB)

Grand Prix drivers racing to the finish (Photo Credit: Quad Cities CVB)

Before the big race weekend, visitors can join in the excitement at the week long Grand Prix Festival featuring delicious food vendors, family activities, art galleries and tons of live music and entertainment.  Everything is within walking distance of Downtown Rock Island Arts & Entertainment District, so the opportunities for exploration are endless.

If your family is looking for a unique getaway that’s different from the typical Labor Day outing, plan a trip to the Rock Island Grand Prix!

-The Illinois Office of Tourism