- For $74, a one-night stay for up to four in a Courtyard or Golf room
- Or, for $20, one theater ticket to any show
- Or, for $25, a $50 dining credit to Harvest
- Or, for $31, 18 holes of golf for one with cart</p>
By Michael Madsen, Travel Correspondent
Multifaceted Entertainment Resort Stretching over 250 Acres
There is an element of surrealism to this stretch of Bourbon Street. Multi-tiered trellises, vibrantly colored structures, old-fashioned lampposts—the streetscape mimics the elegant ornamentation of the French Quarter, but there’s something missing: the debauchery. Here on Pheasant Run Resort’s two-block indoor re-creation of the famous New Orleans thoroughfare, the jazz music comes in soft, and voices sometimes echo off the stone-paved streets, immersing visitors in a mellow interpretation of the real thing. The colorful stretch of storefronts includes dining, shopping, and an art gallery, and still it’s just a sampling of the recreational buffet spread across Pheasant Run’s 250-acre property about 35 miles west of Chicago.
The resort’s Courtyard and Golf guestrooms situate visitors in a comfortable base camp from which to explore the surrounding scenery, with king- or queen-size beds and windows looking out on the outdoor pool or the greenery of the 18-hole championship golf course. Those tempted into taming the course are greeted by a mammoth first hole—543 yards from the back tees—flanked by water hazards on both sides and crowned with an undulating, unforgiving green. The deep pot bunkers peppered throughout the course, like adventurous welders, are a threat to sand wedges, and mature maples shade the fairways. More passive diversion thrives at the on-site Zanies Comedy Club as well as at the resort’s two professional live theaters, where upcoming shows range from the tension and chills of The Woman in Black, running October 14–October 30, to the heartwarming themes of It’s a Wonderful Life, presented as a live radio play November 25–December 24.
Harvest—one of numerous dining venues sprinkled throughout Pheasant Run—prepares a seasonal menu of innovative cuisine accompanied by an impressive wine list. The kitchen turns out seasonal specialties such as sea scallops and risotto ($24) as well as meaty masterpieces such as the 14-ounce new york strip made with Aurora Angus beef from regional farms ($40). A chic atmosphere colors the inviting dining room, and its décor is dotted with natural materials and vibrant hues.
Fox River Valley: Historical Downtown Districts and Outdoor Excitement
The downtown districts of St. Charles and Geneva, both within a 15-minute drive of Pheasant Run, bustle with vintage charm and cosmopolitan appeal. Just west of the Fox River in St. Charles stands Prasino, an eco-chic restaurant that complements a menu of local, sustainable cuisine with recycled-wood accents and floor-to-ceiling windows that frame the river and the iconic art deco municipal building across the street. Like downtown St. Charles, Geneva’s historical downtown shopping area is lined with easily walkable stretches of local boutiques, specialty shops, and eateries. At Graham’s Fine Chocolates & Ice Cream, tucked behind an old-fashioned storefront on Third Street in Geneva, patrons can watch sweet treats being crafted in an open kitchen or dive face-first into confections such as pecan Skälies, turtle-like creations that straddle the line between sweet and salty, chewy and crunchy.
Just south of downtown Geneva, within the 200-acre Fabyan Forest Preserve, the Fabyan Villa Museum and Japanese Garden showcases an eclectic collection of historical artifacts and oddities. The villa itself—formerly the home of Colonel George Fabyan and his wife, Nelle—was remodeled by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1907, but the architectural gem must nonetheless compete for attention with the oddments scattered around it. A Dutch-style windmill and Japanese gardens (which, like the villa, open to the public in May and close in mid-October) rest amid remnants of a former zoo. The curiosities built and collected by the Fabyans can easily occupy visitors for two to three hours on the quiet grounds, which are nestled on the banks of the Fox River.
Nearby, the extensive Fox River Trail makes it easy to engage in fresh-air pursuits or test out inspirational speeches on crestfallen squirrels. An extensive system of pathways that stretches for 40 miles, the trail draws cyclists, joggers, and fishermen in the warm weather and cross-country skiers when the snow falls.
Our Recommendations for Your Getaway
Geneva’s Downtown Shopping District More than 140 specialty stores and charming architecture render this an inviting area to stroll, shop, and sate appetites of all types.
Prasino Eco-chic décor and views of the river complement local, sustainable menu items that take an artisanal approach to healthy, contemporary cuisine.
Graham’s Fine Chocolates & Ice Cream and Graham’s 318 Graham’s flagship location turns out homemade, hand-dipped chocolates from its open kitchen; two doors down, Graham’s 318 serves up café fare, ice cream, and fondue in a warm, inviting atmosphere.
Fabyan Villa Museum and Japanese Garden In a 200-acre forest preserve, this Frank Lloyd Wright–remodeled house and carefully landscaped garden are augmented by a massive Dutch windmill, a Roman-style pool, and other intriguing curiosities.
Fox River Trail This 30-mile network of picturesque trails paved with smooth limestone, ideal for biking, running, renting kayaks, and cross-country skiing, runs along the Fox River.
Jambalaya This casual Cajun eatery on Bourbon Street in Pheasant Run Resort features gumbo, jambalaya, shrimp etouffee, plus live music on the weekend and eclectic Mardi Gras décor.