Chicagoans Favorite Places To Getaway?

Old Jan 17th, 2006, 10:14 PM
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Chicagoans Favorite Places To Getaway?

HI,

My husband and I are new to Chicago and we were wondering where everyone goes to getaway from it all? Favorite weekend trips; small towns, beautiful places, culture...anything?

THANKS!
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Old Jan 18th, 2006, 05:50 AM
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hi nina-

here are my favorites, mostly for outdoors activities.

day long nature trails: indiana dunes state park, north park nature center in chicago, north branch bike trail

camping: kettle moraine & devil's lake in wisconsin, starved rock (2 hrs from chicago)

long weekends: door county, wisconsin, southwest michigan area (new buffalo, south haven) - lots of fun antique stores.

weeklongs: upper peninsula of michigan (west side). porcupine mountains is a favorite.

and during the weeks before the 4th of july, i love going to summerfest in milwaukee!
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Old Jan 18th, 2006, 06:15 AM
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Saugatuck, Michigan in the summer.

www.saugatuck.com
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Old Jan 18th, 2006, 06:24 AM
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For a quick break from our usual routine, my husband and I love to explore neighborhoods in the city on a Sunday afternoon. Chicago has so much to offer.

Some of our favorites are Andersonville, Lincoln Square, Wrigleyville, Roscoe Village, Bucktown/Wicker Park and, of course, there's always downtown. If you're new to Chicago, I'm guessing there's a lot you haven't seen. Pick up a good guide book and play tourist for a day!
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Old Jan 18th, 2006, 06:47 AM
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Look into Galena!
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Old Jan 18th, 2006, 06:54 AM
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JJ5
 
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There are many unsung areas near Chicago, that are not Chicago proper that are tremendously fun and IMHO underutilized. The Botanical Gardens in Glencoe is one. Terrific for picnic or weekend stay near this area and B'ai hai Temple too at the same time. Wander here, very centering!

The neighborhoods are a good suggestion, especially at times of festivals. ie Melrose Park during the Our Lady of the MT. Italian festival in late July. I have to go myself again soon. I wonder if they still hang the little girls up like angels from the 2nd or 3rd stories. (I did this when I was 6 or 7- it was a hoot.)

www.metromix.com can tell you about the Chicago neighborhood parties or fetes.

There are many formal resorts like Indian Lakes in various N.& NW areas near Chicago that are great for weekend getaways. In-house pools, atriums/forests inside for walking, music, entertainment. We did a Super Bowl Weekend at one of these years ago that was great fun. You need to book these early for the most part.

Farther there are 100s of places that are extremely interesting. Galena area is and people often rent by the week there. There are huge in-door water parks near the Dells in Wisc. that have become family and couple fun places in winter and in summer. Lake Geneva has some beautiful resorts.

Actually my two very favorite after years of trying are these: Downtown Chicago in Winter Delights Time (so much to do that it is mind-boggling) and Michigan. I love Michigan. Period. Nearly everything after you hit the first Welcome to Michigan lighthouse on 94. For other ideas away from the big Lake- exit 60 at Paw Paw. Lovely little town coming into blossom surrounded by vineyards. Spend time wine tasting and hit the very good restaurtant within Warner's wineries while you are at it.
The wine tasting is free, STILL. I bet those days are numbered.

Or you can do Michigan B&B's- which are literally in the 100's for just SW or South Central Michigan. Many you will be on a lake or have lake toys to use. If you want or like old and authentic- stay at the Mendon Country Inn in Mendon. Best place I have ever found and extremely unfound. The hosts are terrific people and it is like another world. It was the stagecoach house between Detroit and Chicago from 1871 on- many presidents etc. have stayed there. No televisions, the real thing, St.Joe River, canoing etc.

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Old Jan 18th, 2006, 06:55 AM
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1 Day getaways: Chicago Botanic Garden, Ravinia. Indiana Dunes National Park.

Weekend getaways: Galena, IL and Harbor Country, MI up to Saugatuck/Douglas. Indianapolis for the time trials in May. Brown County, Indiana (stay in Nashville, IN). Door County, WI.

Long weekend or more getaways: Above but beyond...Galena down the River Road to St. Louis or up to Minneapolis/St. Paul. Up to the UP in Michigan along the west shoreline of Lake Michigan.
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Old Jan 18th, 2006, 07:10 AM
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WOW!!!! THANKS EVERYONE!!!! Great information....
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Old Jan 18th, 2006, 07:26 AM
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I second the Brown County in IN suggestion. Also their Covered Bridge Festival. Best Pork Chops I ever had.

Also in July, usually after about the 10th of the month: Blueberry picking is great fun- they are all over the place. Great one near Goshen in IN. 100s in MI.
Apple, peach picking also at the proper times. Plymouth IN is a fairly large town, almost a city. It has a terrific Blueberry Festival over Labor Day that has more than some state fairs.

Weekend fling most favored by my very young people/ students: Mears MI - the Dunes here is 1000 acres to walk, 1000 acres for cars. You can rent or take the air out of your own automobile tires. It's beyond awesome if you are an adrenaline junkie. My 60 year old guy who loves speed- flying- motorcycles- says it was the most fun he has had since he's been in his 30's.
It's on a inlet of Lake Michigan called Silver Lake. Silver Lake Sand Dunes and Sleeping Bear North of there. Great areas. Totally underutilized. This dunes area with driving allowed is the only place in the USA still open to the public for this East of the Mississippi. And the one way out West has many more restrictions. So it is a life experience, the people you meet there coming from everywhere to do this activity? Well, they are real individuals.

Also don't forget the Brookfield Zoo. It is one of the best zoos in the world and most active in the restoration of endangered species to natural habitats and to other zoo populations. I am a Brookfield Zoo member and go about 5 times a year. If you have kids they have top of the line kid programs as well and an entire interactive child program. They also have zoo lights nights, parties, etc. with dining- special zoo events that we have enjoyed. Go see Payton before he leaves. Payton is our baby polar bear that's almost grown up and going to Memphis to be their new Daddy someday.
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Old Jan 18th, 2006, 08:19 AM
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Nina,

For the western suburbs I'd recommend the Kane County Flea Market (best IMO in the summer months) and Cantigny with amazing gardens, an old estate house and a cool war museum. Also, if you are living downtown, taking the train out of town west, northwest or north and stopping wherever it looks interesting is also fun.

I'd add Madison, WI in the summer for its amazing Farmer's Market, beautiful lakes and classy restaurants. And, the spa in the Dells, Sundara, has become a favorite adults only getaway for us.

Kevin
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Old Jan 18th, 2006, 08:32 AM
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Cantigny is wellworth it. There are many western IL trips worth taking as well. My daughter and her husband go to Starved Rock area for 2 or 3 days every year. You can camp or lodge- but make reservations for nice weather months early. No, IL is not all flat. There is a new Abraham Lincoln Veteran's Cemetary that is on the way to Bourbanaise (sp) that is worth hours of hiking/viewing. I was awestruke.

And going to Joliet for the new ballpark or new race track is good too. The downtown station is restored now and the Rialto is better than ever. If you can see any music venue here or star performance- it's a good setting and vintage.

And if you do have time do not forget Southern IL. Southern IL is one of the most beautiful and unspoken parts of the country. On the way you can hit the new Abraham Lincoln Public Library and Museum in Springfield or the Cahokia Mounds. You can do the Springfield trip with one overnight or spend the day and return late at night. My friends have done both. I'm going for the day soon.

The new Museum/State Library is state of the art. It has more holograms and interactive displays than Disney. Staying overnight is economical compared to prime city fees.
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Old Jan 18th, 2006, 08:46 AM
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ha! That's my biggest gripe about Chicago, get on a plane!
OK,
Saugatuck Michigan is a pretty artist community and a quick drive.
Lake Geneva for golf/spas
Galena
Hike Starved Rock
Door County WI before the summer crowds hit
Summerfest in Milwaukee
If you are new here, Chicago has wonderful neighborhoods as previously mentioned.
Pilsen on the S Side, mexican, an art fest one day each month
Lincoln Square for german
Andersonville Swedich
Ecelectic arty in Bucktown/Wickerpark
Summer festival season here is awesome!
and our museums are world class.

www.metromix.com and search for arts, events, festivals
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Old Jan 18th, 2006, 09:55 AM
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oh and chinese new year is jan. 29. go down to chinatown, have dim sum & watch the parade which starts around noon.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2006, 08:26 AM
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FYI JJ5-

Haley and Payton left Brookfield for Memphis zoo earlier this month.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2006, 11:11 AM
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Any surrounding city (Milwaukee, St. Louis, Indianapolis, etc.) offers a unique experience. To escape the city, try the I & M canal corridor. In the summer your can avoid spending two hours trying to cross the border into Indiana or Wisconsin. There's great history, charming towns, and beautiful scenery at Starved Rock and Matthisen(sp?) State Parks. Less than two hours down I-80 in La Salle County. Another hour or so and you'll be in the Quad Cities. There's a lot to see there, but without the big city hassles. And I can't believe no one has mentioned the Dells. The Wisconsin Dells are THE thing to do for Chicago families in the summer. Where to begin. Huge water parks, including indoor ones now, so it's a year round destination. Go Kart tracks, mini golf, Tommy Bartletts water show, the boardwalk like atmosphere downtown with the fudge shops, old time photo stores, wax museums, etc. There's also some beautiful scenery and outdoor activities in the area. You need to go at least once just so you'll know what everyone is talking about at work during the summer.
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Old Jan 23rd, 2006, 07:52 AM
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Yes, the Dells are a great favorite of many, especially the water parks. There are now a great number of them, all with varying features, and most are year-around and inside in at least some of their elements.

I know two young families that only go in winter for that reason. The kids are wild about the indoor water parks.
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Old Jan 27th, 2006, 04:00 AM
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Lake Geneva Wisconsin
www.lakegenevawi.com
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Old Jan 27th, 2006, 07:07 AM
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JJ5
 
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Many of the summer or hot weather places mentioned do have completely different ambiance, and I don't think that has clearly been differientiated. Of course it is not across the board, nothing ever is. It might or might not matter to you.

But if you do want to "get away" to lake or recreational areas outside the city the following is my opinion:

Know that some areas are far more "high end" than others. Some are also family rather than couple or adult geared as well.

Lake Geneva is for the most part a groomed resort atmosphere, IMHO. Starved Rock is not.

Dells includes lots and lots of family geared activities. Michigan week long and weekend camps/ establishments are geared more for family (like Sunny Brook Farm) where you have all your meals at the same time- family style and you won't see an adult "dressed for dinner" all week. Of course there are high end adults B&B galore too - if you google them out, especially farther North towards Traverse City and right on the big lake.

But know that you can live on a farm for a week or days, do some farm work if you want, or lots of other options, not just the well known ritzy end ones.

Best fun my kids ever had when very young was at Sunnybrook Farm and/or working in dairy.
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Old Jan 27th, 2006, 12:03 PM
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There's a huge article, actually an entire section, about Midwest water parks in the Southtown/ Herald News today.

There are far more indoor resort/water parks than I thought. They are multiplying like rabbits.

The newest one opened in Utica IL- very close to Chicago. Utica is a beautiful little town that was blasted with a tornado and 7 fatalities just a few years ago. I love Utica.

Grand Bear Lodge Indoor Waterpark
Utica IL

24,000 sq.ft.with 330 foot descent,wave pool, tidal, motion/sound water slide where you select your own adventure. Open to hotel guests only.

Michigan has some like in Boyne Falls (Avalanche Bay)that are up to 88,000 square feet. There are about 30 others all over the state. Kalahari in the Dells, WI is 125,000 and you can surf and family raft.

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Old Jan 31st, 2006, 07:11 AM
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Lake Geneva.

Eagle Ridge in Galena.

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