While a visit to a cemetery seems to be a bleak thought, Oak Ridge Cemetery in Springfield Illinois holds Lincoln’s Tomb and an array of interesting historical markers and facts. I recently visited the cemetery and learned that Oak Ridge Cemetery is the second most visited cemetery in the nation, second only to Arlington National Cemetery. With around one million visitors each year this is a hopping place. Besides the beauty and historical connection of Lincoln’s tomb, the cemetery houses many connected with Lincoln as well. The minister that married Lincoln and Mary Todd, two brother-in-laws and many others as well as a notorious preacher with a story that warranted a book.
Reveran Rayburn, a deposed Methodist minister that started up his own religious group called the Pilgrim’s wife warrants the second tallest gravesite marker in the cemetery. There is a lot of question as to exactly who is buried inthe plot that bears the name Hannah Rayburn. If visiting Springfield, stop into the cemetery office and purchase the the booklet “Oak Ridge Cemetery, The Resting Place of Abraham Lincoln”. The two dollars is worth the marvelous history that this historic site will unveil. .
You know summer is truly here when the county fairs begin. June 14th, we went to see a Luke Bryan concert at the Sangamon County Fair in New Berlin to a record breaking 35,000 people crowd. While the concert was the mainstay of the evening, I was riveted by the aerial performance of Galaxy Girl High Swaypole & Cyber Cycle.
All you could do is look up, up, up and hope she held on tight, tight, tight! The Sangamon County fair is one of those kick off the summer events. Festivals and fairs make for crazy schedules as we travel to and from and watch in wonder the acts, see the crafts and creations of talented individuals and listen to the crooning of favorite acts. While the “hazy crazy days of summer” fill up the calender to over full, come winter we will be glad for the long days of daylight, things to do and awe inspiring pictures to reflect back on as the snow flies!
While St. Simons Island Georgia is a resort area, the island is filled with history. Some of the history that amazed me was that the beginning of the Methodist church has its roots on this small coastal island. Both John Wesley and Charles Wesley served as missionaries on the island arriving with Georgia’s founder James Oglethorpe. We had the honor of stopping outside the Christ Church Frederica (http://www.christchurchfrederica.org. ) A historical sign in front of the church shares, “This congregation was established as a mission of the church of England in February 1736. The Rev. Charles Wesley ordained priest of that Church conducted the first services in the chapel within the walls of Fort Frederica. The Rev. John Wesley, Rector of Christ Episcopal Church, Savannah also served this mission under the name of St. James. This was one of the first eight parishes established in 1756. After the Revolution these churches which had been served continuously by clergymen of the Church of England formed the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America.
Accross the street from the church is the Wesley garden and one path leads back to a large sculpture of a Celtic cross that in part celebrates the fact that Charles Wesely was also a hymn writer. At the baseof the statueis this wording, “Leader in the evangelical revival, as a Christian hymn writer he is unrivaled.”
The King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort hosted the Georgia Food Experience. One of the presentations that offered a very beneficial taste test was a sampling of this sweet Vidalia onion cooked in a little onion shaped cooker with French Onion spices that made the onion taste like the best French Onion Soup a chef could offer.
I tried this out at home with great success right in my very own microwave. While my kitchen needless to say does not have the ambience of the King & Prince’s lovely digs, the onion was as good when I replicated it as when I tried it out at when Sarah Bland exhibited how sweet these onions really taste.
Did you know that to be called a Vidalia onion that the onion has to be grown in one of 20 southeastern Georgia counties?
Sarah Bland of Bland Farms which is head-quartered in Glennville, Georgia, shared that this year the Vidalia’s were earlier than ever. I found it interesting that many of the Ansar Shriners sell the delectable onion as a fund raiser that brings in dollars to their hospitals accross the US.
Bland Farms is the world’s largest year-round grower, packer, and shipper of sweet onions and the industry-recognized name for Vidalia® Sweet Onions. In fact, Bland Farms represents almost one-third of all Vidalia® onions marketed. Log onto their website for details at http://www.blandfarms.com!
When visiting St. Simon’s Island, Georgia, I had the opportunity to go for a sail on the Lady Jane (http://shrimpcruise.com) – a United States Coast Guard certified 49 passenger steel shrimping vessel -that is now used for educational and tourist trips.
Aspiring marine biologist Cliff Credle pulled this stingray up out of the blue ocean depths along with a variety of other ocean shrimp, a shark and an array of fish that provided a quick glimpse into what lies beneath!
This beautiful island is a great for the young at heart and anyone interested in coastal beauty.
A stay at the King & Prince Golf and Beach Resort (http://www.kingandprince.com.) is good for the soul.
During our trip on the Lady Jane, we were served fresh shrimp. You can’t beat the taste of the Tiger Shrimp pulled right out of the water along the Georgia coast.
Photographer Rose Hammitt caught a slice this wonderful tour with her camera lens!
The four buildings include Colony Church (1848) a two-story frame building
The Anderson Mansion is a beautiful two-story mansion that is now home to the Macoupin County Historical Society. Open during the Spring festival that most of the locals call the Strawberry Festival, we again toured this lovely mansion that is home to a unique stained glass window bought at the World-Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893.
Touring the home, seeing the tractors and vendors is high on the list of things to do at this site that sits on 16 busy acres, but eating our way through the event is at the top of our list. With a choice of chicken and noodles, ham and beans or grilled pork chops visitors often have two complete meals then top it off with strawberry shortcake. Then after all, who could resist the kettle corn?
The mansion is open for touring June thru August on Sundays from 1-5 or by special appointment. Call 217-854-2850 or 217-854-3916 for information. The next big event at the Macoupin County Historical Society is the Fall Festival which is always held the third weekend in September.
The American Harvest restaurant in Springfield, Illinois celebrates the farmer and supports locally grown products. On May 24th, American Harvest restaurant offered a wonderful six-course meal that Chef’s Jordan and Aurora Coffey was aptly titled, “First Harvest”.
The food on the menu celebrated the first harvest of spring and my husband and I enjoyed every bite!
American Harvest’s motto is “True to the Season, True to the Region”,The next scheduled meal will be with a New York theme. “We do this every month and always on a Thursday,” Chef Jordan said.
To learn more about these great dinners and their everyday meals that also promote the freshest ingredients from local farms, check out the website http://www.americanharvesteatery.com and their goal is a simple one, to offer the freshest ingredients, sourced from local farmers in Illinois
The third week of February, the Florida Flywheelers Antique Engine Club hosts a giant flea market and antique tractor show. If you are looking for a great winter getaway keep the show in mind. We stay in Sebring and this year we took time to tour Florida Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Museum at Highlands Hammock State Park. They offer a trolley tour and we were able to see the natural flora and fuana as well as an alligator or two!
At the Flywheeler’s show, the non-profit organization was founded to promote interest in restoring, preserving and exhibiting antique internal combustion engines, steam engines, antique tractors and autos and more. The show offers a large flea market and a very neat village
with a myriad of different and unique buildings filled with collections and historic items. The Flywheelers shiow is set on almost 240 acre. Log onto the website at http://www.floridaflywheelers.org/ for event dates. and details about upcoming shows! See you there!
Sometimes the best places can be right in our backyard. Every year Springfield, Illinois hosts a fine arts fair around the Old State Capital. The historic building is a beautiful background for the artists that set up with their pottery, paintings, jewelry and more. Along with the art fair, the farmer’s market lured us to check out their wares and contemplate fresh fruit, baked bread and those fresh ingrediients that make the best meals!