From the moment you drive through the golden gates at Blue Sky Vineyard, you’ll feel like you were transported to a charming estate in Italy. I had to remind myself that we were in southern Illinois a few times over the weekend!
Tucked away on the eastern edge of the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail featuring a beautiful lake, Blue Sky is one of the most scenic vineyards on the trail.
Even in the winter with bare vines and ice-covered trees, the rolling landscape is captivating.
My husband and I visited Shawnee National Forest a few years ago near the Garden of Gods Recreation Area and have wanted to come back ever since. Once we heard about the premiere grape growing region and the award-winning wineries, we added the wine trail to our future travel list.
This winter we were looking for a romantic getaway from Chicago so we packed our bags and headed to Blue Sky Vineyard!
Full Disclosure: We were hosted by Blue Sky Vineyard and Southernmost Illinois Tourism, but all thoughts and opinions are my own.
5 Reasons to Stay at Blue Sky Vineyard
If I haven’t convinced you to book a room at Blue Sky Vineyard yet, here are our top reasons to:
1. Beautiful Grounds
Overlooking the picturesque countryside, Blue Sky Vineyard is the perfect setting to relax and recharge in a fully immersive wine country experience.
Perched atop the highest point on the property sits a large colorful Tuscan-inspired tasting room complete with a tiled roof and exposed stone.
When you walk inside, take note of all the little details that make the room feel authentic:
- hand-carved wood doors,
- high ceilings,
- stone archway,
- hand-hewn beams,
- and stucco walls with a palette of warm reds, sunflower yellows, and olive green colors.
As we sampled wine and talked to the friendly folks behind the counter, I couldn’t help but look around finding unique hidden gems throughout the room.
On a nice day after you choose a wine to your liking, head outside to one of the inviting terraces overlooking the spectacular vista.
Do you enjoy road trips? Check out my article on the Great River Road in Illinois, the start is not too far from the Shawnee area!
2. Cozy and Romantic Accommodations
Located upstairs from the tasting room, guests can choose from two well-appointed suites all year long: the Blue Sky Suite and the Tuscany Romance Suite.
We enjoyed our few day stay in the latter. Furnished with impressive artwork, rustic antiques, yet with modern amenities, the Tuscany Romance Suite is comfortable and welcoming.
The balcony overlooks the stunning lake and is an ideal place to enjoy a hot cup of coffee in the morning.
The suite features a kitchenette with a sink and fridge, sitting area, table for two, and is stocked with hot coffee, fruit juice, pastries, Greek yogurt, and wafers for breakfast or snacks.
It was always pleasant to end our day at the winery and to eventually cozy up right overhead after hiking and imbibing at other wineries on the trail.
3. In-Depth Look at the Wine & the Vineyard Where it is Grown
There’s something extra special about tasting and buying wine where it is created.
A variety of grapes that match the rich soil of southern Illinois are grown on the 13 acres at Blue Sky: Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, Traminette, Chambourcin, Norton, Seyval, and Vignoles.
That’s roughly 7,750 hybrid vines! When you are one of only two groups of people staying on property, you have the advantage of learning more about the process, history, and inter-workings of the vineyard.
4. Peaceful Mornings and Evenings
The fun doesn’t stop when the tasting room closes.
At various times throughout your stay, you’ll have the property all to yourself with the exception of maybe a few other guests and workers.
It’s a great time to enjoy the tranquility of the property with a stroll through the vineyard, exploring the grounds, the sculptures, and the lake.
5. No Drinking and Driving
And last but not least, staying at Blue Sky Vineyard takes the stress of drinking and driving off the table and allows you to thoroughly relax and enjoy your visit.
Whether you’re in search of a unique stay or a romantic one, Blue Sky Vineyard is an ideal base for exploring the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail and the Shawnee National Forest. Start planning your getaway today!
Blue Sky Vineyard
3550 S. Rocky Comfort Road
Makanda, Illinois 62958