A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of visiting Starved Rock State Park in Oglesby, Illinois, just about an hour and a half drive northeast of Peoria. Winter offers a whole new world of opportunities at Illinois’ Starved Rock State Park. For those who love the peaceful wintry scenery, venturing to Starved Rock in the winter provides an entirely different experience than other times of the year.
Maybe you’ll spy a view otherwise obstructed by trees full of leaves in the summer, or perhaps you’ll catch a glimpse of some wintertime wildlife. No matter the experience, there’s something special about nature in the winter. Crisp cool air beckons hikers to cross through frozen terrain while the crunch of snow underfoot keeps the time of a march along the trail.
Starved Rock State Park and the area around Utica offers many winter experiences for you to take part in, such as beautiful hiking trails and outdoor activities. While snow is on the ground, visitors can take advantage of cross-country ski rentals at nearby Matthiessen State Park.
If you’re looking for some last-minute travel inspiration, consider making a trip to Starved Rock this weekend for the Bald Eagle Watch Weekend. Starved Rock State Park will host guided winter hikes, children’s activities, a raptor awareness program with a live bald eagle and so much more.
Winter isn’t going away anytime soon, so take this chance to get rid of the winter blues and enjoy the unique experiences the outdoors in Illinois have to offer this time of year! If the outdoors is not for you, check out all activities in Peoria’s Civic Center here.
A great idea for this summer: Take a ride on the Central Illinois Chili Trail
Hungry travelers and foodies can get their fill on the Central Illinois Chili Trail, located in and around Springfield. Chili hot spots, such as Joe Rogers’ Original Recipe Chili Parlor, Joe’s Chili Bowl and Paul’s Confectionery, put their own unique spin on the spicy and hearty dish. Trail-goers can taste their way through the ultimate chili lineup and pick a favorite bowl! It is said the quite a few former U.S. Presidents from Illinois have been seen here regularly…
Another well-known chili spot in Springfield was Joe’s Chili Bowl, a counter-service-only spot that also provides patrons with a range of spice options. What makes Joe’s Chili Bowl a true standout are the locally-made Art’s tamales served with the famous chili. The chili and tamale combination results in a mouth-watering explosion of flavor. Joe Rogers’ Original Recipe Chili Parlor is famed as the No. 2 “Best Chili Spot in the Country” according to Bon Appétit magazine.
Locals and visitors flock to the chili joint to try the flavor-filled masterpiece, served your way to suit individual tastes. With heat levels ranging from mid to firebrand, customers can satisfy their taste buds any way they’d like. In fact, Adam Richman of Travel Channel’s “Man v. Food” took on is Joe Rogers’ Firebrand chili challenge a couple of years back.
A trip on Central Illinois Chili Trail is not complete without a visit to Paul’s Confectionery in Decatur. The bustling chili destination has been a town favorite since 1945. The recipe dates back to 1924 and takes three days to complete one batch of the meaty perfection.