When The Shawnee Reveals Its Bones

Winter on The Shawnee Hills Wine Trail  Shawnee Hills High Rise - Old Stone Face Trail When November approaches and the woodlands offer their colorful spent leaves to the forest floor, the secrets of The Shawnee National Forest are revealed. The now barren trees allow for an unobstructed view of the bones of The Shawnee National Forest. The hidden treasures of beautiful slot canyons such as Panther's Den Wilderness Area , pathways of creeks and rock tumbles leading to sculpted waterfalls, and spectacular rugged bluffs are now laid bare waiting to be discovered. The locals always know. Hiking season for many doesn't begin until the leaves have fallen and the last of the ticks, mosquitoes, and chiggers have disappeared. Heat and humidity - be gone! Dressing in layers is a smart choice. Your exertion and outside temperatures deem whether or not to layer up or layer down. Remember, hiking or walking in colder weather is good for your heart and good for your

2017 Total Solar Eclipse and "The Sweet Spot"

 The Point of Greatest Duration for the Eclipse is over four buildings with solar arrays, on a wine trail . What will happen?  Will everything shut down, a zombie apocalypse unfold or even worse, Blue Sky Vineyard runs out of wine?! The total eclipse of the sun on August 21, 2017 may be seen by more people than any other total eclipse in history. The path of totality crosses the entire country, from the Pacific coast of Oregon to the Atlantic coast of Georgia. A partial eclipse will be seen everywhere in the lower 48 states and the path of totality is within a day's drive of everyone in the USA. There is one point along this three thousand plus mile path that is a little extra special. It is the “Sweet Spot” - the point of Greatest Duration of Totality and it happens to be virtually on top of Rocky Comfort Cabins and Blue Sky Vineyards. This is just too cool. What is even more fascinating? The Point of Greatest Duration is happening in the so

Food, Wine, and Song

What is more enjoyable than a day filled with good food, a nice wine, and some soul soothing music? Shall we suggest to you...hmmm - The S hawnee Hills Wine Trail ? Not only will you be able to savor the distinct tastes of regional wines  and a variety of food choices, many of the local vineyards are perfect venues for an array of music , from solo acoustics to larger bands. For several wineries, you'll see a music line up for almost every weekend. Blue Sky Vineyard , on e of the most beautiful wineries in the area,  carries appetizers, sandwiches, soups, pizza, and desserts to go along with award winning wines, select beer, and my son's favorite, the Sangria. The crusty french bread served with the best dipping oil around is a tasty starter.  Almost every Saturday and Sunday Blue Sky has live music. Settle in and listen either inside the huge detailed tasting room, or on the splendid sun drenched outdoor terraces. A couple that stayed at the Creole House remember

Arts and Cultural Events

So you decided on southern Illinois for a little getaway. Wonderful choice! Hiking.    Check Waterfalls .     Everywhere Wine and Sun.     Oh ya Zipline Adventure .    Down the road Museums, Performing Arts and Entertainment Venues .    Of course! The awesomeness of the "off the trail" events and entertainment along the Shawnee Hills Wine country deserves its own blog and we'll take you along to some of our favorites at another time. We're going closer to "town" for this one. Within reach when you stay in southern Illinois is an abundance of top notch staging platforms as a backdrop to local artisans, musical performances, and galleries. Some of the bigger venues are centered around Carbondale and Marion. Carbondale The University Museum at SIU.  The museum has been a repository of artifacts since 1874. Not only does it have a beautiful outdoor sculpture garden (sit under the magnolia during spring!), inside you'll find 10,000 s

Dining off the Beaten Path

Sometimes finding the awesome and unique happens when you are just doing something else. Meander your way along the wine trail and you'll also find little gems of the local flavor.  This is a guide to our favorite places to eat in the area gleaned from our own experiences. Let us know if you stumble on a place that should be listed here. Cobden, Illinois One of several quaint villages here in southern Illinois, Cobden has some noteworthy restaurants. Yellow Moon Cafe An area favorite with local wines and delicious specials handcrafted daily using fresh ingredients, many of which are grown locally. We highly recommend you try this cozy restaurant with its lovely ambiance. Weekends you might find some local music and entertainment. Yellow Moon also has wines from the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail to go with your dinner. Breakfast, lunch and dinner. 110 N Front St / Cobden, Il 62902 ( 618) 893-2233 The Palace Pizzeria If you want pizza, you have to go here. Try their award

SIU Athletic Events

Rocky Comfort Cabins is not only located right on the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail, but it is also only 20 minutes from the city of Carbondale, the metro hub of southern Illinois and home to Southern Illinois University . Southern Illinois University first planted its roots in Carbondale in 1869 and now has an average fall enrollment of almost 18,000 students. The beautiful surroundings of southern Illinois has attracted and kept a multitude of teachers and students from all over the globe. It does not take long to come across someone who had been a student here at one time, went off on their career somewhere else, but returned to firmly plant roots back where they started. We just nod our heads in acknowledgement. They usually find their way back or just never wanted to leave in the first place. The sprawling grounds of the campus at Southern Illinois University has its own quiet, natural beauty with old oak trees and the well tended Thompson Woods. If you had been a student at the u

Carbondale Dining for all Tastes

Got a taste for...not sure? It shouldn't take long to find a restaurant to turn that longing into exactly what you need. If you're heading to Carbondale, here are a few of our favorites that highlight the diverse flavor of a University town. Many of the restaurants are located along Illinois Avenue, ("the strip") or in the downtown square which still reflects the roots of Carbondale as it began as a bustling stop along the railroad. There are, of course, many chain restaurants, but we will feature more of the locally owned and operated businesses in Carbondale.  Global Gourmet Sitting right on the square, Global is probably one of our favorite restaurants, with its eclectic atmosphere, gourmet cuisine and full bar. There is an outdoor patio for the warmer days and there will occasionally be some cool, classic jazz. If you are here around Christmas time, call ahead for the figgy pudding. They won't serve it until it is perfect. 102 E Jackson St /