It is not uncommon for Peoria area residents to visit the city of Champaign; however OLLI spent the day in Champaign County and discovered the hidden gems that many people may not realize exist. OLLI members were able to start off the morning with a visit to the Columbia Street Roastery. The Roastery is a popular coffee stop in Champaign, and OLLI members were able to learn about how coffee evolves from the field to the cup. The Columbia Street Roastery is a three generation family owned business that is committed to “push the concept of what it means to be a good community member through our whole bean coffee and loose leaf tea.”
The next stop on the Champaign County Learning Trip was Hardy’s Reindeer Ranch. OLLI members enjoyed brisket, beans, and coleslaw for lunch, complete with entertainment provided by a string banjo trio. Following lunch it was time to visit with the reindeers on the ranch. OLLI members found that the reindeers were extremely friendly and excited for visitors to give them a little attention.
Finally, the day concluded with a traditional tea ceremony at the Japan House. The tea ceremony was introduced over 500 years ago as a peaceful welcoming often performed in the home. Anyone taking part in the tea ceremony was required to be silent during its duration. OLLI members found that the tea was extremely soothing, and the ceremony served as a relaxing end to the busy day in Champaign County.