Milwaukee and Chicago weekend retreats

February 15, 2011

Hi. I am very impressed by MyGola and decided to buy a year long subscription to help me with various weekend trips and short getaways. I thought I would introduce myself so that you have an idea about me when suggesting future trips. :)We are a family of 3 (me, my wife Megha and son Moksh). Moksh is 2 years old. We currently live in Chicago/Milwaukee. Basically, I am studying my MBA at Kellogg...

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February 15, 2011

Bodhisattwa's answer about things to do in United States and Chicago

Hi there! Glad to know that you like what we are doing here at myGola. I will be preparing the weekend trip that you are planning with about ten of your friends here in this answer. I have hand-picked 3 destinations that have marvelous views with accommodation options. Have a pick!


Well, before we start, a word on the weather. After all, we don't want it to play spoil sport! March in and around Chicago, is going to be cold with the averages being  45°F (7°C) high and 28°F (-2°C) low with a good amount of snowfall of  7.0". Expect some occasional rain too. Make sure you check out weather underground for a detailed forecast before you head out.

It's a running joke around the Windy City that we don't have a spring or fall, so when traveling in March to Chicago it's best to plan for various weather situations. To prove my point, the record high for March is 88 degrees, the record low -8 degrees. Dress in layers to be able to better cope with either a dip or rise in temperature.

 (Source: about.com) 

"Chicago Dibs", Chicago - 1/11/09 (Source: Cheryl) 

Destinations and Accommodation

So here is the list. I have taken care that the cottages are in picturesque locales while not burning too big a hole in the pockets. I don't know just how far you guys are willing to drive. Hence I have given a mix of distances. The farthest being a little over 7 hours' drive and the nearest about 3 hours.

Cottage - Lake Michigan (Source: Dave Sizer) 

1. Rosewood Pointe (Recommended)

 806 N. Shore Drive, Holland, MI 49424 | 612-501-2548

Come home to Holland. Not Europe, but its brother in Michigan. Here is the Rosewood Pointe, a lake view property which looks absolutely amazing. In their own words:

Rosewood Pointe is located on the north side of beautiful Lake Macatawa in Holland, Michigan. Minutes from Lake Michigan, the resort is nestled among stately oaks and fragrant pines.The resort consists of four (4) large cottages (sleep 4-7), the Retreat House (sleeps 25-30), the Waikato House (sleeps 6-10) and the two story, lakefront, Kiwi House (sleeps 9-11), which all rest on a gentle rise overlooking a private, sandy beach. Rosewood Pointe can accommodate groups as large as 65 and as small as one!

 (Source: Michigan Cottages) 

I'd suggest the Lake View cottage. It looks stunning.

Rates are at $175* for Lake View and $250* per night (minimum 2 nights stay)

* Please add 6% Michigan USE tax to all rates. 
** 50% deposit required to confirm reservation, remaining balance due 30 days prior to arrival. 

A couple of reviews:

Best Possible Family Reunion Site EVER!
By Dawn S, 6/17/09
We held our four-day family reunion at Rosewood Pointe less than two weeks ago. I can't say enough wonderful things about this site. We rented all seven houses/cottages for our 67 or so relatives, and everyone loved it. The grounds are beautifully landscaped, with hundreds of colorful flowers in bloom that were very well maintained; the houses/cottages were spotlessly clean with modern appliances; and there were loads of activities for children and adults alike (kayak, paddle boats, row boat, horseshoes, volleyball, swing sets, and toys for kids to play in the sand). Read more here.

Rosewood Pointe Retreat House & Cottages - Holland, Michigan (Source: Yahoo! Travel) 

Clarissa J.
Chicago, IL

Great vacation spot in the fall where you can cozy up in a sweet little cottage, or in the summer when everything is in bloom while the black squirrels chase each other around and the tiny toads hop near your open pit fire late at night to get warm.

Mostly equipped with everything you need from firewood, to paddle boats and kayaks on the beach, to pots and pans and dishes in your kitchen, all you really need to bring is some food to cook over the flames and a mind to relax. �Be aware, though, that there are automatic sprinkler systems set to go off in the early mornings to keep everything lush and pretty, so your firewood might be wet and difficult to burn!

If you're in need of a bit of urban contact, Rosewood Pointe is just minutes away from downtown Holland where you can find shops, dining, drinks and banking, but if you can let all of it go, it's a tranquil getaway.

Rosewood Pointe Retreat House & Cottages - Holland, MI (Source: Yelp) 

Book online here or call 877-593-2083 EXT. 1.

Here's a map for your convenience (the drive is about three hours long):

2. Rim Rocks Dogwood Cabins (Recommended)

Bob and Dixie Dart, RR2, Box 124, Elizabethtown, Illinois 62931 Phone: (618) 264-6036

Email: info@rimrocksdogwoodcabins.com

The Rim Rocks Dogwoods is another fascinating option. It is one of the most popular cottages in the area and overlooks some mesmerizing scenes. The Eagle's Retreat suits your requirements the best. Although it says 9, many reviews say that it is enough for a couple more.

Rates are at $200 per night.

Eagle's Retreat is our elite cabin and will sleep 9. There is a private bedroom with a queen size sleigh bed, a loft that has room to stand with stairs that will sleep 5, a full size futon in the living room. The kitchen has full size appliances and the roomy bath has a 4' shower and a large water heater. There is a 12'x24' screened in back porch with picnic table and a 24' sitting porch across the front. This cabin has 36' doorways inside and out, a ramp onto the front porch and no step getting in or out of the cabin. There is a tv/dvd in the living room and loft of this cabin.

 (Source: Rim Rock's Dog Wood Cabins) 

Rim Rocks Dogwood Cabins

Waterfall on Our Way to Pounds Hollow (Source: Ken Ratcliff) 

The property is nestled amidst the lovely forest Shawnee Forest and has many places to explore. Some of the primary attractions include Pounds Hollow Lake, Garden of the Gods and the Bell Smith Springs Hiking Trail.

Rim Rocks Dogwood Cabins - 1

Garden of the Gods (Source: Thom C) 

Let's see what some of the guests have to say about the Rim Rocks:

wonderful retreat, total relaxation

Date of review: Feb 13, 2011

We spent 4 days at Rim Rocks Dogwood cabins. The cabin was neat and claen, had all the things it said would be in the cabin. Just take you food and you are good to go. Bob and Dixie are good inn keepers, friendly and more than happy to help you any any way you need.

Rim Rocks Dogwood (Source: TripAdvisor) 

Here's one from a very satisfied couple:

Here's the scenario: my husband and I got married 1 month ago. It's November and I'm short on vacation time so the honeymoon has to wait til next year. However, we NEED a vacation or "mini-moon" as
one of our friends called it :)

What do we poor newlyweds do? We spend a fantastic, COZY weekend at the Dogwood Cabins in the beautiful Shawnee National Forest! Yay! more

Rim Rocks Dogwood Cabins - Herod, IL (Source: Yelp) 

Rim Rocks Dogwood Cabins - 2

Jerry and Dani Find the Hidden Trail  (Source: Ken Ratcliff)

And here is the map of the location (about 7 hours' drive): 

3. Log Cabin Castle

West Union, Iowa, USA (180 Miles NE of Des Moines or 80 Miles North of Cedar Rapids) | (507) 413-2158

An absolutely amazing getaway cottage with what they call "million dollar" views. Here's what vrbo has to say:

Mighty and majestic in the midst of lush grasses, wildflowers, and tall timber. This beautiful area features sloping meadows and bluffs butted up to soft fields. Full log resort rests on 60 acres with scenic views in Iowa, adjacent to the Little Turkey River. Surrounding hills roll off the cabin and feature many nooks and crannies hiding sparkling bubbling brooks and tiny waterfalls. Home features 6 bedrooms, 6 baths and 5700 square feet. Five of the bedrooms host full master baths. Home is in the final stages of construction, therefore rates have been reduced to reflect some pre-finishing touches. All bedrooms have queen beds with comfortable, clean, and new pillow top mattresses. Linens and spa towels for indoor use are available. Fully stocked kitchen hosts two sinks, top of the line appliances, marble countertops, and unlimited charm. This resort home will accommodate large groups as there is a large eating area open to the kitchen. Numerous folding chairs are available for additional seating. The deck with unbelievable views has three patio dining sets also. A charcoal BBQ is available.

Several games are available at the property to include: electronic basketball table, foosball, ping-pong, shuffle board, skee-ball and numerous board games. A small hike down to the river will provide fishing, swimming and tubing. A tubing trip is easy as there is a convenient pickup location a couple of miles down the river. Float time is approximately 45 minutes. Book now to save on the rates. As the home nears completion, rates will continue to rise.

Log Cabin Meets Castle with Million Dollar Views (Source: VRBO) 

Some Rates in detail:

Starting at $150* per night
Rates depend on size of party
Cleaning fee applies

 (Source: VRBO) 

*50% required to secure reservation, 100% due 30 days prior to arrival
*Air Conditioning and snow removal fees extra

A guest review:

Guest: Kinross, IA
Date of Stay: 01/02/11 Review Submitted: 01/13/11

WOW! It was beautiful! Our family numbers 20 now and we had plenty of room. We gathered for a late Christmas and the lighted tree in the great room added to the charm of the occasion. We all drooled over the large kitchen and many bathrooms. It was spotless and smelled very fresh. If I could add one feature to the cabin it would be baby gates at the stairways. We had a couple of toddling babies and the stairs were quite a challenge. We've told many people about this cabin and I hope you get many more bookings!!

Owner response: Thanks for staying with us. We are so happy that you had such a great time. We have thought about providing baby gates but it would be difficult for us to guarantee the maintenance of them. Safety is very important to us. Most families with small children already have their own baby gates that they are familiar with we suggest that they bring the gates that they are familiar with. Thank you for telling people about our cabin and we hope that you come and stay with us again soon. It was a pleasure serving you.

(Source: VRBO) 

Check here for reservations, more reviews, photos and more details.

Log Cabin Castle

Billowing Clouds and Rambling Creek, Iowa Mountains(Source: Carl Wycoff) 

The location map (it is about 5 hours' drive):

The RV and Winnebago Rentals

Now this was a toughie. Not that there's a scarcity of RV rentals in and around Chicago. Heaven knows they are mushrooming! The thing is that most of them are large enough to hold about 8 maximum. But we need something tad bigger. I, however, have found just the thing for us:

1. 83RV Rentals (Recommended)

25514 N. Rt. 83, Mundelein / Long Grove, IL | Phone: 847-566-8383 | Fax: 847-566-2404

The mammoth 32 Yellowstone Bunkhouse comes from 83RV Rentals, one of sparse few rental chains to have RV of this size in their fleet.

83RV Rentals

(Source: 83rvrentals.com) 

Rates are at $.39/mile beyond 100 free miles per day.

Here's more details and interior pictures. The floor plan:

83RV Rentals - 1

(Source: 83rvrentals) 

2. GetRV.com

GetRV has a number of good alternatives. The one that serves our need the best is the 31' Coachmen Freelander 3150 Super Slide. It officially sleeps 9 but has room for more. Either way, you guys will not be spending a night in it.

The Rates :


 (Source: RV Rentals) 

Go here for reservations or call Toll Free: 888-GetRV-44 (888-438-7844)

The Illinois RV Rental Network is a good place to compare many RV Rental companies and what they have on offer.

Hope I have been helpful. We will be more than glad to plan another trip for you for the weekend getaways that you have in mind for you and your family. If you'd like to know about anything else, feel free to write back. Until then,

Have a lovely trip!


Cottage Identifiers (Source: Ken Bosma) 

Answered by A photographer, designer, artist but above all a traveller. I have travelled long and far and pride myself as the proverbial vagabond. Bodhisattwa Debnath

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