Much like the surrounding states of Missouri, Iowa, and Indiana, Illinois offers several appealing destinations to wine travel lovers. You’ll find clusters of wineries in every part of the state, including metropolitan Chicago. Grapes grow well here, and Illinois vintners display their creativity by making a tempting array of wines that are attracting national press.

Our favorite was Infinity, a semi dry white made with Geisenheim grapes. All sorts of fruit flavors will dance with your taste buds – we sensed ripe melon and grapefruit. Perhaps even more outstanding was the Chambourcin Reserve, a multiple award winner that just might be the best of this style we’ve had. We loved the dark cherry flavors mingling with rich dark spices, along with a burst of vanilla mid palate.

Have the pictures of the deck builder been taken and built by the company? Ensure that you get to see something you like, that has been built by the company. Remember, a picture is just that, it maybe displaying another company’s handiwork. If it looks good in the brochure, ask to speak to the owner to get a recommendation. If you can see it, it will be worth it.

There was a yeoman on board the ship, and he showed us where he lived, and he had his own stateroom. That was impressive for an enlisted guy. He has his own bathroom, his own entertainment center, with TV, music, and recording devices. Living on the reserve ship, must of been good. I know the guys got paid good, that were civilians, and worked on the those types of ships. They all wore civilian clothing, and in the galley where we eat, the server brought us menu’s, just like in a restaurant, and there were a few selections, you could choose from, and even ice cream desert was on the menu.

Our first stop on the trail is Owl Creek Vineyard, located just over 4 miles from Giant City State Lodge. Open since 1995, this family operated vineyard and winery uses grapes that are well known in this region, like Chambourcin, Norton, Seyval Blanc, Chardonnel, and a new favorite of ours, Villard. Owl Creek is a true taste of southern Illinois, as all wines are made with grapes grown in this area.

The “historic” cabins are actually newer cabins which sit on the sites of the original cabins built 70 years ago. These one room cabins are charmingly comfortable and clean. For families, larger cabins are available. The only downside we saw is that pets are not allowed, but if you want to bring your pet, there are several other lodging options in the area.

Areas prone to flooding benefit from elevated decks by allowing the flood water to flow beneath the structure unhindered, instead of diverting it around a concrete structure.