Effingham, IL: arguably the hidden gem of Southern Illinois, was full of surprises during this OLLI regional learning trip.
Our first stop on this tour of Southern Illinois was to the renowned John Boos and Company. This company which began producing butcher blocks and cutting boards in 1887, has become famous for its high-quality products. So much so, that it has been endorsed in several Food Network Shows, and by culinary experts across the globe. It didn't take long for our visit to turn into a shopping trip--OLLI members purchased everything from cutting boards to stools.
After a great time at John Boos, it was time for lunch. If I had to choose one place to eat at for the rest of my life, that place would have to be Effingham's Firefly Grill. Head chef Niall Campbell and his wife Kristie established this culinary oasis in the heart of the Midwest. With a menu that changes daily, and local ingredients--often grown outside in their own garden, Firefly is certainly a gastronomical adventure. OLLI members enjoyed options that included: an American Burger, Chicken Burger, and Reuben, delicious garden salads, and the most indulgent chocolate lava cake! Without exaggeration, some OLLI members claimed it was the best meal they have ever had!
Our last stop of the day was to Mid-America Motorworks, which is accompanied by MY Garage Museum, a one-of-a-kind museum that houses vintage Corvettes and thousands of pieces of Corvette history and memorabilia. We were greeted by owner and Corvette enthusiast Mike Yager, who shared with us his humbling and commendable story. After a comprehensive tour of Mid-America Motorworks, OLLI members had some time to admire the collection of vintage cars that sat beside a restored 1910 gas station.
There is no doubt that we will certainly be returning to Effingham in the future!
OLLI at Bradley