Groundhog Day: The Walking Tour

Bill Murray

Another Groundhog Day has come and gone and come and gone and come and gone, but this year I decided to do something to break the monotony. The time has come for me to make my pilgrimage to Groundhog mecca… no, not Punxsutawney, PA. It turns out the movie Groundhog Day (which I have written so much about) was filmed just an hour and half away from me in Woodstock, IL. Not only that, but Woodstock, IL, has become practically a Groundhog Day amusement park. Not an amusement park for the holiday of Groundhog Day, the way the real Punxsutawney is, but to celebrate the movie! It’s like a shrine to places Bill Murray has stood. There’s even an actual plaque that says Bill Murray stood here.

So, for the 20th anniversary of the Groundhog Day movie I decided to hop a train and make my way to festivities.


Woodstock's Groundhog Days featured a week of events that included several screenings, a dance (hopefully with bachelor auction), a symposium, and a walking tour of filming sites… BING! You get to see the Pennsylvanian Hotel, Gobbler’s Knob, the Puddle!, Tip Top Café (which doesn’t exist in any capacity, so really isn’t worth taking a picture of or seeing), the Alpine Theater, the bowling alley, and the Cherry Street Inn. All of which was mostly within 50 ft. of each other. So, if you like walking tours but hate walking then this is the tour for you. BING!

Woodstock has become what it was fictionally portrayed as being. It's now crammed with various Groundhog merchandise: shirts, mugs, buttons, stuffed animals, and cookies. And just about every restaurant has a framed photo of Murray.


Follow up:

groundhog cookie
Cookies make me smirk (everything makes me smirk)
Groundhog picture
No actual Murrays were spotted on tour.
groundhog stuffed animal
Maximum Smirk. I guess if you stare into the eyes of a Groundhog long enough you will have stroke.
groundhog cutout
Woodstock Willie & Me
Woodstock Square Park
I entered the legendary Woodstock Square Park, which was Gobbler’s Knob in the film.
Then I spun around and around in circles for 10 minutes.
Gobbler's Knob
Yep, I'm really in Gobler's Knob
Bob Hudgins
Bob Hudgins - location manager on Groundhog Day and tour leader. He told many fine Groundhog Day stories, but he didn't like being pointed at while smirking oddly.

A gazebo that appeared in the movie. Also of note: part of my photographer's sunglasses, which were not a regular part of the tour.
Ned's Corner
You can't see this, but I just ran into a guy from high school who tried to sell me insurance. That's why I look like that. Yeah, that's why.
Bill Murray's Footprint
The highlight of the journey: the puddle Bill Murray stepped into, well not the puddle but the sidewalk marked with a commemorative plate. Next year perhaps there will be a plaque next to it that says, "Wolf Gnards Crouched Here."
Alpine Theater
The Apline Theater: No spaghetti westerns were playing. But you can see such classics as One for the Money starring Katherine Heigl. Even though I've never seen it, I will guarantee no town will ever give One for the Money tours.
Groundhogs Day
Groundhogs Day!? So, what? So, they spelled the name of the movie wrong that they were basing this entire week off of? I don't blame them. If Valentine's Day belongs to Valentine, and St. Patrick's Day belongs to Patrick, then surely groundhogs deserve to own Groundhog's Day.
Pennsylvanian Hotel
The hotel Rita (Andie MacDowell) stayed in and also the tower Bill Murray jumps off of.
Closer look at the tower. Still no Murray sightings.

The tour was actually very good even though you can see all the attractions by standing in the middle of the park and turning your head from left to right. Apparently, they have it every year and you should check it out if you're a fan. Although, I do mean if you're a fan. I was probably one of the lesser fans in attendance. These hardcore Hoggers were quoting the DVD commentary.

Glad I did it though. I’ve stood we’re Bill Murray has stood, I’ve seen what Harold Ramis has seen, does that make me the fifth Ghostbuster? I like to think so.


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