Skip to main content

Travels to Springfield, Illinois

Photo: A two-lane highway heads off in the distance under pink clouds.

I love to travel, and it's a good thing, too, because I need lots of practice in reporting on the various places I've visited. I always have ambitious plans of writing up wonderful posts as soon as I return, but somehow doing laundry takes priority. 

Last month, John and I traveled to Illinois and Missouri, and while that might not sound like an exciting, exotic vacation, I can tell you that it was delightful. 

While sitting in the airport awaiting our departure, I pulled my boarding pass up on my phone, and realized that my seat had changed. My first reaction was not happy, but when I realized that John's seat assignment had also changed, and we had been upgraded to Comfort Plus, I was quickly OK with the change. (Thank you, #Delta!) I had only ever flown coach, so to have a little more leg and seat room, priority boarding, a designated overhead bin, and better snacks (including fresh fruit!) was quite the treat. As we sat on the plane at the gate for at least a half-hour awaiting the arrival of a seat cushion, the roomier seats were much appreciated. We streamed General Conference and relaxed.

Photo: The view from my Comfort Plus seat of the large gap between seats in first class. 
We flew into St. Louis, Missouri and headed over to the car rental lot. As we were perusing the cars, the attendant told us we could have any car in a particular aisle, or "I could give you what you really want." He upgraded our vehicle at no charge. The vacation was up to a great (upgraded) start!

We did a good job of mixing up our activities over the next ten days, though as I look back on it, the overall theme was history: political history, judicial history, literary history, religious history, family history.

We drove to Springfield, Illinois, listening to the afternoon session of General Conference on the way. Though Wikipedia tells me that Springfield's population is 116,250 (or at least was in 2010), it seemed much smaller. It definitely gave off a small-town vibe. 

After checking into our hotel, we ate dinner at Cafe MOXO. John ate the chicken pot pie, because apparently that is a house signature dish. I had the "Momma Said," which was a sandwich with toasted focaccia, balsamic roasted portabella, tomato, and a spinach artichoke gratin. YUM! If you are ever in Springfield, this mom recommends the "Momma Said" at Cafe MOXO.

After dinner, we toured the Old State Capitol, where Abraham Lincoln lay in state after he died. Seventy-five thousand people filed into Representatives Hall to pay their respects. 

Photo: The semi-circular Representatives Hall in the Old State Capitol is set up with small wooden desks. 
There were lots of high school students dressed up and taking photos in and around the Old State Capitol building; I assume they had homecoming dances to attend. I also wondered a bit about whether I goofed as a parent; I never took my kids to a fancy building to take photos before a school dance. Sorry, kids!

Later that night, we drove to Lincoln's New Salem State Historic Site, a step back in time to where Lincoln lived prior to being elected to office. We just happened to be there for the yearly Candlelight Tour. Costumed docents were in each building, explaining to us who had lived there and what life was like then.  One living historian explained that Abraham Lincoln was elected the second time he ran for office in New Salem. The first time, people didn't really know him. The second time, he had racked up debt, but didn't skip town like others had. Instead, he stayed around and worked odd jobs to pay off what he owed. People then knew him to be honest, and elected him to office. 

Photo: A sign reads, "Berry-Lincoln" on the Berry-Lincoln store
The pathways were lighted only by candlelight. Musicians played on a porch; a blacksmith demonstrated his skill; gingerbread and hot cider were served. Walking where Lincoln walked, and seeing the settlement as it would have appeared in Lincoln's day, really brought history to life (even if some of the music played at the event wouldn't be written for about another 100 years or so.)

The next day, we visited a few more Lincoln sites before leaving Springfield. We started at Lincoln's home--the only home he ever owned. The tour guide explained that the house was constantly being improved and expanded. One time, after Lincoln had been away for a while, he went to a neighbor's house and asked him if he could point out Lincoln's home, because he (Lincoln) didn't recognize it after all the changes.  Apparently Mrs. Lincoln did not think that joke was very funny. 

Photo: Abraham Lincoln's two-story house, painted "Quaker brown" with dark green shutters
After Lincoln's home, we visited the Presidential Museum. One thing that impressed me was just how divided the nation was at the time of the 1860 presidential election. The electoral college votes were divided between four different candidates. The political climate now isn't great, but I can't imagine the division of the Civil War. 

Photo: A huge statue of a modern-day man standing next to Abraham Lincoln marks the entrance to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum
We enjoyed our quick visit to Springfield, Illinois, but we had other places to see, so we headed northwest. Stay tuned to see where we went next!

Do you enjoy museums? What do you like to do on vacation?


Popular posts from this blog

Ten Things of Thankful: Even in Times of Uncertainty

  A railroad switch point on the tracks at the Golden Spike National Historic Park There is a lot I don't know. I don't know who will lead the United States for the next four years (at the time I'm composing this post, that hasn't been determined yet.) I don't know when covid cases will stop rising in my state and start decreasing. I don't know how challenging situations will turn out. There is much uncertainty in life. Living in limbo-land is hard. It's emotionally exhausting. It can be immobilizing. My body seems to think chocolate is the answer, but I know that isn't a long-term solution. What do I need in times like these? I need to REMEMBER . 1. R esilience. People are resilient. I am resilient. I'm thankful for resilience. 2. " E ach Life That Touches Ours for Good." So many people, both those I know in "real life," and those I have only met virtually, have taught me, encouraged me, and been examples to me. I'm thankful

Ten Things of Thankful: Another Trip Around the Sun

  A mixed bouquet of pink and purple flowers sits on a round table Last weekend, I celebrated another birthday. I think the earth moves around the sun faster and faster each year, but I can't prove it. Before another minute goes by, let me share my Ten Things of Thankful list for this week. I'm thankful for family: A birthday dinner with my daughter Birthday calls/texts from family members Beautiful flowers from my children A Facetime call with grandchildren. (My grandson repeated three words the entire time: "I am three!" At one point, I told him I would call him Groot.😉)  Drexel and his laid-back nature (The following video shows Drexel on the floor, while the robotic vacuum repeatedly runs into him and starts up his hind leg and tail. Drexel never gets up.) John and his engineering skills. Yesterday, the bishopric of our ward (church congregation) drove around the neighborhood and (taking care to observe covid recommendations) passed out doughnuts to everyone. Eac

Ten Things of Thankful: Short and Sweet

  A yellow-orange sunset behind mountains, as viewed from my front porch. Red geraniums in white planter boxes line the porch rail. I'm thankful for: 1. Beautiful sunsets. 2. Snowfall. 3. Friends. 4. Flowers. 5.Online shopping. 6. Easy returns. 7. Organized rooms. 8. Prayer. 9. Family. 10. John. What are your ten things this week? Joining me this week: IThrive3:20 The Prolific Pulse messymimi's meanderings A season and a time Artistic Mystic Soul the Wakefield Doctrine Backsies Is What There Is Not Her Headache You are invited to the Inlinkz link party! Click here to enter