(Elena Writing) According to our AAA TourBook, Springfield IL has four "gems". One of them is the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum which we toured yesterday. The second gem is Lincoln's Tomb State Historic Site which we toured last evening and where we saw the flag retreat ceremony. Today we found the other two gems along with a couple other interesting attractions.
Our first stop was the Farmers Market held every Wednesday and Saturday during summer in the downtown area. There were many vendors selling a large variety of breads, fruits and vegetables. We bought more concord grapes, sweet corn, heirloom tomatoes, cucumbers, Japanese eggplant, red bell peppers and a large cinnamon roll for our sweet tooth...yum!
Our second stop was the Lincoln Home National Historic Site, a AAA gem. The National Park Service (NPS) operates this four-square block area which is being preserved and restored as an historic district with the goal of having it look just as it did in 1860 when Lincoln left here. They have a visitors center where we watched a movie about the area and then took a guided tour of the only home that Lincoln ever owned. It was built in 1839 and purchased by him in 1844. Abe and Mary Lincoln added a couple of additions during the time they lived here including the second story of the house. After they left some other changes were made to the home but the NPS has reversed those changes so that it now looks almost exactly as it did in 1860 when Abe and Mary left for Washington DC. We were allowed to take photos inside the home so you can also see what it looks like.
We also took a walking tour around the four-block neighborhood where there are many other restored homes and a few awaiting restoration. We had lunch at the "Feed Store" which seems to be a popular restaurant at the Old State Capitol Historic Site. This restaurant is about three doors down from the Lincoln-Herndon Law Offices State Historic Site which we toured after lunch. This is where Lincoln was practicing law when he was elected President of the United States. We were given a guided tour of the entire building which included the courthouse and other law and government offices.
We then toured the city's fourth "gem", the Dana-Thomas House State Historic Site. This 12,000 square foot house and its furnishings were designed by Frank Lloyd Wright for socialite, Susan Lawrence Dana, in 1902-04. This home is one of Wright's first major prairie-style houses and one of the most elaborate in terms of size, detailing, art glass and furnishings. It contains more than 100 pieces of original Wright-designed furniture and 450 examples of art glass, doors, windows, panels, and lamps. The tour lasted for about an hour and we were shown the entire home. Photography was not permitted inside the home and it's difficult to describe the architecture and the many outstanding features of this home. It was certainly very advanced for its time. Here is a website
with several photos of the interior and exterior of the home but it does not show nearly all of the rooms.
For dinner I cooked "Filipino" corned beef and cabbage which is a "throw together" dish served over sticky rice. We shared the cinnamon roll for dessert. It was made with lemon oil, which was refreshing, and it was delicious with tea.