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Kick off 2016 and beat cabin fever by treating that special someone to a romantic weekend away. The city of Bloomington offers you and your loved one a getaway with big historical charm and a small town feel.

Check out some of the top places to stay, cultural landmarks to see, unique restaurants to visit and perfect date night activities here!

Vrooman Mansion Bed & Breakfast

With a charming history dating back to 1869, the Vrooman Mansion is a luxurious bed and breakfast nestled in the heart of Bloomington. Under the legacy of Julia and Carl Vrooman, the mansion was used for social gatherings for the couple’s friends, including political figures like President and Mrs. Wilson, Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, among others. Today, this lavish estate offers visitors the chance to experience a powerful part of history.

Vrooman Mansion - (at) acschultz86

The Vrooman Mansion allows guests to explore the fine restaurants, shops, and attractions of Central Illinois while providing a welcoming and comfortable home base. (Photo by Instagramer (at) aschultz86)

Epiphany Farms Restaurant

Dine like a local at Epiphany Farms Restaurant, a dining experience committed to a “Farm to Fork” concept. This Bloomington favorite offers seasonal dinner menus and creates signature dishes and drinks with handpicked ingredients straight from their farm, ensuring your date night dinner is both fresh and delicious.

Epiphany Farms - (at) leah_horcher

Instagramer (at) leah_horcher captured this yummy shot of Blackberry panna cotta, honey-yogurt, almond florentine, fresh blueberry, mint and mochi.

David Davis Mansion

A weekend away in Bloomington wouldn’t be the same without a visit to the David Davis Mansion, a Victorian home that tells the story of the generation that led United States through the Civil War and Reconstruction. Home to Judge David Davis, mentor and campaign manager to Abraham Lincoln, this must-see historical landmark boasts 36 lavishly decorated rooms and a peek into Davis’ role in Honest Abe’s legal and political career.

David Davis Mansion - (at) ctbruni

Completed in 187, the David Davis Mansion combines Italiante and Second Empire architectural features. (Photo by Instagramer (at) ctbruni)

Illinois Symphony Orchestra

You don’t need to visit a big city to see a critically-acclaimed musical show. Grab tickets for you and your partner to enjoy the diverse repertoire of the Illinois Symphony Orchestra to complete a romantic weekend away in Bloomington.

Illinois Symphony Orchestra

Celebrating its 23rd season, the Illinois Symphony Orchestra performs at several local venues, including the Second Presbyterian Church and Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts. (Photo Courtesy of Illinois Symphony Orchestra)

For more romantic getaway inspiration, visit

-Illinois Office of Tourism

With more than 280,000 acres of diverse landscapes and 403 miles of hiking trails, the Shawnee National Forest is a perfect destination for a weekend away with friends or a romantic getaway with that special someone. In the cooler months, this must-see location offers adventure seekers and nature lovers a new, more intimate perspective of the beautiful, wintery outdoors of Southern Illinois.

From the rustic tree houses to stay in and the unparalleled outdoor adventures, here are the top attractions for a weekend getaway in the Shawnee National Forest:

Little Grand Canyon Trail
Take an exploratory hike for a break from the holiday frenzy. Feel the crunch of the crisp leaves beneath your feet as you travel along the 3.6-mile trail through rock walls, eroded sandstone canyons and craggy bluffs as you meander to the Little Grand Canyon itself. The Little Grand Canyon offers a 365-foot climb from the canyon floor and a panoramic view of the Big Muddy River and the Mississippi floodplain.

Instagramer (at) sarahdesign01 captured this amazing shot on a winter hike through the Little Grand Canyon Trail!

Instagramer (at) sarahdesign01 captured this amazing shot on a winter hike through the Little Grand Canyon Trail!

Garden of the Gods
No trip to Shawnee National Forest would be complete without a scenic hike to the Garden of Gods. With fewer leaves, the cooler months expose the dramatic rock formations and highlight the textured cliffs, offering a unique perspective of the forest. The breathtaking view from Garden of the Gods makes for the perfect destination for photographers and hikers.

Instagramer (at) theroadandandrew captured this amazing shot of the trees dusted in snow against the protruding bluffs.

Instagramer (at) theroadandandrew captured this amazing shot of the trees dusted in snow against the protruding bluffs.

Shawnee Bluffs Canopy Tour
Thrill seekers can elevate their weekend by soaring through the Shawnee National Forest on a Shawnee Bluffs Canopy Tour. Open Saturday and Sunday from December to March, you can experience the beauty of the wintery forest by zipping through its exposed bluffs and valleys.

Fly through the terrain of the Shawnee National Forest on a tour of eight zip lines and three aerial suspension bridges. (Photo courtesy of Shawnee Bluffs Canopy Tour)

Fly through the terrain of the Shawnee National Forest on a tour of eight zip lines and three aerial suspension bridges. (Photo courtesy of Shawnee Bluffs Canopy Tour)

Timber Ridge Outpost & Cabins
After a day of adventure, get cozy in an authentic log cabin or a unique treehouse nestled in the hills of the Shawnee National Forest. Surrounded by the beautiful woods, enjoy taking in the tranquility of being off the beaten path. Open year round and supplied with heat, there’s no reason not to enjoy the winter season outdoors.

This White Oak Treehouse was built from a 200+ year old White Oak and sits 20 feet in the air.

This White Oak Treehouse was built from a 200+ year old White Oak and sits 20 feet in the air.

For more trip inspiration, visit

-Illinois Office of Tourism

Eclectic restaurants, award-wining wine bars and handcrafted breweries shine in Champaign – a vibrant foodie town, home to the University of Illinois. We’ve assembled a list of five restaurants perfect for you and your sweetheart. What’s your favorite romantic restaurant in Illinois? Comment and share with us below!

Blind Pig Brewery

With its beautiful wood interior, casks full of local brews and friendly locals, Blind Pig Brewery is a great location for pairs looking for a relaxed and fun atmosphere. When the weather is nice, couples can venture outside and enjoy the large outdoor beer garden.

Blind Pig Brewery bethany_sexton

Blind Pig Brewery has a beautiful outdoor beer garden (Instagram photo: (at) bethany_sexton)

Pekara Bakery

A visit to Pekara Bakery and Bistro means good food, great coffee and easy conversation. From omelets, breakfast sandwiches, bagels, savory sandwiches, salads, crêpes and hearty soups, to sweet pastries, pies and cookies, there’s truly something for everyone.

Pekara Bakery

Pekara Bakery specializes in fresh, artisan breads

Alto Vineyards Tasting Room

Planning a romantic night out? Be sure to check out Alto Vineyards Tasting Room located near the University of Illinois. Couples can relax with a glass of Alto’s award-winning wine and taste local cheeses. With its picturesque outdoor seating and wine garden, a trip to Alto Vineyards Tasting Room makes for a unique spring date.


Try award-winning wines at Alto Vineyards Tasting Room in Champaign (Instagram photo: (at) altovineyards)

Farren’s Pub & Eatery

Farren’s Pub and Eatery is the perfect location for duos who like adventure, fun and, most importantly, great burgers. Farren’s burgers have received some serious recognition from both Champaign natives and nationally-known foodies. Finding this restaurant, which is located underground and tucked behind a building, is half the fun of dining there.

Big Grove Tavern

Big Grove Tavern is a great spot for a trendy date. This farm-to-table restaurant in downtown Champaign features seasonal comfort foods. Almost everything served at Big Grove Tavern is made from scratch, uses seasonal ingredients and is sourced locally whenever possible.

Big Grove Tavern

Enjoy a great first date over food and drinks at the trendy Big Grove Tavern

For more ideas about things to do in the Land of Lincoln, visit

— The Illinois Office of Tourism

The Great River Road, which travels along the Mississippi River, has countless opportunities for couples to experience romantic moments. Bluff-top views, river sights, charming B&Bs and sprawling vineyards sprinkle the Illinois portion of the road on the western boarder of the state. We rounded up six spots along the Great River Road in Illinois that are the epitome of romance. Have other ideas that we didn’t include? Comment and share with us!

Take a wintery stroll through Galena’s historic Main Street. Click the photo for more information about bustling downtown Galena. (Photo by Instagramer (at) foundflavor)

Take a wintery stroll through Galena’s historic Main Street and enjoy the bustling nature of downtown Galena. (Photo by Instagramer (at) foundflavor)

Galena’s Main Street
There’s something nostalgic about the small town charm in winter. Visit Galena’s historic Main Street to shop the local boutiques, take a historic trolley tour of the snow-dusted town, and cozy up on a horse-drawn sleigh ride through the town. Walk across the river to visit Grant Park, a great location for couples to take in the breathtaking views of the historic town. The park is home to a charming gazebo has been the site of many nuptials throughout the years!

Instagramer (at) squezdog captured this amazing shot of Bayview Bridge at sunset. Click the photo for more attractions to enjoy at Bicentennial Park.

Instagramer (at) squezdog captured this amazing shot of Bayview Bridge at sunset.

Bicentennial Park and Bayview Bridge
Bicentennial Park in Quincy is the place to see Bayview Bridge, a cable-stayed bridge over the Mississippi River. Snap photos with the bridge as the backdrop or relax on a park bench and look out at the moving waters.

Beall Mansion
Located just 12 blocks from the Mississippi River, the elegant bed and breakfast Beall Mansion features an in-room massage, spa treatments and a 24 hour chocolate buffet! This quaint B&B mansion is the perfect romantic getaway for two.

Share a warm slice of pie at this cozy sweet shop. Click the photo to see more activities in Alton. (Photo by Instagramer (at) kayris06)

Share a warm slice of pie at this cozy sweet shop. (Photo by Instagramer (at) kayris06)

My Just Desserts
My Just Desserts in Alton is a tasty place for couples to stop along the Great River Road. This cozy confectionery and restaurant is located in the historic Alton in a building that dates back to 1845. With up to 13 types of pie to choose from, you won’t want to miss out on this indulgence.

Piasa Winery
The charming Piasa Winery overlooks the Mississippi River and is home to delicious varietals from the Piasa vineyards. Its deck is a great spot to sip a sweet white or sparkling wine with your loved one while enjoying the region’s rolling landscape as the backdrop.

Luxury is not hard to come by at Irish Hallow as seen in the inn’s spa-like bathrooms. See more pictures of the accommodations by clicking the photo. (Photo by (at) aniababicz)

Enjoy the warm, relaxing atmosphere of The Inn at Irish Hollow. (Photo by (at) aniababicz)

The Inn at Irish Hollow
Sitting on 500 acres in the Galena countryside, The Inn at Irish Hollow is a truly magical destination for couples. Irish Hollow has five English countryside cottages perfect for two, complete with wood burning fireplaces, spa-quality bathrooms and plush furnishings.

For more information on romantic destinations in Illinois, visit

-Illinois Office of Tourism


Did you know Sweetest Day is on October 18? The holiday is a great excuse to take that romantic weekend trip you’ve both been dreaming about. To make planning easy, we have some easy ideas for a romantic visit to Rockford, located on the banks of the Rock River in Northwest Illinois. As the third largest city in Illinois, there is no shortage of things for couples to do.


Take your sweetheart apple picking at Curran’s Orchard

Curran’s Orchard

Spend an afternoon together enjoying the crisp fall weather at Curran’s Orchard. Curran’s offers more than a dozen varieties of pre-picked apples for purchase this season. A scenic hayride paired with award-winning apple cider is a great way to enjoy the sprawling orchard grounds. End your afternoon by sampling other delicious apple treats, like Curran’s homemade apple pies and doughnuts – both are delicious!


Jefferson Street Bridge in Downtown Rockford

Abreo Restaurant, Wine Bar & Patio

Plan a romantic dinner for two at Abreo Restaurant, Wine Bar & Patio, one of Rockford’s premiere restaurant and nightlife spots. The dinner menu offers a selection of seasonal items for fall, many of which are sourced from local farmers. While enjoying exquisite food and the company of your loved one, be sure to take in Abreo’s 1888 vintage architecture and unique atmosphere. Top off the night with a glass of wine on the patio garden or snuggled up in the wine bar.

Copperstone Inn

End your romantic trip at Copperstone Inn by experiencing the luxurious accommodations in this Greek revival style home. This grand majestic limestone home exudes an ambiance of total elegance, comfort, and sophistication. Enjoy 130 acres of pure romance with your loved one at Copperstone Inn.

 What other romantic destinations in Rockford do you recommend? Comment below to share with us!

-The Illinois Office of Tourism