By now you know my story: July 2009, 8000 km road trip, 3 generations, 1 van. Crazy? Yes. Lomographically limited? In no way whatsoever! I took along 10 cameras and 40 rolls of film. We passed through 10 American states and 3 Canadian provinces, and 4 of Southernmost Illinois’ wineries…
On day 5 of our odyssey, we reached the farthest point of our journey – Southernmost Illinois. That might sound like a simple adjective, but is actually what this area is referred to as in all of the tourism literature for the area. Go figure. Since the main goal of our 8000km roadtrip was to go to a couple of family reunions, we met up with some more family once we reached Illinois. On a slightly rainy day, we refused to let our spirits by dampened. My lovely wife and I left our children with Nana and Papa, and joined the rest of her siblings (and one cousin) to tour some of the 10 wineries of the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail.
This wine trail is fairly well marked with white wooden “WINE TRAIL” arrows all along the highway (we only missed one turn…), and near the driveway, leaving each winery, was a big blue sign indicating the direction and distances to each of the other 9 wineries. We visited four wineries that day (Hedman, Owl Creek, Starview, and Alto Vineyards), and wished we had time for the other 6 (Blue Sky, Inheritance Valley, Pomona, vonJakob, Kite Hill, and Orlandini).
Each winery has it’s own distinct specialties or themes, and they’re close enough together to visit a number of them in a single trip – I’d recommend visiting all of them at once, but you would need to start early, and be sure to designate a driver!
After buying one bottle at each of the first three stops, I said to my wife, “that’s all we can afford today, so we won’t get any at the fourth stop”. After tasting the wine at the fourth winery, despite what we had decided, we bought another two bottles. :)