North of Illinois lie the state of Wisconsin. Greener and prettier, it's only a few hours drive north of Chicago and a treat for the senses if you wanted to escape the big city or the samey suburban vibe.
I want to recommend a place called Ephraim, about 5 hours north of Chicago. It's located on the 'prong' of land northeast of Green Bay, Wisconsin, and is part of the famously scenic Door County. A tiny village on the bay, it is picturesque and serene. There is a state park nearby and trails to explore. Ephraim is famous for 'all things cherry'. I mean the fruit. We were there in November of last year, and I remember cherry cakes, granola and cookies. And all of them delicious!
There are a number of fine bed and breakfast places in Ephraim, but I wholeheartedly recommend the 'Eagle Harbor Inn'. Go for the suites rather than the rooms in the Inn, because they are majestic!
Suites feature a sitting room with a selection of interesting books and a breakfast table, among other things. There is an adequate kitchenette with a microwave, mini-fridge, a sink and essential utensils. The bedroom features a plush bed with homely Victorian furnishings, and a stunning modern whirlpool. There is of course, the additional shower room and toilet.
Most striking is the two-way fireplace, seen from both the sitting room and the bedroom. There was also a decent-sized deck. Imagine relaxing in the whirlpool, then tucking into a breakfast basket delivered to your door, and enjoying it on the deck as the dawn breaks....
Eagle Harbor has a moderately-sized pool and a sauna, which we loved using. But the best thing about it was their ample gourmet breakfast. It is an extra $11 per person, but boy, is it worth the money. Cherry Granola followed by Eggs Benedict and fluffy pancakes one morning. French Toast dusted with confectioners' sugar and Cherry Pie the next. The proprietors are extremely friendly and have a wealth of local knowledge. Ephraim and Eagle Harbor is perfect for recharging your body and soul. Check the link below for rates and availability.
p.s. On your way to Ephraim coming in from Northern Illinois, you will encounter another charming village called Fish Creek. Good for quaint shopping and dining.
Eagle Harbor Inn