Take a Snake Walk!

Each October, The Shawnee National Forest temporarily closes LaRue Road #345 (also known as the Snake Road) between SNF Color Logomile post 3.0 and mile post 5.8. This section of the road will remain closed until Oct. 30, 2017. The road is closed seasonally for the protection of migrating snakes and amphibians as they make the seasonal journey from their winter hibernation areas to their summer swamp habitats. Some of these species have been identified as threatened and endangered by both the state of Illinois and the U.S. Forest Service. By closing the road added protection is provided to help ensure the reptile’s safe crossing during this critical time of migration.

ScottBallardHiking_10-2016On October 7th 2017, Shawnee Friends hosts the Snake Walk with IDNR Herpetologist Scott Ballard on the world-famous Snake Road on the Shawnee National Forest. Join us on this leisurely walk to view snakes and other critters along the bluffs and swamps.

We will meet at the Winter’s Pond parking area. Link to map.

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Sept. 30 Guided Tour


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Eclipse App that Works Without an Internet Connection

Authorities and service providers are preparing visitors and residents for possible disruptions to internet and cellphone service during eclipse weekend.

SI Eclipse Image 2 A local app development firm, in conjunction with SIU’s Research Park, has developed a tool for visitors that doesn’t require an internet connection to use.

Packer Labs, a company founded by local developer Jeremy Packer, will launch the SI Eclipse app before visitors begin arriving the Thursday of the eclipse.

The app, Packer says, is a useful tool for visitors that will provide information about events, businesses, and services in the region. Additionally, Packer says they will be able to communicate with visitors via push notifications, something he says he is not aware of in other tools available to visitors.

“When cellphone reception is available, which is hopefully all or most of the time, we’ll utilize the app to push notifications to visitors with general information or emergency announcements. If cellphone connections fail during eclipse weekend we won’t be able to send out notifications, but people will still be able to use the map and information provided through the offline capabilities we’ve created.”

Packer, who operates his firm out of the Dunn-Richmond Center at SIU’s Research Park, says his firm created this app for free to contribute their part to the massive event that has seen global attention drawn to his Southern Illinois home.

“We developed this app for free and we’re inviting businesses to get listed for free. It’s meaningful that we develop this app and get it into the hands of visitors so that they have all of the information they need, with or without cellphone service.”

Packer has been connecting with other organizations in a final push to ensure that the app will see distribution to the thousands of visitors expected to in our region.

“We want to be a supplemental resource for Carbondale, SIU, and tourism throughout SI Eclipse Jeremy Showcase Image 1the region. Each organization has their own primary tool, like southernillinoiseclipse.com. We don’t want to take away from that. We want to add to it and make sure that we take care of visitors as best we can.”

Packer plans to have over 100 events and 300 plus local points of interests available on the app, including local businesses, medical and emergency service providers, and temporary installments such as hydration stations.

Businesses or organizations who would to like ensure that they’re listed on the app can submit their contact information to SIEclipse.com for inclusion in the app.

Visitors and residents can download the app starting Monday, August 14th.

For questions about the app you can contact SI Eclipse via Facebook at Facebook.com/SIEclipse, or email them at Help@SIEclipse.com.

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Moon Shadows – Eclipse exhibit

anthill gallery will be featuring MOON SHADOWS, a group artist exhibition concurrent with the Total Solar Eclipse from Wednesday, August 2 through Sunday, September 10, 2017 at anthill gallery and The Yellow Moon Cafe in Cobden.


The all-media MOON SHADOWS exhibition will feature Total Eclipse and Celestial theme-related artwork by anthill gallery artists.  This juried exhibition will be in both anthill gallery and the Yellow Moon Cafe’s Luna Gallery from Wednesday, August 2 through Sunday, September 10, 2017.

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Camping, Meditation, and the Eclipse



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Superman Celebration Full Schedule of Events, June 8-11

Massac Beeswax

Thursday-Sunday, June 8-11, 2017
39th Annual Superman Celebration
10 a.m. – 10 p.m. most days
Superman Square and other locations throughout Metropolis

What started as a one-day “Homecoming” for the local residents has now evolved into a 4-day celebration that attracts Superman Fans and families from around the world. Forty-seven states and six different countries were represented at the 2016 Celebration. This year marks the 45th year that Metropolis, IL has been designated as the adopted “Home of Superman.”

The Celebration this year will be dedicated to the memory of Noel Neill, who portrayed Lois Lane in the Adventures of Superman television series. Neill, was a repeat guest to the Superman Celebration for many years and was even given the title “First Lady of Metropolis” when a statue of her portraying Lois Lane was revealed in her honor. Neill passed away in July of 2016.

The Superman Celebration kicks off at 5…

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Brand New Cabin Rental in Shawnee Forest Country

Welcome to the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail’s newest offering!

Cave Creek Cabins are a great new rental opportunity on the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail. Custom built in 2017 with artisan crafted wood features and furnishings made from 100 year old reclaimed lumber, the beautiful cabins are a great place to visit.
Cave Creek Cabins
You can relax on one of the covered decks while enjoying a local wine, and let the trickling sounds of Cave Creek take your cares away.Approximately one mile north of Alto Pass, the cabins are both quiet and convenient. And just beyond the wooded property, is Rendleman Orchard farm market which is open July – Dec.  Enjoy the beautiful orchard blooms on a springtime drive or the flavors of a bountiful harvest from the nearby farm store during peak season.
rendleman orchard peaches
The cabins are only minutes away from many of the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail wineries, a growing number of craft breweries, a variety of restaurants, an abundance of outdoor activities, parks and scenic trails. quetil trail3

Take in a sunset from Bald Knob mountain, then enjoy a robust dining experience filled with Swedish and European flavor! The Peach Barn Cafe uses some of the finest ingredients, including organic eggs, wild-caught fish, and local, in-season produce to create a memorable dining experience.

Swedish Meatballs 7

Swedish meatballs at the Peach Barn Cafe


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