Upcoming events along the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail

Featured Events

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.
 

Holiday Open House
November 25th and 26th, 2022

Winter Passport Program
January 2nd - February 28th

CHEESE-NOT A SOLO ACT March 4, 2023 – 11:00pm-6:00pm March 5, 2023 – 12:30am-5:00pm

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31st Annual Lights Fantastic Parade

Illinois Avenue Carbondale, IL 62901 DEC 03, 2022 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.

Past Events


Cider, Pumpkins, and Apples

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. 

Halloween Fun!

Poster for Blue Sky Vineyards Wine and Witches

Blue Sky Vineyard and Starview Vineyard are both having costume parties! We love Halloween!

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.
southernmostillinois.com

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 :)
shawneewinetrail.com

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.
visitsi.com

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

Flyway Fungi Festival

Image of Fungi Festival 2022

October 14 - 16 | 2022

A weekend celebration of fungus in the Shawnee National Forest at gorgeous Camp Manitowa at Cedar Point. Learn everything about wild, foraged, and even about Flyway Farm's fresh mushrooms through a variety of educational workshops.

Learn more

Vulture Fest 2022

\ Vulture Fest Poster

October 15th and 16th
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.

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Paint & Sip at the Tuscan Sun Event Pavilion & Gazebo

Pumpkin painting

Paint and Sip | November 13th | 3:00pm - 5:00pm

Enjoy a sunny afternoon with friends at another paint and sip experience with Project Human X! Let your creative juices flow and they will take care of the wine.

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Spayghetti and a Show

September 9th
Old Feed Store | Cobden

Cute gray and white kitten near foliage

Spayghetti dinner with a live music show by Banjo Joe and Danielle at the Old Feed Store on Friday, September 9 from 6-9pm. Please make plans to attend!

Learn more

The Spayghetti and a Show fundraiser brought in over $2500 to help the spay and neuter program. This is an annual event.

If you would like to support the Cobden Spay/Neuter program, go to their facebook page. Thank you!

Spayghetti and a Show

Cobden Spay / Neuter Coalition is a grassroots organization that is dear to our hearts.

As we all know, getting to the root of so many unwanted cats and dogs is to spay and neuter. Effect that change, then there will be fewer rescues needed.

We have rescued many animals over the years, at the cabins and our own homes. When I can, I'll tell you the story of the hobbit kitty, Tauriel. But that is for another day.

Recently, we enlisted the help of Jillian and of Dr. Heinrich from the Cobden Spay/Neuter Coalition for a (another) stray family of cats at our cabins. We are so grateful for their incredible help.

There will be a silent auction at this event and there will be a wine trail package that includes a two day getaway at our cabins. Make plans to be there!

Upcoming Event! Spayghetti and a Show. September 9th in Cobden, Illinois. Kind of long post but really important read. Please and thank you :) Cobden Spay/Neuter Coalition is a grassroots organization that is dear to our hearts. As we all know, getting to the root of so many unwanted cats and dogs is to SPAY AND NEUTER. Effect that change, then there will be fewer rescues needed. We have rescued many animals over the years, at the cabins and our own homes. When I can, I'll tell you the story of the hobbit kitty, Tauriel. But that is for another day. Recently, we enlisted the help of Jillian and of Dr. Heinrich from the Cobden Spay/Neuter Coalition for a (another) stray family of cats at our cabins. We are so grateful for their incredible help. Our guests, Adam and Kari, that helped to trap the family, and the generous donation from Stephanie, who helped to vet the kitty family. There will be a silent auction with a Wine Trail package that includes a two day getaway at our cabins and a discount with Shawnee Shuttle. Make plans to be there! Locals, it would incredible to show your support for this much needed cause that directly affects everyone. If you cannot attend, consider a donation. More silent auction items are needed. This short video is the release of Daddy kitty back out at Rocky Comfort Cabins. Daddy kitty would not make a good house cat (feral). The best decision was to return him to his territory at our cabins on Panther's Den Road.

This short video is the release of Daddy kitty back out at Rocky Comfort Cabins.

Cobden Spay/Neuter Coalition's Mission...

The Spay/Neuter Task Force is open to all participants interested in combating animal over-population within the Cobden area via the humane method of castration. We have enlisted the help of local veterinary team, Dr. Ray Heinrichs and his wife Debbie, Union County Animal Control, Finding Forever Animal Rescue, Cobden Village Hall, CCBA, local police and private citizens for this purpose. We have already begun this

incredible effort and ask anyone interested to join us!

The number one goal of the Spay/Neuter Task Force is to help Cobden residents get their pets fixed. With the understanding that spay and neuter surgeries are costly, we have created a voucher program for local residents to sponsor one half of the cost of spay and neuter surgeries performed by Dr. Heinrichs.

We will offer a limited number of vouchers for spay and neuter surgeries. Scroll to the bottom for full service and price list. Our next goal is to address the stray and feral cat population within the Village. We will work with our partners safely remove and/or contain stray and feral cat populations. Please report stray and feral cats, and spread the word among your neighbors about this great opportunity. Contact us for assistance! Please do not harm cats! We will live trap for you. Stray and feral cats will be tested for Feline FIV and leukemia. Want to join the spay/neuter task force? There are several ways to get involved!

We've raised funds for vouchers through a yard sale in fall 2016 and will host 2nd yard sale on Friday & Saturday, May 5 & 6. Seeking 6-10 volunteers to work sale shifts, and additional assistance with set-up and tear down. Also collecting items for upcoming sale. And, we could use storage space for these items. Estimated sale hours 8am-1pm .

Can't donate items or help with the sale? That's okay, we'll have more opportunities to come. Or, get creative and come up with an initiative to raise money for our cause on your own. It could be as simple as decorating a coffee can for a local convenient store counter top, or elaborate as hosting an activity or game at a local community event. Spaghetti dinner or house concert? Bake sale? We're open to suggestions! Please join us in gaining control of our animal population in a sustainable way which we can be proud of. A healthy animal population is good for all. Thanks for your help. It takes a Village

Show More...
Read the full story of Mama Kitty

Learn more about the Spayghetti Fundraiser on their Facebook page!

Alto Vineyards

Harvest Festival Fireworks Show
October 1st 11:00am - 9pm

Alto Harvest Fireworks Show

Celebrate 34 years of Alto with us on October 1st from 11 AM - 9 PM. We will have lots of activities, including our famous fireworks by Falling Skies Pyrotechnics.

Learn more

Cache Bayou Outfitters Moon Paddles

Join the staff of Cache Bayou Outfitters as they paddle the swamp under light of the rising moon!

Hunter's Moon Paddle

Image of SAP moon over Cache River

Hunters Moon Paddle | October 9th

Moon paddle tours by Cache Bayou Outfitter.

Join the tour as they paddle through the ancient wetlands of the Cache River at night and hear the call of this ancient wild place. The guides will share their knowledge of beavers, bats and owls of the Cache River.

Learn More

  • Thunder Moon Paddle | July 13 at 7:30 pm
  • Green Corn Moon Paddle | August 11 at 7 pm
  • Harvest Moon Paddle | September 16 at 5 pm
  • Hunters Moon Paddle | October 9 at 5:30 pm

Go to Cache Bayou Outfitters

Camp Manitowa at Cedar Point
1499 Camp Cedar Point LN. Makanda, IL 62958

Rain or Shine!

This is the festival we've been waiting for this year. Ed and I missed it last October and there is no way we are missing out on all the fun this time.

Flyway Fungi Festival

October 14 - 16, 2022

Music, vendors, hikes, and of course, mushroom hunting with skilled leaders.

Have fun learning more about the fungus among us in Shawnee National Forest, and in your own back yard.

WORKSHOPS INCLUDE

  • Guided foraging hikes
  • Mushroom identification
  • Mushroom photography
  • Mycomedicinals
  • Mushroom cooking demos followed by dinner & trivia
  • Mini Farmer’s Market
  • Kids Craft workshops
  • Kids Parade of Wild Things
  • Mushroom farm tour
  • Cultivation workshops
  • Live music on Saturday by members of Porch Fire, Lone Howl, and more! 

Cache Bayou Outfitters Moon Paddles

Join the staff of Cache Bayou Outfitters as they paddle the swamp under light of the rising moon!

  • Thunder Moon Paddle | July 13 at 7:30 pm
  • Green Corn Moon Paddle | August 11 at 7 pm
  • Harvest Moon Paddle | September 16 at 5 pm
  • Hunters Moon Paddle | October 9 at 5:30 pm

Go to Cache Bayou Outfitters

Blue Sky Nights

How It Works:  Simply select your flight at time of purchase and enjoy our awarded wines perfectly paired with complimenting bites upon your arrival.  Take home tasting notes and recipe cards to impress the guests at your next gathering and leave with much more confidence in your wine and food pairing skills.

FREE for Wine Club Members – Email or Call the Winery tor Reserve Space:  618-995-9463

Reservations Required

Guests will also be able to order our charcuterie boards, and bread and olive oil presentations throughout the evening.

Learn more

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.