Conveniently located between Springfield, Illinois and St. Louis, Missouri, Jacksonville is a thriving community rich in historical treasures, unparalleled educational institutions, growing businesses and a hospitality all its own. A recipient of the Governor’s Hometown Award and a Great American Mainstreet Award-Winning Community, the Jacksonville area has much to offer.
It is easy to become a historian in Jacksonville. Follow in the steps of Abraham Lincoln by taking the “Voices of Jacksonville” audio tour – part of the “Looking for Lincoln” experience, where you can see the actual places and hear the real stories of Lincoln as his friends and associates knew him. Jacksonville was a major hub of the Underground Railroad, and Woodlawn Farm is a prime example of a historic site available for tours. Visitors can also see Gov. Duncan’s Mansion, which is one of only two governor’s mansions still standing in Illinois (Jacksonville was the home of three governors.). Self-guided, historic walking tours of Jacksonville homes and Underground Railroad sites entertain while providing knowledge about the city’s unique history.
Visitors can also enjoy the community’s many annual events. From a free outdoor concert series to steam shows, car shows to music and art festivals, Jacksonville has something for everyone. Do not forget monthly exhibits are offered at the historic Strawn Art Gallery. National brand hotels as well as locally-owned properties are sure to provide a good night’s sleep. A variety of banquet facilities provide space for small to large groups, all moderately priced. Jacksonville restaurants offer everything from home-style country cooking to unique delights, such as Italian, Mexican and Chinese cuisine. Jacksonville has several shopping centers and many locally owned one-of-a-kind stores, antique malls and gift shops. For more information, phone the Jacksonville Area Convention & Visitors Bureau at (800) 593-5678 or visit jacksonvilleil.org.
The Warther Museum and Gardens
The Warther Museum and Gardens, located in Dover, Ohio is home to the World’s Master Carver, Ernest Warther, who captured the Evolution of the Steam Engine out of ebony, ivory, and walnut. Step back in time as you experience life in the 1920’s in the family home, stroll through original Swiss-style gardens, be amazed by Frieda Warther’s 73,000 piece button collection, and be inspired by the work of a genius by viewing his sixty-plus working carved models. The collection, deemed priceless by the Smithsonian, is one-of-a-kind, and people of all ages fall in love with the story of Ernest “Mooney” Warther. The one hour guided tour explains how, with only a second grade education, Mooney Warther captured the steam engine in these priceless works of art. To continue reading click here.
Aurora Area Convention and Visitors Bureau
Just 40 miles west of Chicago motorcoach tour groups will find exclusive deals at high-end designer outlets, inspiring attractions, a craft brewery scene with an independent streak and a historic theatre quietly rising up the ranks of the storied Chicagoland theater landscape. This Aurora Area tour itinerary is provided by the Aurora Area Convention and Visitors Bureau and can be customized to fit your group’s needs. To continue reading click here.
Basilica & National Shrine of Our Lady of Consolation
Since 1875, pilgrims of many backgrounds and traditions have journeyed to the Basilica and National Shrine of Our Lady of Consolation, Carey, Ohio, to experience the powerful intercession and the maternal comfort of Mary, Consoler of the Afflicted.
This Shrine began as a parish church in the 1860s, and then Father Joseph Gloden, a native of Luxembourg, inspired other immigrants from Luxembourg and living in Carey to acquire a statue of Our Lady of Consolation, the patroness of their native land and honored in the cathedral of the capital city. From the time that statue arrived, countless people have experienced God’s presence and Our Lady’s intercession in a powerful way right here. To continue reading click here.
Potawatomi Hotel & Casino
Celebrate Potawatomi Hotel and Casino’s 25th anniversary with food and drink specials, events and gaming offers in the heart of Milwaukee. Throughout the years, Potawatomi has grown to more than 150,000 square-feet of gaming space, featuring 2,700 slot machines, 100 table games, a 1,440-seat bingo hall, off-track betting and much more. Guests enjoy world-class entertainment at the 500-seat Northern Lights Theater, plus free music and comedy at Bar 360 and The Fire Pit’s side bar almost nightly.
even unique restaurants provide amazing variety without ever leaving the property. Enjoy all-you-can-eat, freshly-prepared food at The Buffet. Dream Dance Steak offers a twist on the traditional Wisconsin steakhouse with seasonal menus and more than 600 wines. The Fire Pit Sports Bar and Grill features 34 HDTVs (including jumbo screens) and serves tasty sports bar fare. Locavore boasts a globally-inspired menu with local, sustainable foods. To continue reading click here.
Guided & Self-Guided Theme Tours
Bowling Green, Ohio
Bowling Green, Ohio may be home to Bowling Green State University, but it also offers numerous tours around this beautiful city. These may be self-guided or even group tours that can be booked through the Bowling Green Convention & Visitors Bureau.
One of the most intriguing self-guided tours is The Dark Tour, which can take all day or all night, and offers a look at all of the allegedly haunted locations in Bowling Green. Infamous stops include Wood County Historical Museum, with its Lunatic Asylum on site where tour passengers can revel in tales of scratching at barred windows, the piano playing on its own, and footprints appearing in the floor varnish. Or perhaps motorcoach passengers would be interested in one of the four stops on BGSU’s campus, or a drive through Holcomb Woods where there are ghostly tales of a bus driver’s face appearing in a tree that killed him upon impact. To continue reading click here.