Blessings on State Bed & Breakfast

Close up view of coffee table book about Jacksonville Illinois

Things to See and Do

Stay, Eat, Explore and Experience the Jacksonville Area

The Jacksonville and Springfield, Illinois area offers a wide variety of places to visit, dining options, and sightseeing venues. New Jacksonville venues are in development, including Waters Edge Winery and Bistro. Our locally owned shops are open, with restrictions as required. We love it when you shop local! Check our packages for seasonal discounts. Restaurants are coming back, too, and many offer outdoor seating, in season. We enjoy dining at Lonzerotti’s Italia Restaurant, watching the new model train travel around the restored 1906 train depot.

Like many other communities, our town has been following regulations related to the Coronavirus. This section lists attractions and activities that may still be restricted for a period of time, as noted by an asterisk*. We offer regular updates on closures and reopening plans in our monthly newsletters and social media channels. The Jacksonville Area Convention & Visitors Bureau is another terrific source for the latest status on things to see and do in the Jacksonville Area.

There are many fun things to do, even when major historic sites are closed to the public. Follow the Historic Homes Walking Tour through our neighborhood to view a number of architectural styles. Our map covers one of three self-guided tours offered by the JACVB. Jacksonville offers both Looking for Lincoln interpretive wayside exhibits and the Voices of Jacksonville Audio Tour. We’ll be happy to lend you a CD to listen to these engaging and educational audio interpretations, or you may download an MP3 file from the JACVB website.

Jacksonville offers neighborhoods with a multitude of architectural styles. Long walks and slow drives are a great way to see some stunning examples of architectural styles, both residential and commercial. We will be happy to provide a brochure that offers a map of our local Underground Railroad (UGRR) sites.

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Hand painted mural of old downtown Jacksonville Square and a trolley on the side wall of a white building

Love to Learn about the Past?

  • Visit our Underground Railroad sites – Jacksonville has more than anywhere else in the state.
  • See the home of General Grierson, a Civil War hero, and listen to Voices of Jacksonville presentation,  then visit General Grierson’s grave site in Jacksonville East Cemetery.
  • Tour the Governor Duncan Mansion, the only existing Governor’s Mansion outside Springfield.*
  • Follow the steps of Abraham Lincoln as you explore the Looking for Lincoln wayside exhibits.
  • Take a ride on our Eli Bridge Ferris Wheel in Community Park.*
  • Walk through the Prairie Land Heritage Museum with its restored church, school and blacksmith shop.
  • Take a walking tour and enjoy the historic neighborhood surrounding our inn.
Exterior view of historical property with red brick, surrounded by green grass and trees and black wrought iron fence

Devoted to the Arts and Culture?

  • Attend a Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra concert at Rammelkamp Chapel on the Illinois College campus.
  • Tour the Illinois School for the Deaf Alumni Association Museum displaying items from ISD’s rich history.
  • See a live performance at Lovejoy Hall.*
  • Attend a performance on the IC campus, with respected speakers and musical performances.*
  • Check out a Gallery Opening at the David Strawn Art Gallery.
  • Tour the Gallery or one of our local museums.*
  • View a first-run movie at Illinois Theater, one of the longest-running theaters in the area.
  • Experience our annual Summer Concert Series and other events downtown in Central Park.*
Three multi-colored race cars zooming along on a dirt track

Need Lots of Action and Activity?

  • Ride the Eli Bridge Ferris Wheel at City Park on a summer Sunday afternoon.*
  • Play a round of golf at one of our local golf courses or go fishing in Lake Jacksonville, one of the top bass fishing lakes in Illinois.
  • Go bowling or roller skating.
  • Watch our Friday night stock car races at the Jacksonville Raceway, a high-banked dirt oval track at the Morgan County Fairground.*
  • Bike or jog through historic neighborhoods with their remarkable architectural styles.
  • Hit one of our major events.* Jacksonville recently hosted the CABA 15u World Series at our own Future Champions Sports Complex, formerly Lenz Field, NBRA boat races on Lake Jacksonville, and go-kart races around the downtown square.
  • Take the kids to Play-For-All Park, an extraordinary playground and splash pad where children with and without disabilities can learn together through play.
  • Go to Nichols Park, the largest of our parks, with an Olympic-size swimming pool*, a large well-equipped playground and The Links, an 18-hole golf course winding through the park.
  • Catch a college football game!* The Illinois College Blueboys, a D3 team, play just two blocks from our Bed & Breakfast.
Large red brick sign for Illinois College surrounded by purple, pink, and white flowers

Interested in Education?

  • Walk around the block to the campus of Illinois College, founded in 1829, with its Beecher Hall, the oldest collegiate building in the State of Illinois and the state-of-the-art Bruner Fitness and Recreation Center.
  • Go down the street to find the former MacMurray College campus, dating its history from 1846 when a group of Methodist clergymen, led by Peter Cartwright and Peter Akers, founded it as the Illinois Conference Female Academy. The first class was held in 1848 and the final commencement in 2020.
  • Illinois School for the Deaf celebrated its 175th anniversary in 2014 and is just a two-block walk from Blessings on State Bed & Breakfast.
  • Illinois School for the Visually Impaired, with its comprehensive academic program with an emphasis on the development of independence and pre-vocational skills, is less than two miles away.
Multiple store fronts in a downtown setting

Prefer to Shop ‘Till You Drop?

Spend the day visiting our local shops and farmer’s markets, then come back for a relaxing evening at Blessings on State Bed & Breakfast. Put your feet up and enjoy some time on the front porch, in the front parlor listening to the baby grand piano, or relaxing in your own private sitting room.

  • Visit one of our many locally owned specialty stores, including All Occasions Flowers & Gifts, Home Girls, Our Town Books and Just Good Trade.
  • Buy artwork, pottery and gifts from one of our art galleries.
  • Preserve the past with antiques from the Peddler, Antiquarius I and II and the local Antique Malls.
  • Sip a specialty coffee at The Soap Co. Coffee House.
  • Buy yourself the gift of relaxation, spending some time at one of our spas.
  • Shop at a major retailer, including Bath & Body Works and JC Penney.
Exterior view of red brick building with blue trim and Jacksonville sign

Love Good Food?

  • Dine at Lonzerotti’s Italia, our fine dining restaurant located in a restored train depot, known for Italian dishes and hand-cut steaks.
  • Muggsy’s fine dining restaurant offers a variety of foods and has courtyard seating for warm summer days.
  • Kitchen 63 at K’s Creek Golf Club offers fillets, chops and seafood.
  • From the Brick House to Mulligan’s, Shiraz and Leo’s, our downtown has locally owned restaurants, pubs and pizza houses for casual dining.
  • Off the square, Norma’s is known for great home cooking; Rudy’s for their fried chicken buffet and Mangia offers a wide variety of entrees and a terrific soup and salad bar.
  • Recognizable chain restaurants are located along Morton Avenue.
Fitness World Health Club logo

Have Work to Do?

  • Just blocks from downtown Jacksonville, Blessings on State Bed & Breakfast is a great home base for your work in and around town. Springfield is just 30 miles to the east.
  • Nestle, Reynolds, and Passavant Hospital are located within a couple of miles.
  • Lap desks, protected power strips, Wi-Fi, and a full business center make it convenient to telecommute while you’re here.
  • Take advantage of our complimentary day pass to a local health club.
  • When your work day is done, change into your running shoes and stroll or jog along our tree-lined street with its stunning historic homes.
  • Visit one of our great locally owned restaurants or have a pizza delivered to the B&B. We’ll even provide a china plate and fork, if you’d like!
  • Plan on a great night’s sleep! No neighboring room doors slamming, $3 sodas, or kids racing through hotel halls. Instead, we offer peace and quiet, high-quality bedding on comfortable mattresses, and complimentary snacks and hot and cold beverages just steps outside your door.
  • No need to spend your per diem on breakfast. We offer hot and fresh gourmet breakfast at no charge. If you need to leave early, we’ll provide a healthy “Breakfast to Go.”
Multiple red brick buildings with different store fronts

Insider Tips and Staff Picks for Lunch & Dinner

Innkeeper Gwenn and her assistant Kelly make it their mission to regularly check out local restaurants so that they can make personal recommendations to Blessings guests. They say it’s just one part of the innkeeper’s role ensuring memorable hospitality at Blessings on State Bed & Breakfast. (That’s their excuse, anyway!)

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  • Gwenn’s favorite restaurant, hands down, is Lonzerotti’s Italia, affectionately known as Lonzo’s. She recommends starting with sausage ravioli or crab cakes and a salad, then choosing Lonzerotti’s salmon, steak or rigatoni carbonara.
  • Casey recommends Lonzo’s bread and Spaghetti with Meat Sauce. With Lonzo’s bread. Lots of bread!
  • Glenn is a fan of Lonzo’s Lasagna, fried chicken at Rudy’s and Norma’s, and steak or salmon at Muggsy’s and K’s Creek.
  • It’s easy to talk Mary into going to lunch at Annabelle Lee’s Tea Room. Gwenn recommends their chicken salad plate with frozen cranberry salad. Plus, she says it’s fun to shop the Transfer Shops and Abigail’s Flowers & Gifts while you’re there!
  • Kelly is partial to KJB Pinthouse where they’re currently offering burritos “as big as your head” for lunch and supper, along with “homemade salsa to die for.”
  • Lynsey is new to town, but she’s already discovered some favorites. She’s partial to Lonzo’s, and Leo’s for authentic Italian pizza. She also recommends Charlie’s for ice cream and sandwiches and the Soap Co. Coffee House.
  • Jan, one of our Blessings Christmas elves, regularly purchases bottles of Lonzerotti’s Italian dressing to take home with her when she visits. Lonzerotti’s dressing is sold at local grocery stores.

Ask us for recommendations when you arrive. We’ll often know the daily specials and sometimes even off-menu items to recommend. For the longest time, The Horseshoe, a Springfield area favorite, was an off-menu item, but as menus have been updated and we’re seeing it show up more often.

Green grass, shrubs, and trees with a sign and information table about Abraham Lincoln

Visit Abraham Lincoln Sites in Springfield, Illinois

Jacksonville is a quick 40-mile drive to the Abraham Lincoln home in Springfield, IL. Make Blessings on State Bed & Breakfast your home base as you visit Lincoln’s Home, his tomb, and Lincoln’s New Salem in Petersburg.

Springfield area Lincoln historic sites include the following:

  • Lincoln Home National Historic Site (U.S. National Park)
  • Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum
  • Lincoln Depot, where he gave his famous Farewell Address
  • Lincoln Family Church, which houses the original Lincoln family pew
  • Lincoln-Herndon Law Offices
  • The Old State Capitol
  • The Lincoln Tomb
  • Springfield Lincoln walking tours and guided tours
  • Lincoln’s New Salem Historic Site

*Please be sure to check each exhibit’s open hours during the Coronavirus pandemic.

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