Health-and-Wellness Retreat in Lakeside Setting
A former dairy farm may seem like an unusual choice to open a health-and-wellness retreat. Yet in 1983, Heartland Spa & Fitness Resort transformed one into a holistic spa center and garnered national attention—perhaps due in part to one famous guest, Oprah Winfrey. Surrounded by 32 acres of woodlands on a 3-acre lake, the spa has been praised as "uniquely Midwestern and unpretentious" by the Chicago Sun-Times. The red barn and surrounding grounds now house workout facilities and a spa, replete with an indoor pool, whirlpool, and sauna.
A low-fat, low-sodium, house-made meal courtesy of Heartland's chef greets arriving guests, kick-starting 24 hours of healthy eating. Afterward, settle into the five-bedroom, two-bathroom Coach House for a good night's sleep. The next day’s breakfast starts the day with nutritious vegetarian dishes, including egg-white frittatas, oatmeal, and peanut-butter-and-banana muffins.
Heartland Spa & Fitness Resort’s two-to-one staff-to-guest ratio ensures all guests are supported and pampered as they unwind. An underground tunnel connects the manor to the spa barn and shields out the cold. Yoga, Pilates, tai chi, cardio kickboxing, and other fitness classes take place throughout the day, and a locker room fully equipped with a sauna and hot tub makes for a relaxing reprieve. Other spa services await, including an aromatherapy manicure ($40) or a Brazilian bikini wax ($50). Before departing, guests enjoy a peaceful lunch in one of Heartland’s common areas, which are technology-free to avoid interruptions from cell phones and tractor beams.
Gilman, Illinois: Close-Knit Community South of Chicago
About 90 miles south of Chicago, the small town of Gilman evokes a bygone era. The pedestrian-friendly downtown brims with restaurants, antique stores, and a gentleman stationed at every corner to tip his hat. The Gilman Historical Society chronicles the farming town’s history, with one exhibit showcasing U.S. veteran memorabilia and uniforms dating back to World War I.