Beyond the Castle: Exploring Charleston during Family Weekend

Lynnsey Veach, Staff Reporter

Eastern students can venture off campus while they have their families visiting this weekend to discover there is plenty to do in Charleston if they know where to look.

A 10-minute walk from Old Main will take visitors down tree-lined streets and past Victorian architecture to the downtown square.

The square and the adjacent area features local businesses including Bob’s Bookstore and Jackson Avenue Coffee, both of which offer open mic night on Fridays.

The Charleston area also offers many historical attractions, including five related to 16th President Abraham Lincoln.

President Lincoln’s father and stepmother lived in the Charleston area while their son was practicing law in Springfield.

The Lincoln Log Cabin State Historic Site, located at 402 South Lincoln Highway Road, is eight miles south of Charleston and gives visitors the opportunity to see “an accurate reproduction of the Lincolns’ two-room cabin that was reconstructed on the original cabin site,” according to the website.

One mile north of Lincoln Log Cabin visitors can also discover the Moore Home State Museum, where Lincoln last visited his family in 1861 prior to leaving for Washington D.C. to become president.

Just west of Lincoln Log Cabin is the historic Thomas Lincoln Cemetery, which contains gravesites of Lincoln’s father and stepmother, as well as Civil War veterans.

Other attractions related to President Lincoln include the Lincoln-Douglas Debate Museum of 416 W. Madison Ave. and the tallest Lincoln statue located east of Charleston on Route. 16.

For a side trip on their way back to Charleston from Lincoln Log Cabin, Eastern students can show their families the world’s fastest soda machine in Lerna, only 4 miles west of the Lincoln Highway Road.

An additional local history attraction is the Five Mile House, hosting its annual fall festival 1-4 p.m. Sunday, including live music by Motherlode, open hearth and wood stove cooking, a magic show by The Great Andrew, and many other activities.

Diane Ratliff, director of Charleston’s tourism and special events, said, “Not only do we have the Lincoln Douglas museum and Lincoln Log Cabin, there’s also Lake Charleston and Fox Ridge, beautiful places for a hike or to take a walk.”

Additional outdoor recreational activities can be found at Fox Ridge State Park, approximately six miles south of Charleston on Route 130.

The park offers several trails of varying difficulty, covered pavilion areas for picnicking and canoeing and fishing on the Embarras River that runs through portions of the park.


Lynnsey Veach can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]