Cruising Columbus Day

A Monday Federal Holiday is a good excuse for a day trip, even though we are retired.  We traditionally take a leaf-peepers drive along the east side of the Illinois River, then over the river bridge at Lacon and through the country to Tanners Orchard.  The popular autumn destination was especially busy this Columbus Day.  But they handled the crowds well.  We enjoyed our cider donuts, bought fudge and caramel corn, and scratched the heads of a few cheeky goats.   Our second stop was another orchard shop near Hanna City called Christ Orchard.  The Christ family farm is a smaller operation but no less charming and also quite busy.  Moms and kids pulled wagons filled with hand-picked pumpkins–and young siblings.  Loaded carts of autumn produce were ushered up to the checkout counter.  We added Red Delicious apples, cider and a watermelon to the goodies accumulating in our trunk. 

The weather was so beautiful in Central Illinois on Monday, we were not quite ready to go home.  Passing through our own village and out the other end, we remained on Springfield Road south.  Why not see the harvested fields and golden vines from the porches of Mackinaw Valley Vineyard?  Getting there is half the fun.  Route 9 through the Mackinaw River valley is always beautiful this time of year.  The vineyard was open but quiet when we arrived, but we were more than welcome to stroll the grounds and take in the views.


 The Hahn family vineyards have become a popular wedding location, and they have added even more facilities for large celebrations on the property. 


 Butch and I strolled down the avenues of turning vines.  At the suggestion of one of the owners, we sampled random grapes that managed to avoid the harvest.  I’m always intrigued by natural avenues.  They beg to be walked.  Enjoying the sun and toasted breezes smelling of corn harvest capped off the day perfectly , we thought.  It was time to turn home to our own very personal destination. 


About Sharon L. Clemens

Sharon and husband Merle and their children owned and operated a specialty shop and restaurant in a restored dairy barn for thirteen years in a village in Illinois. After closing their restaurant, they converted the barn into the family home and moved their shop to the garden level. They operated a collectable shop as a home-based business for another thirteen years before retiring to the country life. Sharon has been a special feature guest on the local NBC telelvision affiliate and has spoken professionally on topics relating to herb gardening and cottage lifestyle. In addition to conducting workshops and programs, Sharon writes a weekly cottage lifestyle e-newsletter called “Cottage Chat” and a Word Press blog: Seasons of Farm Grove. She has written five novels, The Younger Girl, Door County Cottage, Timeless-A Door County Love Story, Door County Cabin and Door County Escape, love stories with traditional values set in Door County, Wisconsin.
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