MEET THE MAKERS, THE CREATORS AND THE ARTISANS OF ILLINOIS
Chicago is famous for its skyscrapers, lake front beaches, museums, pizza, Blues and jazz – and, among fashionable Americans, for its Optimo Hats. Be they dashing Fedoras or jaunty, straw Panama numbers, you can admire them in the company’s downtown shop and interesting South Side factory.
To continue a self-guided Illinois Made tour, head west for historic Galena where you can enjoy a pleasant trolley ride, a stop by the post-Civil War home of General (later US president) Ulysses S Grant and the offerings – rye whiskey, vodka and gin – at the Blaum Bros Distillery Co, and award-winning local wines at Galena Cellars winery.
Take the Great River Road south to picturesque Mississippi Riverside towns Grafton and Alton where you can sample the region’s only 100% certified organic craft beer at Old Bakery Beer and enjoy the crafts at Mississippi Mud Pottery and Buena Vista Art.
Then continue inland to see artworks and furniture created from recycled wood at Sangamon Reclaimed. It’s located in the state capital, Springfield, where you also can visit a number of interesting Abraham Lincoln-related sites before heading back north to Chicago on legendary Route 66. But, first enjoy a treat at the temptingly titled Incredibly Delicious bakery and cafe, located in a 19th-century mansion.
Treats don’t have to end when you reach O’Hare International Airport – there are two outlets here for Garrett Popcorn, for more than 69 years a favourite local (and now internationally sold) delicacy. Salty or sweet, a combo of the two, or caramel- and nut-flavoured, it will be your ideal companion for the flight back home.
To find out more visit www.enjoyillinois.com/illinoismade