Wine and water

The road from Ottawa to Starved Rock State Park passes through Utica, home of the Illinois River Winery.  I had not expected to see vineyards in Illinois any more than I did in Texas, and I assure you, the wine from the latter is perfectly drinkable.  We sampled some of the Illinois wine and one of my companions who lives in France, bought a couple of bottles to take back home to the south of France.  I settled for taking a picture of their delivery truck and these lamps as examples for a possible future craft project.

Utica’s Main Street is shorter than the one in Ottawa, but with a lovely building housing the local Irish Pub at the end facing the canal.

Irish pub

The roads are not the only thing connecting Ottawa and Utica, the Illinois & Michigan canal also connects these two towns.  We assumed that the canal contributed to the tourism in the town which is also home to the LaSalle County Historical Museum.  The waterway that passes through the town appears very un-utilised, despite the silos right alongside the canal.

On my return to an internet connection I researched the I&M canal a little to find it stopped serving as a transport route in 1956, no wonder it appears un-utilised.  Originally it provided a direct link from the Great Lakes to the Illinois river which flows into the Mississippi all the way to the Gulf of Mexico.  Its completion in 1848 preceded the railroads in making Chicago the transport centre of the United States as described by the guide at the Railroad Museum in Sacramento.

Since its decommissioning, parts have been filled in, whereas between certain locks, like at LaSalle there are mule drawn canal boats and the canal attracts tourists.  Here Utica the canal and its bridges provide pretty scenery.



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