Travel and Leisure News
By Richard Moss
RiverBank Lodge is a 24-unit Boutique Hotel located in Historic Petersburg, IL. Visit our website at: www.riverbanklodge.com and/or Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/riverbanklodgepetersburg. Situated in a former bank building is unlike any typical repurposed bank. The architect that designed the building did not conform to the design norms of the day, which makes for a more interesting conversion from bank to hotel.
Our main area attraction is New Salem State Historic Park, where Abraham Lincoln spent seven formative years as a young adult. (He also did the original survey for Petersburg when it was founded.) We are 10 miles from the 14,000 acre Jim Edgar Panther Creek State Fish and Wildlife Park. JEPC features 3 well stocked lakes, miles of hiking trails, and plenty of beautiful nature scenes. Hunters come from many States to harvest the larger deer common to the area.
We are only 20 minutes from Downtown Springfield, where several other Lincoln attractions can be found. The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum, Illinois State Museum, Lincoln’s Home (which he lived in directly prior to becoming President), Lincoln’s Tomb, several War Memorials, and our State Capital are just a few of the attractions there.
Col. Benjamin F. Stephenson who founded the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR), a fraternal organization composed of veterans of the Civil War, is buried in a Petersburg cemetery. The GAR eventually became what we now refer to as the Veterans Administration. Dr. Stephenson was a Civil War surgeon, who had compassion for deceased and wounded Union Soldiers, the effects and misfortune of them and their families. Every April, Union Army Soldier descendants gather in full uniform paying tribute to Dr. Stephenson. They fire a cannon and give a 21-gun salute in his honor. The annual event lasts a few hours but we feel that it is an uplifting event worth the experience. The monument is funded and maintained by the Illinois Sons of the Union Veterans of the Civil War.
There are several wedding venues including wineries in Menard County hosting ceremonies and receptions. We often have the honor of housing out-of-town guests at our hotel. Since we have both lodging and a lounge with fantastic pizza, wedding guests usually like to top off the evening before drifting off to bed without needing to get behind the wheel.
Everyone is impacted by concerns over COVID-19. We practice all precautions recommended by the CDC, County Health Department and Governor Pritzker. This applies to our rooms, common areas, restaurant-lounge, and our video gaming area.
Petersburg has a quaint, attractive, and vibrant downtown surrounding the Menard County Courthouse. The city has approximately 2,200 residents. A similar number of residents reside just outside the city limits. We think you will enjoy visiting our local shops and restaurants.
We also sponsor a few tours to nearby unique attractions, such as Starhill Arboretum which is the largest oak arboretum in North American. Emiquon Preserve is a large natural area nearby, recently restored by the Nature Conservancy. The Tour guides of these places are renowned professionals who can give you intimate details of these places. These are located within minutes of RiverBank Lodge. Both tours start from Riverbank Lodge.