Best Weekend Getaway St. Louis 2012 - Springfield, Illinois
We realize that our love for Abraham Lincoln may be perceived as a little excessive. We realize that not everyone keeps a Lincoln doll on their desk or a series of Lincoln pictures on the wall. That's OK. Even if you don't love Lincoln as much as we do, it's still worth spending a weekend in Springfield, Illinois, his hometown. A mere 90-minute drive up Interstate 55, Springfield is large enough to provide entertainment to fill two days, but not so large that visitors would feel overwhelmed and panicked that they might be missing something. Yes, there's a Lincoln Presidential Museum that will take up a good chunk of a Saturday, but its curators mostly walk the narrow line between pleasing both the casual Lincoln fans and the obsessives. The Lincoln house is a shining example of riotous mid-Victorian bad taste, but, hey, admission is free, and it's fun to marvel at how Mr. Lincoln fit his six-foot-four-inch frame into what appears to be an impossibly short bed. If you blow through the museum and find time hanging heavy on your hands, Springfield has a host of other fascinating (read: bizarre) attractions: an artificial leg, now ensconced in the Illinois State Military Museum, that once belonged to Santa Anna, the losing general in the Mexican War; a plaque commemorating the starting point of the Donner Party; and a number of curious statues, including the Lauterbach Tire Muffler Man and a strangely endearing salute to bipartisanism in the form of former U.S. Senator Everett Dirksen with an elephant and a donkey cuddling at his feet. And, finally, there's D'Arcy's Pint, the bar that created the "horseshoe" (meat and French fries doused in cheese sauce and served on Texas toast), the most fearsomely artery-clogging sandwich known to humankind. What's not to love?