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Go Green in Illinois


Groups that love gardens, art and architecture shouldn’t leave Illinois without heading south to Springfield. In addition to serving as the capital city, Springfield is home to several Lincoln-related attractions, including the Lincoln Home National Historic Site and the Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, as well as other distinctive attractions.

“Illinois has launched a new Frank Lloyd Wright trail, and we have the Dana Thomas House, one of the best Wright homes in the state,” said Jeff Berg, tourism manager at the Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau. “It was Wright’s first blank-check work. He had free rein. It’s regarded as one of the best Prairie-style homes from his early career. It’s over 90 percent original, with the furniture, stained glass and fixtures that he designed.”

Another significant architectural site, the Illinois Governor’s Mansion, just reopened to the public after a privately funded $15 million renovation. The mansion has always featured a collection of artworks, but the renovations brought the building’s artwork to the forefront.

“When I was there, it was hard to determine whether I was in an art gallery or the Governor’s Mansion,” Berg said. “They really wanted to highlight the art of Illinois. They found pieces in the mansion that people hadn’t seen for decades or didn’t even know were there.”

Another new development in Springfield is the opening of Route 66 Motorheads, a restaurant and museum. Near the city’s historic, brick-lined stretch of the Mother Road, the establishment is modeled to look like a mid-20th-century gas station and features a large collection of Route 66 memorabilia from around the area.