On the fourth of July besides watching fireworks we took off and tried a cool restaurant, Abe’s Hide Out and Saloon in Mechanicsburg, Illinois and decided to also stop at the Walnut Stree Winery in Rochester, Illinois. They offer wine daily and out in the wine garden there is often entertainment . You can even try your hand at a round of bocce ball on the bocce ball court.
Owner Loren Shanle makes the wine onsite with grapes imported mainly from California. He produces, bottles and labels at the shop. A former insurance agent, he turned the house that used to be his office into a winery adding a tasting room and wine garden. The winery is a pleasant place to stop and while away an afternoon or evening. We particularlly liked the Tropical Breeze and brought home a bottle to try while sitting out on our own deck!
The Walnut Street Winery is not surprisingly located at 309 South Walnut Street in Rochester, Illinois 62563.Log onto their website http://www.walnutstreetwinery.com for more information.
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. .
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!