Heartland Lodge Anniversary Tradition
Merriam-Webster defines tradition as “an inherited, established, or customary pattern of thought, action, or behavior (as a religious practice or a social custom).” Based on this definition, my husband, Dan, and I have established a tradition – one that has lasted 13 years – and one we plan to continue.
While planning our wedding in September of 1999, we were looking for a place in the area to go for a one-night honeymoon. While driving home from a weekend visit to Rushville, IL, we stopped at Hardee’s in Pittsfield. They have a rack with travel brochures and so we picked up some information on Harpole’s Heartland Lodge, located just southwest of Pittsfield outside Nebo. Intrigued by what we saw on the brochure we decided to book a room. Honeymoon – here we come!
Well, what can I say? Our honeymoon has turned into a return visit each and every year since for our anniversary – this September will be our 14th visit! Gary, Wanda and the entire staff at Heartland make us feel so at home that we just keep coming back. It is my understanding that we hold the distinct title of the “most consecutive customers” – we’ve even had the privilege of taping a radio ad for them about a year and a half ago – what fun!
Over the years, some of the staff has moved on – and they have added a new lodge and dining area – but the warm and wonderful hospitality has remained constant. Whether our first time (or 13th time), we always feel like we are family and truly feel like we are home when we walk in the door. We kick our shoes off, visit with Wanda, and wait for the bell to ring - signaling dinner is ready! Dan always tells the new guests “if you go away hungry, it’s your own fault.” After dinner, we enjoy the traditional hayride to watch the sunset and then it’s back to the lodge to sit by the roaring fire and roast s’mores. When our day is done, we crawl into one of the most comfortable beds I’ve ever slept in.
The next morning, we usually get up and get ready for breakfast – again, one of the best meals you’ll ever have. After breakfast, we head to the stables for our horseback ride but you can also go ATV’ing, take a walk or just enjoy the peace and quiet of the lodge.
I could go on and on about the many things we love about the lodge but then what would I have to write about next time? I am flattered that Gary has asked me to write a little something for you each week and hope that you will enjoy learning about the lodge, its activities, and the surrounding area. Keep checking back – who knows? Maybe you will start your own tradition at Heartland Lodge!