We visited Springfield on June 29. We caught the 7am train from Chicago Union Station to Springfield – there were some stops along the way, but the trip was comfortable and the train arrived on time. Takes about 3 hours. We then walked to the Lincoln Presidential Library, just a few minutes away.
We decided at that point to start by going up to the Lincoln gravesite at the cemetery. Springfield offers a bus route that is called Historical Routes, we paid $3.00 per person and you can ride the bus all day to the different historical sites. The cemetery is about 10 minutes away so the ride is very short. The cemetery is beautiful and the monument is very grand and symbolic. The tomb itself is perched up a slight incline and overlooks the cemetery. You walk into the monument and the tomb is at the rear of the monument. The marble tombstone for Abraham Lincoln is surrounded by the eight flags representing the states he lived in, the presidential flag, etc. Mary Todd Lincoln, and three of their sons are also buried in the monument. They also have two beautiful war memorials at the front of the cemetery.
From the cemetery, we took the historic routes bus back down to the center of town where the museum is located. It is a wonderful museum, featuring two theater presentations that are very well done and interesting – they have a bit of a Disney effect which the kids all loved, and the adults did too! Ghosts materializing on the stage, etc. Lots of information on Lincoln. It starts from a replica of the log cabin he was born into, goes through his white house years and then to the fateful day in April, 1865 and the massive funeral arrangements. We did have lunch at the museum which features a Subway shop. The gift shop is also very nice and we bought lots of souvenirs.
We didn’t visit the Presidential library as my niece wanted to see the other sites, such as the old capital building, the Lincoln law offices, and you can also visit the church where the Lincolns had a pew. We also rode around on the historic bus route for one hour (the length of their route) and the bus driver announces all the sites, you can hop off and hop back on if you want to do so. They were right on schedule for the most part so it makes it easy to plan your stops.
We had a very nice dinner at Maldaner’s located on South Sixth Street right down from the museum. It was an expensive restaurant, but nothing much was open. We had soup and salads, both Caesar. The menu looked very good, but again not an inexpensive option.
We then took the 7:33pm train back to Chicago. All in all, we loved our trip to Springfield. The city was very clean, the bus drivers were friendly and helpful, so were the staff in the museums and at the other sites.