Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Further tours of Southern Illinois

We have been quite fortunate that the strong storms of the pass few days have passed us by.  We have had heavy rains with creeks overflowing and some roads flooded.  That all is minor, however, compared to the devastated areas in Arkansas and Mississippi.  So, despite overcast skies and a cool breeze, we decided to do a road trip yesterday, with our daughter Melissa and son Nathan joining us.   Our first stop was Makanda, Illinois which is located near Giant City Park. 
The town is an artist's colony of sorts.  Pictured above is one of the buildings in a single strip mall.  We strolled along the boardwalk and entered some of the stores which offered for sale some of the work of local artists as well as New Age merchandise and antiques.  In the back of the mall we found the town's Secret Garden which features rainmaker art (copper sculptures) by Dave Dardis.
It is probably not a good time of the year to view the garden, it seemed to be a bit over-grown with many vines and bushes.  In its own way it is still a quaint and interesting garden with a creek running through it.  We drove from Makanda to Cobden looking for any restaurant where we could get lunch.  It is not tourist season yet for Cobden or any other small town in the region, so we had no luck on that score until Melissa remembered a winery she had visited last year.  We came to realize that we were on the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail, and at Von Jacob Vineyard/ Brewery we had some very good German sausage sandwiches.  After our lunch the sun came out and we felt that we might as well extend our touring further and check out the Pomona Natural Bridge in the Shawnee National Forest.  It is pictured below.
What a beautiful quiet place this is, tucked away amid a forest of pine trees.  We walked across the bridge and down into a canyon where we looked up at tall rocky bluffs.  On the ground a patch of may apples caught my eye and, checking under the leaves of the plant, I discovered that the plant is now in bloom.
I do not think we will do any more touring of Southern Illinois, as least for the present time.  There is certainly lots more to see and explore, but by the end of this week we should moving up to St. Louis.

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