19th-Century Creamery Turned AAA Four Diamond Inn
Typically, cow statues don't evoke romance. But Unbridling Beatrix_—a colorful statue with scenes from Shakespeare's _Romeo and Juliet painted on it from neck to hoof—is no ordinary cow. As a showpiece from Chicago's Cows on Parade exhibit, Beatrix enchanted the owners of Geneva’s The Herrington Inn & Spa. The former 19th-century riverfront creamery was transformed into a boutique hotel that exudes Old World romanticism and has won AAA's Four Diamond award for the past 20 years. Beatrix embodies the property's past and present, an ideal match to serve as hotel mascot inside the inn's lobby.
Up the lobby's grand staircase, the inn's posh guest rooms contain private fireplaces, marble-accented bathrooms, and balconies that overlook the Fox River. In river premier rooms, heated floors and marble fireplaces keep winter chills at bay. Each night in your room, enjoy fresh cookies, milk, and a lullaby reading from the concierge after the complimentary turndown service.
At the inn's bar, Herrington's resident sommeliers have crafted an expansive wine list that ranges from Argentine reds to Columbia Valley whites; the list earned the restaurant an Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator in 2011. On request, the executive chef of the inn's Atwater's Restaurant creates a private, custom fine-dining experience on a waterfront gazebo for up to eight guests. Elsewhere, the staff at the Spa at The Herrington perform exfoliating facials, relaxing massages, and energizing body treatments. With so many amenities to luxuriate in, a stay at The Herrington makes a great holiday gift to share with a significant other.
Geneva, Illinois: Small-Town Shopping and Art on the Outskirts of Chicagoland
Nestled in the heart of the verdant Fox River Valley, idyllic Geneva lies about 36 miles west of Chicago's Loop area, but its laid-back rural vibe seems a world away from the city. Along the river is the Fox River Trail, a hiking, biking, and cross-country skiing path that connects a string of scenic riverfront towns.
Around the corner from the Herrington, historical buildings and tree-lined streets define downtown Geneva; its 200 specialty shops include artisanal jewelers, chic women's clothing stores, and boutique eateries. Pop into Graham’s for renowned handcrafted chocolates and ice cream. The 68-foot Fabyan Windmill, built by German immigrants in the 1850s and recently restored with timber from the Netherlands, lies along the river to the south of town. On the first Friday of every month, Geneva's residents take a self-guided art walk through nine area galleries, which open their doors to serve refreshments, host live performances, and show off their portraits of mustachioed news anchors. Down the street, the Geneva History Center delves into the city's past as an agricultural hub as the Kane County seat.