Effingham Summer Getaway for a Couple

Effingham Summer Getaway for a Couple

Effingham, Illinois is just a short, two-hour drive from Indianapolis. It’s a Midwestern community off Interstate 70 and a perfect stop for those traveling between St. Louis and Indianapolis. However, it’s even better if you stay a few days and explore all Effingham has to offer.

The mister and I left the kids at home and took advantage of a summer getaway for just the two of us. Wait until you see what we were up to! Effingham is a foodie paradise and also offers bits of entertainment, arts/culture, and history. All of the things we enjoy. The city is located along the Historic National Road. If you have followed me for any length of time, you know how much I appreciate a good ‘ole highway/byway road trip (especially in the Midwest)!

The Historic National Road runs from Maryland through Illinois and is also known as U.S. Route 40.

Disclaimer: Blog posts may contain affiliate links and/or ads. If you click on these links I may earn a small commission. This helps keep the blog running and supports my family – at no cost to you. If you have any questions, feel free to read my disclaimer and privacy policy. A special thanks to Visit Effingham for hosting my trip. All opinions in this article are my own.

Our 3-Day Couple’s Itinerary

Day 1 in Effingham

We arrived in Effingham late Thursday afternoon and checked into the Hampton Inn & Suites. It is conveniently located just off I-57 and I-70 and a few minutes from downtown. Free wifi, parking, and breakfast are perks we look for when booking a hotel – these are all available at Hampton. The hotel also shares a parking lot with Starbucks, though free coffee and tea (and cookies – thanks to the Hilton brand!) are available in the Hampton lobby and all rooms.

Dinner was just down the road at Firefly Grill. If you live in the Midwest and label yourself a “foodie,” you may have heard of the Firefly Grill. They are known for their farm-to-table seasonal menus and rustic + romantic eco-conscious environment. Not to forget – the freshest, most delicious food. We dined on Sweet Corn Elote, Fried Chicken, and the Montana Mignon; and finished by sharing a Banana Foster Cake.

Fried Chicken from Firefly Grill

Guests can visit the back patio of the Firefly Grill, which overlooks the pond and gardens. A fish food dispenser is nearby for visitors to feed the fish in the pond (the fish are huge!).

Day 2 in Effingham

We started our Friday with a hearty continental breakfast at the hotel before crossing the street to John Boos Factory Showroom & Outlet. You might wonder – what is John Boos? They are one of the oldest manufacturers of butcher blocks in the U.S. and a leader in the food service industry. Bobby Flay exclusively uses their products! Since visiting, I’ve noticed their brand everywhere – in restaurants, businesses, and among celebrity chefs.

(If anyone wants to give me a new kitchen island from John Boos, I won’t turn down the gesture.)

Cool fact: The food service stations, concessions, and work tables at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis were provided by John Boos & Co.

Bent Key Escape

On our way to Bent Key Escape, we stopped at Fox Holler Coffee for a caffeinated drink to fuel our next adventure. The Stranger Things escape room at Bent Key was cleverly set up; without giving away any clues, it was quite the challenge! They have three rooms, and you are allowed 60 minutes to complete each challenge. Unfortunately, we didn’t escape, but we did get close!

After the escape room, we headed to downtown Effingham for the rest of the day. I filled up on with tacos for lunch at Taqueria Don Pedro, while Paul (the mister) enjoyed the Albóndigas (homemade meatballs in a spicy chipotle sauce). The taqueria shares a building with Village Wine – a wine library, full bar, and a bottle shop also selling gourmet cheeses, patés, sausages, crackers, and chocolates. They have a nice rooftop patio with a view of downtown Effingham.

The Taco Dinner from Taqueria Don Pedro

A self-guided walking tour of Sculptures on the Avenue was a good way to work off our taco calories. The sculptures along the streets and corners were created by Midwest artists for an outdoor exhibition. You can enjoy the sculptures up close, take photos, and enjoy the shops and boutiques along the way.

EffingHAM-JAM (held annually in July)

The EffingHAM-JAM BBQ Cookoff was the highlight of our evening in Effingham. It is an annual competition all about the BBQ, music, food, and family fun. The Hometown Throwdown Corporate Challenge is a match against local amateur BBQ enthusiasts. Tastings tickets are available – this is a delicious part of the event! On stage, live music play from local bands all night long.

Music stage at EffingHAM-JAM

The next day’s event included a free pancake breakfast, a children’s activity area, and the big Kansas City BBQ Society State (KCBS) BBQ Championship. Best of all, proceeds from the EffingHAM-JAM go to the Chamber Foundation of Effingham County Scholarship Program. Admission is free and open to the public, and food and beverage tickets are available to purchase for tastings and drinks.

EffingHAM-JAM BBQ Cookoff
Day 3 in Effingham

After a late night at the EffingHAM-JAM, we had a relaxing morning Joe Sippers Cafe with breakfast and lattes. When visiting new cities, I like to frequent the local coffee shops. If you want to interact with the locals and get to know the city you are in, the local coffee shop is the place to go. Joe Sippers is one of those places. On a Saturday morning, people were coming and going from the Effingham Farmers Market and it was the perfect central location.

Joe Sippers Cafe

The farmers market is located on the downtown courthouse lawn on Saturday mornings from May through October. I picked up delicious bread, pastries, and goodies from a local baker and browsed through the array of vendors selling jams, produce, popcorn, and handmade goods. Afterward, we headed to Country Peddlers to do some antique and boutique shopping. I scored a few home items and a boutique top for myself. Plan to spend some time here, there were more booths inside than I anticipated!

Lake Sara is a recreational lake known for boating, fishing, and most recently, the revitalization of a recreational park and beach area. Heron Cove is a restaurant located on Lake Sara (and even offers boat parking to guests). They are known for their lakeview seating, smoked meats, and made-from-scratch food. We didn’t get a chance to try out their food, but it’s on our itinerary for a trip soon!

Effingham Summer Getaway for a Couple

For lunch, we enjoyed a taste of Tuscany at Tuscan Hills Winery. It was the perfect ending to our couple’s getaway in Effingham. A bit of fun, romantic old-world charm is swirling around the winery, where we were invited for tastings and bites, and to stay for a while. They have comfortable seating inside and outdoors, with a view of the vineyards (and cornfields because we are in the Midwest!). The charcuterie board and tiramisu were my favorites!

Tuscan Hills, take me away…

Charcuterie board from Tuscan Hills Winery

Of course, this is just a fraction of the things to do. Or a pre-planned itinerary for your next getaway! For more ideas and things to do in the area, visit the Effingham Visitors Bureau.

Nearby things to do:

Casey, IL – Big Things Small Town

The St. Louis Dining Experience

A Day Trip Itinerary to Terre Haute

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