Upcoming events along the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail

Featured Events

2023 looks to be a fantastic year on the wine trail! We will be catching up to as many events being scheduled as soon as we can. Be sure to follow Southern Most Illinois and Shawnee Hills Wine Trail and check back here for updated events.

2024 Solar Eclipse

Shawnee Hills Wine Trail

Wine and Food Pairing Weekends!

Glass of wine selection of cheeses

11 wineries of the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail have paired up to create three wonderful, themed, wine and food pairing events.  We invite you to join us for a progressive tasting along the trail and enhance your appreciation and enjoyment of our wines paired with delicious samples.
    Midsummer Picnic Pairings
  • August 24th - 25th 2023
    Autumn Inspirations
  • November 3rd - 4th 2023 (dates coming soon)
    Holiday Open House
  • November 24th/25th - Noon - 5:pm

Learn more

Cache Bayou Moon Paddles

Sunset moon paddle in the Cache River
    Pink Moon Paddle
  • April 5th: 6:30pm - 8:30pm
    Blossom Moon Paddle
  • May 5th: 7:00pm - 9:00pm
    Mother's Day Moon Paddle
  • May 14th: 6:00 - 8:00pm
    Frog Moon Paddle
  • June 3rd: 7:00pm - 9:00pm
    Father's Day Sunset Paddle
  • June 18th: 6:30pm - 8:30pm
    Father's Day Sunset Paddle
  • June 18th: 6:30pm - 8:30pm
    Full Thunder Moon Paddle
  • July 13th: 7:30pm - 9:30pm
    Green Corn Moon Paddle
  • August 30th: 7:00pm
    Hunter's Moon Paddle
  • October: Time TBA

Sign up at Cache Bayou Outfitters

Vulture Fest 2023

Dates on calendar should be Oct 21st - 22nd 2023

Vulture Fest Poster

October 21st - 22nd 2023 
Makanda Boardwalk

Each fall, vultures soar and glide over Makanda and the surrounding areas and signal the beginning of fall and the arrival of the incredible fall colors of Makanda and southern Illinois. Vulture Fest features live music, food, shopping, and art by local artists for purchase.

Learn more

So many places to visit during the fall season.

Rendleman Orchards is the best place to bring the family for old fashioned family fun. In the summer you can walk through fields of zinnias with clouds of butterflies. They are open all year round, but fall is by far the best!

Bandy's Pumpkin Patch has hayrides, a play area with bins of corn kernels, and pumpkins to buy of all shapes and colors.

Best Apple Cider? Lipes Orchard Market. They use the old fashioned recipe where it has that tang I remember from childhood. This is a great little market open from June through November. 

Several wineries have costume parties for Halloween. We will soon list them here.

2022 poster of Blue Sky Vineyard Halloween

31st Annual Lights Fantastic Parade

Illinois Avenue Carbondale, IL 62901 DEC 04, 2023 STARTS AT 6:00PM

The Lights Fantastic Parade was started by a grass roots committee who wanted to bring an annual holiday parade event to Carbondale, Illinois. The first Parade was held in 1990 and has been a holiday staple of the community for nearly three decades.

Tourism and Lodging Resources

We are in the peak season in the Shawnee Hills and folks are always so surprised at how difficult it is to find a place to stay, especially the weekends.

There is so much to do here! Explore the award winning Shawnee Hills Wine Trail, hike, bike, sightsee the wonders of the Shawnee National Forest, get an adrenaline rush on the Shawnee Bluffs Canopy Tour Zipline, or just enjoy a secluded cabin and a cozy fire. It's all here. Just be sure to get your reservation booked soon!

While we want Rocky Comfort Cabins to be your first choice as a place to stay, and appreciate or returning and new guests so much, we do understand that our cabins book up and book out pretty fast. Please do not let that stop you from visiting the gem of the Midwest; the Shawnee National Forest, and the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail. When we can, we try to steer visitors to other websites to help them find a great place to stay.

Our Top Picks

Our top pick: Southernmost Illinois is unique in its blend of fascinating things to see and do during a day, a week or a month's vacation. They feature places to stay, unique shopping experiences, and many upcoming events. It is also supported by those pesky occupancy taxes we all pay when booking a room in Illinois.

The second website we send folks to is Shawnee Hills Wine Trail. Along with a lodging page, it also links you to all the wineries that are part of the SHWT.
Hint: The Lodging link appears to be broken. Go straight to Recommended Lodging. Places to stay on Recommended Lodging are listed there only because the places pay for the placement, us being one of them :)

Another tourism website is Marion based VisitSI. It cover Marion and parts of Williamson County. We are in Union County, which borders Williamson. Marion is about 20 minutes from us and the wine trail.

While the cabins are in Makanda, we live in Carbondale, which is about 20 minutes from Rocky Comfort Cabins. Carbondale is the home of Southern Illinois University, which is the main hub of southern Illinois. Lots to do in Carbondale all year round. carbondaletoursim.org

It Takes a Village

Mama's Family

For some time a female cat was hanging out at the cabins. Before we could capture her she had a litter of kittens under the deck at the Creole. We do not live on the property, we live in Carbondale. Trying to plan the capture of the hesitant mama, who had tucked her babies into a safe but inaccessible place, was quite the challenge. Of course, we also had to consider guests.

Another issue was, where were we going to take Mama and her babies? We have three older cats at home. We have Queen Nefferkitti, who barely has anything to do with our other two cats and certainly would have nothing to do with a dominant female. We also have Carlos, our blind sweetie, and our other sweetie Flame, who can be quite skittish.

Everywhere I called the rescues were full. I did not want to risk this family being euthanized. After some planning, we were able to set up an area on another floor of our house, which we have done before while fostering kitties.

Knowing we were in a dilemma trying to figure out what to do about the kitties, the guests staying at The Creole mentioned mama and her family to Jillian, who runs Shawnee Shuttle along with Cobden Spay/Neuter Coalition.

With Jillian's help, we now we had a plan about what to do, it just needed to be executed, and be successful.

We brought out a couple of live traps and yummy treats. The first day did not go well and we had to leave, but the new guests staying at The Creole Cabin were very kind and helpful in our endeavor, keeping us updated as to any action.

All three kittens were caught, but mama wasn't having any of it. Being such a great mama, the guests said she kept bringing her babies food. She brought them a couple of mice while they were trapped. Ahhh. We had to take the kittens home and try again the next day for mama.

The next day the guests caught the mama and then, being concerned there was still another kitten we have not seen, reset the trap after locking mama in the bathroom. The trap captured a feral male - Daddy!

Next problem - recapturing a very upset mama that was being kept in the bathroom. 

My son Alex and I shut ourselves in the bathroom with mama to try and get her into the carrier. That was a hoot. We will upload a video of that soon.

I don't know who was happier to see each other again when we brought mama home to her kittens, who were in a sunroom downstairs. Daddy cat had to go in a completely different room, in his own kennel. Good times, good times...

Next up, getting the parents spayed and neutered. With Jillian's help, we were able to get them both taken care of on the same day. It is always more difficult on the female, but Daddy was able to be released back out at the cabins a day later. Boy was he happy. That video will be posted soon also!

A big thank you to all of our guests that helped to feed and watch out for the kittie. Thank you to Adam and Kari who helped us capture them, and a big shout out to Stephanie Hawk Killion, who generosity has helped with the vetting of the the kitty family.

Where is the family?

A wonderful family took mama and her babies in and they are living the life in Cobden. We do not need to worr they will be contributing to the population.

We know this is not the last time we will end up having another story to tell. We consider our homes and property to be our responsiblity, so if there is an animal in need, we have to step up. However, we are not going to sugar coat this. Having to face this delemma time and time again is extremely difficult.