Thursday, September 27, 2012

It's Was A Girls Only Weekend

For the last five years a small group of girls, mostly from my sorority, I went to college with have gotten together annually.  There are 11 on the 'official' invite list, but getting 7 of us all there is generally considered a success!  Our little group is spread as far north as Wisconsin, south as Carbondale, east as Champaign, and as far west as St. Louis, MO., so it's really quite a feat to get us all together.  One day though!

Our first event was at Vintage Illinois near Utica, Illinois. 
Vintage Illinois is a community wine festival where you can sample lots of wine from local vineyards, listen to music and of course, hangout with friends!  It was here we decided that we'd make this an annual event.

The only stipulation is we go somewhere that has local Illinois wineries!

So far we've been to Utica, Grafton, Galena, and Peoria.  This year we decided that since it's a milestone year... Getting a group of women together for five years in a row is a milestone, we'd go back to where it all began...


My friend Susan was the host for this year and we all stayed at her house, she even kicked her husband and dog to the curb for us!.  I headed down Thursday mid-day and the rest of this year's group got into town Friday afternoon.  That night we went up town and had some AH-mazing barbecue at 17th Street Bar and Grill.  This restaurant is seriously good!  If you're ever around one, give it a try.  The Murphysboro one is the original and it's by far my favorite.  After we ate we went to check out the street dance.
Saturday, after everyone had surfaced, we ate brunch, went for a walk and then got squared away for hitting the wine trail!  Around 1pm our Escalade limo showed up. Ya that's how we roll! 
Honestly if you're going to do the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail, getting a DD is the way to go!  Throughout the day we captured lots of great photos of the group and might I say, we all look smokin' hot! 
2012, We've come a long way baby!
The first winery we went to was Von Jakob.  They have a large tasting room and just recently started brewing craft beers, in addition to their wines.  They have a beautiful back deck that accomidates a bunch of people.  The view isn't half bad either!  We sat there for quite a while and chit-chatted about life, love and the old days!
Our next stop was one of my favorites, StarView!  This location is great because they have a pond, a huge white dog named Berkley, and they allow you to bring your own snacks in.  Bonus!  Snacks are VERY important to have on any wine trail!  You've gotta counter all that wine with food.  I may or may not be speaking from experience here! 

We also stopped at Owl Creek, but no pictures.  Sorry!

Our last stop was Blue Sky.  They have a beautiful tasting room that resembles an Italian villa, large umbrellas to sit under that over look the pond, a stage for live music, and best of all, great wine and sangria!  One quick warning, this place is ALWAYS busy!  Always.  But the white sangria is so deelicious, it's really worth it!

Our group shot at Blue Sky was an ode to the old Olan Mills portraits.
The rest of the evening, as you can imagine, turned into a bit of a hot mess after 6 hours of drinking!   But there will be no pictures to protect the offending parties!

Sunday morning everyone was moving pretty slowly.  We all bugged out around noon, headed North, East and West.  I'm already looking forward to seeing these girls again next year!  Where are we headed?

Chicago, baby!

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