Blessed to Be Here
For a two-day stay, we suggest checking into Blessings on State Bed & Breakfast. This award-winning B&B is elegant, fashionable, and a great way to spend your downtime (if you have any) here in Jacksonville!
A New Spin on a Classic
Begin your first day at the Big Eli for a picture in Community Park. Jacksonville is home to the Eli Bridge Company, which builds amusement rides including the famous Big Eli Wheel and Scramblers. Take a spin on the Big Eli on Sundays and special events throughout the summer and autumn months.
Jacksonville is also home to Illinois College, the oldest college in Illinois. Because of the strong views of many of the students and faculty, Illinois College was considered an engine of abolitionism — in fact, the first president of the college was Edward Beecher, brother to Harriet Beecher Stowe who authored Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Illinois College is a four-year liberal-arts college offering degrees in various fields of study.
On the Path to Freedom
Next, discover the Underground Railroad self-guided driving tour, which has several destinations and ends at Woodlawn Farm for a guided tour of the farm. Jacksonville was one of the many stations along the Underground Railroad and one of the busiest in the mid 1800s.
A Square Meal
Time for lunch! Head back to the Historic Downtown to eat at Mulligan’s, a local favorite with an Irish pub and grub flare and fabulous food and beverages provided to you with great service.
Walk off your lunch with a stroll through Historic Downtown and visit locally owned stores throughout the square. After some shopping, indulge yourself with a treat from Charlie’s Ice Cream Shop. Visitor Discount Cards are available by request, which include discounts for many local shops and restaurants in Jacksonville.
Another wonderfully unique and fun location to visit is the Jacksonville Area Museum, which features the MacMurray College archive collection along with the cultural history and heritage of Jacksonville and Morgan County.
Following Honest Abe
Enjoy the rest of the day exploring the Looking for Lincoln sites accompanied by the Voices of Jacksonville Audio Tour. Visit wayside exhibits to discover the places Lincoln knew and hear the stories of the people who influenced him during his time in Jacksonville. This tour is designed to appeal to all ages. Maps and audio CDs are available at the Jacksonville Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, local hotels, or can be downloaded online.
A Taste of Old Italy
Don’t forget dinner before you turn in! You’ll love the locally famous Leo’s Pizza, great for families and large groups serving up authentic Sicilian style pizza and Italian specialties.
Kickstart Your Day
Start your second morning with a delicious breakfast from Rudi’s Grill or The Soap Co. Coffee House. Both are local favorites and will be the perfect beginning to your day!
No Place Like Home
Next, head over to the Gov. Duncan Mansion for a tour. Gov. Joseph Duncan, who served as Governor of Illinois from 1834-1838, had this two-and-a-half-story house constructed between 1833-1835. The home served as the official executive mansion during Duncan’s tenure. Abraham Lincoln was said to have visited the Duncan home, given Lincoln lived in nearby New Salem and Springfield and both men were members of the Whig Party. Lincoln served his first two terms as a State Representative while Duncan was governor. In addition, voting records show that Lincoln cast ballots for Duncan three times. The mansion is open for tours from 1-4 p.m. Wednesdays and Saturdays from Memorial Day to Labor Day or by appointment. While at the mansion, visit nearby Duncan Park and take our self-guided Historical Homes Walking Tour. The Historic District is home to many wonderful homes, most of them as old as the city itself.
Downtown Works of Art
Head toward Downtown and visit the David Strawn Art Gallery. This beautiful and historic home was built in 1880 and served as a private residence until it was given to the Art Association of Jacksonville by Dr. David Strawn in 1915. It now houses rotating exhibits of local and nationally known artists. Ready for lunch? Stop in at Schiraz, a great place for lunch with their choices of sandwiches, wraps, and homemade soups as well as some nice surprises on the menu. Next, head over to the square to tour our Walldog Murals. These murals were painted to display historical moments in Jacksonville and represent what the buildings would have looked like long ago!
Pop into a shop or two around the square, but do not forget the Lincoln Square Shopping Center, located off Morton Avenue with several stores for all kinds of needs.
Wine & Dine
Afterward, stop on by Guse’s for a couple drinks or at The Little Stove for a unique cocktail and homemade focaccia! Top off your stay with dinner at Kitchen 63, located at K’s Creek. Enjoy a glass of wine and the wonderful atmosphere and try one of the unique and flavorful dishes.