Travelzoo Experience: Land of Lincoln Road Trip
One of the most coveted perks at Travelzoo is the Travelzoo Experience, in which Deal Experts and other employees take advantage of the same travel, entertainment and local deals we publish to our subscribers and report back on their experience.
It’s no secret that many of us Travelzoo employees revel in taking exotic and adventurous vacations, from a safari in South Africa to a respite on the island of Santorini to a tour of Tokyo. But that doesn’t mean we don’t appreciate getaways closer to home. So after publishing a hot deal to Springfield, Ill., four Chicago Travelzooers and a spouse packed up the van for a three-hour road trip to explore our state capital. Cue opening credit music and let the hilarity ensue. Our merry band of explorers thoroughly enjoyed our 36-hour stay in the land of Lincoln and came across a few surprises along the way. Here are our top five:
- The Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum: It’s not your stodgy, little, side-of-the-road museum. Opened in 2005, this state-of-the-art, award-winning facility is filled with both interactive and static galleries and displays to appeal to both the Disney and historian age groups. From parody T.V. campaign ads of the 1860 national election (with a special nod to the late Tim Russert) to a replica of Lincoln’s White House and state funeral, the attention to detail is superior and all who visit are more engaged than they ever expected to be.
- The Lincoln Library Gift Shop: We spent just as much time in the gift shop as in the museum. With kissing Abe and Mary Todd salt and pepper shakers and retro neon T-shirts emblazoned with “That’s SO Four Score and Seven Years Ago,” strolling up and down the aisles proved just as entertaining as the museum itself.
- Affordable Dining: Fine dining wasn’t something high on our list of expectations. So finding a four-course dinner with wine pairings for $50 per person made five Chicagoans' jaws drop and delight at the tasty meal we enjoyed at the end of a day of exploration.
- Home of the Corn Dog: A visit to Lincoln’s home can only be trumped by one thing, visiting the [alleged] home of the corn dog. Time stops at the historic Cozy Dog Drive In, a stop along the famed Route 66 where hot dogs are dipped in fresh batches of special-recipe batter that can only be followed by another entertaining visit to the gift shop.
- Architecture: Architecture buffs will be very surprised that Springfield can hold its own as an architectural gem, with both the eye-catching Greek Revival architecture of the State Capitol and Frank Lloyd Wright’s Dana-Thomas House, arguably the best-preserved example of the famed architect’s Prairie-style homes.
So in between planning your dream vacations to Hawaii and Morocco, don’t overlook what’s in your own backyard. Hopefully you’ll be as delighted as we were.