Basically what I do every day, except somewhere else.
July 6, 2017 2:13 PM   Subscribe

Where can I go for a few days with my dog to read and not talk to people within a couple hours of Chicago?

Once it gets nice and autumnal out I'd like to go somewhere (a bed and breakfast maybe? probably?) for a short vacation. I grew up on itinerary-focused road trips and roadside motels, and the idea of going someplace cozy to actually relax is completely foreign to me.

I'd like to meet the following criteria:

-no more than about 4 hours drive from Chicago
-MUST ALLOW DOGS, I'm not going to enjoy being anywhere without my 25lb terrier
-minimal requirements for interacting with others
-some kind of access to proper outdoors (woods? lakes?) for aimless walks and letting my dog see what not-concrete is like
-but nice and cozy inside, ideally with a bathtub
-someone else does all the things for me (e.g. not an airbnb) including at least some food

A friend has suggested "you should just go to a cabin in Wisconsin" which sounds like the most perfect thing, except that I don't want to have to think about feeding or cleaning up after myself.

If it helps, when it comes to climate I'm more of a cool and dark and damp person than a warm and sunny and dry person. Prefer old and comfortable to modern and sleek. Thankfully I'm in a position right now where cost isn't a tremendously limiting factor.

posted by phunniemee to Travel & Transportation (8 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
To echo your friend, a B & B in Door County seems to fit your bill. I've been up there at the end of September and it was quiet, lush, and relaxing, with summer crowds gone, and few locals and retirees around. State parks provided plenty of non-city isolation, and the general vibe is slower small-town based, with small motels and B & Bs, not large hotel chains. It's right at your 4-hour drive limit, though, and could break it for towns further along the peninsula. I don't have a specific lodging recommendation, though, as I don't know the pet policy at the place I stayed.
posted by BevosAngryGhost at 2:57 PM on July 6, 2017 [3 favorites]

Why not fly up to Minneapolis (flights out of O'Hare are under $100), rent an AirBnB, and spend time walking around the multitudes of lakes and admiring the changing of the leaves? Then in the evening you will have your choice of delightful restaurants. It's a good balance between having all the amenities you could want and getting out in nature.
posted by ball00000ns at 2:59 PM on July 6, 2017

Oh goodness, the Lake Michigan coast was invented for this. I enjoy Saugatuck (gay capital of the midwest), grand haven, south haven, and holland. I assume there are many B&B's in these towns. And TONS of hiking and dunes and woods and parks.
posted by rebent at 4:06 PM on July 6, 2017 [4 favorites]

This place is on my bucket list. It's a group of small cabins on an alpaca farm, isolated, with hiking trails. Also they breed goldendoodles.

(While I was getting one of my llama tattoos, another artist there told me about it and I flipped out and was upset that I haven't heard about this wonderful place before)
posted by Fig at 6:00 PM on July 6, 2017 [6 favorites]

Starved Rock State Park. 90 miles! Great hiking! Very old-timey! Pet-friendly cabins! (I believe pets can only stay in the cabins, not the lodge proper.) There's a nice heated pool in the lodge, and a big old-timey dining room, and an on-site hand-made icecream shop. Puppers can eat with you on the veranda outside the dining room, they have a "doggie delights" menu (and water in dog bowls). I'm not sure how long into fall the outdoor dining is open so do check on that first. You can even have them put a gift basket in your cabin of wine and fudge!

We ended up eating every meal in the dining room because my kids were so charmed by the big old-fashioned room and the giant fireplace and so on. But there's also a cafe in the lodge that has coffee, sandwiches, bagels, snacks, etc., if you want to eat quick or take something back to your cabin.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 6:55 PM on July 6, 2017 [3 favorites]

This is my third time this week posting about this area but for real, it's quiet and outdoorsy. I stayed in relatively primitive cabins but there are other options. I think the hard part is going to be finding a place who accepts pets AND has maid service + food onsite. The places I stayed allowed dogs but you were on your own for the rest.
posted by AFABulous at 7:57 PM on July 6, 2017 [3 favorites]

Saugatauk is a great idea, and I'd recommend Lake Geneva too.
posted by garlic at 10:57 AM on July 7, 2017 [1 favorite]

I'm back! After weighing my options, I decided that outside + no people was more important to me than other people doing things for me, at least for this particular experience, and found a really neat little place on VRBO. Its blurb includes "relax in this very, very, private, (no neighbors) soothing cabin nestled back among the trees, sitting high on a hilltop, overlooking the Rock River." Yes, please.

Thanks for all the suggestions, everybody! It really helped me search for places and figure out what I wanted most in a vacation spot.
posted by phunniemee at 7:50 AM on August 2, 2017 [2 favorites]

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