Shop and Dine in an Illinois Main Street Town!!
If you’ve taken my advice and scheduled yourself for a little R&R at Harpole’s Heartland Lodge, then good for you! Maybe your R&R getaway isn’t all about the rest and relaxation – you may want to hit the ATV trails or go horseback riding. You may even want to try your hand at the sporting clays course. Whatever your choice of activity, you’ll want to include a trip to Pittsfield, IL during your stay.
Pittsfield is about a 25-minute drive from the lodge so, if your trip brings you through Pittsfield on your way to the lodge, then you may want to allow time to spend in town before checking in at the lodge. This is exactly what Dan and I did this week on our way to the lodge. The only thing is...we didn’t allow enough time to do everything we wanted. People who know me won’t be surprised at this! Fortunately, we live close enough that we can always pay Pittsfield another visit (as long as I allow enough time!) But if your travel route brings you another way, then plan to spend a day in Pittsfield. You won’t be disappointed!
I thought I had learned quite a bit about Pittsfield over the last couple of years but after speaking with Gina Sheurman with the Pike County Economic Development Corporation today, I realized I still had a lot to learn. First, she informed me that downtown Pittsfield has been recognized as an Illinois Main Street through the Illinois Main Street Program! After reviewing the Illinois Main Street Program web site, I learned that there are only 44 towns in the State of Illinois who have been awarded this distinction! How awesome is that?
So even though I didn’t allow enough time on Tuesday to do everything we wanted, we were able to grab a light lunch at the Courtyard Café and Bakery. Mom and I had lunch here back in July and I decided that Dan should have the opportunity to enjoy it as well. Knowing that we were going to have a huge, home-cooked meal at the lodge for dinner, this was a great place for lunch – we actually split a salad and appetizer – just enough! I just love the décor – with the exposed brick walls and barn wood door – but I can’t wait to go back and try one of their bakery items.
Since there are several other great places for lunch, you may actually decide to head there more than once while staying at the lodge. The Red Dome Inn on the west side of the square recently reopened under new ownership so I’m anxious to visit them again. You’ll also find Leo’s Pizza, The Brick on Madison, and Old Boys Pizza either on the square or just a short walk from the square.
But if you head through town, you’ll find many more options for dining including a nice choice of fast-food restaurants as well as local favorite – the Dari Ripple. The Dari Ripple is open seasonally but I hear that the locals love it for a quick bite to eat or that sweet treat that we all need now and then.
But eating isn’t the only activity available in Pittsfield. There are several shopping options as well. I enjoy antique shopping so one of my newfound favorites is The Hen House, a fairly new antique and collectibles store. I always manage to find something that I just can’t live without there! We also visited Pike County Collectibles before taking a few pictures and then heading to the lodge. I learned of one place just a block off the square that I wish I would have allowed time for – Casteel’s Color Wheel. They offer not only interior and exterior paint, stains and wall paper but also offer home décor AND women’s and baby apparel. They also offer a wide selection of gifts and books along with baby and bridal registries for their customers. But Gina told me today that Carolyn, the lady who is still running the store, just turned 90 and that customers see her in the store almost every day! With the wide variety of merchandise and services, this is definitely on my list for the next time I’m in town!
Also on my list for my next visit are two places that I’ll need to allow some time for – Country Fixins Primitives Antique & Craft Mall and Pike County Trading Company (aka Perry Street Mall). I’ve been to Country Fixins before and know that I need at least an hour there (maybe more) and should only allow the same at the Trading Company – especially on the first visit.
Business is booming in Pittsfield in other areas as well. Pike County Lumber just moved into a new building on the west edge of town. Casey’s General Store purchased the ground of the previous Pike County Lumber location and is building a new-style Casey’s. And Quincy Medical Group just opened a new, state-of-the-art building to serve the area. The local theatre also just obtained their 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status so they are beginning the fundraising process and will hopefully renovate the theatre one day!
Pittsfield is also full of history so if shopping isn’t your activity of choice, spend some time enjoying the Abe Lincoln Talking House Tour. Pittsfield has more buildings and sites associated with Abraham Lincoln than even Springfield so it should definitely be on your to-do list. Stop by the Pike County Visitor Center to pick up your map and then drive around town to view the buildings while tuning in to a designated FM radio station to hear the story behind each building. Pittsfield’s town square is even home to one of these historic buildings – be sure and check it out!
So the next time you are staying at Heartland Lodge, plan to spend a day in Pittsfield. Visit one of the many restaurants for lunch, visit the antique shops, or learn some facts about Abe Lincoln. No matter what activity you choose, you are sure to enjoy your day. I know that I have my favorites in town…I would love it if you would share yours with me!