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Evanston Bed and Breakfast Inns

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Pine Gables Inn B&B (Evanston, Wyoming)

Capture the romance of a bygone era as you relax from a days travel in this historic home built in 1883. A full all you can eat breakfast will awaite you each morning! Century old antiques, hand painted murals and stenciled walls add a touch of elegance to each room. Also enjoy private... [more]
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Travel Bytes

(Travel Bytes are local area descriptions provided by people who live in the area or have travelled through it. These comments are provided as is so please excuse the odd spelling or gramatical error.

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This is the state of the Illini Indians who have long since gone. The first Europeans to settle Illinois were the French, who established a fort where a river flowed into a big lake. That big lake was Lake Michigan, the river the Chicago River and the fort's site the city now called Chicago. 

Few American states are as schizophrenic as Illinois.  The divide between Chicago and the downstate is dramatic.  The former is America's most representative big city, filled with awe-inspiring skyscrapers, world-class museums, neighborhood festivals, top-notch restaurants, and above all, the splendid lakefront.  Chicago can claim the world's best blues, pizza, and summer weather while maintaining a refreshingly humble attitude.  More honest than LA, friendlier than New York, and better than just about anywhere, Chicago is a state unto itself.

The downstate on the other hand, has miles and miles of empty prairie.  Springfield, the capital, has a couple of sites dedicated to Abraham Lincoln, Illinois' favorite son and 16th president of the United States.   Champaign is the site of the University of Illinois and as such has a fairly active social scene.  Decatur smells like the soybean processing center it is.  For the most part, unless you're interested in farming in general and corn in particular, your downstate experience will be strictly driving through.

A previous author recommended these outdoor activities:

Although Illinois has a wonderful outdoors in the South of the state near the capital, Springfield, most visitors will probably stick around Chicago. Whatever you decide to do, you can enjoy yourself, but expect to make a lot of miles in a rented car if you want to leave the city.

Chicago is big on sailing. There is the Chicago to Mackinac Island race every year. If you stay in the Chicago Downtown Hostel, you can rent sailboats for the day via the Sailing Club. Or you can visit Northwestern University's Club boathouse where they might offer to rent you a sailboat for the day.

If you're into skydiving, there is a great cheap place to do that in Minier, IL just south of Bloomington-Normal. The only problem is you have to pay a fee to the farmers if you accidentally land in the corn fields and crush the corn on landing.

If you're into SCUBA diving, there are many wrecks in Lake Michigan, just off the coast from Chicago. The water is murky and cold, though. There is also some good diving in Lake Egypt in the National Park in Southern Illinois, as well as some abandoned rock quarries in Kankakee.

If you're into rock-climbing, Southern Illinois has some beautiful cliffs and canyons east of Marion. Unfortunately there are a lot of stupid kids who like to throw rocks off the edge.

Kayaking is available on the Vermillion River. Just make sure you take the correct route through the dams, because one kayaker failed to do that and died. (His buddy went through the dam and lived, though.)

Springfield has Lincoln's tomb and the state capitol.

Bloomington-Normal has State Farm Insurance.

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