A visit to Springfield, Illinois is an opportunity to dive into the long history of this Midwestern region. With only three days to soak in as much as possible, we found ourselves bustling between stops. As we approached the end of our visit, we found ourselves facing our final day of exploration. With daylight burning, we approached an evening of horseshoes and ghost tales. This last night in the Land of Lincoln would be filled with historic stories of food and fun.
We want to thank Visit Springfield, Obed & Isaac’s Microbrewery, and Springfield Walks for their hospitality. Rest assured all opinions are our own.
Preparing for Parting
We had packed so many exciting stops in our visit, but we always feel a little sad knowing it is almost over. With so much to see and do, there was no way we could possibly cover it in our allotted time. Having this opportunity to visit so many sites associated with Abraham Lincoln had been a dream of mine. Being an amateur Civil War buff, this was almost a pilgrimage. One of the things that made this visit so special, was the proximity of all of the attractions to the downtown area. With our lodging nearby, we had spent almost the entire three days traveling by foot. With just hours left in our schedule, we were ready for some more walking.
Dining in the Shadow of History
From the old capitol building, where the Lincoln family statues reside, we made our way along the old Route 66 path. Our dinner destination was only about four blocks away, so we arrived in five minutes. Obed’s & Isaac’s Microbrewery is just a block away from the Lincoln Home National Historic Site, which we had already visited once. We arrived for an early dinner, since we had plans for later that evening. This relaxed eatery is actually quite family-friendly, with the bar area separated from an assortment of dining rooms.
Protein Packed Portion
This restaurant was one that I had done quite a bit of research on, so we were well prepared for our visit. Being early, service was running super fast, and soon we were ready to begin our meal. Crystal was in the mood to eat light, so she ordered the Cobb Salad. Little did she know, their version loads up a heaping helping of ingredients. A bed of leafy greens is topped with piles of tomato, egg, shredded carrots, Apple-wood smoked bacon, blue cheese crumbles, and grilled chicken breast. A cup of guacamole accompanies the salad dressing of choice. She soon discovered that her order was enough for a couple of people to enjoy.
During our stay in Springfield, we often were asked if we had tried the city’s signature dish. Our evening of horseshoes and ghost tales wouldn’t be complete without sampling this unique creation. The dish is basically an open faced sandwich, but with a twist. When we tried to investigate the origin of this treat, we found an assortment of stories. The one we heard most often revolves around a dishwasher at a local hotel. The original was served in a shape that resembled a horseshoe, thus the colorful name. Whatever the true beginning was, we were determined to sample this local specialty.
Old Dish with a New Twist
Obed & Isaac’s allows guests to take a little liberty from the original dish. The base is still a couple pieces of bread, but they offer a selection of meats to choose from. I chose corned beef, since I felt it would best compliment my hard cider. Once the meat is piled on, the secret cheese sauce is ladled over this base. A hearty helping of French fries garnish the top. The dish is certainly carb and protein heavy, but I knew we would be doing some more walking later that evening. As I worked on the dish, it soon became apparent that I wouldn’t finish, and this was a half order. Keep that in mind when you place your order.
Take a Walk
Let’s be honest, we waddled out of the restaurant and made our way back down to the old State Capitol building. In the shadow of the Lincoln-Herndon Law Offices, we assembled for the evening’s entertainment. Springfield Walks offers a variety of tours that cover this historic city. Our selection was the Lincoln’s Ghost Walk. It is a 90-minute walking tour that would lead us back down to the Lincoln Home. This began with a short introduction to the history of Lincoln and his family. Many of the short stories were ones I had read about, but there are a few that were new for me.
We made our way along 7th Street, and paused for a stop at the First Presbyterian Church. This was Lincoln’s church and you can still see the pew where the family sat. Of course, this is only available during tour times on Mondays and Wednesdays. Just a couple more blocks and we found ourselves in front of the Lincoln home. Since we had already toured the house, it would be interesting to hear some of the eerie stories that accompanied it. (You can read about the house here.) With an air of mystery and intrigue, our guide assembled us for the main presentation.
An Evening of Horseshoes and Ghost Tales
His animated storytelling entertained young and old alike. We heard stories about Mary Lincoln’s White House seances, as well as tales of her misery at the loss of her family members. Plenty of detail was given to the stories revolving around the skulduggery that took place at Lincoln’s Tomb. Some of these we had learned while visiting the tomb earlier in our trip. (You can read about that visit here.) As the darkness grew around us, our guide continued his tales of intrigue and mystery. Too soon, the time passed and we were making our way back toward our hotel. We took this opportunity to stroll once more through the historic downtown. As we passed the Lincoln family statues, we could almost hear the boys calling out to heir parents. Our evening of horseshoes and ghost tales was the perfect way to cap off a visit to Springfield, Illinois. We hope you find this Midwestern city as appealing as we did, and make your own plans to visit.