January 9th, 2017 by Paramita Mukherjee

Who doesn’t love traveling back to time and get amazed with historical facts about any great legend. Springfield ,capital of the state Illinois, USA is one such place. Called by the name”Home of Lincoln”, the place offers legendary tours, exciting information about Lincoln and much more. Much to my surprise this is the only place where Lincoln ever owned a house. It’s a perfect place for weekend getaway.

 

Abraham Lincoln’s house

My journey started from Saint Louis around 11.50 am. It was around one and half hour drive. The roads were smooth and there were not much traffic. I halted in between at a place called Litchfield to have lunch. There were lot of food options in almost every exit. The beautiful fall colors made the drive even more pleasant.

I reached Springfield around 1.50 pm. The first thing I wanted to explore was Lincoln Home National Historic Site. This was the place where Mr. Lincoln spent most of his life with family. So without wasting any time I headed there. Once I reached, I found a big museum which had historical exhibits about Lincoln. There were also antique shops. I grabbed a small token of Lincoln memorial from the shop. The tickets for the guided tour to Lincoln’s house needs to be collected from the museum itself. The tickets were free. The tour starts every five minutes. The last tour ends by 4 pm.


I got my tour tickets for 2.50 pm. The tour guide was very well spoken and very informative. Once I entered the house, it took me to Lincoln’s time. The house was very well preserved with authentic Lincoln’s belongings. The house gives a perfect picture of Lincoln’s daily activities. Overall the tour gives you all the important events that took place in Lincoln’s life. I couldn’t have asked myself more than that.

An inside view of Lincoln’s house

A view of Lincoln’s living room

After the tour ended, it was time to head for my next destination. Just about a mile from Lincoln house, is the famous Dana-Thomas House. The house is well known for its stupendous architectural beauty. It gives an expression of the work of architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s Prairie School. There are guided tours available to experience the view inside. There are also free parking lots available. The house is open for tours between 9 AM -5  PM. Unfortunately I couldn’t avail this tour as I reached only after 5 PM. So I would definitely suggest you folks to keep the time in mind. But walking around the place was amazing.

 

Dana-Thomas House

My next target was Lincoln’s Memorial Tomb. It was the last resting place for Lincoln and his family. The tomb is situated inside a large cemetery. The parking place is just next to the tomb. I found the place very peaceful and well maintained. There is a person sitting inside to whom you can ask any query. Also he will provide you information about the history of the place. Once you entered the tomb, it leads to a big burial room which is made up of black and white marbles. At the center stands a monument with Lincoln’s name written on it. There are nine flags arranged in a semicircle around the monument. I was very humble to pay my respect to one of the greatest legend of all time. Outside the tomb, a beautiful sculptor of Lincoln is situated. People believes that rubbing the shiny nose will bring them luck.

 

Lincoln’s Memorial Tomb

The path leading to Lincoln

Some more information about Lincoln

Lincoln’s lucky nose

There were also couple of more places to visit but due to time constraint I couldn’t make it. Few of them are Old State Capitol, Illinois State museum, Abraham Lincoln Memorial, Henson Robinson Zoo, Henson Robinson Zoo.

By now the day ended and I headed to grab something to satisfy my hunger. There were lots of food options around the downtown. After having some snacks I headed back home. Overall the place is a worth visit. It was an wonderful historic weekend trip.

October 25th, 2016 by Paramita Mukherjee

Butterflies are one of the most amazing and beautiful creation of nature. Being surrounded by hundreds of butterflies makes one forget everything. The Sophia M. Sachs Butterfly House, is one such place.

Sophia M.Sachs Butterfly House

Located at Faust Park in Chesterfield, the place is home to over 60 different and beautiful butterfly species. Faust is a St. Louis County Park in Chesterfield, Missouri. The park is about 22 miles from Saint Louis downtown. By car it roughly takes about 25 mins. Also metro services are available from downtown and takes around 90 minutes. But in that case one have to get down at Delmar loop station and take a bus.

Address:
Faust Park,
15193 Olive Blvd.
Chesterfield, MO 63017
By Metro-Red line till delmar loop
From delmar loop Bus no.-91

The first thing I noticed after reaching there, was a vast splendid glass house. In front of that there was a small lake with a beautiful garden.There were lots of picnic spots with children playing area. The park is open from Tuesday – Sunday.

Timings:
10 AM to 4 PM

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The gift shop at the entrance had beautiful butterflies themed goods. The ticket counter is at one corner of the shop. Tickets are $ 6 per person and free for children below 2 years. During my visit I saw few events going on. In one such event, scorpions were displayed. It was the first time I saw scorpions in my life. I couldn’t have asked myself more than this. There were also others insects kept on display. Among them were bugs, beetles, spiders and many more.

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After buying the ticket it was the time to gaze at the mesmerizing beauty of the butterflies. Foods and water bottles are not allowed inside the glass house. Once I entered, I found myself in a garden combined with enchanting butterflies all around. One has to be extra cautious while walking since there were lots of butterflies lying on the walking path. The place offers a great chance to see many rare kinds of butterfly species. There were also many amazing plant species. One of them which caught my attention was a pitcher plant. It was the first time I had got a chance to see pitcher plant so closely. At one of the corner, there was a display showcasing the life cycle of a butterfly. One need to have a lot of patience to capture those lovely flying butterflies all around in camera. Also the place offers a variety of learning programs to kids and adults. All together I can say it’s a nice place for outing with family.

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September 26th, 2016 by Paramita Mukherjee

Eagle Roost

Who does not love colors??….and when it is the beautiful nature itself, we are bound to fall in love. Located at the junction of two rivers Mississippi and Illinois is the city Grafton. The oldest city in Jersey County, Illinois-Grafton is a must visit for the nature lover.Our group started from Saint Louis at around 8 am. It took almost 2 hours to reach there. Of course we halted in between at Alton to have breakfast. It was the first time I was about to see fall colors in USA. So no doubt I was very excited. The weather was perfect for driving and the road was super smooth. Till the time we reached Grafton I could not take my eyes from the beautiful road alongside Mississippi river with colorful flowering trees on both ends. The Sam Vadalabene Bike Trail which is a stretch of about 20 mile is a perfect place for biking with a perfect scenic view of river on one side. I could see lots of cyclists on the stretch. If you are a wine lover then this place is ideal for you. There were lot of winery shops and you can enjoy the art of preparing wine at the Grafton Winery & Brewhaus. We stopped at the Grafton Harbor which is an ideal place for boating experience. There were lot of boats which were available on rents. Also there were ample good restaurants to satisfy your hunger.

Grafton Road

It was the month of October and the weather was pretty chill. I was lucky to carry my jacket. So I would definitely suggest you guys to check the temperature for the day before starting your journey. After spending a quality time at the Grafton Harbor we headed for Pere Marquette State Park,which looks exceptionally colorful during the fall. The park has 10 about hiking trails and also provides horse riding. Once we reached there,the first thing I saw was a beautiful wooden house with colorful flowering trees in background. There was a beautiful water fountain in front of it. Until that moment i had seen such scenic beauty only in books. Of course i couldn’t resist myself from posing in front of camera. After spending a good amount of time here,we decided to have our lunch at the picnic spot. Lots of picnic areas are available through out the park. These areas are well equipped with tables,grills and trash containers. We were carrying our food from home. So without wasting any time we started our lunch. I couldn’t have asked myself for a better place to explore the fall. There were lot of camping opportunities provided by the park. There were also equestrian trails which is about 20 miles provided by the park with a parking area for visitors on Graham Hollow Road.

River Mississippi Grafton

After lunch we headed for “Eagle Roost Scenic Overlook”. The town is called “The Winter Home of The Bald Eagle”and i came to know that there are guided eagle watching tours from late December through mid-February. Of course I was not lucky to spot any eagle but definitely visiting during the right season would make you enjoy the guided eagle tours. After this we decided to go for a long drive around the park. The weather was pretty gloomy and it was an ideal driving place. Since we had just planned for a day, it was the time for us to start heading back to Saint Louis. Also if you love to do fishing,then this place is ideal for u. The town has lots of events such as Two Rivers Family Fishing Fair, Music in the Park, and Art in the Park,which makes this place a very popular tourist attraction. More then anything else I just couldn’t stop myself from admiring the mother nature. Its an ideal place to go for weekend vacation away from the noisy city and enjoy the scenic beauty.

Grafton

Traveling information:

Place: Grafton

County: Jersey County

State: Illinois

Country: USA

Tourist attraction spots:

Grafton Harbor
Pere Marquette State Park
Grafton Zip line Adventures
The Sam Vadalabene Trail near the Brussels Free Ferry
Hiking Trails at Pere Marquette State Park
Best time to visit for fall color: Late september-Mid october