19th-Century Creamery Turned AAA Four Diamond Inn
Typically, cow statues don’t evoke romance. ButUnbridling 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, who have stationed the artsy bovine in the lobby. Housed in a former 19th-century riverfront creamery, this elegant boutique hotel 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.
Up the lobby’s grand staircase, the inn’s posh guest rooms contain private fireplaces, marble-accented bathrooms, and balconies overlooking 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 and milk.
An expansive wine selection has been crafted by The Herrington’s wine experts, and many unique finds will be seen on our list, which earned the restaurant an Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator in 2011. On request, the executive chef of the inn’s Atwater’s Restaurant can create a private, custom fine-dining experience on a waterfront gazebo for up to eight guests. Elsewhere, staff members at the onsite spa administer exfoliating facials, relaxing massages, and energizing body treatments.
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, 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 agricultural past.