“Well, what if there is no tomorrow? There wasn’t one today.” – famous words spoken by Bill Murray in the movie Groundhog Day. Today is the day after Groundhog Day, a new day, but before we move forward closer to Spring, our Field Trip Friday post takes us back a day to February 2nd to look at the place where the movie was actually filmed – Woodstock, IL, about 51 miles NW of Chicago. OHNY’s program coordinator, Jailee is from Chicago and last Spring she took a short trip to visit the Illinois town that posed as Punxsutawney, PA in the 1993 film.

Woodstock, IL is a small town with a little less than 25,000 residents. It has a cute town square with a gazebo in the middle that made it the perfect location for the film. This site was used as a recreation spot for Gobbler’s Knob, which is actually located in Punxsutawney, PA. If you click on the link, it takes you to the visitor site for the small Pennsylvania town. Funny enough, the site mentions the movie but doesn’t tell you the fact that most of it was filmed in Illinois.

According to the location scout of the movie, Bob Hodgins, over 60 small towns were considered before Woodstock was chosen. Read a an interview with Hodgins here to learn more. Woodstock certainly is proud to have been host to Bill Murray, Andie McDowell and company. The town is peppered with these plaques that commemorate the specific set locations.

If you plan to visit Woodstock and want to see all of the locations in the movie they have a walking tour map that shows you where all the main spots are including the Pennsylvania Hotel, Phil Conners’s hotel in the movie and the location of the car crash.

I had heard about the plaque marking the spot where Bill Murray continually steps into a huge puddle. As a huge fan of the movie and Bill Murray, I was thrilled to find it. The curb appears to be in good working order, so I doubt you will find a puddle here when it rains but this is what you find on the sidewalk.

One of my favorite locations in the film is the Tip Top Cafe with the large assortment of clocks hanging everywhere (the motif of time is ever present in the film). This is where the waitress drops a tray of dishes everyday and the special is blueberry waffles.

I was disappointed to find out that the Tip Top Cafe doesn’t actually exist. It is listed on the map and there is a plaque that marks the spot but I was hoping to at least have a coffee in the cafe with all the clocks. The quaint cafe was actually created by the film crew specifically for the movie. Apparently, it was so popular that it was turned into a real cafe called the Tip Top Bistro but has since then changed. The address is now Jaci’s Cookie Shop.

My final photo is of the Woodstock Theater, which was the Alpine Theater in the movie. Phil Conners and his date go here to see Heidi 2 in the film. And yes, there is also a plaque here to mark the spot. This is a photo of my family after a nice dinner at the La Petite Creperie & Bistro located on one of the corners of Woodstock’s town square. It’s a quaint town to visit, if you happen to be in the suburbs of Chicago. The town certainly keeps the spirit of its film history alive – they have Woodstock Willie, their local groundhog, that comes out to predict the weather every year on February 2nd.

 

 

 

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