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  • Writer's picturethehonestmama

I Spent Some Time in Tuscola This Summer: Here’s Why You Should Too

When I started this website back in 2016 with a newborn baby in tow, I didn’t have an expansive vision for what the future here would entail. All I knew at the time was that I had personal anecdotes of trials, tribulations, and triumphs that felt like they needed to be documented and shared somewhere. I never could have envisioned the community that would be formed and the amazing experiences that would eventually become part of this blogging journey.

Being able to share so many of my favorite things through this platform has been one of the best experiences. I’ve been fortunate to partner with some incredible small businesses over the years and most recently, a small but mighty central Illinois community that is near and dear to my heart. The city of Tuscola was a place I frequented growing up in a small town nearby. In the mid-2000s, Tuscola was where I tasted Mexican food for the first time, purchased a majority of my CD collection from the outlet mall, and frequented the Pizza Hut and DQ. Outside of a collection of fond memories from my teenage years, I never truly experienced Tuscola to the fullest until this summer.

Whether you’re looking for a great place to shop ‘til you drop, or you’re looking for a sweet new date spot, look no further than the charming town of Tuscola. Conveniently located just off I-57, Tuscola is a quick jaunt from the Champaign-Urbana area.

On our first visit to Tuscola, Everleigh, my mom, and I visited the downtown area for a girls’ day. Other than a few quick stops at specific locations in the past, I’d never really previously taken the time to explore downtown. The area is so charming with beautiful landscaping, ample shopping opportunities, and some great lunch spots. We stopped in to two of the cutest clothing boutiques, Shimmer & Sheek and Sweet Soul, and were pleasantly surprised with all the trendy women’s fashion offered at both stores as well as the adorable kids’ items at Sweet Soul.

We also visited Rainbows & Sunshine which is a consignment boutique with a large selection of gently used clothing in a wide range of sizes for kids and adults, and then we stopped in at Downtown Design Studio. Downtown Design has the most fun and unique craft workshops where you create custom decor pieces to take home, and they also have convenient take and make kits so you can do the crafting on your own time. In addition to all the DIY possibilities, Downtown Design also offers custom clothing and one-of-a-kind local apparel. Our final stops before lunch at the nostalgic Flesor’s Candy Kitchen were Kelsey’s Furniture where we checked out the large showrooms full of countless mattresses, sofas, and recliners, and Paddy Wagon which offered an impressive inventory for antique shopping enthusiasts.

Everleigh even got to be the cashier at a few of our stops!


During our second visit, Clayton and I returned to Tuscola on our own for a much needed date day. We played a fun round of golf on a perfect day at Ironhorse golf course, then stopped in for a drink at Cast Iron Pub downtown. After countless raving reviews and recommendations, we knew we had to finish off our visit with dinner at Ta’Carbon.

We loved that Ta’Carbon had a huge menu with a wide variety of options. We chose to sit on the laid-back and casual bar side, which was separate from the more traditional and expansive dining side. Our meals were great, including an appetizer sampler that was massive and delicious!

I played a surprisingly decent round of golf for my first full 18 hole game in a few years!


In addition to what we were able to experience during our two visits, there are countless restaurants, parks, and shopping opportunities that Tuscola has to offer. True to most of our Central Illinois communities, the small town hospitality in Tuscola is also second to none. I hope you’ll consider visiting Tuscola soon - I know we’ll be back!

For an inside look at our time in Tuscola, check out my Tuscola highlight reel. You can find my little corner of the internet and see more small business and local community features here on Instagram.


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