Best Winter Getaways

December 21, 2011 2:00 PM


A winter getaway doesn’t mean you have to go somewhere tropical. In fact, after the exhausting hustle and bustle of the holidays, it might just mean finding a nice quiet place to relax with great winter scenery. Plus, after the holiday spending it might not be feasible to buy a plane ticket, but you do have enough cash to find a nice place to stay for a night or two. It’s time to leave the dirty, city slush behind and take a breather.

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The romantic getaway

Ok so Ohio is a little far to travel, but it is a getaway isn’t it? So this may work for say, an extended weekend with your honey. But it’s worth the drive to stay at Glenlaurel Inn & Spa, a “premier romantic getaway in the Midwest.” You don’t even have to leave the property to find fun when it’s 140 acres and has its own walking trails, rock cliffs and waterfalls. They offer fine dining along with your choice of rooms, suites, crofts (a small house) or cottages. Their dinners are described as an occasion with six and seven course dinners served in the Manor House.

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(credit: Turkey Run Inn)

Time for a little adventure

If you have visited Starved Rock a few times and you’re looking for a similar place, but just a little different, then head to Parke County, Indiana. With a land of covered bridges amongst the snowscapes it will be a beautiful sight. You can also hike the trails in Turkey Run State Park for a little exercise and explore the area. At the end of the day, spend a night in the Turkey Run Inn. For two queen beds at a non-peak rate, it’s only $82 plus tax.

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Southwest Lake Michigan Shore

Not too far a drive from Chicago, but just enough to get outside to enjoy what winter’s lake-effect storms do to the sand dunes. Snowshoe in the Warren Woods State Park, hike up Mount Baldy or cross country ski in Love Creek County Park. When your nose is frozen and your toes feel like ice, you can head over to a wine tasting at a vineyard to get the blood moving again. Then stay at the Tryon Farm Guesthouse in Michigan City, Indiana in a cozy room and enjoy a breakfast of fresh-laid eggs.

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Family Waterparks

The kids are starting to get a little restless. The Christmas gifts have lost that sparkle. It’s time to get out of the house. You might not have envisioned your kids coming with you on your winter getaway but sometimes it’s not possible to leave them behind, which is why someone created indoor family waterparks.

You only have to make the trek up to Gurnee to feel like you’re in the Florida Keys in 82 degree weather. So pack your swimwear because they have wild rides for thrill seekers and lazy floats down the river for the more laid back folks. All of their life guards are highly trained and watching out over your children.

Another way to reach the tropics without actually going there is visiting Timber Ridge. They have water activities for all ages. For the little swimmers they have a section to get them adjusted to the water. There is an activity pool for kids 7-10, and Canyon River for the adults to be lazy as they float in the river. They have 30-foot slides to race down and hot tubs. They offer day packages and overnight packages.

Rachel Azark is a writer, and lives on Chicago’s northwest side. Read more of her work on her blog

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