Shortly after Christmas, right before New Years, we took our annual trip to Starved Rock State Park. This year we were unable to stay for our usual length of time so we had to pack as much activity into a shorter time period than in visits past.
Usually we stay inside one of the cabins at the lodge but this year we decided to stay in one of the lodge rooms. While it didn’t offer as much privacy as the cabins (nor a fireplace), there were definite benefits. We need not worry about the hungry racoons with the beady glowing eyes lurking in the darkness outside when we wanted to take a swim in the pool, eat in the Lodge Restaurant or relax in the Great Hall. Nothing like racing out into the cold in half wet swimwear. That will most certainly put some pep in your step!
Before checking in we made sure to stop at the Illinois River Winery to pick up some of their local wines. We selected the Strawberry-Rhubarb and a bottle of Mad Jack’s Apple Pie shots. We enjoyed the Starved Rock Lodge’s decadent Sunday Brunch Buffet complete with made-to-order omelet station, waffles complete with fruit toppings, vegetarian pastas, carving station, bacon, sausage,fresh fruit and so much more. There was definitely no shortage of desserts either! After fueling up at the buffet, we ventured onto a trail that we had not ventured into before and were rewarded with a beautiful view of the St. Louis canyon complete with frozen waterfall.
After our hike we decided to take a dip in the pool as well as relax our sore muscles in the hot-tub. At this point we had developed grumbling stomachs so onward to a place we visited last year, the Uptown Grill for dinner. The Uptown Grill is located in LaSalle County which is only a short drive away from Starved Rock and features a very delicious and diverse menu. I started things off by selecting some of their unique loose leaf teas. For dinner we opted for the Margarita and Fajita special. We topped off our meal with warmed chocolate chip cookies and ice cream.
After dinner we drove through the small towns of Peru and Utica before arriving back at our room. Before officially heading home we visited Cracker Barrel, one of the few places around where Cornbread Dressing is considered a “vegetable”. We plan on visiting Starved Rock again for our anniversary in the fall. A time of year we’ve never had a change to visit. If possible, we hope to make another trip out here again before then.
Check out a few images from the trip below:
View the complete set!