Tennessee-Nauvoo Trek travel blog


Day 23-Visiting Sharen and touring Rockome

This morning we headed over to Mattoon, Illinois, to visit Suzi’s sister, Sharen. On the way there we passed through Charleston. The highway to Mattoon is also the main street of Charleston. As we were approaching the center of town, we say what looked like a castle in the middle of town. It looked like a genuine medieval castle right down (or up) to the embattlements. However, when we got to it we discovered that it was actually the main and original part, of the Eastern Illinois University. That is where Suzi’s niece, Leslie, works and where her husband teaches. What a beautiful building!

We went on into Mattoon. We finally found the facility where Sharen lives. For some reason, or other, it couldn’t be picked up by either of our GPS units.

We had a nice visit with Sharen and then took her out to lunch at the restaurant of her choice…that turned out to be McDonald’s.

We then talked her into taking a ride out to our campground to see our campsite and our traveling home. She was properly impressed.

We took her back home and visited a while longer before leaving.

After leaving, we drove out to Rockome which is advertised as the center of the Amish activities. It turns out that it is a paid admission “interpretive center”. We enjoyed our visit, including a ride around the center in a genuine horse-drawn Amish carriage. Included among all the buildings (early blacksmith shop, livery stable (with horses), the country’s only horse-powered buzz saw (20at least that is what they told us) are some really beautiful gardens. There were so many kinds of flowers that I can’t begin to describe them. And the whole thing was beautifully laid out. The garden area was surrounded and accented by a type of rock fencing that we had never seen anywhere before. It was a steel fence that was totally encrusted in rocks. You’ll have to look at the pictures to see what I am trying to describe.

We had a great tour although it was a little short since we didn’t get there until around 3:20 and everything except the restaurant closed at 5:00. Even the restaurant closed at 7:00.

After leaving Rockome we drove around the area some more but didn’t really find what we were looking for. The last time that Suzi was here, they came across a community of Amish homes. But this time we only found the Amish homes mixed in with other homes throughout the area. We saw lots of the horse-drawn carriages with everything from young girls driving by themselves to whole families. We even saw a group of about 12 in Amish dress that we had seen at Rockome, all crowded into a large carriage, or wagon.

We then made a stop at Wal-mart to restock some supplies and then headed “home”.

We went all out for dinner…pot pies in the micro-wave accompanied by watermelon slices.

We then watched a movie, “Walk the Line” about Johnny Cash.

I then needed to get caught up on the journal entries…sort of. We don’t have any internet access (or phone access) here in the park so I can’t upload journal entries or photos. So, I am writing this as a Word document that I will transfer to the journal when I have internet available.

Heading to bed know.

See you tomorrow.



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