Saturday, July 23, 2022

Alto Pass on a Whim

I saw the Havisham House online and knew that I wanted to stay there.   I normally plan my vacations around an attraction or sites to see, but never a house.  This time was different.  

This home was originally completed in 1892 but has completely been restored and modernized without losing the historic beauty.

When we pulled up to the home, Trey was in a little bit of awe, I giggled and said “it was less than the Peabody, so…”

While unloading my bags, I jokingly snapped a picture to my friend of the bathroom and said “this is why I spent so much money on this weekend” - seriously the bathroom was that gorgeous.  

This is not a place that you just go to sleep, it is a place that you go to stay.  I didn’t want to leave, I wandered through the home looking at all the books, staring at all the windows, soaked in the giant bathtub for hours, dreamed of having a large dinner party in the formal dining room, and binged watched some ridiculous series on Netflix while enjoying popcorn.   

I secretly started planning my next trip back, before I made it past the kitchen.  

The Havisham House is perfectly located in the middle of Alto Pass, or maybe the town was built around it.  Alto Pass is not a giant town, I think I saw a sign for population 400, but it is a town of great value as far as things to do and places to go.  

Located just minutes from the Bald Knob Cross, you can drive to the lookout and see a great view of the cross overlooking the town.  Such a peaceful spot regardless of what your faith is.  I do encourage you to visit the Bald Knob Cross, read the story of overcoming obstacles and building something that millions drive to see.   Impressive story of faith, hope, and love. 

Also located close by is Rendleman’s Orchard.  If you have followed me long, you know I am a huge fan of flower patches, so I did a little comparison shopping.  Rendleman’s Orchard is fantastically laid out, well designed, and a perfect family stop.

I recommend going during the cooler part of the day as the gardens are in full sun.  I personally walked out with a bucket of peaches, a peach smoothie, pickled okra, and a few packages of spices that I can later cook with.   

Alto Clay Works is located just blocks away from the home.   I loved this place.  I suggest going for the pottery, but the story of the building is pretty cool also.  Alto Clay Works is located in the Alto Pass Grade School building.  I am a sucker for old school buildings being repurposed into something unique.  I also will not claim to be an expert on pottery but enjoyed my visit with the owner.  He was not only passionate about his work, but his community.  He shared a list of places to visit, some history of the community, and made us feel like we were not just customers, but more like friends.   

The Shawnee Hills Wine Trail runs through Alto Pass, Illinois - giving the area that Napa Valley feeling with a bit of country accent.  We stopped for lunch at Von Jakob Winery & Brewery.  It was a delightful place with a nice patio view of the vineyard.   The menu had a great selection and was affordable for nice dining.  

The Shawnee Hills Wine Trail is composed of eleven wineries on a well-marked 40-mile trail.  Each winery offers their own individual style and winemaking techniques that make your visit an adventure through the hills of southern Illinois.

More photos from my visit to Alto Pass, Illinois available here:

(Disclosure: I was not paid or comped for my opinion or review of these locations. All thoughts and photos are my own.)

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