Weekend In Champaign




Home Of The Fighting Illini












Champaign, home of the University of Illinois,  ranked the 8th best University in the United States and home of the Fighting Illini!  The last time we were in Memorial Stadium was the fall of 2002 for  a Chicago Bears vs Green Bay Packers game.  Soldier Field was going through a major renovation and all the Bears home games were played in Memorial Stadium. Fast forward 14 years and we're back!!!.. This time to see what all the roar is in Champaign with the hiring of Coach Lovie Smith and his staff as the Fighting Illini take on  #22 ranked University of North Carolina.  It's been a rough road for the Illini and they are hoping Lovie and his staff can get it going in the right direction. We arrived early afternoon for a night game.  The Country Inn and Suites was the hotel of choice and they didn't disappoint. The suite was spacious and had the feel of a little cabin.  The breakfast was more than most hotels and served the purpose to start the day.








Champaign is a town full of charm surrounded by Urbana and Savoy.  I fell in love with this tree. 








 On game day fans came from miles and miles away! I know because we came from Miami!! The Fighting Illini had a big test early in the season but don't tell the fans that.  They gathered in Grange Grove for some pregame tailgating.  The place was packed with fans of all ages. After walking around trying to find where we were going to enter it was finally game time!!  













            

         
              






It was the first sellout crowd since 2011 and the first sellout crowd for a non conference opponent since 1987. The excitement was definetly in the air again!  It may take a while to get back to those Championship days but as they say "Rome wasn't built in a day." 

Don't tell these young fans the Illini isn't back, they had an awesome night!










The Illini may not have gotten the win but it was an exciting night. 

Our grandkids traveled from Peoria and enjoyed the game with us.




At the end of the night Grange Grove was empty, we were off to get some much needed rest. Our weekend was far from over.






The next day we visited the Market Place Mall for a little shopping.  I loved the decor of the mall as you can see it looks like a quaint neighborhood. Then we were off to see the campus. 

















During our stay we had dinner at 301 Mongolia which I will share soon. 



Our final day we ate lunch at Merry-Ann's,  an old fashioned diner with our nephew.  It was a great weekend and we can't wait to do it again! Did I mention our nephew is a University of Illinois student and one of the newest members of the Fighting Illini football team? Well for the next 4 years we'll keep you updated on how Coach Lovie Smith and his staff are doing!



1 comment

  1. Looks like you'll had a great weekend!

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