So I've gone to a few shows now, all under two hours away, and I almost always get asked "Marion? Illinois? Where's that? What is there to do there?" I get it, while some people drive 3+ hours to be able to try on wedding dresses - especially plus sized ones - traveling to an unknown area can be a bit daunting.
Fear not, my beautiful brides! We've compiled a list of cool sites to see to make a day trip out of your appointment!
A wine connoisseur simply cannot make a trip to Southern Illinois without visiting one of it's many beautiful and delicious vineyards! From a Tuscan villa to a beautiful farmstead to a deck overlooking a cliff, there's a winery to suit everyone's taste. If it's your first visit, we recommend following the Shawnee Wine Trail to find sites like Blue Sky Vineyard, Alto Vineyards, and Honker Hill Winery. If you feel more daring, head off the beaten path to find the gorgeous winery and restaurant, Walker's Bluff, or to experience cozy facilities such as Lincoln Heritage Winery and Bella Terra Vineyards.
Are the great outdoors your forte? We have plenty of that! Whether you're looking for a relaxing place such as Mandala Gardens, a little romp through the woods at Crab Orchard Wildlife Refuge or Giant City State Park, a gorgeous waterfall at Ferne Clyffe, or amazing views from atop the Garden of the Gods or Bald Knob Mountain, Southern Illinois is covered in the beauty of the outdoors. We even have some very interesting adventures to look into, including areas where you can rock climb, plenty of camping, and even kayaking among the cypress trees. If a simple stroll is more of your style, try walking along the Tunnel Hill trail, a converted former railroad track featuring gorgeous wooded seclusion, beautiful creeks, and and old train tunnel you get to walk through. A quick look at the AllTrails app can show you numerous adventures you could take in the area - the possibilities are seemingly endless!
Maybe a nice sit-down meal is more of your speed. Trying some local fares may be just your ticket! We have multiple restaurants in the area you simply can't find anywhere else. Are you craving barbecue? Try Triple-E, Riley's Smokehouse, K B Bar B Que, or even the award winner 17th Street BBQ! Heading south of the border? Don Sol's Mexican Grill, La Galeria Mexican Cuisine & Creamery, La Fiesta, Tequilas, and El Rancherito are some great choices to name a few. Feeling more Italian? Check out Bennie's Italian Foods for a variety of pasta dishes, or see Mackie's or Walt's to grab a slice of some very delicious pizzas. Maybe you're feeling more Eastern when it comes to cuisine? Experience India at India Delight, try your taste buds at Thai-D and Baan Thai, enjoy food and a show at Fujiyama Japanese Steakhouse, or enjoy delicious Chinese food at Asian Star or Wok N Roll Buffet. Of course, if you're after some down-home cooking, nothing can top the (seasonally available) Giant City Lodge and their all-you-can-eat chicken dinners.
There's plenty more you can schedule to do in the area as well! If you're looking for a comprehensive list of fun things to do in the area, check this site out, or call the Marion Chamber of Commerce or VisitSI to get some great ideas! We can't wait to help you find your dream dress and to show you what our area has to offer!