Thank you for the opportunity to introduce and connect our uniquely different facility to the world. First and foremost the Charles family endeavors to be hospitable and works to make your stay enjoyable.
The multi-facetted facility is located in the gorgeous wilds of the southernmost Illinois Ozarks adjacent to and surrounded by the Shawnee National Forest. In 1986 the Charles family bought the farm and reclaimed the 1930 grandparents property and house site. It has been a dream and work in progress ever since. In 1988 the name Trail of Tears was chosen for the facility because of our Cherokee heritage as well as to call attention to the history of the forced removals of the civilized tribes and all tribes East of the Mississippi.
In 1988 the Charles became licensed outfitters. Our facility provides primitive camping, and currently limited water and electric hookups, as well as many diverse amenities, i.e., an outdoor swimming pool with a deck, a stocked fishing pond with blue gill, bass, crappie, hybrid sun fish and catfish for catch and release, a small putt putt golf, multi use trails, horse back rentals, ATV riding, archery and gun ranges and sporting clays. We are your guides to adventure.
The rustic Lodge, an original 1920 renovated barn with seven bedrooms, is a licensed family oriented lodging facilty and restaurant. The stock stalls became the bedrooms, each with an attached bathroom and shower. Small, but quaint, they are set up as sleeping rooms. There is no TV or telephone in the bedrooms buy WIFI and TV are available in the Great Room upstairs. Floors are ceramic tile, central heat and a/c and plenty of hot water for guests. A full, home cooked breakfast is provided to lodging guests. Depending on the day, breakfast consists of bacon, ham or sausage, omelets, blue berry pancakes, French toast, southern biscuits & gravy, fruit, milk, juice, coffee & tea. B&B is an $80 per night package for one or two people plus $8.80 state and county tax and all of the Lodge amenities become available to each guest.
A Great Room is upstairs with a big screen TV and plenty of seating for lodging guests. Our grandparents barn wood was reclaimed and became part of the Great Room décor. Downstairs the original barnwood and posts remain in commemoration of its structure. The Lodge is included in the historic barn trail in southernmost Illinois.
The original farm house is the rustic cabin. It is a two night minimum stay with security deposit. It has a kitchen with fridge, microwave, and stove. There is a tiny bedroom downstairs which can house either a queen bed or set of bunk beds. There is an upstairs loft bedroom large enough for a queen bed and a couple of separate beds. It is a step back in time when you stay.
In 2010 the upscale stone courtyard was added, complete with a bubbling brook, octagon rock fountain and koi fountain. You can watch hundreds of hummingbirds all summer long. The hummingbirds burn through 50 pounds of sugar per week at peak residence. We are known as one of the top ten Illinois sites to view the hummers. At night, look at the stars through the facility provided in house telescope.
We have an octagon gazebo next to the stone courtyard where musicians perform live music. There is no additional charge to Lodging guests. The Lodge attained its winery license this year and we are releasing our Lodge line of wine in the near future. The facility annually hosts the morel mushroom festival, hummingbird soiree’, weddings, retreats and reunions.
A grand stand arena with seating for 1500 to 2000 is where events are hosted, i.e., monster truck show, rodeo, mud races, music festivals, etc. Whatever the mind can conceive we will work to achieve in the outdoor recreational enjoyment field.
We currently are a family oriented vacation destination where you kick back and make yourself at home. We sincerely invite the good spirited to come as a stranger, leave as a friend.
The Charles Family