Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Escape To So ILL

Last week, I hot footed it down to southern Illinois to spend some time with my friend Susan.  I had some time off of work that I had to use and decided heading even just a few hours South might be good for my soul!

I got into town late Thursday night, but after spending 3.5 hours in the car I was totally cool with just vegging out on the couch.  Susan, her hubby TJ and I spent the rest of the evening chatting. catching up and figuring out our plans for the weekend.

Friday morning, Susan and I headed to town to do some shopping at a local boutique, Eccentrics.  Susan's photography business partners and outfits the models in cute clothes from Eccentrics throughout the year.  The boutique owner, Lauren, is a local gal who in the last few years has opened this great clothing store.  Susan had nothing but wonderful things to say about Lauren, the store and the clothes!!  Naturally, I was really excited to go and check it out!  When we walked in I was so distracted by all colors, patterns and prints that I bee-lined it to the racks to see what I could find that I couldn't live without!  A few minutes later, Lauren came around the corner to greet us and my mouth literally fell open in surprise... Back in college, Lauren and I worked together at Applebee's!  What a small freakin' world, huh?!?  Thinking back, it all makes sense though.  All those years ago, and now too, Lauren was always so stinking trendy and her owning a boutique really shouldn't come as a surprise!

After purchasing some new Spring and Summer staples, Susan and I headed to one of our favorite restaurants, Harbaugh's Cafe, for a late lunch.  Harbaugh's has been open since 2000 and serves some of the best breakfast and lunch in Carbondale.  The restaurant itself was furnished piece by piece as owner Laura Harbaugh, hit up garage sales to outfit her new place.  The walls are covered with art and knick knacks that only add to the atmosphere!  If by chance you're ever in Carbondale, Harbaugh's is located just across from campus and is most recognizable by the polka dotted awnings and the line of hungry patrons lined up out the door and down the street.  Trust me, waiting in line is worth it!

Once our bellies were full, we decided it was high time to hit up some of the local wineries that southern Illinois is becoming famous for!  Blue Sky Vineyard was our first stop, naturally.  In my opinion, Blue Sky never disappoints.  The wine is good, the scenery is gorgeous and you can literally lose track of time while you're there!  I speak from experience.  Susan and I enjoyed a carafe of our favorite red wine while we soaked up the sun on the patio. 

After Blue Sky we navigated the winding roads of the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail and ended up at Alto Vineyards.  Alto recently built a brand new building that offers a large tasting room and second story patio that overlooks a small pond and the vineyard. 

Our favorite wine at Alto is their Dawg House Red which features SIUC's mascot, the saluki!!  We drank a bottle and took some home too!

After closing down leaving Alto, we headed back to Susan's.  Our original plan was to make supper, but when we realized the chicken was still frozen solid we had to resort to Plan B.  Plan B was 17th Street Bar & Grill.  17th Street is another local favorite that is always top notch! 

On Saturday, Susan and I spent running errands at places like Home Depot, Hobby Lobby and Party City.  We grabbed lunch out at the Longbranch Cafe and Bakery and then rented some movies.  Because we are mature adults we ended up with Saving Mr. Banks and Frozen!  After just getting back from Disneyland, I loved 'revisiting' it in Saving Mr. Banks.  I also really enjoyed the sisterhood aspect of Frozen and how Princess Anna was relate-able and modern compared to other princesses.  We ate and drank at home Saturday night and crashed somewhere around midnight.  Disney movies will wear a girl out!

Sunday morning I helped Susan get squared away for a photo shoot she had later in the day and then I hopped in the Jetta and drove home. It doesn't look like we did more than eat and drink the weekend away, but I swear we did!  And to be honest, isn't that paired with good company what great weekends are made from?!?


  1. how wonderful does all of this sound? You had me at shopping+vineyard+bottle hahaha :) You should share your spring staples ya'll purchased! xoxo

  2. I SOOOOO wish Eccentrics was open when I was down there! I follow them on FB & Instagram, talk about ADORABLE things!!! I'm craving Harbaughs now & 17th St! CRAVING IT! Basically I'm just super sad right now & a tad bit jealous HAHA. I can't WAIT to be in Carbondale in 30 days! I obviously have a countdown! So glad you had a wonderful weekend!

  3. We all need a fun and relaxing weekend with our closest girl friends! Glad you got to spend the weekend with Susan.