February Equals Abraham Lincoln!!
Were you one of the lucky ones who did NOT have to work on President’s Day? Do you have your favorites picked for winning at the Oscars on Sunday night? I know – you’re asking yourself, where is she going with this blog? Believe me, sometimes I have to be creative and when the light bulb goes off in my head, it can be frightening! But there really is a connection! Just follow along!
As Dan and I sit here with 8 inches of freshly fallen snow (and a little bit of sleet) after the winter storm that hit the Midwest yesterday, I began to think of warm weather activities and what I can plan on doing once the snow melts. Now don’t get me wrong, a nice snow is great once in a while – especially if you enjoy the outdoor activities normally associated with snow – a good ‘ole snowball fight, sledding, or even cross country skiing! Depending on the snowfall amounts in your neck of the woods, maybe you were able to build a snowman. All of these are great family activities but maybe some of you are thinking ahead to family activities on a warmer day.
When most people think of February, Valentine’s Day is probably the first thing that comes to mind. But February really is SO much more. Now, back to my original questions – did you know that there is a common factor this year between President’s Day and the Oscars? Well, it’s none other than Abraham Lincoln, our 16th President. This Abraham Lincoln movie has received Oscar nominations for Best Picture, Best Actor in a Leading Role – Daniel Day-Lewis, Best Actor in a Supporting Role – Tommy Lee Jones, Best Actress in a Supporting Role – Sally Field and Best Director – Steven Spielberg. And even though staying at Harpole’s Heartland Lodge won’t get you to the Oscars, it will get you close to an incredible amount of Lincoln history.
One of the best places to learn the facts about Abe Lincoln is the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, Illinois, approximately 70 miles from the lodge. It’s been several years since I’ve been to the museum – I went on my niece’s field trip back in 2007 – but a friend of mine has never been there so we’re planning a trip soon! It’s great for kids, families, and anyone who wants to learn a little bit more about President Lincoln. I’ve even heard that the Museum has a huge connection to Lincoln. I haven’t had a chance to verify the information I’ve heard about the Museum’s involvement with Lincoln, the movie, but once I do, I’ll be sure to blog about it!
In addition to the Lincoln Museum, there are several other highlights, which you should include in your trip to Springfield. I wrote about a few of them last March in one of my first blogs titled “Abraham Lincoln Probably Didn’t Sleep Here…” so check it out for further information. But as I did my research on what to blog about this week, I found that you could plan an entire Lincoln tour in much of the area surrounding Heartland Lodge.
Many of the Abe Lincoln facts can be found on driving tours to a number of towns in Central and West-Central Illinois. Pittsfield, Illinois is proud to have the Abe Lincoln Talking House Tour and many other pieces of history tied to Abraham Lincoln. I just found out this week that Jacksonville, Illinois has the Lincoln – Voices of Jacksonville audio tour. I’m anxious to check it out the next time I’m in the area! And even Alton, Illinois has some very rich Lincoln history! The Lincoln & Civil War Legacy Trail is definitely on my list of to do’s for researching Lincoln! These tours are self-guided tours and can be a great way to spend some time exploring our country’s history! Have fun – grab the car keys and head out for a day of peace and quiet while exploring Lincoln’s life – or grab the kids and make learning history FUN! I have to honestly admit that history has never been a favorite of mine but after realizing that there is so much to do and see, it makes it much more appealing than learning about history from a book in a classroom. The museum and the driving tours allow each of us to actually experience life as Lincoln did – what a great opportunity!
So the next time you are planning a vacation or looking for some family-friendly activities, consider some time at Heartland Lodge – right in the ‘heart’ of Abraham Lincoln country! Any of these stops (and many more) are within a short drive from the lodge and would make a great day trip while staying at the lodge. Just imagine, a different town, a different type of activity – and all while getting away from it all! I’m excited just thinking of all the things I’m going to learn and the photo opportunities that I’m sure will be available as I explore the history of a great man who still draws crowds today! And stay tuned – I’ll share my Lincoln journey with you – will you share yours with me?