Illinois Forest to farm settings

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On a beef/crop farm between Champaign and Lafayette is a converted grain storage bin, 18 feet in diameter. Inside the 1950s farm building are a satellite TV, loft for sleeping, flush toilet, and clawfoot tub with shower. Watch corn grow from a porch swing or the sun set from the upper deck. Anglers can fish at the farm’s pond. Overnight guests get homemade treats and a choice of a sweet or savory breakfast. Cook dinner over a fire pit in the evening, or pay extra for a farmhouse meal.

Danville Dans, a college summer wooden bat team, plays at the 1946 Danville Stadium, 15 miles south. Hot-air balloons dot the countryside sky during Balloons Over Vermillion, July 10–11; the gathering doubles as a Danville festival.

For rent are two treehouses, 50 miles east of Carbondale and in Shawnee National Forest, part of the Illinois Ozarks. One treehouse is built into a 200-year-old white oak, 24 feet above ground. The other, between a maple and oak, is smaller. Both have a kitchenette, bathroom, sleeping loft, heat and A/C, fiber optic Wi-Fi and high-def TV. Also on Timber Ridge’s 120 acres are cabins and modern homes for overnights.

Sample national and international award winners along the 11-stop Shawnee Hills Wine Trail. Five miles north is Garden of the Gods Recreational Area, wilderness with sandstone rock formations. Climb the popular Observation Trail; reserve an hour to do the ¼-mile uphill hike.

Thirty miles south of Springfield is a woodsy refuge for getting unplugged as the occasional bald eagle soars. Home is a 14-by-16-foot tent with a wooden floor that is on stilts and off the grid—as in no electricity. Use solar-powered lanterns to read and cook heat meals over a campfire, but sleep in a real bed. Outside is a hot shower and a toilet that flushes.

Eat ice cream and find the 500-pound cow made of butter at Illinois State Fair, Aug. 13–23 in Springfield. Visit the city’s many Abraham Lincoln sites, including the 16th U.S. president’s burial site and official library and museum (with people-size holograms, interactive exhibits).

Photo Courtesy Enjoy Illinois, Has Bin, Illinois state Fair