The movie Groundhog Day (1993) with Bill Murray is one of my favorite movies. It was filmed in the town of Woodstock IL, just a half hour from where we’re living. Groundhog Day is an annual holiday celebrated in the United States and Canada on February 2nd in which a groundhog, also known as a woodchuck or marmot, emerges from its burrow to predict the weather. If the groundhog sees its shadow it will retreat into its burrow and winter will continue for 6 more weeks. This traditional event takes place in several towns across the USA and Canada, but the most famous groundhog is of course Punxsutawney Phil. The movie takes place in the town of Punxsutawney in Pennsylvania, but was actually filmed in Woodstock.
The above picture (which I took in December 2005 when we visited Woodstock) is that of a 114-year-old Victorian-style house that was depicted in the movie as the bed and breakfast where Phil Connors keeps waking up at 6:00am on the same day, over and over again. In its long history this house was never actually used for guests, but the house was recently purchased by Everton Martin and he’s planning to turn it into a real bed and breakfast! How cool is that?
Everton Martin and Karla Stewart Martin bought the old home in Woodstock after searching for two years for a place that would fulfill their dream of owning a bed and breakfast. Initially unaware of the landmark’s celebrity status, the couple hopes to give the three-story house a new lease on life thanks to a $500,000 renovation.
Because of its history as the movie set for Groundhog Day, the city of Woodstock celebrates Groundhog Days every year. This year’s events will start on January 25th (see the schedule of events), with woodcarving demonstrations, a chili cook-off, dinner/dance and auction, a walking tour of filming sites, breakfast and Woodstock Willie’s prognostication on February 2nd.
I hope we can do the walking tour this year and make it to the Groundhog Day Prognostication on February 2nd.