LocalLit book review: a new/old way to experience Illinois this summer

Route 66 guidebook for Illinois has directions, photos, suggestions for best experiences

With COVID-19 cases on the rise again due to the delta variant, some people are re-thinking their vacation plans.

Whether or not you’re one of them, here’s a relatively low-key way to travel this summer: take a road trip on Route 66 in Illinois.

Now as John Weiss says in his book “New, Historic Route 66 of Illinois,” you won’t find Route 66 on a standard road map because Route 66 no longer exists. But you can retrace it with Weiss’ streamlined, but detailed, directions, along with mentions of noteworthy sites - whether you stop to see them or nod as you pass by.

Weiss divided his book into 14 regions. Here are a few local sites he recommended.

Braceville: The Wicked Cricket Pub and Grill. Visit wickedcricketbarandgrill.com.

Braidwood: The Polk-A-Dot Drive In. Visit enjoyillinois.com.

Crest Hill: Rich and Creamy ice cream, which is also the official starting point of Route 66 in the Joliet area, Weiss says. Visit its Facebook page at business.facebook.com/richandcreamyonroute66.

Elwood: Children’s garden. Visit villageofelwood.com.

Joliet: Weiss suggests taking a historic, one-mile walking tour, which he outlines in his book. He also recommends checking out Joliet Iron Works (visit reconnectwithnature.org) and the Old Joliet Prison (visit jolietprison.org).

Lockport: The Norton Building, home to the Illinois State Gallery (visit illinoisstatemuseum.org); the Lincoln Landing (lincolnlanding.org) and the Gaylord Building (gaylordbuilding.org).

Plainfield: The Tawny Tortoise carries speciality foods, dolls and gift items. Visit thetawnytortoise.com.

Romeville: White Fence Farm has a rustic interior, great chicken and powdered sugar-dusted corn fritters, and a collection of antique machines you can play. Visit whitefencefarm-il.com.

Wilmington: The Launching Pad Drive-In Restaurant and the Gemini Giant. Visit its Facebook page at facebook.com/thelaunchingpadroute66.

Weiss said his book is available to buy at the Joliet Historical Museum.

For information about Route 66, go to thefirsthundredmiles.com.

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