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Carbondale is a small city in Southern Illinois with a population of ca. 26,000 people. The region is quite affordable and graduate students can afford to live alone (if they wish)--- something that is more difficult to achieve in most college towns.  Further, students can also live in a rural forested areas while being less than 10 minutes from Carbondale.  The regional landscapes varies from bottomlands to uplands with rolling hills, bluffs, and rugged topography. This makes it perfect home for outdoor lovers (when they are not in the rainforest’s of S. America). For more info on the city of Carbondale go to

Though somewhat isolated, when in need of big city amenities, St. Louis is about 2 hrs away.  Other nearby cities included: Memphis, TN (3hrs); Chicago, IL (5 hrs); Louisville, KY (3 hrs); Nashville, TN (3hrs).  Regarding transit services, Carbondale has direct Amtrak routes to Chicago and Memphis (to New Orleans). The Veterans Airport (MWA) is 20 min from Carbondale and serviced by Contour and connects daily to to Chicago O’Hare (ORD). There also exist several shuttles to St. Louis. Alternatively, there are many daily flights from United Airlines at Barkley Regional Airport in Paducah Kentucky, which is about 1 hr away.

As follows are a few of my favorite things in the Carbondale area (in no particular order):

Eating and Drinking

The Long Branch Café

The Neighborhood Coop

Scratch Brewery
Farmers Markets

Hanger 9

17th Street BBQ

Alto Vineyards
Owl Creek Vineyard
Pomona Winery

Giant City State Park

Snake Road

Vienna Fossil Site

Kayaking or Canoeing the Cache River

Kayaking or Canoeing Cedar Lake

Biking Tunnel Hill Trail (recommend starting at Vienna and heading north)

Any part of Shawnee Forest

Foraging for edible mushrooms

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