Planning a Staycation

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Champaign, IL (WCIA) Midwest Travel Expert Marcia Frost share staycation ideas in her hometown.

We all have cabin fever by this point, but it’s hard to plan a vacation with the situation changing daily.

Whether you already live right here, or you are ready for a little getaway, I’m always happy to talk about my hometown.

Champaign County has a lot to offer, with pedestrian friendly downtowns, parks, and hiking trails, as well as breathtaking sunsets.

Staycation Deals

The I Hotel in Champaign is open, as is their adjoining restaurant, Houlihan’s. You can enjoy a meal on their patio, for carry out, or as room service. The hotel is just down the road from the UIUC Arboretum and Gardens, a perfect place to stroll in this beautiful weather.

The hotel is offering a Dine & Stay Package that includes the room and a $30 gift card to Houlihan’s. It applies to new reservations and you can book the deal on this link, or call 217-819-5000. Be sure to use code: DINE&STAY.

Eastland Suites & Conference Center has a very full offering for a staycation a family or couple would enjoy. Their indoor, heated, Olympic-size pool is open, as is the newly renovated fitness center. They include complimentary breakfast to go or delivered to your room. Monday through Saturday, Eastland Suites also gives you a complimentary drink and offers dinner specials, which also can be delivered to your room,  taken to go, or consumed on the outside patio.

The #SUITEDEAL package at Eastland Suites offers $20 off any suite, include the courtyard whirlpool suite. Suites are pet-friendly if you want to bring your pet along. You can book by calling Megan Bolen at 217-766-5375 and asking for: #SUITEDEAL.

Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI) recently named the City of Urbana one of only 10 communities in the nation that are Pioneers to the City of Nature Platform, committed to nature and biodiversity. You’ll find plenty of it to explore in the Urbana Park District. On the way back to the hotel after your hikes, you might want to pick up lunch from nearby Hickory River Smokehouse.

One thing you may not know about Champaign-Urbana is that it is a huge music destination. REO Speedwagon and Alison Krauss are just two of the famous acts who came from here. On any given day, you can find live music playing at a local venue. head to the CU Bands and Fans Page for the latest schedules.

Every Tuesday, Visit Champaign County is partnering with other visitors’ bureaus around the state to suggest roundtrip travel ideas. This week’s theme is “Public Gardens.” Follow the county’s social media for weekly updates.

If you are looking for a wilder adventure, Peoria Zoo is now open, as is Aikman Wildlife in Arcola, and Scoville Zoo in Decatur.

While we are talking about the relaxing outdoors, I’d like to give a shoutout to a few of my other favorite places to eat and drink:

Alto Vineyards in Champaign, where there’s music now at least twice a week and plenty of wine and open space;

Sun Singer in Champaign, for the most unique wine selection in CU, as well as cheese plates and housemade spreads for appetizers, and daily specials with local ingredients;

Crane Alleyin Urbana, with an eclectic menu that ranges from Middle Eastern Mezze to Buffalo mac and cheese;

JTs Brewery in Mahomet, for great food (now available outside downstairs as well as upstairs) and beer from their own brewery. While you are in Mahomet, be sure to spend a few hours strolling through the gardens, lakes, and bridges of Lake of the Woods;

The Blind Pig, Triptych, and Riggs are three other well-known breweries in the area. You also shouldn’t miss Jarling’s Custard Cup, which has gotten even Tom Hank’s recommendation as one of the best ice cream shops around.

What I’m looking at …

I’m going to have some more specifics on low risk travel next month as I’m hoping to hit the road, starting with the Southernmost Illinois area, which includes the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail and Garden of the Gods. I’m also looking into the new Guesthouse at Graceland.

Do you have any specific questions about where to go or how to plan?

Contact me on my Facebook page, Midwest Travel with Marcia Frost. I’ll do my best to answer, and maybe I’ll feature your question on my next segment.

Also, be sure to check out my travel stories at my Wine And Spirits Travel blog.

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