Monday, June 15, 2009

Route 66 Garage Sale

June 12 and 13 marked the third anniversary of the Route 66 Garage Sale, and that Saturday we decided to check it out for the first time.
The towns involved included Atlanta, Lincoln, Broadwell and Elkhart, all in Illinois.
We didn't find much of interest at the garage sales themselves. Maybe all of the goodies were snatched up on Friday before we got there.
We spoke to a gentleman at Krotz & Sons in Lincoln who said that the first year these garage sales were held, people lined up their wares along Route 66. This time, the sales were found by following many hand made signs weaving back and forth into neighborhoods, which made it a bit difficult for people not familiar with the area.
We did take the opportunity to do a bit more exploring of the Route 66 area while we were out.

I found out that the Palms Grill Café in Atlanta had recently been reopened for breakfast and lunch, and seeing that they served chocolate malts, I decided this would be the perfect time to stop in and sample one.
The back of the menu read: Step back in time at the Palms Grill Café. The Grill, as folks in town called it, opened in August 1934 in "the center of Atlanta on Rt. 66", serving locals and travelers alike. The Grill provided home-cooked meals, plus Bingo games and weekly dances in the backroom. Atlanta's children took advantage of its weekday "School Children's Plate Lunch" — which included a "choice of three meats and two vegetables and drink" all for 45 cents! The Grill was the local Greyhound Bus Stop, so if you wanted to catch the bus, you just flipped the switch for the light on the bottom of the Grill's large neon sign. The original Grill closed in the late 1960s. The Atlanta Library and Museum, along with generous financial support from Atlanta citizens, the Illinois Bureau of Tourism, and the National Park Service's Rt. 66 Corridor Preservation Project, have recreated the Grill so it can once again serve Rt. 66 travelers and folks of this fair community.
Why the name "Palms Grill Café"? Atlanta local Robert Adams was inspired by the palm trees
he saw in California while on a trip there. When he returned to Atlanta to open a restaurant, he wanted to be reminded of the sunshine state, so he named the establishment The Palms Grill Café and ensured that a live palm three was included in its interior decor.
I loved the decor of the restaurant, from the marble countertop where we enjoyed our wonderful chocolaty malts to the white
tin stamped ceiling, to the tile on the bathroom floor. Almost everything looked clean and new, yet period appropriate.
There was even an old refrigerator behind the counter (you can see a glimpse of it behind our malts), which we assumed was just for display, but we got a kick out of seeing our server grab hold of the old curved metal handle to pull open the door, revealing a nice array of fresh pies inside.
Even the glasses and saucers we were served with seemed period appropriate. There were a lot of nice touches used.

Moving down the road to Lincoln, we stopped at an antique store downtown.
Stepping out of the car, we noticed a retro looking metal box hanging on a pole near the curb.
Thinking it might be a meter of some sort, I looked at the name plate on the front: Traf-O-Teria, which gave me a chuckle.
My husband walked into the antique store as I was snapping a photo, and the lady inside was laughing and asked if I had never seen a ticket payment box before.

Our next stop was Broadwell, where we got out at the Pig Hip museum and visited with the former owner and his wife. Very nice folks! I felt like we would have been at home stepping up into the kitchen and joining Ernie at the kitchen table while he ate his lunch.
The Pig Hip Restaurant operated from 1937-1991, then housed Route 66 memorabilia until fire destroyed the building in early 2007.
There are several photographs, newspaper stories and books on display at the site.

Our last stop on the route was Elkhart.
We checked out Horsefeathers wares, then headed out to Springfield for a late lunch.
I soon realized that we had forgotten to look for an attraction I had heard about in Elkhart, the 1915 John P. Gillett Memorial Bridge, so on our way back home we hunted it down.
This photo does not do the bridge justice. The arch is very tall, and the area is heavily wooded and beautiful, with trees creating a lovely shady canopy over the bridge.
The bridge was built by Emma Gillett Oglesby in memory of her brother, John Parke Gillett, and was on the "Ten Most Endangered" historic places list in Illinois in 2005. The bridge has since been stabilized.
On our way to the bridge along County Road 10, we saw a beautiful cemetery, supposedly haunted by the ghost of Emma Gillett Oglesby. From this website I learned her ghost: still visits the (Oglesby) tomb. However, as she kneels before the vault she is interrupted by a group of spectral Indians who chase her off across the bridge leading over the road by the cemetery. A number of photographs have captured weird phenomena as mist and apparitions, not seen by the eye, appear in pictures. A swirling vortex was photographed over one grave. At the back of the cemetery there is a fence separating the grave yard from the woods. Here, people have reported seeing dark colored apparitions and hearing the sounds of voices and footsteps.
The cemetery is also very beautiful, flanked by intricate iron gates. The gates are Gillett memorial gates erected November 1939. Again, it was difficult for me to capture how beautiful these were with my point and shoot.
In the cemetery we also saw a wonderful Gothic stone chapel, the John Dean Gillett Memorial Chapel, which is the only privately owned and operated church in Illinois.
The chapel was built by the wife of John Dean Gillett.

Palms Grill Café
110 SW Arch Street
Atlanta, IL 61723

Elkhart Cemetery, John Dean Gillett Memorial Chapel and railroad bridge
County Rd. 10 (700th Street)
Elkhart, IL 62634

Monday, June 1, 2009

M & M Twistee Treat

Now that ice cream season is officially upon us, we made our first visit to M & M Twistee Treat in East Peoria, Illinois in May.
This fun ice cream cone shaped building offers both outdoor and indoor (in the attached building) seating.
The original Twistee Treats were built between 1983 and 1990.
One thing that has always impressed me about the East Peoria Twistee Treat is the number of items on the menu. I could eat there five days in a row and still have more things I wanted to try.
The massive menu includes: tenderloins; burgers; hot dogs; polish sausage; tamales; chicken; pizza burgers; catfish; Italian beef; tacos; pizza rolls; BBQ; and fried veggies, plus several frozen treats.
They offer basket specials which include fries, and daily specials.
M & M Twistee Treat is closed during the winter months.

M & M Twistee Treat
1207 E. Washington Street
East Peoria, IL 61611