GETTING THERE: There are no nonstop flights from the Washington area to Springfield, Ill. The cheapest option I found was a combination of US Airways and United flights on Orbitz.com from Reagan National via Cleveland for $317. I flew on American out of BWI to St. Louis for $180; from there, it was a two-hour drive to the museum.
LINCOLN MUSEUM: The Lincoln Museum (212 N. Sixth St.) is open daily except holidays. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day except Wednesdays, when it's open until 8:30 p.m. Admission is $7.50 for adults, $3.50 for children 15 and under. Details: 217-558-8844, www.alplm.org.
WHERE TO STAY: The three-star Renaissance Springfield Hotel (701 E. Adams St., 800-468-3571 or 217-544-8800, www.renaissance.com), part of the Marriott chain, is within easy reach of the Lincoln Museum. The rooms are big and well furnished, and there is an indoor pool and a fitness center. Doubles start at $95 a night.
For travelers on a budget, the Signature Inn of Springfield (3090 Stevenson Dr., 800-822-5252 or 217-529-6611, www.signatureinn.com), a 10-minute drive to the museum, is a decent choice. With nice beds, fridges and microwaves in all the rooms, a fitness center, an indoor pool and breakfast, it's two cuts above basic. Doubles start at $79 a night.
Bed-and-breakfast fans will like the quaintness of the 10-room Henry Mischler House (802 E. Edwards, 217-525-2660, www.mischlerhouse.com). It's folksy but comfortable and only six blocks from the museum. Doubles start at $75 a night, including a filling Midwestern breakfast.
WHERE TO EAT: There's a good range of dining options within walking distance of the museum, including the Garden of Eat'N (115 N. Sixth St., 217-544-5446), a casual lunch spot across the street that serves fresh salads and sandwiches to order. For two, lunch is about $15.
The Tea Thyme Tea Room (1001 S. Sixth St., 217-528-3778) serves lunch, dinner and afternoon tea. For dinner, you can get tasty grilled chicken, salad and dessert for about $40 for two.
Capitol Steakhouse (620 S. First St., 217-744-3333, www.capitolsteakhouse.com) also serves hearty dinners; a huge steak, baked potato and beer runs about $45 for two.
INFORMATION: For general info on visiting Springfield and tips on other Lincoln sights around town, contact the Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau, 800-545-7300, www.visitspringfieldillinois.com.
-- Gary Lee