Mental Floss

On The Road: 5 Great Stops Along I-55

Mark Arminio
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In our continuing coverage of flossy diversions along America's roadways (you can read the first two posts here and here), this week we take a look at the northeast-running expanse of Interstate 55 between St. Louis and Chicago.  Making up the eastern end of Route 66, this path connects two of this country's largest cities, linking together people, culture and the spirit of the highway"¦

1. Home-cooked Dining Since 1924

The Ariston Cafe, located in Litchfield, IL, holds the distinction of being the oldest restaurant on Route 66.  Originally founded in 1924 in nearby Carlinville, the cafe was relocated to its current spot in 1929  and has been owned and operated by the same family throughout its history.  The restaurant is also a member of the Route 66 Hall of Fame (although reports are that Chuck Berry refused to play at the induction due to a mistaken dispute over key lime pie).  With the motto "Remember Where Good Food is Served," pull up a chair and take in American dining at its finest (or at least its most nostalgic).

2. The Landmarks Of Lincoln

Lincoln's_Tomb
Lincoln's_Tomb /

Dedicated in 1874, the tomb is also the final resting place for President Lincoln's wife, Mary, and three of their four sons (the eldest, Robert T. Lincoln is buried in Arlington National Cemetery).  Inside, you can find excerpts from Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address and his Gettysburg Address.Â

3. Get Your Kicks

Rt 66 HoF
Rt 66 HoF /

And for that perfect blend of nostalgia and social networking, why not follow the museum on Twitter?

4. A Palace For The People

LOBBY_FR
LOBBY_FR /

Additionally, the major attraction of the theater is a Baron Grande Theatre Pipe Organ, which once provided music and sound effects for the vaudeville acts.  The Joliet Area Theatre Organ Enthusiasts have provided care and maintenance for the organ since 1972.

5. Breathtaking Natural Beauty

mazegarden_aerial
mazegarden_aerial /

Established by Joy Morton (the founder of the Morton Salt Company), his original Thornhill Estate formed the basis for the arboretum.  While you're there, make sure you see the Millennium Oak, a tree so old it predates Illinois' statehood, and the Maze Garden.

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