Plan to spend a full day or better yet, a weekend to take advantage of the many unique historic and recreational sites in Menard County. With live entertainment every weekend of the year and major festivals in all seasons, you’ll want to make Petersburg your place to stay while you enjoy our sites and the friendly local people who will welcome you.
Lincoln’s New Salem - Step back in time in the restored village where Lincoln lived, complete with cabins stocked with period antiques. Interpreters in period clothing are often present to explain life during the 1830s. It was here that Lincoln lived between 1831-1837 and experienced much in his young life, including successes and failures as a store clerk and owner, postmaster, enlisted in the Blackhawk War, deputy surveyor, studied law and was elected as a legislator.
Theatre in the Park - Performances are held weekends throughout the summer in the 475 seat outdoor amphitheater with auditorium-style seating with a concession and multi-level stage. In the event of rain, the first 200 ticket holders with marked tickets will be admitted to New Salem’s smaller indoor theater. There are many great shows and a schedule is available (see "Entertainment Page" for summer schedule).
Hill Prairie Winery - One of the top attractions in Menard County, the winery hosts live entertainment every Sunday afternoon throughout the year. Acres of grapes including varieties perfect for top wines line the property. The winery is located within the 100 year old family barn. Murder Mystery Dinner Theatres are popular. During the summer, Friday night is Angus steak night, along with ribs or grilled shrimp skewers. They also host major festivals in the summer and fall.
West of Wise Winery - A new winery just south of Lincoln's New Salem State Park offers area wines and a summer series of live entertainment on Fridays from 5:30 - 7:30 pm. The second winery in the county offers a beautiful and convenient stop for a glass of one of their favorite wines.
The Cemeteries of Menard County - Here lies some of the most notable figures in the life of Abraham Lincoln, including his beloved Ann Rutledge, wrestling opponent Jack Armstrong, and many others close to him. Poet Edgar Lee Masters is interred in Petersburg, along with other famous figures in Petersburg history.
Menard County Historical Society - (Petersburg) This local treasure houses some of the important artifacts and memorabilia in the history of Lincoln and the town he surveyed, Petersburg. Located on the Southwest corner of the square, it is directly across the street from the survey point where Lincoln laid out Petersburg. It houses valuable books pictures, genealogy materials, historic displays, circus memorabilia and other artifacts.
The Farm - (rural Petersburg) Is a peaceful retreat and home to some 20 beautiful themed gardens and their shop where you can find unique, hand-made, one-of-a-kind items and hard to find plants. Relax under an arbor, enjoy the sights and smells of the fresh flowers, herbs and dried flowers in the shop and check out The Loft B&B with a great view of their 63 beautifully rolling acres next to the Sangamon River.
Indian Creek Farmstead - (rural Petersburg) is a family friendly place to buy or pick fresh pumpkins. Enjoy the fall atmosphere, take wagon rides through the fields, flowers and timber. Kids can play in the enclosed barnyard where they can having fun being kids. Visit the Country Shoppe, enjoy fresh food, take photos and go through the corn maze. School tours are also available by appointment.
Edgar Lee Masters Memorial Museum - (Petersburg) In memory of American poet Edgar Lee Masters, author of The Spoon River Anthology, the memorabilia of his life and works are displayed in the house where he lived as a young boy.
Abraham Lincoln Long Nine Museum - (Athens) The museum is in the original building that Abraham Lincoln visited on many occasions in his travels between New Salem and Springfield. You’ll see the post office where Lincoln picked up mail and the room where he and eight other legislators celebrated after passing legislation to move the state capitol from Vandalia to Springfield. They were relatively tall in stature and thus termed the “Long Nine.”
Starhill Forest Arboretum - (Menard County) Located on 48 acres in southern Menard County, Starhill is a private arboretum owned and operated by the Sternberg family on land farmed and grazed since the mid-19th century when Abraham Lincoln traveled on the same road during his New Salem days. Come see the old trees in the forested area and learn more about trees and 150 genera of woody plants for study as well as herb and perennial landscapes, a native prairie garden, several provenance tests and a conifer plantation.
Alpacas of Indian Point - (Menard County) This is a family run farm dedicated to educating people about Alpacas, members of the camel family and native to South America. They are a gentle and inquisitive animal and communicate by humming. The family brings the animals to various public events throughout the year.
Springfield Historical Sites Within 30 Minutes of Petersburg and New Salem - Stay in Petersburg and Visit the Sites!
Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum - This national treasure was created to replicate the historical accuracy of the time and give the visitor a memorable experience through the world’s largest collection of documentary material of the life of Abraham Lincoln. It features hi-tech exhibits, interactive displays and multi-media programs. You can also see a reproduction of the White House as it looked in 1861. Only 30 minutes from New Salem and just blocks from his home.
Lincoln’s Home - For 17 years Abraham Lincoln lived in his home just a few blocks south of the Old State Capitol and from here he left to take the office of President, never able to return alive to the place he called home. The Lincoln Home has been restored to its 1860 appearance when he was elected President and you can walk through and see furnishings and decorations of the day. It’s a free tour but tickets are required.
Lincoln’s Tomb - The beautiful monument in Springfield’s Oak Ridge Cemetery marks the final resting place of our beloved President, along with his wife Mary and sons Tad, Eddie and Willie. It’s the largest cemetery in Illinois and the second most visited cemetery in the nation. Also buried there are the famous poet Vachel Lindsay, four Illinois governors, Lincoln’s law partner, William Herndon and others.
The Old State Capitol - Lincoln spoke the famous words, “A house divided against itself cannot stand...” in the historic Old State Capitol in downtown Springfield. Here is where Lincoln tried several hundred cases, spent time with friends and is located across the street from his former law office.
Country Club Hills Golf Course - A beautiful 18-hole course in the rolling hills near Greenview, it’s a 6,414 yards, par 72 public golf course. The course features Bentgrass greens, bluegrass/rye mix fairways, tees and roughs with three sets of tees. The Clubhouse features a banquet facility to accommodate up to 110 guests and clubhouse seating for up to 200 with in-house catering, a patio and deck. There is a fully stocked pro shop.
Shambolee Golf Course - A beautiful 18 hole course located on the west side of Lake Petersburg. This public course has a pro shop and restaurant with lunches and dinners various nights of the week.
Geocaching - Take a fascinating geocaching tour of Menard County and some of its most important and beautiful historical sites. For more information, please contact RiverBank Lodge in Petersburg (217.632.0202) and ask for the "Geocaching Tour Information." Those successfully completing the tour will earn a beautiful commemorative coin with Lincoln's image.
Other Outdoor Recreational Opportunities (link)